Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago
Presents a Bioneers Network Event
November 1-3, 2013 * Roosevelt University
430 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

What is Bioneers?
"... The leading edge of the world we want to create".  
-David Orr, National Bioneers and Oberlin Project

Listen to keynote David Orr's November 1, 2013 interview with Jerome McDonnell, host of WBEZ's Worldview. Learn about the Bioneers movement and the Oberlin Project, a public / private partnership, designed to make the City of Oberlin climate positive by 2040.


Thank You, Sponsors!
Click on images below and here for more.


Radio Interviews
Listen to Mike Nowak's recent interviews with Sandra Steingraber and Albert Bates.

Sandra Steingraber and the Fight to Ban Fracking in Illinois

Who Participated This Year? Take A Look!
Scroll over each image for name and organization. Then click for links to workshops. Watch for updates ...

kathy-kelly Amy Coffman Phillips, The B-Collaborative Randy Neufeld Mike Nowak, The Mike Nowak ShowShore, Debra Rohlfing, Colin Kelleher, Dennis Kelly MitchellRevBilly(3)_-_Copy D Savitri Davis, Naomi Farr, DougHickey, Michelle 1Zelechowski, Elise  Weigert, Karen King, WesArbaugh, Steve Wasserman, Kim Klehm, Nance Nathan Kipnis Boyd, Martha Johnson, Mike Clair, Joseph Wenscott Katy Hogan Blake Davis Hatley, Earl Kabbes, KarenPonce, Jamie Albrecht, Lisa Edel, John Tabitha Tripp Patchett, Jim Williams, Orrin Duffy, Kathleen Don WashingtonHoel, Robert Viands, Angie Dolan, Brian Trendler, Jodi Michaud, Debra Stainsby, Macdonald Rau, Bill Carroll, Emily Eng, Monica Oppenheimer, Lara William Buccholtz, Playing from Spirit Repkin, Mike Leki, Pete Walker, Naomi Southorn, Debbie Richart, Lan
Becka, Jami Evans, Terry Joel Freehling Swenie, Rachel Barkley, Traci Faith, William Ho, Kelvn Kass, AmandaKelsang, Dorje Marre, Elena Medearis, Lisa

Online Database by Caspio

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database.



Friday, 8:15 am - OPENING and Welcome

FRIDAY, November 1, 2013
8:15 am to 3:30 am
Congress Lounge


Bill Buchholtz
Playing from Spirit

Bill educates people about the history, spiritual significance, culture, and traditions of the Native flute and is widely known and respected in the inter-faith community in Chicago, including the United Methodist Church’s Native American Ministry of Presence and the Anawim Center.

Bill will provide musical interludes throughout the weekend, helping both center and guide us towards holistic, restorative action.

David Orr

FRIDAY, November 1, 2013
8:30 am to 9:30 am
Congress Lounge

Resilience in a Black Swan World
Increasingly, we live in a black swan world, where events that we never imagined could happen are emerging with global impact. From the collapse of financial markets and a changing climate to threats to public safety and human health, these once thought unlikely events have the potential to upend the fragile and vulnerable systems that underpin our society.

In this talk, Professor Orr will use case studies such as the Oberlin Project to explore how we can design communities, regions and even nations to improve their resiliency in the face of “Black Swan” events.

David W. Orr
Professor of Environmental Studies and Senior Adviser to the President
Oberlin College / The Oberlin Project

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College and a James Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont. He is the recipient of six honorary degrees and other awards including The Millennium Leadership Award from Global Green, the Bioneers Award, the National Wildlife Federation Leadership Award, a Lyndhurst Prize acknowledging “persons of exceptional moral character, vision, and energy.” He serves on the board of Bioneers.

His career as a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design, and climate change.In 1987 he organized studies of energy, water, and materials use on several college campuses that helped to launch the green campus movement. In 1989 Orr organized the first ever conference on the effects of impending climate change on the banking industry.

In 1996 he organized the effort to design the first substantially green building on a U.S. college campus. The Lewis Center purifies all of its wastewater and is the first college building in the U.S. powered entirely by sunlight. But most important it became a laboratory in sustainability that is training some of the nation’s brightest and most dedicated students for careers in solving environmental problems.

