HII Staff

Tara DePorte, Executive Director and Founder (Board)

Born and raised in the Washington, DC area, Tara has lived in Brooklyn for many years and considers New York City as her “base” for exploration. She has also lived in Brazil, France, and the Netherlands, and traveled throughout the world.

With a BA in Human Impacts on Ecosystems from the University of Virginia and a MA in Climate and Society from Columbia University, Tara’s formal education has focused on issues of sustainable development, society, and the environment. Professionally, her international experience includes work throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, working with colleagues throughout the world on creative community development, environmental education, social justice, policy and networking.

Tara founded the Human Impacts Institute in 2010, seeing a need for creative approaches to sustainability and global coalition building. Before starting the Human Impacts institute, Tara worked for 9 years as Director of Environmental Education and as Program Director for a NYC community-based organization--developing opportunities for inner-city youth to learn about, and develop responsibility for, their local environment. She has also served as a global representative of The ClimateRealityProject since 2006, presenting to thousands of people about climate change.  

Tara’s international accomplishments include the development of capacity building trainings for international women participating in United Nations-sanctioned environmental conferences, representing stakeholders to the United Nations and working with lead officials on international policy development. Often Tara serves the role of “facilitator”, where she helps with creating and maintaining dialogues between different groups, such as scientists and politicians, or the general public. Tara is also an adjunct professor of Environmental Studies, Policy, Sustainable Development and Visual Arts the New School (NYC) and Webster University, Leiden (Leiden, Netherlands), and a guest lecturer at Columbia University (NYC).

Tara’s personal website can be found at http:// www.TaraDePorte.com

Tess Clark, Development Manager

Tess Clark is a graduate of Environmental Studies and Philosophy from New York University. She is particularly concerned with issues surrounding animal agriculture, environmental ethics, and environmental decision-making. Previously, she worked as a Content Producer at Leave It Better, a food education organization. She also a Course Assistant at New York University for the course Animal and Public Policy working on endangered species policy.

Originally from the greater Philadelphia area, she has spent recent years living and working in New York City. Past projects include grantwriting, fundraising research, developing videos for education and outreach, installing school gardens, performing compost demonstrations, and coordinating partnerships between youth agriculture programs.

Tess has recently become a novice vermicomposter.

LeAnneLeAnne Harvey, Community Relations Manager

LeAnne Harvey is a recent graduate from the Bard Center for Environmental Policy where she earned her master’s degree in Climate Science and Policy where she specialized in greenhouse gas emission accounting.

She is back at HII after a summer of working on an organic farm in her hometown, Abingdon, VA, where her interests sustainable food systems and community development were invigorated. Prior to HII, she worked with Pace Law School on drafting a Climate Action Plan for the town of Red Hook, NY, and worked at the environmental research center, Hudsonia. She is currently also conducting research on local food costs for SCALE, a consulting company for sustainable development initiatives.

LeAnne enjoys hands-on projects such as repairing bikes and cooking. She loves all forms of dance but has a keenness for modern. She teaches, takes class, and performs in her spare time.

 

Melanie Griffin, Outreach Coordinator

Melanie Griffin is a recent college graduate from Indiana University where she completed two degrees; a Bachelor of Arts in Human-Environment Interactions and a Bachelor of Science in Contemporary Dance (Kinesiology). Melanie moved to New York City after graduation to pursue her interests in a city where both dance and environmental initiatives flourish. She strives to develop ideas and methods that will help human life and the natural world coexist and develop, healthily, together. She feels very fortunate to have been able to study and pursue both dance and environmental issues and is excited to see where they lead her in life.

As she has had a more research and science based environmental education, Melanie is excited to be working with the Human Impacts Institute to develop effective community outreach and education programs about sustainability.

In her free time, Melanie enjoys taking dance classes, practicing yoga, educating herself on recent environmental issues, and reading.

 

Li Tang, Communications Coordinator

Li recently graduated from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She did her undergraduate studies at University of Missouri-Columbia. She has worked on graphic design and marketing projects for Workers Center of Central New York, Slow Food Central New York, and Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, among other socially-focused organizations.

