Young Voices for the Planet films Co-Producer and Editor; Independent Film Editor trained at BBC in London; Specializes in documentary storytelling. Peter is the editor of all the Young Voices of the Planet films as well as the two half-hour television programs being distributed through American Public Television to 60 public television stations nationwide. Since moving to the US in 1986 he has accumulated more than 50 credits for films for PBS’s Frontline/Nova, BBC, and at major film festivals. His most recent work includes The Last Mountain, which was an Official Selection at Sundance; Frontline: Inside the Meltdown; and Typhoid Mary: The Most Dangerous Woman in America for PBS’s NOVA.
Graphic Designer & Website Developer. Tom is an experienced graphic artist, website designer and WordPress site developer. For Young Voices for the Planet, he has created a coordinated design scheme that expresses YVFP’s recognizable brand through this handsome website, postcards, mailing labels, curriculum covers, DVDs, flyers, banners, posters, e-vites and other YVFP materials. He runs his own website design and development company called Radiant Design. You can connect with Tom via his website: www.RadiantD.com
Lynne Cherry co-founded Young Voices for the Planet, and served as the organization’s Founding Director. She produced and directed the Young Voices for the Planet film series. Lynne is the author/illustrator of 30 children’s books including best-sellers The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild. Lynne received her B.A. from Tyler School of Art and a M.A. in History at Yale University. She has had artist-in-residencies at Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution, and Cornell University, and science-writing fellowships from the Marine Biological Lab and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was a winner of a Metcalf Fellowship and the Brandwein Prize. Her academic writings include a chapter in “Written in Water” published by National Geographic Books, a chapter, “Kids Can Save Forests,” in “Treetops At Risk,” edited by Dr. Margaret Lowman (Springer), and a chapter, “Teaching Climate Change With Hope and Solutions: Lessons from a Film Project,” in the book, “Education in Times of Environmental Crisis” (Routledge, 2016).
Dr. Bill Moomaw is Professor Emeritus of International Environmental Policy, and Founding Director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. Dr. Moomaw has been a lead author on five Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, worked in the U.S. Senate on energy, forest, and CFC legislation as a Science Fellow, and was the first director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute. Bill graduated from Williams College, and holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from MIT. His research interests include increasing the role of forests and wetlands to achieve climate goals, energy technology and policies that address climate change, water and climate change, economics and geochemistry of the nitrogen cycle, sustainable development, and negotiation strategies for environmental agreements.
Dr. Sylvia Earle is the Founder, President & Co-Chair of Mission Blue, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and an oceanographer and chief scientist for NOAA. Dr. Earle has won over 100 international awards, including the 2009 TED Prize for her proposal to establish a global network of marine protected areas. She led the Sustainable Seas Expeditions to study National Marine Sanctuaries sponsored by National Geographic and funded by the Goldman Foundation. She led several research trips during the Gulf War and following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Author of 125+ publications she has starred in many TV productions, and lectures internationally in more than 60 countries.
Harriet Shugarman is the Founder and Executive Director of ClimateMama, an on-line community that reaches individuals in over 110 countries and all 50 states. She works regularly with colleges, school children and their parents, educators, businesses, PTA groups, civil society, non-profit organizations and houses of worships to empower individuals and to support collective actions on climate solutions. Harriet is a leader and mentor with The Climate Reality Project; Chair of the NY City Metro Chapter and the recipient of the “Green Ring Award” presented “to an outstanding Climate Reality Leader who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to their role as a climate communicator and activist.” Harriet has worked for 25+ years in Canada and in the US with governments, international organizations, and educational institutions on climate and sustainability issues as an economist, policy analyst, educator and adjunct professor and is recognized nationally as an “influencer and connector” in the climate movement. In 2017 she was named a Woman of the Year by Next Tribe.
Samrat Pathania is a passionate advocate for the environment and former chair and coordinator of the New Paltz (NY) Climate Action Coalition. He teaches physics, mathematics and software programming at Wallkill High School. He is especially concerned with the impact of digital technologies on human well-being and flourishing. After receiving a degree in mechanical engineering from the Nat’l Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur (India), Samrat worked as a software engineer with multinational corporations. He earned a B.S. in Math and Secondary Education Physics from SUNY New Paltz with outstanding graduate awards in each. He was the sole winner of the 2017 STEM Teacher Scholarship from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and won a 2017 Mathematics Graduate Course Work Scholarship from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. He strives to bring the benefits of multiple inquiry-based learning (IBL) to mathematics and science education and is currently co-authoring a university level textbook for secondary school teachers.