In an influential article in the Chronicle of Higher Education 2000 Orr proposed the goal of carbon neutrality for colleges and universities and subsequently organized and funded an effort to define a carbon neutral plan for his own campus at Oberlin. Seven years later hundreds of colleges and universities, including Oberlin, have made that pledge.

Recent projects include a two year $2.2 million collaborative project to define a 100 days climate action plan for the Obama administration ( ), and a project with prominent legal scholars across the U.S. to define the legal rights of posterity in cases where the actions of the present generation might deprive posterity of “life, liberty, and property.” He is also active in efforts to stop mountaintop removal in Appalachia and develop a new economy based on ecological restoration and wind energy. He is the author of Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford University Press, 2009).


FRIDAY, November 1, 2013
10:00am to 12:30pm

Session Description
Most of our buildings were built at a time when fossil fuels were plentiful and cheap.  But today’s challenges of climate change and resource limits mandate a new way of thinking and acting. Can we create dwellings that generate their own energy, process their own waste, grow their own food and, at the same time, are affordable? If so, what are the barriers that keep us from achieving these goals, and how might we overcome them?

NOTE: Sessions offered on Friday are participatory, and will focus on themes of food, water, waste, shelter, energy and community resilience.  Each includes some of Chicago’s finest practitioners, as well as one of our keynotes. These moderated 2 1/2 hour workshops are being designed to be fun, fast-paced, and end up with an action plan.

Dolan, Brian
Brian Dolan, LEED AP BD+C
Forum StudioBrian serves as Designer at Forum Studio, where he is an integral part of multidisciplinary project teams. His experience includes aviation, commercial, industrial, institutional, hospitality, and sustainability projects. Brian’s ability to listen, learn and envision creative solutions, coupled with his understanding of all facets and scales of sustainable design, ensures maximum building performance and reduced resource consumption.A graduate of University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, Brian coordinates regional efforts of the Living Building Challenge as a co-facilitator.

Clair, Joseph
Joseph F. Clair, P.E
Advocate, Activist, Advisor
Joseph Clair, P.E.Joseph F. Clair, P.E. leads the Center for Ecology in Economic Development, working to make neighborhoods more resilient, and is a founding partner of Prairie Lab, a professional development education experience.Previously, he served as Director of Campus Energy and Sustainability for IIT and as Managing Engineer for the Chicago Public Schools, overseeing new building design and efficiency of existing buildings. Joseph has also served as 2009 Chapter Chair and founding board member of USGBC-Illinois.

Ponce, Jamie
Jamie Ponce
Chicago City Director
C40 Cities Climate Leadership GroupAs Chicago City Director for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Jamie works with the Office of Mayor Emanuel to drive environmental and economic benefits in the City of Chicago and across a network of global megacities. He currently focuses on energy efficiency in the built environment, sustainable infrastructure finance, and market-driven resource stewardship.Jamie holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA from Indiana University.

Joel Freehling
Joel Freehling
Senior Energy Finance Consultant
Shaw Environmental and InfrastructureJoel Freehling is responsible for developing and implementing an energy finance and sustainability at Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure. In this capacity, he manages and directs consulting projects related to energy finance, sustainable development, and hard to reach customers.Previously, Joel served President of SBK New Markets Fund, Inc., Senior Vice President, Energy Finance and Manager, Triple Bottom Line Innovations at ShoreBank.

Rohlfing, Colin
Colin Rolfhing
Sustainable Design Leader
HOKColin is a Sustainable Director for HOK as well as the Co-facilitator for Biomimicry Chicago. For the past 9 years, he worked with local, regional and firm-wide teams to facilitate sustainable design integration on projects.
Coffman-Phillips, Amy
Amy Coffman Phillips, Session Moderator
B-CollaborativeAmy Coffman Phillips is the founder of the B-Collaborative and co-founder of Biomimicry Chicago. As a mother, biomimic, architect, MBA, and facilitator, Amy serves as one of nature’s ambassadors to the built environment. She bridges her love of nature and the creative process to develop and facilitate engaging (nature-based) projects.Amy is skilled at communicating complex ideas, and can hold a strategic vision of a holistic system while managing the implementation process of multi-dimensional projects.


FRIDAY, November 1, 2013
10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Session Description
We are the only species that generates waste as a byproduct that either can’t be – or just isn’t- turned into a resource.  We are dumping industrial wastes into our waterways; incinerating our waste streams, sending toxic pollution into our air; and burying it in landfills located near communities of color.  We are filling in wetlands where pollution of groundwater is a concern. What actions can we take to reduce our waste streams, and protect our communities and environment, implementing closed loop systems that turn our waste streams into resources?

