Opening Keynote Address
Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016. Assuming responsibility for the international climate change negotiations after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009, she was determined to lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework. Building toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, and culminated her efforts in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. Throughout her tenure Figueres brought together national and sub national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the unprecedented climate change agreement. For this achievement Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.
Since then Figueres has continued to accelerate the global response to climate change. Today she is the co-founder of Global Optimism, co-host of the podcast “Outrage & Optimism” and is the co-author of the recently published book, “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis". She is a member of the B Team and a non executive Board member of ACCIONA and ACCIONA Energía. She is the Chair of The Earthshot Prize Foundation.
Laudato Si' Action Platform Goal "Response to the Cry of the Poor"
Castillo teaches and researches in ecotheology, environmental ethics, and liberation theology. He is the author of An Ecological Theology of Liberation: Salvation and Political Ecology (Orbis Books, 2019) which features a forward by Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP and earned the College Theology Society's Best Book Award in 2020. His forthcoming book is titled Confronting the Age of Cain: Christian Faith in the “Anthropocene.” Castillo earned his PhD in theology from the University of Notre Dame.
Gutzler serves as Lead Environmental Justice Organizer at Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) in St. Louis, MO. MCU puts faith into action by developing leaders who move their congregations, organizations, and communities to change public policy for the common good. Since 2020, Gutzler has organized persons and communities of faith to address ecological degradation that disproportionately harms the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized. Before joining MCU, she co-founded the Social Action and Virtue Education Foundation to share restorative practices with the St. Louis Region. Gutzler earned her MBA from Fontbonne University.
Johnson is a life-long community leader and justice advocate in her congregation. Her journey started with her parents, one of the thousands who fled the Mississippi Delta in hopes of a safer, better life for their children. The family settled in St. Louis, where she enrolled in Catholic Schools and became Catholic. She currently belongs to Our Lady of the Holy Catholic Church in Baden, Mo. She sits on many committees, including the Environmental Justice committee, All Things New Committee, Evangelization Committee, North City Deanery Interracial Committee, Racial Harmony Committee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Black Catholic Conference Committee of St. Louis, and Catholic Witnesses for Racial Justice. She is also a 20-plus year member of Metropolitan Congregations United of St. Louis and is a board member of MCU. She has served on the Environmental Justice team, Communication team, Money team, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline team. She was an Early Childhood Educator, and a Parent Educator for St. Louis City Public Schools and later for Riverview Garden Schools.
Ector Olivares is the manager of the Catholic Charities of Stockton's Environmental Justice Program. This is the only Environmental Justice Program nation-wide that is part of a Catholic Charities. He supervises teams that work in San Joaquin County and also Stanislaus County. He also provides the Diocese and the Bishop with recommendations on environmental issues. Ector served six years in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in Missouri and South Korea. After his service, he attended San Joaquin Delta College where he received his A.A. in Criminal Justice. From there, he attended CSU Sacramento where he received his BS in Criminal Justice. He then worked for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office as a Victim Advocate and at the Women’s Center Youth and Family Services as the manager of the Safety Net program.
Laudato Si' Action Platform Goal "Ecological Economics"
Garlow co-founded the Francesco Collaborative, inspired by Pope Francis’s Economy of Francesco movement. Through her work, she supports protagonists of transformation that seek to draw on shared lineages of faith, spirituality, and wisdom to shape the economy. Elizabeth previously championed and led impact investing for the Lumina Foundation and co-founded a Detroit- based non-profit, Michigan Corps, which supported social entrepreneurs. She studied political economy at Kalamazoo College, completed her graduate work in public policy and economics at Princeton University, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in 2019.
Schneider researches and publishes on cooperatives, integral ecology, and Catholic social teaching. He is the author of Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy (Nation Books, 2018) and several book chapters, including “Slow but Sure: Cooperatives and Integral Ecology,” in Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development, ed. Jeffry Sachs et al. (Columbia University Press, 2022) and “‘Truly, Much Can Be Done!’: Cooperative Economics from the Book of Acts to Pope Francis,” in Care for the World: Laudato Si’ and Catholic Social Thought in an Era of Climate Crisis, ed. Frank Pasquale (Cambridge University Press, 2019). His articles have appeared in publications including Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and others, along with regular columns for America Magazine.
