Robert Redford Conservancy Symposium Examines Climate Change and Rallies Climate Action

Claremont, Calif. (January 26, 2018)—Pitzer College’s Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability is hosting “Climate Change, Climate Justice: Organizing in the Face of a Changing Planet,” a public symposium that will draw together experts, activists and concerned citizens to explore the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. In the wake of the third-hottest year on record, this meeting of minds will expand our understanding of climate change and its possible solutions on Friday, February 16, in Pitzer’s Benson Auditorium.

“The symposium features established scientists as well as activists from movements for climate justice and restorative economics,” said Brinda Sarathy, the director of the Redford Conservancy and an associate professor of environmental analysis at Pitzer. “Students and young people are at the cutting edge of pushing for change. They are mobilizing fresh and innovative solutions and ways of being in the world. We need to engage, support and learn from them.”

The symposium features three dynamic speakers: Geeta Persad, a postdoctoral research scientist at Stanford University’s Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology; Ryan Camero, a climate-justice artist and activist; and Nwamaka Agbo, an innovation fellow at the Movement Strategy Center, a nonprofit dedicated to building transformative social justice movements.

Geeta PersadPersad is a climate scientist who tailors numerical models to study the impacts of climate change and evaluate mitigation efforts. She analyzes the role of anthropogenic aerosols—the solid and liquid particles emitted into the atmosphere when humans burn fossil fuels and other materials—in regional and global climate change. Persad combines this scientific understanding with economic and policy analysis to explore how the shifting global landscape of these short-lived, but potent, human emissions will affect health, infrastructure and mitigation decisions.

Ryan CameroCamero, who represented California at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, is an illustrator and self-described “climate culture-jammer.” He won a 2015 Brower Youth Award, a national prize that recognizes six outstanding young environmental leaders each year, for using creative storytelling to chronicle the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and surrounding area. A community organizer, Camero has served as a facilitator for the California Student Sustainability Coalition, a water rights campaigner with Restore the Delta and a storytelling educator with the Beehive Design Collective.

Nwamaka AgboAgbo brings to the symposium years of experience working for a more equitable and sustainable world with a wide range of social and economic justice organizations. Through a partnership with the Movement Strategy Center, she is the program manager for Restore Oakland, a community advocacy and training center. She has served as the director of programs at the Portland-based nonprofit EcoDistricts and helped launch the Oakland Green Jobs Corps and the Soul of the City civic engagement campaign while working for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

“Climate Change, Climate Justice: Organizing in the Face of a Changing Planet” is funded by a $50,000, two-year grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to support the Redford Conservancy’s efforts to engage communities both on and off campus with some of the region’s—and the world’s—most pressing environmental issues. The Redford Conservancy will follow the symposium with a climate-action workshop for undergraduates on March 3.

Established in 2012, the Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability at Pitzer College creates innovative academic programming and interdisciplinary education around environmental challenges while facilitating Pitzer’s own commitment to sustainability. Academically driven by the liberal arts, and guided by the College’s core values of social responsibility and environmental sustainability, the Redford Conservancy engages interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving. The Conservancy promotes the longevity of Southern California’s natural environment and the wellbeing of its peoples. The Redford Conservancy, housed in the newly renovated historic Marston and Maybury building north of Pitzer’s main campus, has been designed to be a net-zero energy building.

“Climate Change, Climate Justice: Organizing in the Face of a Changing Planet” takes place Friday, February 16, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Pitzer’s Benson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit:


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