NOTE: Sessions offered on Friday are participatory, and will focus on themes of food, water, waste, shelter, energy and community resilience.  Each includes some of Chicago’s finest practitioners, as well as one of our keynotes. These moderated 2 1/2 hour workshops are being designed to be fun, fast-paced, and end up with an action plan.

Edel, John
John Edel
Executive Director
Plant Chicago

John Edel is both an eco and social entrepreneur. His most recent endeavor, The Plant, combines adaptive industrial reuse and aquaponics to create the nation’s first vertical farm. Located in a former meatpacking facility in Chicago’s historic Stockyards, The Plant will be powered entirely by the waste of neighboring businesses.John also is the owner and developer of the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center, a green business incubator with a photo of Edel’s daughter Zoe rendered in 9,600 sedum plants, each of which is a pixel in her image, on its roof. In previous careers, Edel has taught computer graphics, designed sets for broadcast television, art directed video games and worked as a chef on private railroad cars.

Zelechowski, Elise
Elise Zelechowski
Founder and Executive Director
Rebuilding Exchange

Elise is founder and executive director of Rebuilding Exchange, a social enterprise with a mission to transform the waste paradigm; turning would-be liabilities into assets, creating new markets and forging a sustainable regional economy.

Klehm, Nance
Nancy Klehm
Social Ecologies

For over two decades she has designed, taught and built ecological landscapes and regenerative soil and water systems both in the U.S. and abroad. She is the founder of Social Ecologies, which seeks to encourage holistic, systematic thinking through varying levels and degrees of project participation by existing communities. She is respected internationally for her work on land politics, revisioning waste systems and soil fertility.

John Michael Greer
John Michael Greer
Author, Visionary, Blogger
Archdruid Report

John Michael Greer is a scholar of ecological history and an internationally renowned Peak Oil theorist whose blog, “The Archdruid Report,” has become one of the most widely cited online resources dealing with the future of industrial society.He is the author of more than 30 books including The Wealth of Nature and The Long Descent. As well as being a certified Master Conserver and devoted organic gardener, Greer continues to practice a myriad of skills honed during the appropriate tech movement of the 1970s. He has been active in the contemporary nature spirituality movement for more than 25 years.

Repkin, Mike
Michael Repkin
Executive Director
Urban Habitat Chicago

Michael is an experienced ecological designer specializing in biological resource recovery and sustainable food production. Previous to his work with Urban Habitat Chicago, he held laboratory positions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.He is President of Repkin Biosystems, Inc., “dedicated to enabling customers with the tools that are needed to provide human life support utilizing biological processes, and methods that are compatible with living systems”.

Walker, Naomi
Naomi Walker, Moderator
National Engagement Coordinator
ITVS Community Cinema

Naomi Walker has been with ITVS since 2006 as coordinator of the Community Cinema program at the Chicago Cultural Center.She formerly served as outreach director for Cinema/Chicago, expanding their education program to include a monthly film screening series for Chicago public high schools. She has created the Teachers Institute for Media Studies; served as director of the Future Filmmakers Festival, which showcased the work of filmmakers under 20; and has taught at Columbia College’s Doc Center on Outreach and Engagement Strategies for the Documentary.


Friday, November 1, 2013
10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Session Description
Coal, oil, and gas predominated the 20th century as sources of fuel, and allowed human productivity to increase exponentially. Yet these same resources are now polluting the atmosphere and destroying our planet, on which we depend for human survival. The transition away from fossil fuels is not one of convenience, but one of moral and ecological necessity. What are the barriers to moving towards a reliance on clean, safe, renewable energy sources?  What steps should we take to substantially reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, before it is too late?

NOTE: Sessions offered on Friday are participatory, and will focus on themes of food, water, waste, shelter, energy and community resilience.  Each includes some of Chicago’s finest practitioners, as well as one of our keynotes. These moderated 2 1/2 hour workshops are being designed to be fun, fast-paced, and end up with an action plan.

