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Gilvary Symposium Speakers Bios


Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet - Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor, Department of Economics & Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Crossroads: Land Liberation and the Future of the Postindustrial City - Aaron Bartley, Lawyer, Co-Founder and past Director, People United for Sustainable Housing Buffalo 

Monetary Policy for a Green New Deal: Reorienting to Macroeconomic Budgeting - Nathan Tankus, Research Scholar, Modern Money Network

How Significant is Present Climate Change? - Shuang-Ye Wu, Professor & Chair, Department of Geology, University of Dayton

The Role of the States in Advancing a Green New Deal - Alice Kaswan, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, University of San Francisco School of Law

Stephen Bartlett

Stephen Bartlett is a farmer, the Director of Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (a board member of the Madison, Wisconsin-based Family Farm Defenders, and a founding member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance. With Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville he helps to “create a joyous, diverse, and sustainable community of well-nourished people and well-compensated farmers and food workers.” With the US Food Sovereignty Alliance he works to create a broader organizational home “for food justice, anti-hunger, labor, environmental, faith-based, and food producer groups to uphold the right to food as a basic human right and to work to connect local and national struggles to the international movement for food sovereignty.” And through his work with Family Farm Defenders, he helps to foster “a farmer-controlled and consumer-oriented food and fiber system, based upon democratically controlled institutions that empower farmers to speak for and respect themselves in their quest for social and economic justice.

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Aaron Bartley

Aaron Bartley is the cofounder of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo and served as its executive director for 12 years. PUSH mobilizes residents to create sustainable neighborhoods with quality affordable housing, green jobs, and next-generation infrastructure. PUSH's Green Development Zone, which combines green housing, job training, stormwater management, and urban agriculture in a district on Buffalo's West Side, was named the winner of the global Sustainable Housing competition sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Brazilian Ministry of Cities, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to his work with PUSH Buffalo Mr. Bartley spent years as a lawyer and labor organizer working with custodial and other low wage service workers through Jobs with Justice and the Services Employees International Union, where he was devoted to working with rank and file janitors on major strike campaigns.

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William Burns

William Burns holds a PhD in international law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law (now Cardiff University School of Law & Politics). He is a Professor of Research and Co-Director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University. He also serves as a Senior Fellow in the International Law Research Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Canada, and as Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association. He directed the MS in Energy Policy and Climate Program at Johns Hopkins University, from 2012-2014, where he also taught courses in domestic and international climate change law and domestic energy law. He previously served as President of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, and Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law interest group of the American Society of International Law.

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Ericka Curran

Ericka Curran joined the University of Dayton School of Law in August 2019 as an Assistant Professor in the Legal Professions department. Professor Curran comes to UD after a twelve-year background in clinical and experiential legal education with a focus on immigration and human rights. Professor Curran received her law degree from Seattle University School of Law and went on to practice Immigration Law. Professor Curran has served on the Board of Directors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Central Florida Chapter and has chaired numerous committees. Professor Curran also served on the Executive Committee for the North East Florida Human Trafficking Coalition and also served for 6 years on the City of Jacksonville’s Mayor’s Victim Assistance Advisory Council.

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Robert Hockett

Robert Hockett is the Edward Cornell Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, Visiting Professor of Finance at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, and Senior Counsel at Westwood Capital, LLC. He specializes in the law, economics, and philosophy of money, finance, and enterprise organization in their theoretical and practical, their positive and normative, and their local, national, and transnational dimensions. His guiding concern in these fields is to ascertain and help put into place the institutional prerequisites to a just, prosperous, and sustainable economic order. He has previously worked at the International Monetary fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and serves on the Board of the Public Banking Institute and as a founding member on the Boards of both the Digital Fiat Currency Institute and the Occupy Money Cooperative. He divides his time primarily between New York and Washington, where in addition to teaching and writing he assists local, state, and federal legislators to develop and draft legislation that implicate his fields of expertise. Recent work along these lines includes the original white paper and the finance plan for the Green New Deal, the Empire State Inclusive Value Ledger payment platform for the State of New York, the eminent domain plan for underwater mortgage loans pursued by cities across America from 2011-2014, and multiple pieces of legislation for U.S. Representative Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, among other officials. He also does regularly commissioned work for the Century Foundation, the New America Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation.     

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Cheryl Johncox

Cheryl Johncox is a member of the national staff of the Sierra Club and a key member of the leadership of its Ohio chapter. Cheryl is also a proud native of the state who is currently based in Columbus. She received her Bachelors degree in Natural Resources management and policy from The Ohio State University. She has spent more than 10 years working to protect Ohioans and our land, air, and water from polluters. In her current role as part of Sierra Club's National Beyond Dirty Fuels team, Cheryl works to move Ohio and Pennsylvania beyond fossil fuels. Originally from the Cuyahoga County area, Cheryl, and her family live in rural Union County. Cheryl was a candidate for Ohio's 86th House District in 2012. In 2005, Cheryl was the recipient of the National Conservation Achievement Award, from the National Wildlife Federation for her work on International Sustainable Development.

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Alice Kaswan

Alice Kaswan, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship at the University of San Francisco School of Law, is an expert on climate change and on environmental justice. She has written and spoken widely about climate federalism, addressing the appropriate roles of federal, state, and local governments in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Her work also explores the intersection between environmental justice and climate change policy, with special emphasis on the environmental justice implications of climate adaptation strategies and of cap–and–trade programs for greenhouse gases. Kaswan is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Progressive Reform, and a past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools’ Environmental Law Section.

