Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Elliot Diringer is Executive Vice President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). He manages day-to-day operations of C2ES and helps direct its research, policy, outreach and communications efforts. He previously served as Vice President for International Strategies at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, C2ES’s predecessor organization, and continues to direct international programs at C2ES.
Mr. Diringer has been deeply engaged in environmental issues and policy for nearly 30 years. From 1983 to 1997, he was a reporter and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he authored several award-winning environmental series and covered the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. From 1997 to 2000, he served as Director of Communications and Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped develop major policy initiatives, led White House press and communications strategy on the environment, and was a member of U.S. delegations to international climate change negotiations. He was later Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy White House Press Secretary, serving as a principal spokesman for President Clinton.
Mr. Diringer holds a degree in environmental studies from Haverford College and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University, where he studied environmental law and policy.
Panel: Climate Justice and Citizen Action
Founder, Care about Climate & Board of Directors, Sierra Club
Natalie Lucas is a graduate of the University of Arizona and she holds a Masters Degree in International Sustainable Development. Her research took her to Indonesia where she studied fuelwood consumption as it related to deforestation and forest degradation. In 2014 she established Care About Climate, a nonprofit that unites the climate movement with the Climate Sign and manages programs like the Online Youth Exchange and Climate Ambassadors. She has attended several United Nations conferences on climate change, and has been working on building youth capacity to address climate change and impacts. Natalie serves on the Board of Directors for the Sierra Club. Climate change advocacy and solutions is at the core of all of the work that she does day in and day out.
Fred Saigh Director of Education, Saint Louis Zoo
Louise Bradshaw, Fred Saigh Director of Education at Saint Louis Zoo, leads a passionate team of conservation educators connecting to over 2 million people annually and inspiring them to care deeply for our planet. With BS in Biology and a MS Ed in Education, she has worked in the fields of conservation and conservation education for over 30 years.
Louise is responsible for all activities of the Zoo’s Education Department. These functions include education programs and services for teachers, adults, youth, school groups, scout groups, summer camp, young children including the Zoo’s nature based pre-school and families; the Zoo’s Interpretation unit including traveling and permanent exhibits; the Teacher Resource Center and Zoo Reference Library; the Zoo Travel Program; Conservation Education Liaisons, NSF and other federal grant-funded programs, and the Zoo’s 220 Docents, or volunteer teachers and 75 teen volunteers. Her areas of interest include community conservation efforts locally and internationally through developing school based guides to Monarch gardens and teacher training programs in partnership with conservation field projects in Kenya and Nicaragua, effective approaches to human subject research at zoos and aquariums including fostering empathy and positive health effects of zoo experiences and models for increasing scientific and environmental literacy, most recently focusing on climate change literacy and communication. Louise has been an employee of the Saint Louis Zoo since 1984. Louise is currently a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Research and Technology Committee, has served as a member and advisor to the AZA Conservation Education Committee, as education liaison to the Meso-American Caribbean Conservation Action Partnership and is past chair of the Regional Program Committee of the AZA. She has served as a peer-reviewer for Zoo Biology, International Zoo Yearbook and Curator. She served for ten years as an instructor and course administrator for the AZA sponsored Conservation Education Training Course for Zoo educators.
Founding Organizer, 350 STL
Anne Barton-Veenkant is a grassroots climate change activist through 350 STL, the St. Louis chapter of 350.org. In November 2016 she invited neighbors and friends to form the group. In its first year the group would: organize a public launch event, coordinate the St. Louis People’s Climate March, push the issue of climate change in the St. Louis City mayoral race, promote its mission at Earth Day festivities, and participate in aligned volunteer projects in the city. Anne continues to be a volunteer organizer of the group. Professionally, she is in her 9th year of working in public education, serving low-income communities, always striving to provide an excellent education to all children, no matter their zip code. She has also led youth leadership projects related to community health and the environment in rural Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. She holds a B.A. from Georgetown University in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on the relationship between communities’ development and their environment.
Activist for Social and Environmental Justice
Georgia de la Garza is the Founder of Shawnee Hills and Hollers, organizing and empowering communities who live on the front lines of the fossil fuel industries, She was the Organizer of Justice for Rocky Branch, a community in Saline County in Southern Illinois who fought strip mining in their backyard. De la Garza is the Business Manager for the Shawnee Vinyard Indian Settlement, fighting for state recognition and indigenous rights. She is a Writer and Editor for Women For Justice Midwest Region, a partner of Our Revolution, and partnered with The Understory Kitchen, a cooperative system for sharing food and building community knowledge using community garden’s harvest to create convivial public meals and workshops through grassroots education in nutrition and sustainability.