Partis leads Red Hook Initiative (RHI), which believes that social change to overcome systemic inequities begins with empowered youth. In partnership with community adults, RHI nurtures young people in Red Hook to be inspired, resilient and healthy, and to envision themselves as co-creators of their lives, community and society. Partis previously led the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI), a community-led effort to build an equitable, sustainable, and democratic local economy that creates wealth and ownership for low-income people of color—what we call economic democracy. Under his leadership, BCDI has developed a borough-wide, multi-stakeholder strategy to advance an economy that invests in human dignity, fosters community well-being, and supports a larger movement for self-determination. He worked as a Director of South Bronx Rising Together and was the Research and Policy Director at Young Movement Inc. Partis has taught over 2000 New York City students in the CUNY system. He has also taught courses on neoliberalism and 21st-century capitalism in the LIU Brooklyn Urban Studies graduate program. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in African-American/Black Studies and a master’s in anthropology from the City University of New York.
Laudato Si' Action Platform Goal "Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles"
Hinze teaches and researches in foundational and applied issues in Christian social ethics with special emphasis on the dynamics of social transformation, Catholic social thought, and economic and work justice for vulnerable women, families and groups. She is the author of Radical Sufficiency: Work, Livelihood, and a US Catholic Economic Ethic (Georgetown University Press, 2021) and Glass Ceilings, Dirt Floors: Women, Work, and the Global Economy (Madeleva Lecture Series, Paulist Press, 2015), and has published scholarly essays in books and in journals such as Theological Studies, The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, The Journal of Catholic Social Thought, and Studies in Christian Ethics. Dr. Hinze served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and presided over the Society's 2022 approved resolution to divest its endowment from fossil fuels. She earned her PhD in Christian Ethics from the University of Chicago.
Schor’s teaching and research focuses on work, consumption, and climate change. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Schor received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years in the Department of Economics. Schor’s previous books include the national best-seller The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (Basic Books, 1992), The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (Basic Books, 1998) and True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy (2011 by The Penguin Press, previously published as Plenitude). She has co-edited numerous booked including Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy (Yale University Press, 2014 with Craig Thompson) and Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the Twenty-first Century (Beacon Press, 2002 with Betsy Taylor), among others. She is the recipient of the 2011 Herman Daly Award from the US Society for Ecological Economics and has served as a consultant to the United Nations, at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, and to the United Nations Development Program.
Fuegen is a trained educator and currently works as a Senior Academic Technology Consultant at Bates College in central Maine. She has spent her personal and professional life working at the intersection of technology and education. Fuegen holds master of science degrees in education as well as instructional technology. She has a bachelor's degree from Yale University where she majored in political science and studied the origins and impacts of political violence and genocide. In her work at Bates, Fuegen guides faculty through the design of curriculum centered around inclusive pedagogies. She is a citizen of the Mohawk Nation (Kanien’kehá:ka) and grew up with a strong devotion to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Fuegen is on the Board of the St. Kateri Conservation Center and is a professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order.
Laudato Si' Action Platform Goal "Ecological Education"
Erin M. Brigham, PhD
Executive Director of the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition and affiliate faculty in the department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco
Brigham earned her PhD in systematic and philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union in 2010, when she began teaching at USF in the areas related to Catholic theology and social thought. She is the author of See, Judge, Act: Catholic Social Teaching and Service Learning, Revised Edition (Anselm Academic, 2018) and Church as Field Hospital: Toward an Ecclesiology of Sanctuary (Liturgical Press, 2022), and co-edited Women Engaging the Catholic Social Tradition: Solidarity Toward the Common Good (Paulist Press, 2022). Her research and teaching continue to focus on on the social teaching and theology of Pope Francis, and the intersections of race, gender, and poverty in Catholic social thought.
McGarey-Vasey has taught at Salpointe Catholic High School for more than 40 years. As a theology and humanities teacher, she works to help students understand Catholic ethics as a resource for discerning enacted responses to God’s love. McGarey-Vasey helped developed the Carmelite NGO's “Curriculum on Laudato Si'” and in 2018 presented the Curriculum to the Annual Administrators' Conference of the Office of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. At the 2019 MLK Classic, McGarey-Vasey was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Award given to someone who has worked tirelessly to unify the diversity of their school as well as the Southern Arizona community.
Sage Lenier is an educator-activist focused on justice-oriented environmental solutions. Her work covers the circular economy, decarbonization, degrowth, community power, food systems, sustainable development, and environmental justice. At 19-years-old, Sage began teaching her record-breaking program, Sustainable & Just Future, which has enrolled 1,800 students and counting at UC Berkeley. She has also served as communications manager at The Story of Stuff Project and Public Voices Fellow at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and The World Economic Forum, and Forbes. Time Magazine recently named Sage a 2023 Next Generation Leader for her work on climate and environmental education.