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Brenda Jo McManama

Brenda Jo McManama (Seneca/Welsh) has been involved with Indigenous and environmental issues for over 25 years. Beginning in the early 1990s working with WV State agencies on NAGPRA, opposition to mountaintop/strip coal mining & public education. For the past 14+ years she has contributed to IEN’s mission in different capacities ranging from graphic design/ web administration to media coordinator and campaign organizer. BJ was a member of two Indigenous cultural delegations who traveled to the jungles of Peru and central Mexico to meet with Indigenous community leaders. The focus of these exchanges was to share cultural information and current shared mitigation, restoration, and subsistence challenges centered on forest and aquatic regions. BJ is a member of the Campaign to Stop GE Trees steering committee and works closely with both Indigenous and Front Line community organizations on forest protection, climate justice, and subsistence rights.

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Robert Pollin

Robert Pollin is Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is also the founder and President of PEAR (Pollin Energy and Retrofits), an Amherst, MA-based green energy company operating throughout the United States. He has worked recently as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and numerous non-governmental organizations in several countries on various aspects of building high-employment green economies. He has also directed projects on employment creation and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa for the United Nations Development Program, and has worked with many U.S. non-governmental organizations on creating living wage statutes at both the statewide and municipal levels.

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Heaven Sensky

Heaven Sensky, a Community Organizer with the Center for Coalfield Justice, was born and raised on a small family farm in Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania where she has been an active community member in advocacy and nonprofit work since she was 13 years old. As a first generation college graduate, her passion to pave the way for others in her community encouraged her to pursue college in Washington, DC to study public policy and social structures. Heaven is a recent graduate of American University, where she studied Communications, Law Studies, Economics, and Government in addition to Women, Gender and Sexualities studies. She previously interned for The Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, The American University Center for Diversity and Inclusion, United States Senator Bob Casey, and The Personal Office of Michelle and Barack Obama.

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Dalindyebo Shabalala

Dalindyebo Shabalala is an Assistant Professor at the University of Dayton Law School. His primary teaching responsibilities are in Contracts, as well as Intellectual Property and Business Law. Prof. Shabalala’s research focuses on the interaction of intellectual property law, especially patent law, with the rights of indigenous peoples and climate change law. He conducts research on the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional communities to their traditional knowledge and culture and the role of international intellectual property treaties in enabling or preventing the realization of those rights.

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Bob Sisco

Bob Sisco spent the first 20-plus years of his career holding senior management positions in software engineering and telecommunications. He then left the ‘corporate world’ to pursue a more hands-on occupation. He has been in the construction business since 2005, building homes and major room additions, kitchens, and baths. In 2009, Sisco Construction started doing PV installations. Once the business started focusing entirely on Solar, Ohio Power Solutions was formed. Ohio Power Solutions is family owned and operated, installing over 250 installations ranging from 3kW to 2MW.

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Steph Tai

Steph Tai is a Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin School of Law. Her scholarly research examines the interactions between environmental and health sciences and administrative law. These include the consideration of scientific expertise and environmental justice concerns by administrative and judicial systems, and as well as the role of scientific dialogues in food systems regulation, and the ways in which private governance incorporates scientific research. Her teaching interests include administrative law, environmental law, food systems law, environmental justice, risk regulation, contracts (especially private governance and supply chains!), and comparative Asian environmental law.

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Nathan Tankus

Nathan Tankus is a research scholar with the Modern Money Network. He has been a research assistant at the University of Ottawa and a visiting researcher at the Fields Institute. His current research interests include the history of economic thought, economic history, financial instability and crises, the evolution of monetary systems, public and private planning, balance of payments economics, the economics of accounting, real estate political economy among many others. He is on Twitter, and has written for Naked Capitalism, Institute for New Economic Thinking and JSTOR Daily.

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Dwayne Thomas

Dwayne Thomas is a retired mine worker, born and raised and currently residing in Fayette County. He was an Auto Worker for 9 years before becoming a member of the United Mine Workers for 37 years before retirement.  He was Treasurer of Maple Creek Local 1248, and is now the President of the Southwestern Pennsylvania local of the United Mineworkers of America. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Retired Americans. He was featured in a New York Times opinion piece.

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Donele Wilkins

Donele Wilkins has demonstrated servant leadership in her hometown Detroit for nearly 20 years. First by leading the local movement for environmental justice on the front-lines, and secondarily expanding to achieving true sustainability for all. Her leadership style has motivated many to take their place in a truly transforming movement. Her achievements include participating in the development and adoption of an Environmental Justice Policy in the state of Michigan, and conceiving and launching the first Green Jobs Training Program in the city! She’s been an advocate for citizen involvement in Brownfield Redevelopment as well as other environmental policies, placing environmental stewardship on the agenda of many community leaders and decision makers.  Ms. Wilkins is noted for inspiring young people to take a lead in their communities.  As the founder of The Green Door Initiative, Donele plans to take not only the city of Detroit to the next level of environmental stewardship but the nation. GDI stands out as a national model for sustainable living through civic engagement for everyone.

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Shuang-Ye Wu

Dr. Shuang-Ye Wu received her Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 2000 where she studied environmental geography. She joined UD's Geology department in 2004 after completing three-year post-doctoral research at Pennsylvania State University and a one-year visiting assistant professor appointment at Gettysburg College. Dr. Wu teaches a variety courses mainly in the field of environmental geography, including physical and human geography, Geographical Information Systems, and the Dynamic Earth. Her research interests focus on assessing potential impacts of climate change on the hydrological cycle, particularly on extreme precipitation and flood risks.

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