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Climate Action Task Force

  • David Hales

    David Hales

    Chair of the Task Force

    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.

  • Emily Echevarria

    Emily Echevarria

    Director of Climate Action

    Emily Echevarria serves as the Director of Climate Action at the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

    She is a Florida native and an alumna of the University of North Florida. She is currently working towards a Master’s degree in Environmental Diplomacy at DePaul University and has completed field work in Arusha, Tanzania and Mossel Bay, South Africa. With a passion for conservation, Emily is dedicated to helping the planet recover from the effects of pollution and global warming. Her academic focus is on ocean and marine life conservation. 

    Emily represents the Parliament as a member of the Faith for Food Coalition, Faiths for Biodiversity, and the Steering Committee of UNEP’s Accredited Faith-Based Organizations. She joined the Parliament as Director of Climate Action in July 2022.

  • Kehkashan Basu

    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

    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

    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.

  • Imam Saffet Catovic

    Imam Saffet Catovic

    Imam Saffet Abid Catovic has his MBA and is a long-time US Muslim Community Organizer/Activist and Environmental Leader. He was a national organizer of Bosnia Task Force – USA a coalition of the major National and Regional Muslim Organizations advocating for an end to the Genocide in  Bosnia during the early 1990s.  From 1992-2001 Served in various Senior level capacities in the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina including Minister Counselor at the Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations  – NYC and Deputy Federation Contract Administrator at the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United States in DC. Currently Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action Task Force and serves on the Parliament’s, Board of Trustees; Member of the Statewide Clergy Council of Faith in New Jersey (part of the Faith in Action National Network), and Board member. GreenFaith Fellow and serves as their Senior Muslim advisor; Co-founder and Chair of the Green Muslims of New Jersey (GMNJ); a founding committee member of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Green Initiatives;  Consultant to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change (2015); a founding member of the Global Muslim Climate Network (GMCN);  Co-drafter of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) “Fatwa” Religious ruling on fossil fuel divestment; Member of the scholars Drafting team of “Al-Mizan-Covenant for the Earth” organized under the auspices of  UNEP – Faiths for Earth; Board member-Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)  Advisory group Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology; Imam and Muslim Chaplain at Drew University Madison, NJ where he also received his MA in Religion and Society, specializing in Religion and the Environment and is currently Doctorate of Ministry student. Head of ISNA’s Office for Interfaith, Community Alliances and Governmental Relations in Washington, DC.

  • Lucy M. Cummings

    Lucy Cummings (she/her) is the Director of Faith Sector Resilience at New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), a nonprofit, faith-based federation of over 60 diverse judicatories, disaster human services providers, and charitable organizations who work in partnership to provide disaster readiness, response, and recovery services to New York City. In this role, she helps NYC faith sector leaders who are serving under-resourced congregations and neighborhoods to strengthen community-based climate resiliency. Prior to NYDIS, she was Executive Director at Faith & the Common Good, Canada’s only national, interfaith environmental network. While there, she led a team that designed, funded, and implemented dozens of faith-based, collaborative carbon reduction and climate adaptation programs, including a faith building energy efficiency program for the United Church of Canada’s portfolio of 3000 buildings. Lucy taught global politics at the University of Hong Kong for more than 8 years. In addition to her Climate Action Task Force participation, she advises numerous climate NGOs and is a director at Kindred Works, a social purpose real estate development corporation transforming surplus faith properties into green, mixed-income housing. Lucy earned a BA in economics from the University of Virginia, a MA in religious ethics from Yale’s Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in global politics from Johns Hopkins University.

  • Mary Doak

    Dr. Mary Doak

    Mary Doak (Ph.D., The University of Chicago) is Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego, where she has taught since 2007. Her recent publications include A Prophetic Public Church: Witness to Hope Amid the Global Crises of the 21st Century (Liturgical Press, 2020), and Divine Harmony: Seeking Community in a Broken World (Paulist Press, 2017), along with other books and articles on public theology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. She had the honor of serving as president of the College Theology Society from 2019-2021, and as president of the American Theological Society (Midwest) from 2007-2008.

  • 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.

  • Manohar Singh Grewal

    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.

  • Sid Helbraun

    Rabbi Sidney Helbraun

    • For over two decades Rabbi Sidney Helbraun has provided his vision to Temple Beth-El, creating a community where opportunities for study, worship and action continue to grow. He is proud that TBE members participate in a wide range of activities and are active leaders in the Chicagoland Jewish community.

      Rabbi Helbraun is accessible and engaged in the life of his congregation. He is a caring and compassionate man, who reaches out in times of sickness and health, sorrow and joy. He is a gifted teacher and speaker, who finds fulfillment in bringing the values of Judaism to life, and an active leader, who takes on responsibilities within the Chicagoland Rabbinic community, as well as in Northbrook.