Her career goal is to make a positive impact on social change, especially the environmental movement through strategic communication.

She enjoys wandering around museums and exhibitions or simply taking a walk.

Rose BowenRose Bowen, Environmental Leadership Intern

As a native of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Rose is no stranger to extreme weather and is committed to working towards raising awareness in the US about climate change issues in order to prevent extreme weather events and their devastating consequences for current and future generations around the world.

She is currently finishing her undergraduate degree at New York University in the Global Liberal Studies program with a concentration in Politics, Rights and Development. She is triple-minoring in Environmental Studies, Anthropology and Spanish. Next year she will be transitioning into the Bioethics Master's Program at NYU on the Environmental Track. She hopes to apply this degree towards helping individuals and companies to be more ethical and sustainable in their business practices.

Rose moved to Brooklyn this past fall after studying abroad in Madrid during her junior year of college. She was able to return to the Spanish capital in January to conduct research on the impacts of the economic recession and European austerity policies on the youth in Spain. This forms the main topic of her Senior thesis, which she is hard at work on this semester. She is a complete hispanophile and hopes to do much more exploring in Europe in the future.

Anna Marr

Anna Marr, Environmental Education Intern

Anna grew up in Larchmont, New York. She is currently taking a semester off from formal education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an environmental studies and religious studies major in order to learn more outside of a classroom setting.  She found her passion for environmental issues, solutions, and community action while studying abroad in Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia this past fall.

Anna is still carving her path, but as of now her interests mainly lay in environmental education and awareness tactics, renewable energy solutions, and sustainable food production.

Anna also loves watching basketball, cooking, and traveling.

 

 

Camila

Camila Montes De Oca, Environmental Services Intern

Camila is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program at CUNY Hunter College; with a major in Environmental Management and Policy, and minor in Public Policy. Her undergraduate thesis is focused on researching the efficiency of CUNY Hunter College’s photovoltaic solar panels over different meteorological conditions and atmospheric temperatures.
Camila have lived in and around New York City all of her life. Her adoration for the city sparked her interest in discovering innovative ways in which to make the city more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. She is particularly intrigued by renewable energy sources, waste management systems, ‘green’ infrastructure, and recycling. Additionally, she hopes to contribute to the development of environmental policies that serve to mitigate the effects of climate change and pollution.
In her spare time, Camila volunteers for GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (OROE), where they teach individuals about recycling, how to reuse materials in creative ways, and to minimize waste production. She also enjoys travelling frequently to Uruguay to see her family, baking, attending live music shows, nature walks/hikes, and reading.

 

HII Board and Advisory Board

Amy

Amy Braunschweiger, Media and Outreach Advisor (Board)


Amy Braunschweiger is the Web Communications Manager for Human Rights Watch, where she is responsible for the organization's electronic newsletter communications, and helps oversee its website and social media. Previously, Amy worked as a freelance journalist, her articles appearing in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York and Village Voice, among other publications. She also served as a financial reporter for Dow Jones, covering stocks and the stock market. Her book Taxi Confidential: Life, Death and 3 a.m. Revelations in New York City Cabs, is a collection of 50 gritty New York cab stories from the '70s through present day.

Amy has received the Congress-Bundestag scholarship and the Arthur F. Burns fellowship for journalists, and has also served on the advisory board for the nonprofit, Vietnam Relief Effort.

 

 

David Fenton, PR and Marketing Advisor


David Fenton, named “one of the 100 most influential P.R. people” by PR Week and “the Robin Hood of public relations” by The National Journal, founded Fenton in 1982 to create communications campaigns for the environment, public health and human rights. Over four decades he has pioneered the use of PR, social media and advertising techniques for social change.