Dr. Dylan Selterman is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Maryland Psychology Department. He received his doctorate degree in social/healthy psychology from Stony Brook University in 2011. He now teaches courses and conducts research on a variety of topics including social and personality processes, happiness, interpersonal relationships, morality/ethics, and more. Dr. Selterman’s extra credit exercise illustrating the “tragedy of the commons” went viral. Read more about this exercise in The Washington Post, The Conversation. For an updated version of the exercise with even more relevance to the climate change movement, see this piece in National Geographic. Through teaching psychology, Dr. Selterman’s goals involve not only education, but also civic engagement. It is through psychology that Selterman works to empower students to take collective action toward solving global challenges.
John R. Seydel is Director of Sustainability in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Atlanta and an Atlanta native, John Rutherford Seydel III (John R.), works with city department leads and external community partners to achieve Atlanta’s sustainability goals. John R. has directed projects supporting waste diversion, urban agriculture, energy and water efficiency, alternative fuel vehicles, and renewables towards Mayor Kasim Reed’s goal to make Atlanta in sustainability. John R. received his Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Denver. An environmental advocate, he previously served as CEO of Revolution Nation, an organization that connects millennials to their elected representatives. He has also worked in renewable energy with the UN Foundation, the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Captain Planet Foundation, which promote hands-on environmental stewardship and education projects worldwide for youth.
As VP of International Conservation and Corporate Strategies, National Advocacy Center, National Wildlife Federation, Barbara leads NWF’s advocacy to improve US international policy on climate change and builds business consensus to sever connections between agricultural expansion and loss of wildlife habitat. She brings NWF’s massive membership to bear in convincing manufacturers and major retail brands to avoid purchasing products originating from recently cleared tropical forests and other critical habitats. For over three decades at NWF, she has developed innovative approaches to reform the environmental and social policies of financial institutions such as the World Bank; reduce the negative environmental impacts of international trade agreements; establish voluntary certification systems to promote sustainable forest and agriculture products; and increase U.S. contributions to international voluntary family planning, reproductive health, and education for girls and women. Bramble was a key organizer of the International NGO Forum at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. She is the former board chair of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, which certifies biomass, biofuels, and bioplastics that meet global social and environmental standards. Barbara served as legal advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She earned her JD from GW University, and her B.A. from George Mason.
Max is the leader of the Washington DC chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and is very involved in CCL’s Engaging Youth initiative. He is supporting YVFP Youth Advisor Jerome Foster’s weekly Climate Strike at the nation’s capitol. As a policy analyst for National Wildlife Federation, Max addresses the carbon accounting and wildlife aspects of biomass production, focusing on state level biopower development and EU policy. He navigates the complexities of bioenergy in climate policies and reaches out to Eleanor Holmes Norton’s district. When not involved in his environmental work, Max is also an environmental and social justice advocate.
Award-winning educator, Juanita Chan has been serving the community of Rialto, California for over 15 years. She has taught at the elementary level, science at the secondary level, and is currently the STEM and Related College and Career Pathway Coordinator. She is passionate about inspiring curiosity and excitement for the world right outside the classroom door and has worked vigorously to energize a steadfast group of science educators that infuse environmental education into all levels of K–12 curriculum. As an advocate that all students get the chance to love their community bionetwork her work utilizes environmental literacy to develop more civically engaged communities. These efforts have broadened into STEM CARES (Cultivating Active Responsible Environmental Stewards) earning Rialto USD the California Green Ribbon Schools award multiple years.
Dianne Dillon-Ridgeley was a member of the Oxford U. Commission on Sustainable Consumption and the first US member appointed to the Global Water Partnership in Stockholm. Former President Clinton appointed her to the PCSD, his council on Sustainable Development. Diane was also president of ZPG, appointed to Oxford University Commission on Sustainable Consumption (UK), Chairman of Environmental Advisory Board of Green Mountain Energy Company, trustee of the Center for International Environmental Law, the Natural Step-US and Population Connection. Diane also served on the board of directors of National Wildlife Federation and currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa
YVFP Film Consultant, Board of Advisors. Independent Executive Producer/ Director specializing in documentaries on women’s health and rights, global health, development, and environment. Staff producer: PBS NOVA Series for a dozen years. Produced the 1st international documentary on the Antarctic ozone hole, a portrait of biologist Stephen Jay Gould; a portrait of Native American physicians: The Crisis in Indian Health, Twins, and Rafting through the Grand Canyon. Senior Producer for Race to Save the Planet Series. Produced Discovery Channel’s Power of Dreams. Produced and directed Last Oasis for PBS; Biodiversity: Wild about Life, a docudrama for teens; Executive Producer of Six Billion and Beyond; Co-Executive Producer of World in the Balance; Senior Content Director of the Emmy-award winning series Rx for Survival — A Global Health Challenge.
