Arcadia Earth: NYC Climate Week Speaker Series

September 17-18, 2019: Oceanic Global partnered with Arcadia Earth to host a two-day speaker series around UN NYC Climate Week below Arcadia's multi-sensory experiential art space.

Oceanic Global in partnership with Arcadia Earth curated a two-day speaker series around UN NYC Climate Week below Arcadia’s brand new multi-sensory experiential art space. 

Beneath Arcadia Earth lies a speakeasy and a safe space for the greatest minds and leaders driving climate solutions on a path towards a more equitable, just and sustainable future. As a part of the conversation around UN Climate Week in NYC, the series addressed the following topics.


Tuesday, September 17th:

3:00-4:00pm: The Reality of Climate Change

Richard Seager is a climate scientist at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.  He works on climate variability and change across the globe and with a special focus on droughts and floods and impacts on ecosystems and society.

Dannie Dinh is a Program Officer at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University. She manages partners engagement and research activities for the Adapting Agriculture to Climate Today, for Tomorrow (ACToday) project in Vietnam. Dinh is interested in examining the underlying context of climate adaptation challenges to develop solutions through scientific, policy, and management tools and via participatory processes.

Noah Chesnin is the Associate Director of the New York Seascape Program, the conservation program at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium.  Through local field research, policy initiatives, and public outreach, the NY Seascape Program seeks to protect and restore threatened species and critical habitat, encourage smart ocean planning to ensure a place for wildlife in our busy waters, and build ecological resilience in nearshore and river habitats.

Moderator: Martha Jeffries has directed and produced shoots across 6 continents, and her work has screened in over 150 countries. Jeffries directed and produced two films for the the Emmy Award winning climate change documentary series Years Of Living Dangerously. Her film, Collapse of the Oceans, was awarded Best Television at the 2017 Environmental Media Awards. Jeffries is a founding member of Ocean Collectiv

4:30-5:30pm: The Youth Action & Community Engagement

Maggie Dalencour is a 7th grade student at Brooklyn Urban Garden Schools. She is the co-narrator of Cafeteria Culture’s upcoming movie, Microplastic Madness, in which she is featured alongside her 5th grade classmates from PS 15 in Red Hook on a 2-year journey of plastic-free action and advocacy. Some of the actions that those students including Dalencour took are: going out to the community to educate neighbors, giving away reusable bags, leading the youth rally to ban styrofoam in NYC.

Jade Lozada co-leads Arts for the September 20th Climate Strike in New York City. She is a member of Fridays for Future, a youth movement for global climate action started by Greta Thunberg in 2018. Lozada is also a writer and poet, who recently performed at the Apollo Theater in Climate Speaks, a spoken word poetry competition presented by the Climate Museum. Her poem is forthcoming in the Climate Speaks book. Lozada is a senior at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College.

Shiv Soin is a nineteen-year-old climate justice activist in New York City. Born with severe environmental allergies, Soin has seen and felt the health and ecological impacts of the climate crisis. In the hopes of tackling the crisis through legislative means, he co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of TREEage, a youth-led grassroots group specifically focused on climate legislation combatting fossil fuel infrastructure and climate justice concerns in New York City and New Jersey. Soin is also the co-head of logistics for the September 20th Global Youth Climate Strike in New York City, as well as a student in New York University’s Class of 2022. 

Sophie Anderson is co-national coordinator of Extinction Rebellion (XR) Youth US. XR Youth US launched in April 2019 and has rapidly spread to over 50+ locations across the country. Extinction Rebellion is a non-partisan international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse as a result of climate change. XR’s rapid growth has been propelled by youth activism.

John Ribaudo is a Research Associate Technician at the Billion Oyster Project and a current student at Hunter College. John began his exploration of Coney Island Creek volunteering as a docent at the New York Aquarium, and was then drawn to the Billion Oyster Project’s motto of “Restoration through Education”. He believes that “what’s equally as important as a billion oysters in New York Harbor is thousands of engaged students who know that they can shape their environment.” Ribaudo appreciates returning to sites year after year, where he not only notices an improved environment, but a heightened level of community involvement.

Moderator: Cassia Patel is the Program Manager of Oceanic Global, a global NGO that engages new audiences in ocean conservation. Her work with Oceanic Global includes overseeing their industry solution program, educational programming, and managing The Oceanic Standard (TOS), a free set of industry-specific resources for adopting sustainable practices that meet both business and environmental needs.

5:45-6:15pm: Environmental Futurism & Social Design

Amer Jandali is the Founder of Future Meets Present, a company that designs products, systems, and events that facilitate the emergence of a sustainable future. Future Meets Present’s projects include: the “Braceletote”, an innovative, wearable tote bag designed to replace single-use plastic bags during an urban commute; and The “Marketplace of the Future”, a yearly event that brings together 50 eco-conscious start-ups to represent an immersive “snapshot” of a sustainable future. This year the Marketplace of the Future will be the official closing ceremony for the 10th annual Climate Week NYC – the largest in the world.