FENTON has 70 employees in five offices – London, New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Some of Fenton’s best-known campaigns including aiding the rise of MoveOn.org, stimulating the rise in organic food sales, a decade representing Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, passing sanctions against apartheid, saving swordfish from extinction with a coalition of top chefs, working with Al Gore and the United Nations on climate change, public health campaigns against tobacco and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, publicizing the nation’s first gay marriages, keeping hard-liquor ads off broadcast television, the founding of Business for Social Responsibility and many others. David and the firm have also worked with governments and international NGOs in Africa, Israel, Europe, Japan, Latin America and the Caribbean. David is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

David has helped incubate and launch a series of non-profit organizations, including the pro-peace, pro-Israel group J Street, Climate Nexus, the Death Penalty Information Center, the Central America Media Project, the Southern Africa Media Project, New Economy Communications, Environmental Media Services (which later became Resource Media), and the American Freedom campaign against the abuse of executive power. He serves on the Board of EcoAmerica and the Chairman’s Council of Conservation International.

Fenton started his career as a photojournalist in the late 1960s – his book “Shots: An American Photographer’s Journal” was published in 2005. He was formerly Director of Public Relations at Rolling Stone magazine and Co-Producer of the No-Nukes concerts in 1979 at Madison Square Garden with Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and other artists. David is a native of Manhattan where he lives with his wife and two teenagers.

Kimo Goree, International Development Advisor


Langston James Goree VI, known by his Hawaiian nickname “Kimo”, has worked in the international environment and sustainable development sphere for more than 25 years. 

Kimo is Vice-President of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Director of IISD Reporting Services and a founder of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).  The Reporting Services division of the International Institute for Sustainable Development was first conceived at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and has since produced thousands of reports from hundreds of negotiations covering dozens of major multilateral environmental agreements.  Its timely up-to-the-minute reports and comprehensive online archives are widely respected and relied upon by experts and officials from around the world. IISD Reporting Services is supported entirely by contributions from readers and their organizations.

Kimo is responsible for the fundraising and overall coordination of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin and IISD’s several knowledge management products, including Sustainable Development Policy & Practice and reports them through the UNCSD-L list.  He also is responsible for the several worldwide “L lists” including CLIMATE-L, with more than 20,000 subscribers who receive the daily “Climate Change Daily Feed” reporting on all international activities on climate change. In addition to this, Kimo was recently named Senior Advisor for Information and Knowledge Management to the Bureau for Development Policy and the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda Senior Advisor for Information and Knowledge Management to the Bureau for Development Policy and the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.

Kimo was born in Hawaii and raised in Berkeley, California. From 1971 through 1988 Kimo was an actor in films, television and radio (SAG/AFTRA), a stand-up comedian and professional clown while accumulating university degrees.  In 1988 he moved to Brazil to work for UNDP in Brasília and later as the Director of IPHAE, a Brazilian Amazon-based applied research institute in Porto Velho, Rondonia.

Kimo is a citizen of the United States of America. He has lived in mid-town Manhattan since 1994, is a marathon runner and cyclist, riding about 300 km a week.  When not on his bicycle, Kimo can be found in negotiations at UN Headquarters down the street from his office or between airports, attending many of the more than seventy international meetings that IISD is asked to report from each year.

Luisa Gui, Events and Fundraising Advisor


Luisa Gui is an independent producer, project manager, and special events coordinator in visual arts, performance, and film with a background in administrative and curatorial work in galleries and museums. Luisa has initiated, fundraised for, promoted, and managed exhibitions, performances, video, and multimedia projects in NYC, Rome, and Beijing. Her collaborative work includes programmatic partnerships with: the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Performa, ICE Foundation, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Italian Academy at Columbia University, Asia Society, Italian Cultural Institute, Radisson Es. Hotel in Rome, and more.

Since 2010, Luisa has worked as a NYC producer for the documentary video project CRONE. In the Fall of 2011, Luisa was a development consultant for PERFORMA 11, the first biennial for visual art performance in the US. Earlier in the year, she became NYC Coordinator for the third annual DIVINAMENTE NYC Festival on spirituality in the arts.

