Climate Action Task Force

Kehkashan Basu

Iconic youth leader, global influencer, environmentalist, champion of children’s rights, a Forbes 30 Under 30, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace and sustainability campaigner and a passionate advocate of women’s rights, Kehkashan Basu is a trail blazer who has been challenging the status quo and breaking social strictures and taboos which impede the progress and rights of future generations. 

Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize for her work on children's rights and the environment, and the first-ever Voices Youth Gorbachev-Shultz Legacy Award for her work on nuclear disarmament, Kehkashan is a tireless advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She is a United Nations Human Rights Champion, National Geographic Young Explorer and the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the UN Environment Program’s Major Group for Children & Youth. She was named the youngest recipient of Canada's Top25 Women of Influence, one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women and is the Council Lead of the Toronto-St. Paul's Constituency Youth Council. 

Kehkashan is the Founder President of the social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, which provides young people in 16 countries a networking platform to engage in the sustainable development process and take actions to mitigate climate change. Her internationally acclaimed work on sustainability has resulted in her being named one of the Top 100 SDG Leaders in the world and one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She is the youngest member of Canada’s Women in Renewable Energy forum and the youngest Councillor of World Future Council. 

Kehkashan is a 2020 L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Honouree, and the recipient of the 2019 Innovator of the Year Award for Sustainability Education, the John Muir Conservation Award for Habitat Restoration, the Energy Globe Award, the Turner Prize for Social Change and the Women Super Achiever Award. A powerful voice for future generations, she has spoken at over 200 United Nations and other global fora across 25 countries.

Debra Boudreaux

Debra Boudreaux is a senior volunteer with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. She has more than 32 years of experience working on major projects related to charity, medical care, education, and humanitarian aid. Debra was previously the CEO of Tzu Chi Medical Foundation and several community advisory councils for SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and COVID-19. Debra engages with Social Work and Sustainability of Global Environmental Changes among SDG grass roots projects. She leads Buddhist and Catholic interfaith dialogues and serves as a member of the UN Multi-Faith Advisory Council. To this day, Debra has patterned her daily life on the teachings of Dharma Master Cheng Yen: “Gratitude, Respect and Love.” She carries this spirit into communities in need and all over the world.

Tatiana Brailovskaya

Tatiana Brailovskaya works as a science journalist, grant writer, and editor. The focus of her professional writing is on biodiversity and conservation biology, marine wilderness protection, and sustainable natural resources management. She holds an M.S. in natural resources policy and an M.A. in Russian language and literature from The University of Michigan. She has published in the peer-reviewed journal Conservation Biology and has written extensively for state and federal environmental agencies and numerous environmental organizations. She served as Development Director at The University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, Publications Editor at Bowdoin College, Outreach Biologist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Director of Communications at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, and Strategic Communications Consultant for the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. She is Editor of the Climate Forum at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and was the executive editor of Faith for Earth—A Call for Action, published in October 2020 through a partnership between the Parliament and the United Nations Environment Programme. She lives in Newcastle, Maine, on the Damariscotta estuary.

 

Karenna Gore

Karenna Gore is the founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) at Union Theological Seminary. The Center for Earth Ethics bridges the worlds of religion, academia, policy and culture to discern and pursue the changes that are necessary to stop ecological destruction and create a society that values the long-term health of the whole. She is also an ex officio member of the faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Ms. Gore’s previous experience includes serving as director of Union Forum at Union Theological Seminary, legal work at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and in the legal center of Sanctuary for Families, and serving as director of Community Affairs for the Association to Benefit Children (ABC) and Riverkeeper. She has also worked as a writer and is the author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America. Ms. Gore is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School and Union Theological Seminary. She lives in New York City with her three children.

Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal

Manohar Singh Grewal was born in 1935 In India and immigrated to the United States in 1963. He obtained his ScD in material science from MIT and then worked for the Gillette Corporation from 1971 until 1998. He has several scientific publications and US patents to his credit.

At Gillette Corporation Dr. Grewal led a team that was able to eliminate the corporation’s use of TCE, a known carcinogen, from its worldwide operations. This patented process removed over half a million tons of TCE from use annually

Dr. Grewal is the founder, former president, and former chairperson of the New England Sikh Study Circle, Inc., of Boston. He was president of the World Sikh Organization, chairperson of World Sikh Council from 2006 and 2011, and a member of the Regional Council of WSC-AR from 2006 – 2008 and 2010 -2012.

In his retirement, Dr. Grewal lives with his wife in Thetford, VT. There he is active on the Thetford Senior and Affordable Housing Committee and Thetford Energy Committee where he works collaboratively with regional towns to promote clean energy projects.

Currently serving on the board of Trustees of the Parliament of World’s Religions and served as Chairperson of the Langar committee at 2015 Parliament of the World’s religions at Salt lake city.

David Hales

David Hales served as President of the College of the Atlantic, Chair and President of Second Nature, the managing organization of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and as Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He led environmental policy and sustainability programs for the US Agency for International Development. As a diplomat, he has represented the USA in numerous negotiations on climate change, urban affairs and policy, and biodiversity. He served in the Carter administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior. He was the first American to serve as Chair of the World Heritage Convention.

Rev. Susan Hendershot

Rev. Susan Hendershot has served as president of Interfaith Power & Light since 2018. She was raised in a blue-collar family outside of Cleveland, Ohio, before attending Bethany College in West Virginia where she graduated with honors with a B.A. in Religious Studies. Rev. Hendershot went on to graduate school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she received her Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology. After graduate school, she moved to Iowa, where she was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and served as a pastor in local congregations, focusing on social justice. Rev. Hendershot also led faith-based nonprofit organizations and served as the first Heartland Field Organizer for the ONE Campaign on global poverty. Just prior to her current role, she served as the Executive Director at Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, one of the state affiliates in the Interfaith Power & Light network. Currently, Rev. Hendershot serves as co-chair of the Executive Committee for the RE-AMP Steering Committee, a network of over 140 climate, energy, and environmental organizations throughout the Midwest. Rev. Hendershot believes that climate change is a moral issue, disproportionately impacting those who are most vulnerable in our world. She gets her motivation and inspiration from her two sons.

Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski

Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski has studied the Nazi Holocaust extensively. His scholarly interests include the theological and ethical aspects of the Christian-Jewish relationship and public ethics. A leading figure in the Christian-Jewish dialogue, he is president of the International Council of Christians and Jews and author of Christ in the Light of the Christian Jewish Dialogue and co-editor of Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust.

Dr. Kusumita Pedersen

Kusumita P. Pedersen is Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at St. Francis College and Chair of the Interfaith Center of New York. She is also a member of the Climate Action Task Force (CATF) of the Parliament of the World's Religions and of the Climate Working Group of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations. She is co-author of Global Ethics in Practice: Historical Backgrounds, Current Issues and Future Prospects (Edinburgh University Press, 2016) and co-editor of Faith for Earth: A Call to Action (UN Environment Programme and Parliament of the World’s Religions, 2020). Kusumita has compiled and edited librettos for two works by Philip Glass: Symphony No. 5: Bardo, Requiem and Nirmānakāya (1999) and The Passion of Ramakrishna (2006). She has been a student of Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007) since 1971 and her book Love and Transformation: The Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy is forthcoming from Lexington Books.

Andrew Schwartz

Andrew Schwartz is the Director of Sustainability and Global Affairs at the Center for Earth Ethics. He has nearly a decade of experience working with community leaders and officials across the world to create multilateral coalitions and support movements to further environmental and climate justice. He lives in Portland, OR with his wife and daughter

 

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