8:00-9:00pm: Climate Change Artivism

Valentino Vettori has over 20 years of experience working with leading fashion institutions, and is passionate about restructuring how customers interact with brand environments. Vettori’s objective has always been to inspire and engage the emotions of those visiting his installations.  The vision for Arcadia Earth was born in 2017 out of a promise Vettori made to Paul Hawken, driven by his growing awareness of the ecological challenges we face and a desire to create a hub where artists, communities, activists, and institutions could come together to engage in being part of environmental solutions.

Kenji Williams is an Entrepreneur, composer and director for immersive live theater, mixed reality, and interactive data visualization,  and is the creative director and producer of the NASA-powered earth-from-space show, BELLA GAIA. Named a “100 Top Creative” by Origin Magazine, a World Technology Network award finalist, and a Grammy voting member, Williams explores the nexus of art, technology, and transformation, through immersive technology platforms from IMAX, Fulldome, Holograms, and XR, while working with theaters and spaces to make them immersive portals through his unique storytelling methods.

Lisa Russell, MPH is an Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker who has 15+ years producing films and curating creative events that lie at the intersection of arts, social justice and global development.  Some of her more well-known films include Mother’s Cry (an award-winning poetry video on climate change). Russell is also a Founder of Create2030, and is leading the writing of an Artist Declaration for Climate and is organizing live readings and performances during the Global Climate Strike and UNGA74 in collaboration with the Battery Tour, using its mobile sound system powered by renewable energy. 

AY is an artist, sustainability entrepreneur and entertainer under the artist name “AY MusiK“. AY appeared on the hit television series The X Factor and has performed alongside several of today’s hottest artists including, Wyclef Jean, SHAGGY, T-Pain, Aaron Carter, and more. AY is the first-ever artist to power his concerts with 100% renewable energy and be licensed by the first-ever music platform to provide a stage for creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs to plug-in and share their talents. AY proudly represents the BE YOU movement through innovative music and engaging performance art as the Founder of The Battery Tour – a sustainable, all-inclusive music platform for the people.

Moderator: Emilie McGlone has been working with Peace Boat since 2004 and currently is the United Nations liaison and Director of the New York-based office of Peace Boat US, a non-profit
organization working to promote peace, sustainable development and respect for the
environment through educational programs organized onboard the Peace Boat, a chartered
passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. McGlone works to foster
youth education for climate action and develops specific programs to learn about important
global issues onboard the Peace Boat.

Wednesday, September 18th:

3:00-4:00pm: Regenerative Agriculture as a Climate Solution

Yemi Amu is the co-founder of Oko Farms and the Farm Manager at the Oko Farms Aquaponics Center – an outdoor aquatic farm in Brooklyn, New York that cultivates a variety of edible freshwater fish and vegetables in a recirculating ecosystem. Amu leads all of Oko Farms’ design/build projects and directs all of its educational programs.

Gabe Kennedy is the Co-Founder of Plant People. The award-winning chef turned entrepreneur grew  up in Boulder, Colorado where he developed an affinity for plant-based nutrition, sustainability and alternative wellness approaches from an early age. Gabe drew upon his upbringing, experience in food and CPG brand consulting background to create Plant People, alongside co-founder Hudson Gaines-Ross. Both friends discovered the healing benefits of hemp to treat their traumatic spinal injuries and were inspired to introduce effective, accessible and natural wellness solutions that support the health of people and the planet.

Henry Gordon-Smith founded the popular blog in 2011. He was also co-founder of the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) and served on the board from 2013 – 2017. In 2014, Henry launched NYC-based Agritecture Consulting, a boutique urban agriculture advisory firm where he helps entrepreneurs with vertical farming feasibility studies, recruiting and systems design. To date, Henry and his team have consulted on 76 diverse urban agriculture projects in 20 countries. He also serves as a board member for several for-profit and non-profit agtech organizations.

Craig M. Trester is a citizen scientist that applies biomimicry and permaculture principles through mycology to develop regenerative solutions. By studying Fungi, he believes novel approaches towards alternative agriculture, pharmacology, and bioremediation can be realized. Trester runs MYC.NYC, an applied mycology educational resource that teaches the benefits Fungi provide to our health, environment, and society to academic, research, community, and private audiences.

Moderator: Kyle Calian is the Founder of The Regeneration Magazine, a biannual print publication and weekly email newsletter, that showcases the people, ideas, goods and projects that are addressing climate change. Calian is also Head of Sales and Partnerships at Arcadia Earth, responsible for curating Arcadia’s recently opened sustainable retail shop in New York City. He holds an MFA in Design for Social Innovation from the School of Visual Arts and a BA in Environmental Studies and Graphic Design from American University.

4:30-5:30pm: Tackling our Plastic Crisis

Sierra QuitiQuit is a professional skier, model, surfer and environmental activist. As climate change and global warming threaten the extinction of her sport and greatest passion of skiing, QuitiQuit has positioned her self as a climate leader in the outdoor community, using her platform to educate and inspire. Sierra is the founder of Plastic Free Fridays a 501c3 whose mission is to help significantly reduce single-use plastics consumption among individuals by raising awareness and shaping positive habits on a broad scale through education, awareness, and alternative solutions, while also working towards systemic change on the community-, corporate- and policy-level. 