Luisa aims to create unique projects that bring into the spotlight human interactions and universal issues; are fueled by the desire to achieve beauty and excellence; and ultimately promote individual realization, social responsibility, and spiritual awareness. Luisa is excited to collaborate with the Human Impacts Institute to bring vitality to the Creative Expression program and boost the organization's fundraising endeavors.

Luisa is also a vinyasa and prenatal yoga teacher currently teaching at Lila Yoga, Dharma & Wellness.

Originally from Rome, Italy, Luisa lives in NYC.

Agathe LaureAgathe Laure, Climate Change Advisor


Since she received an M.A. in International Law and Administration from the University of la Sorbonne in 2009, Agathe Laure has been supporting a number of environmental and development programs throughout various countries across the globe. Agathe is currently working at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) where she supports the operationalization of the Climate Technology Centre and Network, established as part of the Technology Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Prior to joining HII, Agathe worked in Thailand for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) implementing the EC-FAO Food Security Program in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. From 2009-2010, Agathe worked on water and agricultural issues at the World Bank in Washington, DC, and at the International Center for Advanced Agronomic Studies in the Mediterranean (CIHEAM) in Paris.

Passionated by natural resources management and biodiversity conservation issues, Agathe dedicated her M.A. thesis on the perception and management of New York City's waterfront in the aftermath of the storm Sandy, and its opportunities for further protecting coastal ecosystems. As a prior HII staff, she led the Ecopreneurs and Growing our Roots programs, and she looks forward to continue to strengthen HII unique and creative efforts of connecting people with their environment.

Katy Mixter

Katy Mixter, Strategy and Sponsorship Advisor (Board)

Katy Mixter is an Assistant Vice President on Citi’s Corporate Sustainability team. There she leads Citi’s environmental employee engagement program, founding Citi’s Global Green Team Network and managing Citi’s Global Earth Week, internal website and monthly Sustainability Newsletter. Additionally, she supports the team’s efforts to track, reduce and report on Citi's environmental performance and to work with Citi’s businesses and clients to develop transactions that finance sustainable solutions.

Katy graduated from Vassar college, majoring in economics and environmental studies. Prior to coming to Citi Katy consulted for EPA on the ENERGY STAR project.

 

 

Akong

Akong Charles Ndika, Sustainability and Research Advisor

Akong is the Technical Officer at the World Health Organization Office at the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. In his role, he provides analytical, strategic and programmatic support to raise the profile of global health in EU policies, strategies and instruments for financing development cooperation including climate change. Previously, he worked in WHO Geneva as a Technical Officer in the Office of Assistant Director General Healthy Environments and Sustainable Development, where he provided analytical and technical support for the development of an overarching vision of sustainability in the different areas of the cluster.

Akong has several years of experience working on energy access issues in Africa and was elected member of the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) Board from (2005-2008). He was International Consultant with the Energy and Environment Group of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York.

Originally from Cameroon, Akong has a MA in Climate and Society from Columbia University and has spent much of his career analyzing climate risks at different levels of decision making. He also holds graduate degrees in public policy, economics and international relations.

He has a keen interest in developing effective policy responses including strategies, instruments to better address urgent sustainable development challenges such climate change mitigation, adaptation at local, country and global levels.

Kate Offerdahl, Youth Leadership Advisor

Kate Offerdahl is studying international relations and sustainable development at Columbia University. As a former intern and Youth Leadership Coordinator for the Human Impacts Institute, Kate spearheaded NY+20, a youth-led conference on sustainability, and was instrumental in helping develop HII's MobilizeUS! coalition and worked with supporting youth's voices in the 2012 Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference of the UN. As one of HII's delegates in Rio, she worked on pushing U.S. policy to include youth voices and ensure long-term sustainable development. After Rio, Kate joined the White House's Council on the Environment, where she continued her work on domestic environmental issues. Kate is currently interning with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to help document the ongoing post-Rio negotiations and other UN sustainability meetings.

Kate hopes to one day see the world living with completely sustainable habits, and wants to pursue these ecological goals on an international level. She loves to travel and learn new things, for she loves to study different cultures, philosophies, and languages. She has been trained in dance since the age of three and the classical harp since the age of five. She loves the impact that the arts have had on her life, and shares this joy with others through teaching and performing.