Nathan Kipnis
Nathan Kipnis, AIA, LEED BD+C
Founder and Principal
Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Nathan Kipnis, AIA, is the principal of Kipnis Architecture + Planning, recognized as one of Chicago’s premier sustainable architectural practices. Mr. Kipnis lectures extensively on topics related to green architectural design, historically based climatic architectural design, and renewable energy.As a board member of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, Mr. Kipnis was instrumental in moving conceptualizing the idea of an offshore wind park in Lake Michigan adjacent to Evanston.

Johnson, Mike
Mike Johnson
Senior Analyst

Mike brings ten years of energy-related experience and formal environmental management training to his role at Greenpeace, including energy reliability and renewable energy planning as well as greenhouse gas inventory and sustainability plan development for state and local governments.Mike holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and Policy from IIIEE at Lund University in Sweden and an BA in Political Science from Augustana College. He previously served as Executive Director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association.

Albert Bates
Albert Bates
Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology

Albert is author of The Biochar Solution, The Post Petroleum Survival Guide, and ten more books on energy, environment and history. He is the cofounder of Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology and the Global Ecovillage Network.Current projects include a peace-through-permaculture project in Palestine and the Sail Transport Network, moving fair trade goods along coastal routes. In 1980 Albert shared the Right Livelihood Award (considered an “Alternative Nobel”) for work in preserving indigenous culture. When not tinkering with pyrolizing cookstoves, he teaches permaculture and climate farming at The Farm in Summertown, Tennesse

Wasserman, Kim
Kim Wasserman
2013 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner

Little Village Environmental Justice OrganizationKim Wasserman won the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize for her work in closing Chicago’s two aging coal plants as mom and coordinator of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.Wasserman worked with neighborhood organizations to form a strategic alliance with faith, health, labor, and environmental groups. After a long stall in Chicago politics, the communities’ efforts to shut down the plants gained new momentum in 2010 with the creation of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition and then in 2012 after the election of a new mayor and a new class of aldermen on the City Council. Both plants were closed in the fall of 2012, ahead of schedule.

Albrecht, Lisa
Lisa Albrecht
Renewable Energy Specialist
Solar Service

Lisa is a Renewable Energy Specialist for Solar Service, a local solar installer with over 2,000 PV and thermal systems. She is responsible for residential and commercial sales throughout Chicago.Lisa is on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) and chairs the Policy Committee, aimed at increasing solar statewide through public policy initiatives.

She can be found Sunday Mornings on The Mike Nowak Show, an environmental and gardening radio program (

Medearis, Lisa
Lisa Medearis
Clean Energy Advocate
Illinois Chapter, Sierra Club

Lisa serves as a Clean Energy Advocate for the Illinois Sierra Club. Her work includes advocacy for renewable energy and energy efficiency at the state and local levels. Prior to the Sierra Club, Lisa worked as a policy analyst at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Her expertise includes financial energy markets and climate policy.Lisa earned a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Katy Hogan
Katy Hogan, Moderator
Political Activist and Co-Host
Live from the Heartland

Katy Hogan is a political activist, host of WLUW’s Live from the Heartland, and former co-owner of Heartland Cafe in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. The cafe first opened its doors in 1976 and, over the ensuing years, became a community center in practice, offering people to come together to share political views, gathering forces against the status quo for positive change.Katy and cofounder Michael James continue to host the Live from the Heartland radio show, keeping the spirit and richness of this neighborhood institution front and center with their weekly broadcasts that showcase Chicago’s change makers.

Friday, 2:00 pm - FOOD (Workshop / Peer to Peer)

FRIDAY, November 1, 2013
2:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Session Description
Food nourishes and sustains us. It connects the urban to the rural, both locally and globally. Yet challenges mount: soil health, fuel & fertilizer availability, pollution, a growing population (eating more meat), inter-connected global markets, climate change, equity/food security and food safety. How will the Chicago region feed itself? What efforts are under way and what steps are necessary to create a food system in nature’s image, accessible to all? What are the obstacles to broadening and accelerating the Food Movement?

NOTE: Sessions offered on Friday are participatory, and will focus on themes of food, water, waste, shelter, energy and community resilience.  Each includes some of Chicago’s finest practitioners, as well as one of our keynotes. These moderated 2 1/2 hour workshops are being designed to be fun, fast-paced, and end up with an action plan.