Jessica Landman is the Senior Director for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program in Europe. She directs EDF’s European collaboration with fishermen, governments and other stakeholders in support of sustainable fishery management practices that incorporate science based decision-making, secure fishing rights and active engagement of fishermen in the management of marine resources, under EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. A US-trained lawyer, she has over 3 decades of experience in the NGO community, in the fields of marine and water law and policy.
Recognized national leader in public land conservation and wilderness preservation, Former president of the Wilderness Society and currently serves as Counselor, a senior program position for the Wilderness Society. He has been active in conservation for over 40 years. Before becoming president of the Wilderness Society, Meadows worked for the Sierra Club where he provided oversight for a $100 million dollar fundraising campaign. He was Vice President for College Relations at Briar College in Virginia and he currently serves as their Chairman of the Partnership Program.
Founder and Director of Amazon Conservation Team. For 30 years, Mark, with his wife Liliana Madrigal, has successfully worked to protect the Tirio Indians and their lands in the Amazon rain forest of Suriname and many other Amazon tribes and lands. Mark was the star of the IMAX movie AMAZON and is a recipient of the Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Award which comes with a 1 million dollar prize. His acclaimed book Tales of A Shaman’s Apprentice introduced the ethnobotany of the Amazon Indians to the general public. With Lynne Cherry, he wrote the children’s book The Shaman’s Apprentice, now used to teach ethnobotany to the world’s children including the Tirio Indian children in the Amazon.
Bill Reed is working with the Foundation for Civic Leadership on the establishment of “Democracy Houses” on campuses throughout North America to work on improving Democratic engagement and capabilities required for effective interdependent action. Bill is an internationally-recognized authority in sustainability and regenerative planning, design and implementation. Through the institutions that he co-founded, Regenesis and Integrative Design, Inc., Bill implements design processes that integrate green building, community planning and living systems that yield higher efficiency, lower costs and reduced waste. His projects consider social, ecological, financial and human values. Bill also helped found the US Green Building Council and the LEED Green Building Rating System. He is often a keynote speaker and lecturer at major building and design events at universities throughout Europe and North America including Harvard, MIT, Princeton and University of Pennsylvania.
Leah Seligmann leads the B team’s climate change efforts as the Director of the Net-Zero Initiative, which aims to drive CEO commitment to climate action. . Leah’s experience spans a broad range of industries and sustainable strategies, including energy, sustainable agriculture, waste reduction and recycling, employee engagement, valuation of ecosystem services, packaging innovation, supply chain transparency and innovation, sustainable merchandising, and greenhouse gas reduction. During her tenure, NRG achieved several awards including the NASDAQ OMX CRF Global Sustainability Index top 100 company, Intelex’s Environmental Stewardship Award, the CDP Award for Water Leadership and the Corporate Eco Forum’s C.K. Prahalad Award.
Dr. Gus Speth was faculty at Vermont Law School from 2010 to 2015. He is now Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute, Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative and Vermont Law School and Co-Chair of the Next System Project at the Democracy Collaborative. His eminent positions include Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Administrator of the UN Development Programme; chair of the UN Development Group; founder and president of World Resources Institute; law professor at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (Carter Administration); and senior attorney/cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council. Among his many awards are National Wildlife Federation’s Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America’s Barbara Swain Award of Honor, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Environmental Law Institute and LCV, the Blue Planet Prize and the Thomas Berry Award of the Forum on Religion and Ecology.
Int’l Director of Environmental Security and Sustainability of Green Cross, Dr. Walker is the winner of the 2013 Right Livelihood Award, the “alternative Nobel.” Paul has helped to permanently eliminate over 65,000 metric tons of chemical weapons and millions of munitions in eight countries. He has worked, spoken, and published widely on international security, threat reduction, non-proliferation, demilitarization, and environmental security for 30+ years. In 1994 he took part in the first on-site inspection by US officials of one of seven declared Russian chemical weapons stockpiles. At the annual Chemical Weapons Convention conference in The Hague in 2009 he led the effort to establish the CWC Coalition. A founder of the Fissile Material Working Group, he has also supported the four Nuclear Security Summits in DC, Seoul, South Korea, and Amsterdam, 2010-16.
