How cities are removing barriers to acting on climate

October 18 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Avogadro’s Number, 605 S Mason St, Fort Collins

While 80% of Fort Collins residents support the City taking action on climate, many residents and businesses question what actions they can take that would be simple, cost-effective, and align with their values. Join us as we hear from key leaders from Fort Collins, Hawaii, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network on practical solutions anyone can take to act on climate, and how cities locally and globally are removing barriers for action.


Michael Shank – Communications Director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. Michael is the communications director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. In this role, Michael supports alliance and network members’ efforts to communicate ambitious climate action to the public, the press and other policymakers. As a climate communicator, Michael’s past clients include the United Nations and its member states, the U.S. Congress and Administration, and the Vatican, as well as leaders in the subnational space, such as the B Team, We Mean Business, Under 2 MOU and The Climate Group. Michael’s Ph.D. is in climate conflict; he teaches sustainable development and climate security graduate classes at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs.

Ben Sullivan – Energy and Sustainability Manager in Kauai County, Hawaii. Ben leads the sustainability efforts of Kauai County, including efforts to plan, develop, implement and monitor programs designed to deliver effective energy management within County of Kauai. Creation of a new Departmental Energy Planning Program to bring about cultural change & embed energy management into government operations. Facilitate long term energy reduction and renewable energy goals through increased collaboration and strategic planning across Kauai’s energy sector.

Justin Gruenstein – Deputy Director of the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency in Honolulu. Justin was appointed Deputy Director on July 1, 2017. In this capacity, he also serves as the city’s Deputy Chief Resilience Officer. Previously, he was the Executive Assistant to Mayor Kirk Caldwell responsible for policy matters relating to the environment, sustainability, and emergency management. He also served as the emergency coordinator for the Office of the Mayor and Managing Director, acting as the Mayor’s liaison to various emergency management agencies. Before joining the City and County of Honolulu, Justin spent five years in government relations with the County of Maui Mayor’s Office and an international civil engineering firm. Early in his career, he was a legislative assistant and policy analyst at the Washington State Legislature, where he served on the staff of both the chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Water Committee and House Speaker Pro Tem. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he is an alumnus of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Michele Betsill – Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University. Michele joined the CSU Political Science faculty in 2000 after receiving her PhD at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She teaches courses in international relations and environmental politics. Her research on transnational environmental governance explores the role of non-state and sub-national actors in creating new mechanisms for steering society towards a more sustainable future. Although most of her work has focused on climate change, she has recently become interested in issues of natural resource extraction and marine conservation. She is also the founder and co-leader of the Environmental Governance Working Group at CSU, a multi-disciplinary research community of faculty and graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and the Warner College of Natural Resources and a member of the Earth System Governance project’s scientific steering committee.


Lindsay Ex – Climate Program Manager, City of Fort Collins. Lindsay Ex, AICP and LEED Green Assoc., is the Climate Program Manager for the City of Fort Collins, where she leads the systematic implementation of Fort Collins’ ambitious climate action goals of a 20% reduction below 2005 levels, 80% below by 2030, and to be carbon neutral by 2030. Lindsay has over 17 years of experience in both the public and private sectors implementing planning and sustainability efforts in Colorado, Utah and Alaska. She serves on the Board of the Sustainability Living Association, and is always trying to find ways to get her three-year old twins out into nature or helping with their one-acre urban farm just outside of town. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning degree from Utah State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources Management from Oregon State University.

How cities are removing barriers to acting on climate


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