King, Wes
Wes King 
Interim Executive Director
Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Wes King, Interim Executive Director, Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA): Wes joined ISA in 2009 as Policy Coordinator and later as Policy Director, in January of 2013 he started as Interim Executive Director. Wes’ work focuses on developing and monitoring sustainable agriculture and local food related legislation and policy in Springfield and at the Federal Level.

Nationally, Wes serves as the co-chair for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Marketing, Food Systems, and Rural Development Committee.

Blake Davis
Blake Davis 
Adjunct Professor of Sustainability and Urban Agriculture
School of Applied Technology, Illinois Institute of Technology

Davis teaches about sustainability and facilitates undergraduate research projects at IIT. His students developed the aquaponics facility at The Plant.

Hickey, Michelle 1
Michelle Hickey
Vice-President and Co-Founder
The Resiliency Institute

Michelle Hickey is the co-founder of The Resiliency Institute, an educational non-profit transforming the suburbs through permaculture design. She discovered permaculture about eight years ago and is thrilled to pursue it professionally after receiving her PDC in January 2013.

Michelle was formerly the Program Director for Illinois Solar Energy Association, Project Manager for Seven Generations Ahead, Assistant Program Manager for the award winning City of Naperville Renewable Energy Program, and owner of Bliss Essentials.

Williams, Orrin
Orrin Williams 
Center for Urban Transformation

Orrin is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Urban Transformation (CUT), a nonprofit organization informed by the principles of environmental justice, economic justice, social justice, and human rights, which aims to mitigate climate change and create healthier local food systems on the South Side of Chicago.

For CUT, achieving these goals involves advocating for a living wage for food service employees and increasing South Side residents’ access to healthy food by repurposing underutilized urban spaces for farmland.

Hauk, Gunther
Gunther Hauk 
Executive Director
Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary

Gunther Hauk has been a teacher, lecturer, biodynamic gardener and beekeeper for nearly 40 years. He co-founded the Pfeiffer Center in Chestnut Ridge, NY in 1996, where he developed a successful biodynamic part-time training and taught at Sunbridge College. Together with his wife Vivian he co-founded Spikenard Farm, Inc. in 2006, a non-profit organization with a honeybee sanctuary at its heart.

Over these decades, he has given many workshops on biodynamic agriculture and sustainable/biodynamic beekeeping methods throughout the United States. In his book “Toward Saving the Honeybee” (2002) he calls for a radical change from current approaches to beekeeping. The Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary is located in Floyd, VA.

Eng, Monica
Monica Eng, Moderator 
WBEZ Chicago Public Media

Monica Eng is a producer at WBEZ Chicago Public Media focusing on food, health and consumer issues. Before joining WBEZ she worked for 17 years as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune covering ethnic culture, entertainment, food and food policy.

Eng is a Chicago native whose family arrived in the city in the 1920s to start a Chinese restaurant empire that ran its course in the late 80s.


, November 1, 2013
2:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Session Description
A changing climate has taxed Chicago’s infrastructure with record floods. During increasingly more frequent record rains, the locks and sluice gates are opened, allowing millions of gallons of raw and partially treated waste to flow into Lake Michigan, the region’s water supply for 7 million people. Meanwhile, toxic wastes are dumped into Lake Michigan each day, and budget crises threaten the privatization of our most precious commodity.  What actions can be taken to ensure that all people have access to affordable, clean water to meet their basic needs, and governments are held accountable by their residents to manage essential resources sustainably?

NOTE: Sessions offered on Friday are participatory, and will focus on themes of food, water, waste, shelter, energy and community resilience.  Each includes some of Chicago’s finest practitioners, as well as one of our keynotes. These moderated 2 1/2 hour workshops are being designed to be fun, fast-paced, and end up with an action plan.

 Shore, Debra
Debra Shore 
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Debra Shore was elected to the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago in 2006 and re-elected for a second term in 2012. Debra was founding editor of Chicago WILDERNESS Magazine and helped found Friends of the Forest Preserves. She is currently board chair of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, First Vice-President of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership, and serves on the boards of Congregation Sukkat Shalom and the Great Lakes Protection Fund.

Sandra Steingraber 
Author and Ecologist 
Ecologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority on the environment links to cancer and human health.

Steingraber’s highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment presents cancer as a human rights issue. Originally published in 1997, it was the first to bring together data on toxic releases with data from U.S. cancer registries and won praise from international media including The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, The Lancet, and The London Times.