Dr. Richard Wrangham (PhD, Cambridge University, 1975) is Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and Director of Graduate Studies. Dr. Wrangham founded the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in 1987. He has conducted extensive research on primate ecology, nutrition, and social behavior. He is best known for his work on the evolution of human warfare, described in the book Demonic Males, and on the role of cooking in human evolution, described in the book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. Together with Elizabeth Ross, he co-founded the Kasiisi Project in 1997, and serves as a patron of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).
At 10 years old, Jaysa Hunter-Mellers’ dynamic speeches at rallies and her testimony at City Hall helped shut down the coal-fired power plant that was causing her asthma. Her story is told in the short film, “Words Have Power,” one of thirteen Young Voices for the Planet (YVFP) films. In addition to environmental justice, Jaysa has become a passionate advocate for civic education in all schools, so that kids—and adults, too—can learn how to participate in their own governance, take action, and speak truth to power like she did.
Jaysa continues to galvanize audiences with a courage and wisdom that belie her years. She has been a Youth Leadership Panel Participant at Omega’s 2019 Drawdown Learn Conference and co-led YVFP’s Civic Engagement and Democracy workshop at the Ashokan Center’s 2020 Youth Empowerment & Sustainability Summit (YESS!). She has spoken after film screenings including the Belmont World Film Festival and the Climate Action Film Festivals. She is also featured in these Radio Kingston interviews that aired as part of YESS! and Earth Day 2020.
Jerome Foster II is a 17 year old relentless and dedicated climate change activist, and the Executive Director and Founder of OneMillionOfUs—an organization that is mobilizing the youth vote across issues of climate change, racial injustice, gender equality, community/school gun violence and immigration reform. Jerome has been presented with the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, the Congressional Distinguished Activist Award, and was recently named 2019 Science Defender by the Union of Concerned Scientists USA. Jerome also founded an international youth led news organization called The Climate Reporter, which is focused at the intersection of climate change, frontline community advocacy, race, age, and journalism. Jerome works with the DC State Board of Education to reform the High School Graduation Requirements throughout all of Washington DC and is developing Virtual Reality Projects for civic causes through his company TAU VR, founded in 9th grade.
Elsa Mengistu is an 18 year old advocate for racial justice, gender equity and immigrant rights and the Operations Logistics Director at Zero Hour. A freshman at the historically Black college Howard University, Mengistu is committed to making a change on her university’s campus, where she helped to organize the Sept. 20, 2019 Climate Strike and is working to reduce plastic consumption and improve students’ public transportation options. Elsa started her activism work with her local March For Our Lives branch. Since then she has been active in many social justice groups and coordinates outreach in order to gain support for the Youth Climate Movement, seeing how youth can support and uplift others. Elsa was featured in the Vox article: “Meet the young activists of color who are leading the charge against climate disaster”.
Iris Zhan (she/they) is an Asian American climate justice activist from Columbia, MD, USA. She co-founded Fridays For Future Digital (FFF Digital) and founded Sunrise Movement Howard County, a local hub of the Sunrise Movement. They currently organize with FFF Digital, Mock COP, Heirs To Our Oceans as a member of the U.S. Youth Advisory Council for the UN Ocean Decade, and are a member of the HCASC (Howard County Association of Student Councils) Environmental Affairs Committee. In the past they worked with Sunrise Movement, Polluters Out, Zero Hour, Sierra Student Coalition, and many local groups in her area.
Sally Rushford, currently a Pittsburgh Public School principal, has always believed that encouraging curiosity and creativity as central for student learning. Ms. Rushford has worked in education for over 30 years serving as a teacher, a curriculum specialist in early childhood and literacy, and a principal. The last 16 years as a principal has taught her the importance of teacher empowerment and development. When teachers focus on the child and the child’s need, real growth and change can happen. Children are deeply curious about the world around them and want a voice in shaping that world. A graduate of Hunter College, City University of New York, Ms. Rushford has specialized in understanding child development and learning. As the principal of Beechwood Elementary School, she has gained a reputation as an innovator bringing artist residencies, STEAM education, and a values based approach to technology to the school.