      Rabbi Helbraun’s love for Israel has played a central role in his rabbinate, exemplified by Beth-El’s involvement and investment in Israel, through trips, programs, classes, and support.

      Rabbi Helbraun was ordained from Hebrew Union College in 1990, and received his Doctor of Divinity in 2015. He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and currently serves as Vice President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. He is past co-chair of the Rabbinic Action Committee of the Jewish Federation of Chicago, past President of the Chicago Region of the CCAR, and served on the Board of Directors of the CCAR. He is a past President of the Northbrook Clergy Association and has served on the National Council of AIPAC. He is married to Rabbi Deborah Gardner Helbraun and has two children, Rebecca and Jonah.

  • Susan Hendershot

    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.

  • Laurel Kearns

    Dr. Lauren Kearns

    Dr. Laurel Kearns co-founded the Green Seminary Initiative, and is Professor of Ecology, Society and Religion at Drew Theological School in New Jersey, where she has taught religion, ecology and social justice since 1994. Her research is focused on religious involvement in ecological issues and movements, with a particular interest in environmental justice, climate change, and food. In addition to co-editing and contributing chapters to EcoSpirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth, and the Bloomsbury Handbook on Religion and Nature, she has contributed chapters to volumes such as Quakers, Creation Care, and Sustainability, The Oxford Handbook on Climate Change and Society, and Grassroots to Global: Broader Impacts of Civic Ecology. She has served on the board of GreenFaith and the Noyes Foundation. Her decades-long involvement in religious environmentalism has roots in the island where she was born, Sanibel, Florida, which recently bore the brunt of Hurricane Ian.

  • Bruce Knotts

    Bruce Knotts

    High impact career as director of the Unitarian Universalist Association Office at the United Nations which advocates for human rights, climate justice and demilitarization of the police. Bruce’s career included service in the US State Department with diplomatic assignments worldwide.

    Bruce Co-chairs the UN Non-Governmental Organizations Committee on Human Rights; chairs the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security; and serves on the steering committee of the NGO Working Group on the UN Security Council.

  • Mahrukh Motafram

    Mahrukh Motafram

    Mahrukh Motafram is a first generation immigrant from India who arrived in the US to pursue higher education. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1984 with a Master’s degree in Bio-Organic Chemistry. Further education included an Associate degree in Business and Marketing from the Waukesha County Technical College, Pewaukee, WI in 2002. She is currently pursuing a certification in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University, WA.

  • Kaleb Nyquist

    Kaleb Nyquist

  • Rev. John

    Dr. John Pawlikowski

  • Dr. Kusumita Pedersen

    Dr. Kusumita Pedersen

  • Dr. Myriam Renaud

    Dr. Myriam Renaud (PhD University of Chicago) is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Global Ethic Project at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. She also teaches bioethics at DePaul University and world religions at Union Institute & University. In 2017-2018, she led the Parliament’s effort to add to its Global Ethic document a moral directive calling for a commitment to a culture of sustainability and care for the Earth. Dr. Renaud has co-edited and contributed to two volumes on the Global Ethic document: God and the Moral Life (2018) and Multi-Religious Perspectives on a Global Ethic: The Search for a Common Morality (2020). Most recently, she published the monograph Constructing Moral Concepts of God in a Global Age (2022).

    After a long career as a successful businesswoman, Susan went to college and graduated from DePaul University at 51 years old. It was there her passion for working with at-risk young adults and restorative approaches to conflict was ignited. She started a non-profit, Curt’s Café, giving highly at-risk youth an opportunity to receive workforce and life skills support to move their lives forward. Learning about the massive injustices the youth faced on a day-to-day basis from food insecurity and inequity to homelessness, to lack of hope and love, and extensive contacts with the police and the prison system – the unjust that is hidden from much of the public – started her new passion to finding spiritual and religious support to expose and challenges of these injustices.

  • Andrew Schwartz

    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.

  • Ann Smith

    Ann Smith

    Ann Smith is Co-Founder and Convener of Green Tent Circle, Co-Convener of Millionth Circle and serves on the Women’s Task Force of PoWR. She is past Director of Women’s Ministries of the National Episcopal Church and Global Education Associates, and Co-Chair of National Council of Churches Justice for Women Working Group. Working as UNNGO ECOSOC observer for the Anglican Consultative Council, International Public Policy Institute and Earth Child Institute, she has attended 54 international events. She brings the voices of marginalized women and girls to the PoWR.

  • Rev. Dr. Scott Stearman

    Rev. Dr. Scott Stearman

    For 3 decades Scott Stearman has served as a pastor in the Christian (Baptist) tradition. His experience includes congregations in Athens, Greece and in Paris, France. Most recently he has been pastor in New York City where he represents the Baptist global body at the United Nations (supported by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist World Alliance). He is active in helping to lead NGO committees related to human rights and the freedom of religion and belief and has been active in civil societies advocacy at the High Level Political Forum around the UN’s Agenda 2030 (SDGs). Scott holds a Ph.D. in philosophy (Univ. of Oklahoma) and a Th.M. and M.Div (Princeton Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist, respectively).