Patchett, Jim
James Patchett 
Founder and President
Conservation Design Forum

James Patchett, founder and president of Conservation Design Forum, is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leaders in the promotion of sustainable land planning and design. Jim applies his training and experience as a landscape architect, environmental planner, hydrologist, and restoration ecologist in the design and development of natural resource-based solutions that integrate state-of-the-art green building and site infrastructure measures to restore historical ecosystem functions in both built and natural environments.

As an Iowa State University alumnus Jim is the recipient of the 2013 Christian Petersen Design Award presented by the ISU College of Design.

Carroll, Emily
Emily Carroll 
Midwest Regional Director
Food and Water Watch

Emily Carroll is the Midwest Region Director at Food & Water Watch. She works to organize consumers in the Midwest to support commonsense policies that ensure a safe and sustainable food supply. Emily’s work is also focused on protecting Illinois’ water resources by fighting water privatization and hydraulic fracturing in the state.

Her background is in community and electoral organizing. Before joining Food & Water Watch, Emily completed the Green Corps program in environmental organizing and advocacy. In her spare time, Emily volunteers with the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition’s Associate Board where she serves as the Advocacy Chair. Emily graduated with honors from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Environmental Studies.

Kabbes, Karen
Karen C. Kabbes, P.E., D.WRE, CFM 
Kabbes Engineering, Inc.

Karen C. Kabbes is president of KEI, an award winning, watershed and waterway restoration, and sustainability planning and design, engineering firm located in Barrington, Illinois.

Her past positions include program responsibility for various state, county and regional surface water programs.

An Illinois registered professional engineer, Ms. Kabbes is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers and President-Elect of the 23,000 member Environmental and Water Resources Institute.

Mike Nowak
Mike Nowak 
The Mike Nowak Show

Mike Nowak has been sharing green and gardening wisdom in the Chicago area on radio for 15 years–first at WGN and now as host of “The Mike Nowak Show” on WCPT 820AM and 92.5, 92.7, and 99.9 FM. He is an award-winning columnist for Chicagoland Gardening Magazine. Mike co-founded the Midwest Ecological Landscape Alliance and served as president for four years. He is president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition, and an Illinois Master Gardener and Openlands TreeKeeper.


Friday, November 1, 2013
2:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Session Description
Community resilience is a measure of the sustained ability of a community to use available resources and to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations. What actions should be taken to help our communities adapt to global warming, peak oil and the confounding influence of global-scale resource depletion, pollution and continued economic upheavals?  What do we need to do to ensure excessive poverty and excessive wealth are outside the community norm, and people live with the grace-filled bounty of this planet rather than destroying it?

NOTE: Sessions offered on Friday are participatory, and will focus on themes of food, water, waste, shelter, energy and community resilience. Each includes some of Chicago’s finest practitioners, as well as one of our keynotes. These moderated 2 1/2 hour workshops are being designed to be fun, fast-paced, and end up with an action plan.

Davis, Naomi
Naomi Davis 
President and Founder
Blacks in Green

Naomi Davis is an urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers. She is author of the 8 Principles of Green-Village-BuildingTM and teaches at the University of Chicago Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture.

Martha Boyd
Martha Boyd
Program Director, Urban Initiative (Chicago)
Angelic Organics Learning Center

Martha apprenticed on a Biodynamic CSA near Ann Arbor in 1989.  Since then, she has practiced urban farming and community building in Minneapolis, Santa Cruz, Boston, Chicago, and Guatemala.  She holds a masters degree in land restoration, public health, and environmental justice from UW-Madison. She is passionate about grounding self-reliant communities in and around their ecological infrastructure.

Weigert, Karen
Karen Weigert 
Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Chicago

Karen Weigert serves as Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago. She was appointed in 2011. As Chief Sustainability Officer Karen works to guide the City’s sustainability strategy and implementation, bringing innovative, practical solutions throughout the work of the City.
Prior to her appointment Karen served as Senior Vice President of ShoreBank (later Urban Partnership Bank) where she built a national consumer group that generated deposits to support environmental sustainability and community development in low to moderate income urban neighborhoods. Before her work in community banking Karen was a strategy consultant at McKinsey where she served clients on topics including transportation, finance, energy and land use. Karen began her career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and later served as an appointee in the Clinton administration focused on global environmental issues and agriculture.