Kara Napolitano is currently the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Sims Municipal Recycling Facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the largest Materials Recovery Facility in the country. At Sims, Kara offers educational tours to student groups grades 2 – 12, along with college, adult, and corporate groups, teaching how New York City recycles over 1000 tons of materials every day.

Dave Ford is the Founder and CEO of SoulBuffalo, an expedition company with operating experience in over 80 countries, servicing the Fortune 500. SoulBuffalo has spent the last four years heavily focused on purpose-driven expeditions aligned with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, each with the mission to drive large scale systemic change in the world. In May of 2019 SoulBuffalo led the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit, an expedition and solution accelerator in the Atlantic Gyre (plastic garbage patch) with 162 leaders across the plastics industry and NGO community. 

Moderator: Cassia Patel is the Program Manager of Oceanic Global, a global NGO that engages new audiences in ocean conservation. Her work with Oceanic Global includes overseeing their industry solution program, educational programming, and managing The Oceanic Standard (TOS), a free set of industry-specific resources for adopting sustainable practices that meet both business and environmental needs.

5:45-6:15pm: Adapting to Uncertainty

Emily Bauer is the Founder of Bau Land, a design firm working within landscape architecture, architecture, urban planning, and product design. Her work connects people and nature, creating symbiotic opportunities for both to thrive and adapt over time.

6:30-7:30pm: The Future of Sustainable Fashion

Ari Harris is currently the Production Manager at Custom Collaborative and sustainable designer based in Brooklyn. She studied fashion design at Columbia College Chicago where she focused her work challenging antiquated ideals in the fashion industry. Since moving to New York, she has worked in many different facets of the industry from couture design to mass production, learning industry standards in production and concept development. Her purpose as a designer is to aid in creating a more inclusive and mindful fashion industry.

Burak Cakmak has been managing the Parsons School of Fashion degree programs as the Dean since 2015. With his expertise in the field of sustainable design, he is focused on guiding the academic programs at Parsons School of Design into a new era, where an emphasis on socially conscious and transformational design formulates the educational approach and training of the next generation of creators.

Manuela Zoninsein is a Brazilian-American passionate about accelerating our planet’s transition to a sustainable and circular economy by unlocking investments, innovation, information, and inspiration. She cofounded modeDurable, the sustainable fashion media fellowship at Parsons, to train fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content creators to confidently cover environmental issues. As an early stage angel, Zoninsein invests in women-led companies focused on sustainability solutions across hardware, software, materials science, D2C, agriculture, energy, buildings, and transportation. 

Tara St James launched Study NY in 2009 after designing high street fashion for over 15 years in Canada and the US. Study produces in NYC’s garment district using ethical fabrics and production methods. St James educates the next generation of designers on the importance of sustainability in design, and is currently teaching a class on sustainable textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Study NY has been awarded the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation prize as well as runner up in the CFDA / Lexus Sustainable Fashion Challenge. Most recently St James worked as Production Coordinator and Research Fellow in the Sustainable Strategies Lab for Pratt’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator. She has also built a sustainable textile library and sourcing service and will be launching the new Re:Source Library consultancy in July 2019.

Moderator: Sarah Berner Donahue is an investor, advisor, and hedge fund leader. She is a staunch believer in shifting capital to create positive change and building community to support this change. In addition to being the Founder of One House, Berner is Managing Director at Aristeia Capital. Berner has served as a Strategist, Board Member, and / or Advisor to people, brands, and initiatives including Olivia Palermo, Gratitude Railroad, Misha Nonoo, Maison de Mode, Rūh, Happy Not Perfect, NYU’s New Standard Institute, Hidden Water, Mode Durable, Oceanic, and the Resolution Project.

8:00-9:00pm: Creating Resilient Cities

Emily Bauer is the Founder of Bau Land, a design firm working within landscape architecture, architecture, urban planning, and product design. Her work connects people and nature, creating opportunities for both to thrive and adapt over time. Emily has led the development of a resiliency plan for Lower Manhattan, served as AN Design Award juror, and taught at Columbia University GSAPP.

Eric Wilson is a Deputy Director with the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, where he manages climate adaptation programs in land use and buildings. Wilson oversees a team of architects, urban planners and policy experts working to identify fiscally responsible and socially equitable approaches to climate challenges facing New York City’s building stock and neighborhoods.

Jason Donofrio works directly with The Ocean Foundation’s Blue Resilience Initiative to engage external partners on the program, including work in Puerto Rico to restore Seagrass meadows and Mangrove forests. Partners in Donofrio’s portfolio include community and programmatic coalition partners, corporations, the Philanthropic community, and members of the media. 

Moderator: Illya Azaroff is an award winning Artist and Architect and Founder of +Lab for experimentation, which is a studio built on trans-disciplinary collaboration. A recognized expert in Resilient planning, design and implementation, Azaroff works with city and federal agencies on all aspects of resilience. He is a Professor at NYCCT (CUNY) and Technical Advisor to ASPR-Federal Government for National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF). 



This speaker forum is powered with renewable energy by Battery Tour.


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