Day 1 Sustainatopias (10)

2020 Presenters

 Rebecca Bratspies

 Rebecca Bratspies teaches at the CUNY School of Law and directs the CUNY Center for Urban Environmental  Reform. Her research explores the role of individuals and communities in the regulatory state, human rights, environmental democracy, and food justice. Her environmental justice comic books (Mayah’s Lot, and Bina’s Plant) have been used widely in classrooms and by state environmental agencies. She serves as an appointed member of the NYC Environmental Justice Advisory Board, and on the USEPA’s Children’s Environmental Health Protection Advisory Committee, is a member-scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform and the Environmental Law Collective. She blogs with The Nature of Cities. She is past-Chair of the AALS Section on the Environment.


 Lynne Cherry

 Lynne Cherry is the author and illustrator of over 30 award-winning children’s books including the rainforest classic The Great Kapok Tree and the environmental history A River Ran Wild. She is producer of the award-winning Young Voices for the Planet film series - success stories of diverse youth reducing the carbon footprint of their homes, schools and communities. Lynne has written widely about the importance of teaching through hope and solutions rather than gloom and doom. In a NY Times guest blog, Lynne wrote about ‘motivated avoidance”; In American Psychologist she writes about how the films model “self-efficacy”. Lynne received a BFA from Tyler School of Art, a BA from Temple and an MA in history from Yale. Her residencies include Princeton, Cornell and Smithsonian. She is currently Visiting Scholar at the Benjamin Center, SUNY, New Paltz. She received a Metcalf Fellowship, Brandwein Prize and the 2019 PA Council for the Social Studies President’s Award. 

Presentation Overview

As an environmental children’s book author/illustrator, Lynne Cherry realized the importance of teaching with hope rather than doom and gloom. Her award-winning Young Voices for the Planet films feature diverse youth reducing the carbon footprint of their homes, schools and communities. Lynne will demonstrate how to use these uplifting stories, and the YVFP Civic Engagement and Democracy Curriculum to give young people hope and tools to change minds, laws and the world! The curriculum’s A.C.T.I.O.N Plan will help them “Find Your Team! Find Your Passion! Find Your Power!” Lynne will share the psychology behind why these resources help students develop self-efficacy and challenge decision-makers to act responsibly.


 Luz Guel

 As the Project Coordinator for The Community Engagement Core (CEC) of the The Mount Sinai Transdiscliplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures, my mission is to foster communication and collaboration among environmental health scientists and stakeholders (CBOs, clinicians, advocacy groups, policymakers) on the role of environmental exposures in children’s health, and strategies to build healthier environments, particularly in East Harlem and the South Bronx. We work together with diverse academic and community partners to translate research findings into evidence-based community engaged approaches that improve public health. The CEC ensures community concerns that affect the community’s health guide our Center’s environmental health research.

 Michael Heimbeinder

 Michael Heimbinder is an information designer, community organizer, and educator. Since launching HabitatMap in 2006, he has worked with dozens of community-based organizations and schools to create planning and advocacy maps that publicize the issues they care about most. In addition to running HabitatMap, Michael serves on the Board of the Newtown Creek Alliance, where he has made community knowledge sharing the keystone of the organization’s successful efforts to clean up the Creek and improve the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods. Michael is a graduate of Colorado College and received his M.A. in International Affairs from the New School for Social Research.