Executive Director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Heather Navarro is the Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and the 28th Ward Alderwoman in the City of St. Louis. She earned a Bachelors in Environmental Studies and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. While there, she participated as a student and later as a student attorney in the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic. Before coming to MCE, she spent over three years practicing as a civil rights lawyer at a private firm in St. Louis. She was an inaugural fellow of the St. Louis New Leaders Council and has volunteered and served on the boards of several organizations, including The Green Center, the Central West End Association, the national council of Pax Christi USA, and the Missouri Environmental Fund.
Panel: Legal and Policy Perspectives on Climate Action
Sustainability Director, City of St. Louis Office of the Mayor
Catherine Werner was appointed as the first Sustainability Director for the City of St. Louis in 2009, and works on numerous urban sustainability initiatives for the City. From 2010-2013, Catherine spearheaded development of an award-winning and comprehensive Sustainability Plan for the City of St. Louis, and currently oversees implementation of sustainability priorities for the Office of the Mayor. Catherine has been a champion of triple bottom line sustainability principles – balancing social, economic and environmental issues. She has been instrumental in launching several successful sustainability efforts in the City, such as its Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative, Biophilic City status, Urban Vitality & Ecology Initiative, Milkweeds for Monarchs: The St. Louis Butterfly Project, and Set The PACE St. Louis energy-efficiency financing program. Catherine oversaw the City’s $3.7 Million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant and has been leading the City’s climate protection efforts, such as helping the City win a City Energy Project award, pass an energy benchmarking ordinance, conduct Greenhouse Gas Emissions inventory and reporting, and develop the first Climate Action & Adaptation Plan for the City. She also led the City in the HUD-funded Regional Sustainable Communities Planning Grant on transit-oriented development, and oversaw the City’s STAR Community Rating System efforts, in which the City earned a Three Star Rating.
Catherine has worked as an environmental attorney, sustainability consultant, natural resources specialist and environmental educator. She has extensive experience in legal, policy, ecological and sustainable design projects, and has worked on green infrastructure, urban ecology and sustainable development issues in both a planning and implementation capacity.
In the wake of the S&L crisis, Catherine served as lead Environmental Counsel for the federal Resolution Trust Corporation agency in the Washington, D.C. headquarters office. She worked on water issues for the City of Chicago Department of Environment. At The Nature Conservancy of Missouri and Chicago Wilderness biodiversity collaboration, Catherine obtained valuable
experience on natural resource issues; she also founded Prairies Forever. In the private sector, Catherine was Environmental Specialist for a large-scale master planned community in northern Nevada. She also acted as Sustainability Consultant to the provost at the University of Nevada, Reno. Catherine has taught environmental courses at various institutions of higher learning, including Environmental Law: Applications Toward Sustainability, Planning Sustainable Communities, and Urban Ecology: Principles and Practice at Washington University.
Catherine is a LEED Accredited Professional (New Construction), obtained her J.D. from Washington University School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Duke University.
Executive Director, Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative
Colin Wellenkamp’s extensive career in the legal and policy fields has been focused on advocating and advancing public interests through improving local government functions and the activity of the business world. Mr. Wellenkamp is dedicated to assisting organizations and people transition to a sustainable way of life. Colin has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Saint Louis University, a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law, and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Sustainable Development Law from George Washington University Law School.
A native of Missouri, Colin now lives in St. Charles, MO, with his wife and daughter.
Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of Interdisciplinary Environmental Law, Washington University School of Law
Maxine I. Lipeles is a Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of the law school’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, where she was its sole director for nine years. Admitted to practice in Massachusetts, Missouri and Illinois, she teaches various environmental law courses at Washington University and previously was a part-time professor for the university’s Department of Engineering and Policy and Department of Civil Engineering as well as the past Director of the Environmental Engineering Program for Washington University. Lipeles has been consistently recognized as one of the best environmental attorneys in the country and was a past recipient of a Professor of the Year Award from the law school’s Student Bar Association. In addition to her teaching and administrative duties running the clinic, she is the author and co-author of two casebooks: one on hazardous waste and another on water pollution. Before joining the university, Lipeles practiced for the St. Louis law firm Husch & Eppenberger (now Husch Blackwell Sanders) for eighteen years, achieving the rank of partner; she also worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Division. Prior to practicing law, she clerked for the Honorable William H. Orrick, Judge of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco.