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Building a Sustainable Present: What can one person do?

Being More Not Having More

A special panel discussion on sustainability and change held Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at The University of Toledo.

Looking at sustainability, this panel of experts shared work being done at various levels from the grassroots to the global.  The new UN Sustainable Development Goals and current issues of sustainability were introduced from a wide angle down to the individual.  Illuminating both challenges and solutions to sustainability, stories of individual actions in creating sustainable change were also shared to help us answer the question, what can one person do?


Elizabeth Harris, Glass City Goat Gals
Dr. Andy Jorgensen, UT Associate Professor of Chemistry & Environmental Sciences
Melissa Greene, Lucas County Sustainability Commission
Alicia Jimenez, Earth Charter International
Respondent: Barbara Jenkins, SGI-USA - Vice Women's Division Leader

(click here for panelist bios)

click here to download a poster of the event * 

Event Recording


This panel coincided with the hosting of the "Seeds of Hope" exhibit created by Soka Gakkai International in partnership with Earth Charter International, as a resource for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).  The exhibit is on display this semester in the Carlson Library. 

Presented by The Peace Education Initiative in partnership with Earth Charter InternationalSoka Gakkai International,Toledo Botanical Garden - Toledo GROWs programToledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission, and The University of Toledo’s Seed Initiative.

Panelist Bios

Alicia Jimenez, Earth Charter International

Alicia Jimenez has been working in conservation and sustainable development field since 1998, after she graduated as a biologist from the University of Costa Rica. She worked several years in IUCN Mesoamerica’s Regional Office and then started a professional services co-op called Coopesolidar, based in San Jose, Costa Rica. She also worked at the National University of Costa Rica. As part of these previous work experiences she did extensive field work in community-conservation projects, and environmental education processes, in Costa Rica and occasionally in other Central American countries. In 2006 she joined the ECI Secretariat, and is in charge of promoting as widely as possible the Earth Charter, especially in Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific. In addition, she is involved with the Secretariat’s projects on education for sustainable development. Currently, she is IUCN CEC national activator for Costa Rica. Alicia has a MSc on Resource Development from Michigan State University. She is from Costa Rica.

Dr. Andy Jorgensen, UT Associate Professor of Chemistry & Environmental Sciences

In 2008-9 Dr. Andy Jorgensen spent a sabbatical leave as Senior Fellow at the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE).  He developed climate change curricular materials in collaboration with NCSE’s Council of Environmental Deans and Directors.  The result is a web-based repository with over 1,400 resources for students and educator.  His work on climate change education has been supported by NASA and NSF.  In 2013 he received an American Chemical Society-Committee on Environmental Improvement Award for Incorporating Sustainability into Chemistry Education and in 2012 was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.  He has received a University of Toledo Outstanding Teaching Award and was twice appointed as a Master Teacher in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Melissa Greene, Lucas County Sustainability Commission

Melissa Greene serves as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Lucas County Commissioners Office. Her responsibilities include serving as chair of the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission, planning and facilitating sustainability workshops and seminars, and promoting and improving sustainability within Lucas County. Melissa is also responsible for the management and implementation of the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Plan. Through her leadership role on the Sustainability Commission, Melissa is responsible for coordinating the efforts the group as well as public outreach and education. A lot of her time is dedicated to improving water quality in the region including work on drinking water protection planning and green storm water infrastructure projects. She has six years of experience implementing sustainability initiatives at the university level. Melissa has continued to effectively provide sustainability expertise to the citizens and municipalities in Lucas County. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy & Analysis and a Masters of Public Administration degree specializing in Environmental Management. She earned both of her degrees from Bowling Green State University.

Elizabeth Harris, Glass City Goat Gals

Elizabeth Harris has an extensive background in education.  Receiving a Bachelor’s in Education with a minor in psychology from Bowling Green State University.  Also a graduate of Owens Urban Agriculture program. She has worked with organizations such as, Toledo Public Schools, Boys and Girls Club, Wayman Palmer YMCA, and presently working as the Community Garden Liaison. She is very involved with her community leading an area wide youth initiative along with the Cherry Street Legacy

Last Updated: 6/9/16