  • Michael Terrien

    Michael Terrien is an Oblate of St. Benedict. He is an associate member of the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (CADEIO) and was responsible for coordinating its partnership with the 2015 Parliament. He was project director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. He holds a certificate in Executive Education from Harvard and was president of The Geneva Group and also the director of the Center for Organization Effectiveness of George Williams College. He also co-founded Play for Peace and served as a board member of the Association for Experiential Education.

  • Rev. Dr. Michael Reid Trice

    Rev. Dr. Michael Reid Trice is Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and Theological Ethics and the Director of the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement at Seattle University. The Center is committed to convening substantial discourses and providing educational opportunities with partners from local to international venues.

    Dr. Trice is also the founder of Religica, a popular virtual platform that highlights religious traditions, spiritual pathways and indigenous wisdom as virtuous to public life.

    Trice studied at Loyola Jesuit University, Duke University, the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, and Ludwig Maximillian Universitaet in Munich, Germany. He served as Executive Associate for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and on the Board of Directors for Church World Service; he currently serves on the Board of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

    Trice is an Associate Editor for the Journal in Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, served as a liaison to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and presents in local, national and international venues.

  • Mary Evelyn Tucker

    Mary Evelyn Tucker

    Mary Evelyn Tucker teaches at Yale University at the School of the Environment and the Divinity School. She is co-director with John Grim of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. With Grim she organized 10 conferences on World Religions and Ecology at Harvard. They were series editors for the 10 resulting volumes from Harvard. She co-edited Confucianism and Ecology, Buddhism and Ecology, and Hinduism and Ecology.

    She has authored with Grim, Ecology and Religion (Island Press, 2014). They co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology (2017) with Willis Jenkins. They are editors for the series on Ecology and Justice from Orbis Books. They have created six online courses in Religion and Ecology: Restoring the Earth Community. Tucker and Grim also edited Thomas Berry’s books, including Selected Writings (Orbis 2014). They published Thomas Berry: A Biography (Columbia University Press, 2019) with Andrew Angyal. With Brian Thomas Swimme, Tucker and Grim created a multi-media project Journey of the Universe that includes a book (Yale, 2011), an Emmy Award winning film, a series of podcast Conversations, and free online courses from Yale/Coursera This project was inspired by the evolutionary ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. She served as vice president of the American Teilhard Association from 1978-2020.

    Tucker was a member of the Earth Charter Drafting committee and the International Earth Charter Council. She won the Inspiring Yale Teaching Award in 2015 and has been awarded 5 honorary degrees. With John Grim, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.

  • James Van Camp

    James Van Camp

    James Van Camp continues his long career as a innovator in the sciences associated with the treatment of water. As a result he has acquired a broad understanding of the successes and the failings of efforts to change behaviors and practices in response to the increasing reality that the Earth’s climate has and is changing as a result of man’s activities Combining science and business skills with sales and marketing experience, James continues to explore new water technologies that have the potential to not only reduce damage to the climate, but are economical enough to be deployed in institutions and facilities of for-profit or NFP organizations. With wife Grayson he relocated from New Jersey to Illinois in 1982 where she then felt called to ministry. While serving McCormick Seminary and various congregations both Rev. Van Camp and James have represented the Presbytery of Chicago on Ecumenism Metro Chicago since its founding in 1999. Most recently EMC has enabled a climate initiative, Chicagoland Christians United for the Care of Creation [4C].

  • Jeffery Wolfe

    Jeffery Wolfe

    Jeff is a serial entrepreneur and was instrumental in creating the US solar industry. As CEO of Veloce Energy, he is working to accelerate EV Charging infrastructure and transform the utility grid edge. Prior to Veloce, Jeff was President, Americas, for Tritium, a leading global manufacturer of electric vehicle chargers. A New England native, Jeff came to Houston from Vermont in 2015 to create the strategy department at Just Energy, before moving to Shell New Energies. At Shell he was involved in venture investing, mergers and acquisitions, and innovative pilot projects. In 1998, Jeff and his wife Dori Wolfe, co-founded groSolar. Under Jeff’s leadership the company grew into the first nationwide US residential solar energy company, also building large scale projects. When they started, solar cost $18/watt. Prior to groSolar, Jeff was a Partner in a national engineering firm, providing services for over $1 Billion of construction. Jeff served over a dozen years on the Board of the national Solar Energy Industry Association and has served on the Union of Concerned Scientists National Advisory Board since 2005. He has lobbied in Congress and state legislatures, with some success. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and is a Registered Professional Engineer. He and his wife Dori live in Houston. Jeff maintains that naiveté is his best asset, since if you don’t know something is impossible, you’re sometimes able to do it.