Laudato Si' Action Platform Goal "Ecological Spirituality"
Sister Ingham is an expert on the thought of Blessed John Duns Scotus. She has served as professor of philosophical theology at the Franciscan School of Theology, professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, and president of the American Catholic Philosophical Society. Sister Ingham has written several books, including Rejoicing in the Works of the Lord: The Spirituality of Beauty (Learn25, 2022) and Rejoicing in the Works of the Lord: Beauty in the Franciscan Tradition (Franciscan Institute Publications, 2009). She earned her PhD in philosophy from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Diana serves as program manager for Young Adult Mobilization with Catholic Climate Covenant. In this position, she coordinates the Common Home Corps and Wholemakers: A Journey in Ecological Conversion for Young Adults. Diana came to this position having previously worked with the Nuns and Nones Land Justice Project, convening Catholic Sisters and millennial "nones" in conversations on eco-theology and spirituality. Diana holds a master of divinity from Harvard Divinity School.
Nicholas Collura is a spiritual director and visiting retreat director at St. Raphaela Center in Haverford, PA. A board-certified chaplain, he directs a pastoral care team for a Catholic hospice organization in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and he also co-coordinates EcoPhilly, a faith-based organizing initiative dedicated to creation care in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Nicholas earned his MDiv Boston College School of Theology and is completing his Doctor of Ministry from Fordham University.
Laudato Si' Action Platform Goal "Community Resilience and Empowerment"
Fr. Baumann co-founded PICO and led the organization as the Executive Director for 36 years until his transition in 2009 to the position of Founder and PICO Director of Special Projects, which includes oversight of international work. Under John’s leadership, PICO steadily grew to serve a US network of 50 faith-based community organizations in over 150 cities in 21 states, and three international locations. Through these inter-faith, multi-ethnic organizations, more than a million families are involved in the work of community organizing to address the needs they are identifying in their local communities. Honorary degrees include Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and the University of San Francisco; and the degree of Public Service from Santa Clara University. He received the Sr. Margaret Cafferty Development of People award from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award from the Ignatian Solidarity Network.
Rev. Teña Nock is associate pastor of Digital Ministry at First United Church of Tampa. She serves as co-chair for the Care for Creation Committee within HOPE, on the Nominating Committee of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, and the Personnel Committee of PATHWAYS Theological Education Inc. She earned a BA in psychology from University of South Florida and is a graduate of PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc.
Dwayne David Paul is the Brooklyn-born son of immigrants from Trinidad & Tobago. As a theological educator and activist, his work focuses on faith, race, and justice. Dwayne’s writing has appeared in the Hartford Courant, Connecticut Mirror, America Magazine, and the National Catholic Reporter where he is a contributing writer. Dwayne is former director of the Collaborative Center for Justice and a past fellow of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary. He holds is a master's degree in philosophy and religious studies from Yale Divinity School.
Laudato Si' Action Platform Goal "Response to the Cry of the Earth"
DiLeo teaches and researches on Catholic social teaching, climate change, and Laudato Si’. He co-authored “U.S. Catholic bishops’ silence and denialism on climate change” (Environmental Research Letters, 2021), edited All Creation Is Connected: Voices in Response to Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Ecology (Anselm Academic, 2018), and has published articles in the Journal of Moral Theology, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, and Journal of Religion and Society. Since 2009, DiLeo has been a consultant with Catholic Climate Covenant. He earned his PhD in theological ethics with a minor in systematic theology from Boston College.
Dr. Martinez is an expert in climate variability and change. In the American Meteorological Society, he developed and chairs the Committee on Spirituality, Multifaith Outreach, and Science (COSMOS). He has worked to build relationships and connections between multifaith and indigenous organizations and the weather, water, and climate enterprise on environmentalism, with a steadfast commitment to increase representation and engagement with underserved voices and communities when tackling environmental issues. Dr. Martinez earned his PhD in Earth and Environmental Science from Columbia University.
Deacon Ferris is a Secular Franciscan and has served as Director of Social Action in the Diocese of Davenport since 2009. In this capacity, Deacon Ferris leads the diocese's work to implement the Laudato Si’ Action Platform. As part of this work, he is coordinating the discernment of a diocesan commitment to net zero carbon. Deacon Ferris has spoken nationally about Laudato Si' and served on the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action's Board of Directors. He holds a master's degree in counseling and college student personnel from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a master's degree in pastoral ministry from St. Ambrose University.