Karen is a producer and writer for the documentary film Carbon Nation which is focused on solutions to climate change. She is also a former board member of CNT, Foresight Design Initiative and Earth School Educational Foundation.
Karen graduated from the University of Notre Dame (Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Business School.

David W. Orr 
Professor of Environmental Studies and Senior Adviser to the President
Oberlin Collge

An award-winning scholar and leader in the sustainability movement, David is renowned for his pioneering work on environmental literacy and ecological design.

He is the creator of The Oberlin Project, a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners. The Project’s purpose to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.

Farr, Doug
Doug Farr, AIA, LEED AP 
President and CEO
Farr Associates

Doug Farr is the founding principal of the architecture and urban design firm Farr Associates.  Based in Chicago, the firm is widely regarded as one of the most sustainable practices in the country, recently certifying its seventh LEED Platinum building.

Doug was the founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Core Committee – the interdisciplinary group of professionals that created this first-ever rating system for sustainable land development.

Based on the firm’s pioneering sustainable design practice and insights gained from chairing LEED-ND, Doug authored the urban planning best-selling book “Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature” in 2008.

Washington, Don
Don Washington, Moderator 
Koan Enterprises

Don has served as a community and political/issue organizer, political and media strategist, campaign director, opposition researcher and field director. He was a stand-up/improvisational comedian and playwright before becoming an activist, advocate and change agent for social justice. Presently his practice includes research, investigative, training, political strategy and public policy/organizational development on issues of human rights, civil rights and labor rights. He is the Front Man for where you can Get Dangerously Informed.

Sandra Steingraber

KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Sandra Steingraber
FRIDAY, November 1, 2013
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Congress Lounge

The New Abolitionists of Illinois and their Fight Against Fracking
This talk will explore the manifold ecological and human health hazards posed by oil and gas extraction via hydraulic fracturing, which uses high volumes of water, sand and chemicals to shatter bedrock deep below the earth’s surface.

Along the way, Steingraber will describe the rise of a new grassroots abolitionist movement in Illinois – recently opened to this controversial practice by the passage of permissive legislation – and explain why she was thrown out of the Illinois statehouse last May.

Sandra Steingraber
Author and Ecologist

Ecologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized authority on the environment links to cancer and human health.

Steingraber’s highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment presents cancer as a human rights issue. Originally published in 1997, it was the first to bring together data on toxic releases with data from U.S. cancer registries and won praise from international media including The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, The Lancet, and The London Times.

Released as a second edition in 2010, Living Downstream has been adapted for film by The People’s Picture Company of Toronto. This eloquent and cinematic documentary follows Steingraber during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links.

Continuing the investigation begun in Living Downstream, Steingraber’s book, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, explores the intimate ecology of motherhood. Both a memoir of her own pregnancy and an investigation of fetal toxicology, Having Faith reveals the extent to which environmental hazards now threaten each stage of infant development. In the eyes of an ecologist, the mother’s body is the first environment for life. The Library Journal selected Having Faith as a best book of 2001, and it was featured in a PBS documentary by Bill Moyers.

Called “a poet with a knife” by Sojourner magazine, Steingraber has received many honors for her work as a science writer. She was named a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year and later received the Jenifer Altman Foundation’s first annual Altman Award for “the inspiring and poetic use of science to elucidate the causes of cancer.” The Sierra Club has heralded Steingraber as “the new Rachel Carson,” and Carson’s own alma mater, Chatham College, selected Steingraber to receive its biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award. In 2006, Steingraber received a Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund and, in 2009, the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.

An enthusiastic and sought-after public speaker, Steingraber has keynoted conferences on human health and the environment throughout the United States and Canada and has been invited to lecture at many universities, medical schools, and hospitals—including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and the Woods Hole Research Center. She is recognized for her ability to serve as a two-way translator between scientists and activists. She has testified in the European Parliament, before the President’s Cancer Panel, and has participated in briefings to Congress and before United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland. Interviews with Steingraber have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, on National Public Radio, “The Today Show,” and “Good Morning America.”

A columnist for Orion magazine, Sandra Steingraber is currently a scholar in residence in Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. She is married to the artist Jeff de Castro, and they live in a 1000-square-foot house with a push mower, a clothesline, a vegetable garden, and two beloved children.