Dr. Michael Mann is a distinguished climatologist and geophysicist, currently director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, who has contributed to the scientific understanding of historic climate change based on the temperature record of the past thousand years shown in his “hockey stick graph”. He was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. With other IPCC authors he received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was included on Bloomberg News’ 2013 list of fifty most influential people. In 2014, he received the Friend of the Planet award from the National Center for Science Education.
YVFP’s pro bono legal counsel, Janet Fries is an attorney with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. She focuses on copyright, trademark, entertainment and Internet law and is a pro bono project coordinator for the firm’s Washington, DC office. She has assisted authors, artists, collectors, estates, art organizations, musicians, producers, Internet companies and non-profits with contract negotiation and preparation, web site review, copyright and trademark protection as she does for YVFP. She is a frequent lecturer and has published many articles on copyright and related topics. She co-teaches graduate seminars at George Mason University and George Washington University Law School. Janet is also an experienced professional editorial and fine art photographer whose work has been published and exhibited widely.
YVFP volunteers help us accomplish so much of our work. If you want to get involved and work on a project that could do tremendous good in the world, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers help us with writing blogs, messaging on Twitter and Instagram, data entry, writing content for our youth action map, photographing youth events and actions, and many other tasks.
Co-Founder of Young Voices on Climate Change, Co-Producer of many of the YVFP films. In March 2016, while document the effects of climate change-induced coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, Gary tragically, lost his life. Gary’s award-winning photographs appeared in National Geographic, TIME, LIFE, Discover and Smithsonian magazines. His many awards included the Ansel Adams Photographer of the Year Award. Observing the Arctic and Antarctic melting, he interviewed IPCC climate scientists worldwide and photographed the ecosystems they studied for “Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World” and the children’s book How We Know What We Know about Our Changing Climate, co-authored with Lynne Cherry
Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and widely regarded as one of the greatest living psychologists. His social cognitive psychology research is world-famous, especially his seminal social learning theory, the concept of self-efficacy. In his book on self efficacy, Bandura wrote about how “efficacy beliefs” affect personal and social change: “Efficacy beliefs shape the outcomes people expect their efforts to produce… People of low self-efficacy are easily convinced of the futility of effort in the face of impediments. Those of high self-efficacy view impediments as surmountable through perseverance. His research found that,“Acquiring self-efficacy is a skill that, once developed, becomes an integral part of the individual, changing the way they think of themselves for the rest of their lives.” Bandura, after watching the YVFP films, said,“You’ve taken my theories and put them into practice!” Bandura’s research showed how the most important influence on teens and pre-teens is their peers.
Tom Lovejoy, Professor at George Mason University, Biodiversity Chair and Past President of the Heinz Center and Conservation Fellow at National Geographic received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Council of Science and the Environment (NCSE). For nearly 40 years, he hosted politicians, celebrities, and individuals at his Amazon research camp.(In 1989, Lynne Cherry researched her classic rain forest children’s book The Great Kapok Tree there.) Tom conceived the long-term study on forest fragmentation in the Amazon, coined the term “Biological diversity”, originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps and worked on the interaction between climate change science, environmental policy and biodiversity for 20+ years. He founded the public television series “Nature”. He served as Advisor to the UN Foundation and the World Bank, Assistant Secretary to the Smithsonian and Executive VP of World Wildlife Fund-US. He has been honored with numerous awards. He has advised the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations and, in a letter of appreciation from the White House signed by President Obama, he was recognized for representing the country as a Science Envoy.
Devin Del Palacio is a member of the Governing Board of the Tolleson Union High School District, covering the cities of Tolleson, Avondale, Glendale, and Phoenix, Arizona. He was raised by a single mother and attended 8 different public schools while growing up. He was taught the value of hard work from a young age and raised to take positive action in his community. Devin began work as a Community Organizer in 2012, working for the next few years to empower and register 34,000 minority voters in South and West Phoenix. In 2017 Devin was named in the Top 40 under 40 in Government by the Greater Phoenix Urban League. As Chairman-Elect for the National Black Council of the National School Board Association in 2018, he represents schools, students, and Governing Board members across the nation. He also serves as Chair of the Black Caucus of the Arizona School Boards Association. Due to Devin’s leadership, the Arizona school board passed the Climate Resolution drafted by Schools for Climate Action that was presented to Congress in March 2019.