On April 17, 2009, the Earth Institute Climate Change Adaptation Initiative showcased the work of student interns at the Adapting to Climate Change in the New York Metro Area Conference. The students shared their experiences of analyzing what kinds of impacts climate change could have on New York City, and discussed potential adaptation techniques and outcomes through presentations and posters. These internships are made possible by a grant from HSBC in the Community (USA) Inc. A panel discussion on the status of climate change adaptation in New York City allowed the audience to hear from some of the students’ supervisors.
Steve Cohen, Executive Director, Earth Institute
Director, Concentration in Environmental Policy Studies, School of International and Public Affairs
Director, MPA in Environmental Science and Policy, School of International and Public Affairs
Ellen Hartig, Project Manager, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Natural Resources Group, presenting for Kyra Appleby, MPA in Environmental Science and Policy, SIPA 2009, and Alessandra Gregg, BA in Art History, Barnard College 2009 – “Wetland and stream resources in NYC: monitoring, protection and management priorities in the face of land use and climate change”
View poster I View presentation
Caroline Ott, BA in Economics, Barnard College 2009 – “A comprehensive survey of state and federal legislation pertaining to GHG emissions reduction and climate change adaptation”
View poster I View presentation
Sarah Bartges, BA in Environmental Policy, Barnard College 2009 – “Measuring the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Agricultural Soils in the Hudson Valley”
Gabe Cowles, MPA in Environmental Science and Policy, SIPA 2009 – “New York City Panel on Climate Change & New York State Adaptation Strategies”
Emmanuelle Humblet, MPA in Environmental Science and Policy, SIPA 2009 – “New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force”
Joe Melara, MS in Urban Planning, GSAPP 2010 – “Coping with the risk of hurricane landfall in the NYC area”
Moderated by Steve Cohen
Rob co-founded Storm Water Infrastructure Matters (S.W.I.M.), a coalition comprised of over 50 organizations citywide that advocates for swimmable waterways throughout NYC through green, cost-effective solutions. S.W.I.M. was instrumental in New York City Council's passage of Local Law 5, which mandates the city to create a Sustainable Storm Water Management Plan. He also spearheaded S.W.I.M.’s successful effort to pass a green roof tax abatement in New York City. Rob also advocates, with a coalition led by the Center for Working Families, for the passage of state-wide legislation that would result in the retrofitting of one million homes in New York State, which would result in 30,000 green-collar jobs. Before joining SSBx, Rob majored in Urban Studies at Columbia University, where he worked for the Columbia Earth Institute to create a political and economic framework for implementing urban heat island mitigation strategies in New York City.
Adam Freed is the Deputy Director of Mayor Bloomberg’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, where he also serves as the Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation. In addition to helping oversee the office and implement the 127 initiatives contained in PlaNYC, the City’s comprehensive sustainability plan, Freed leads New York City's climate change adaptation efforts. In this capacity he is working to quantify the impacts of and the City's vulnerabilities to climate change and develop adaptation strategies to mitigate these risks. Freed chairs the City's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, which consists of city, state, and federal agencies and private sector companies that are developing coordinated adaptation strategies to protect the City's critical infrastructure.
Previously, he served as the Assistant Comptroller for NYC in the Office of the New York State Comptroller, where he reviewed large-scale economic development projects and crafted corporate governance strategies for the $160 billion state pension fund. In addition to his work in city and state government, Freed has worked on several city, state, and national political campaigns. Freed received his master's in Urban Planning from NYU and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Lea Johnson is a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University and a plant ecologist working on the restoration of damaged urban environments. She does field projects in a variety of human-altered habitats, from highway roadsides to abandoned dumps, effluent-rich rivers, and public parks. She is also a science educator, has developed curricula, and teaches courses in urban ecology.
Johnson is part of the science advisory group for the PlaNYC Million Trees Campaign Reforestation. In coordination with the New York City Parks Department Natural Resources Group, she is currently investigating the long-term outcomes of past restoration of urban woodlands. Her research aims to increase understanding of the effects of past practices, in order to increase the effectiveness of current reforestation efforts.
Kim Knowlton, DrPH, is NRDC Senior Scientist on Global Warming and Health with the Health & Environment Program. Her research has applied health risk assessments to project future changes in heat- and ozone-related premature mortality under a changing climate, as well as evaluating current heat wave morbidity, mapping climate-ozone-pollen interactions, and describing factors that contribute to vectorborne disease vulnerability. She attended Cornell University and Hunter College/CUNY, and received a doctorate in public health from Columbia University, where she was a postdoctoral research scientist before joining NRDC. She is also currently Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and was among the Columbia researchers who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report.
Ms. Nesle is vice president, community and philanthropic services for HSBC - North America. In this role, Ms. Nesle is responsible for managing contributions and stewarding philanthropic relationships for HSBC’s US retail, commercial, and private banks as well as global banking and markets. Additionally, Ms. Nesle oversees volunteer events for all US employees, and manages the bank’s foundation.
Ms. Nesle began her career with HSBC in 2006 as manager of community and philanthropic services. Prior to HSBC, she worked at Fannie Mae for seven years. During her tenure, Ms. Nesle worked in investor relations, marketing multifamily MBS; in marketing, managing lender communications, PR, advertising and major events; and in eBusiness, writing requirements for B2B applications. She attended George Washington University and received her BA in communication and an MA in tourism as a Presidential Administrative Fellow. Ms. Nesle serves as the President of the GW Alumni Association in New York City, as a Member of the Corporation of the New York Botanical Garden and as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City.
Megan Cornwell O’Grady is a Project Manager at the Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. She is currently managing the New York City Panel on Climate Change and NYSERDA's ClimAID. Her work focuses on working directly with scientists, stakeholders, and policymakers to develop feasible climate change adaptation strategies, and to mainstream climate change adaptation thinking into all levels of decision making. She has a MPA with a concentration in Environmental Policy from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a BA in International Environmental Policy from Saint Olaf College. Before pursuing her master’s degree, Megan spent five years working at the United Nations Children’s Fund on Education and HIV/AIDS programming.