Jan Peterson, Grassroots Leadership and Gender Advisor (Board)


Jan Peterson serves as the Chair of the Coordinating Council of the Huairou Commission. Her current role comes from 30 years of working in community development. She has been a groundbreaking leader in producing innovative community structures led by grassroots women. In Brooklyn, New York, she founded numerous community-based organizations and developed a Leadership Support Process to help grassroots women to build leadership while working across ethnic and racial lines. Supporting the knowledge and contributions of grassroots women, she also ran the national Institute for Women and Community Development and the Neighborhood Women College Program. Her experience spans from local and national to global work work; in the United States she founded the National Congress of Neighborhood Women. She moved from national to global work, playing a founding role in GROOTS International and then the Huairou Commission. She has taught in the faculty of Adelphi University School of Social Work, the Pratt Institute, LaGuardia Community College and more recently at the New School Graduate Program in International Affairs. Under the Carter administration, she worked as the Associate Director in the office of public liaison in the White House, as well as the Office of Policy and Planning and Action, with Peace Corps and Vista.

Ms. Peterson was awarded the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor in September 2009 for her work that spans four decades of commitment to improving grassroots women's lives globally. Because of her strong advocacy, Jan has ensured that the global women's movement incorporates grassroots women's groups and that it takes heed of community development priorities for sustainable human settlements. In addition to raising more than USD 4 million for work with grassroots women, Jan has supported pioneering initiatives such as the Grassroots Academies held at each World Urban Forum and the Local to Local Dialogue Process.

David

David Lee Rubin, Editorial Advisor

David Lee Rubin began editing his colleagues' writing in 1963, as a Fulbright Fellow in Paris, and subsequently edited or co-edited numerous books of scholarship and criticism.


In 1987 he founded and for five years edited a themed, refereed annual, Continuum, followed in 1993 by EMF: Studies in Early Modern France. Throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s, he served on the editorial board of American, British, French, and German journals as well as Purdue University Studies in Romance Literatures. He also acted as an adviser to Oxford University Press, University of Chicago Press, and Yale University Press, among others.


After 32 years of service to the University of Virginia French Department, David now an Emeritus Professor teaches argumentation in seminars for first-year students and workshops for pre-law students, in addition to Great Books through the Charlottesville-Albemarle Senior Center.


A former Guggenheim Fellow, David has written three volumes of criticism and lectured on his research at many institutions, including the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London, Chicago and California (Berkeley as well as Los Angeles).  


Gradually phasing out as publisher of Rookwood Press, he recently launched a consulting practice Fox Hill Editorial.

James Slezak

 

James Slezak, Strategy Advisor (Board)

James is a partner at Purpose where he leads development of new social impact initiatives and creation of movement-building organizations. Prior to Purpose, James led projects on sustainability, technology and economic development for McKinsey & Company.

An Australian native, James attended the University of Sydney and holds a PhD in Physics from Cornell University. His technical work was published in journals including Science and Nature and he is co-author of the book Climate Change and Australia, published in Australia by Federation Press. He is a fellow the Center for Policy Development, an affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and serves on the boards of a number of other nonprofits and businesses in the US and Australia.

 

Alex White

Alex White, Coalition Building Advisor

Alex White was born in Nicosia, Cyprus in January, 1984, and grew up in Westbrook, Connecticut. In 2002 he enrolled in Rutgers College before transferring to Ithaca College and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics in 2006. During those years he was a member of the crew team and was active in the arts and politics. Thereafter he traveled extensively before settling into life in New York City and work as a paralegal at an intellectual property law firm in Manhattan. During this time he also cultivated his interests in music. He's a graduate of the M.A. program for Climate and Society at Columbia University, during which time he focused on issues of climate vulnerability, sustainable development, and disaster mitigation. He is working on a Masters of Science in Computer Programming.

