Green Initiative Conference
Speaker bio: Gary Cuneen is the founder and executive director of Seven Generations Ahead. Seven Generations Ahead (SGA) is in its 17th year of promoting sustainable and healthy communities. SGA's name is borrowed from the Native American principle which states, "In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation." SGA supports local government, community and private sector leaders in making the changes they need to create healthy and sustainable communities, and is a catalyst for local solutions to global environmental issues. SGA's work covers energy efficiency and renewable energy; transportation; community development; waste reduction; water conservation; green business development; local, sustainable food; open space and ecosystem enhancement; and education.
Speaker bio: Anita joined Wespath in December 2008. As the Director of Sustainable Investment Strategies, she is responsible for strategic development and implementation of Wespath’s corporate engagement program. In this role she regularly communicates with corporate management about policies and practices related to environmental, social and governance issues.
Wespath Investment Management (Wespath) is a division of Wespath Benefits and Investments, a general agency of The United Methodist Church. Wespath provides investment solutions for the endowment and retirement plan portfolios of United Methodist-affiliated investors through a broadly diversified family of daily-priced funds.
Wespath’s investment process proactively incorporates the consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investments across asset classes and in the selection of external asset managers. Wespath's activities promoting sustainability include proxy voting, corporate and public policy engagement, and positive impact investing.
|Speaker bio: The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) was established in 2013 as a collaboration of regional partners to develop and implement a strategy that builds a healthier and more diverse urban forest that will provide the region improved environmental, economic, and social benefits- by 2050. To make a significant, measurable improvement to the regional forest and the lives of its inhabitants, CRTI is setting actionable goals for canopy cover, species and age class diversity, and management expertise. My role as coordinator of CRTI is to support the works groups is developing solutions to regional challenges and track the impacts and progress of our efforts.|
Discussant bio: Kyra Woods is a Chicago native working with the Sierra Club as an organizer with the Ready for 100 campaign in Chicago. Kyra's initial interest in environmental advocacy and international development grew from her involvement in the Model United Nations in high school and led her to earn her Environmental Engineering degree from Northwestern University. Upon graduation, Kyra began volunteering with the Sierra Club and in 2016 was invited to join the U.S. Peace Corps as a volunteer with the World Food Programme in Guinea, West Africa. After watching the 2016 presidential election from abroad, she was eager to return to the US and work to engage diverse, interdisciplinary, and multi-generational voices in discussions around environmental and public health.
Discussant Bio: Melanie L. Moore is an accomplished environmental consultant that helped shape the largest energy bill to be passed in the state of Illinois. Melanie has led projects with the Union of Concerned Scientists, Chicago Botanic Garden, Friends of the Parks, Environmental Design International, Peoples Gas and Cook County Clerk of Court’s Office. Her areas of expertise are sustainability, environmental science, climate change, LEED, urban planning, marketing and public policy.
Ms. Moore currently sits on the Advisory Council of the Environmentalists of Color and is the Director of Legislative affairs for BK Environmental Industries. Additionally, she holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from Hampton University and an M.S. in Environmental Science Policy from the University of Chicago.
A native Chicagoan, Melanie enjoys gardening, baking, cycling, yoga, whitewater rafting, hosting events and is a wine connoisseur. In addition to being a classically trained dancer, Melanie serves on the Auxiliary Board the Auditorium Theater and volunteers with Slow Roll Chicago.
Speaker bio: Aaron Durnbaugh, Loyola University Chicago Director of Sustainability, supports the students, faculty, and staff across the university in creating the most sustainable and transformative education experience possible. Working across the curriculum, culture, and campuses of Loyola, Durnbaugh builds innovation and efficiency into the University’s programs and student experience focusing on water protection, energy conservation, and mission-driven climate action. He currently serves on the Executive Council of the Chicago Wilderness Alliance, is on the Steering Committee of the Illinois Green Alliance, and is on the Advisory Committee for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).
Previously, he served as the Deputy Commissioner leading Chicago Department of Environment's Natural Resources and Water Quality Division (NRWQ). The Department of Environment was the lead agency developing and implementing the Chicago Climate Action Plan. NRWQ educated the public on climate change issues through the Chicago Center for Green Technology, Chicago Conservation Corps, and Greencorps Chicago. NRWQ created mitigation opportunities through open space protection in the Calumet region, green infrastructure financing, and various urban forestry projects. Most recently, Durnbaugh oversaw the City of Chicago’s climate adaptation strategy engaging stakeholders in built environment, public health, and the natural environment.
He holds a Master's Degree in Geography and Environmental Studies and is a LEED™ accredited professional.