As former Director of Outreach and Advocacy for the Human Impacts Institute, Alex looks forward to continuing his role in coalition building and improving communications with partner organizations for HII. He also looks forward to continuing to travel, work, learn, and promote understanding of natural systems their significance and consequences to humanity.

 

Past HII Crew Members

2013
Nadia Akbar, Rutgers University/New Jersey Institute of Technology, Environmental Services Intern
Nora Ankrum, University of Texas Austin & Journalist, Environmental Leadership Intern
Rose Bowen, New York University, Environmental Leadership Intern
Ani Esenyan, Fordham University, Environmental Services Intern
Tristan Jones, Rutgers University/Columbia University/Oberlin, Climate Communication Advisor (2011-2013)
Chiara Jovanovic, Quidsi/Goldman Sachs, Business Development Advisor (2010-2013)
Agathe Laure, Catholic University of Paris, Environmental Services Specialist
Melissa Mitchell, Bard College/New School, Program Coordinator (2011-2013)
Sofia Martinez, Columbia University/Boston College, Environmental Services Intern
Marcela Miceli, NYU/University of Florida, Environmental Education Intern
Anastasia Pinto, Centre for Organisation Research and Education (CORE), Social Justice Advisor (2010-2013) Anna Poon, Brown University, Environmental Education Intern
Beatrice Yeung, McGill University, Environmental Leadership Intern

2012
Eric Axelrod, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Advisory Board (2010-2012)
Elaine Baker, MS Trinity College Dublin, NGO Management Intern
Celia Cui, Beijing University/Clemson University, Environmental Services and Retrofit Internn
Sunny Du, Iowa State, Environmental Retrofit Intern
Sarah Fackler, UPENN/Columbia University, Climate and Coalition Building Intern
Julia Goldstein, Teaching Professional, NGO Management Intern
LeAnne Harvey, Bard College, Environmental Leadership
Jila Keshavarz, Florida Atlantic University, PR and Marketing Intern
Lauren Lavitt, Business Professional/New York Law School, Climate Coalition Intern
Eugénie Lejeune,University of Pennsylvania, NGO Management and PR/Marketing Intern
Allison Lucey, Teach for America, Advisory Board (2011-2012)
Dominique Murray, McGill University, Environmental Services Intern
Sally Newman, Southern Environmental Law Center, Board (2010-2013)
Rachana Patel, University of Michigan, Environmental Education Intern
Mariana Orozco, Webster University (Leiden, Netherlands) (2010-2012)
Brendan Schoenman, Marymount Manhattan College, Environmental Leadership (2011-2012)
Adam Sheperd, NYU Wagner School, Environmental Education and Services Intern
Melanie Sluyter, NYU, Environmental Leadership Intern
Grant Smolen, Columbia University (SIPA), Environmental Services Intern
Klas Svensson, Linnaeus University/Boston University, NGO Management and PR/Marketing Intern
Alex Turek, Ohio State University, Environmental Services and Education Intern

2011
Elisabetta Di Matta, Luciano Manara High School (Rome, Italy), Environmental Education Intern
Jenny Cheng, Brandeis University, Climate Change and Coalition Building Intern
Ronald Comstock, Pace University, Business Environmental Sustainability Intern
Hoa Do, Seattle University, PR and Marketing Intern
Arianne Donar, Climate and Water Educator, Environmental Education Intern
Emily Gilbert, New York University, Environmental Leadership Intern
Alex White, Columbia University, Environmental Leadership Intern (2011-2012)
Marc Jourdan, Law and Policy Specialist, Environmental Leadership Intern
Jennifer Kanter, Environmental Outreach Specialist, Climate Change and Coalition Building Intern
Moua Lo, Media and PR Professional, Media Consultant
Melissa Mitchell, The New School, Environmental Education Intern
Peter Tzannes, CUNY, Environmental Services and Education Intern
Mugzy Undemir, Columbia University, Climate Change and Coalition Building Intern
Brigette Walsh, Hunter College, Environmental Services Intern

2010
Moua Lo, Media and PR Professional, Media Consultant
Kate Offerdhal, New York University, NGO Management Volunteer