Craig S. Altemose, Executive Director – Contact Craig
Craig is an experienced, award-winning social justice activist. He has served on the governing bodies of a number of different statewide and national non-profits, written and led a successful effort to pass the nation’s most ambitious call for climate action by a state legislature, and co-founded and led Students for a Just and Stable Future, a network of students dedicating to promoting climate stability. He holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. in International Relations and Global Affairs from Eckerd College (where he served as student body president and more recently, a visiting professor).
During his graduate studies, Craig was appointed by Harvard’s president to a commission to recommend a climate action plan for the university and was appointed as the youngest member of the Massachusetts Climate Protection and Green Economy Advisory Committee by the MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to assist in the state’s development of its climate action plan. He also organized over 200 individuals to participate in a principled act of civil disobedience on the Boston Common to call for 100% renewable electricity. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he was awarded an Irvin Kaufman Fellowship to launch his public service career. Over the course of his activism, he has also received awards from Clean Water Action, the Massachusetts Climate Action Network, the Toxics Action Center, the Conservation Law Foundation, Environment Massachusetts, Alternatives for Community and the Environment, and the Sierra Student Coalition. A native of Morris Plains, New Jersey, Craig’s Presbyterian faith has led him to involve himself in a wide variety of issues to advance progress and reduce human suffering, and he ranks building a better world free from fossil fuels as his foremost priority in that continuing struggle.
Marla Marcum, Director of Programs – Contact Marla
Marla is a native of the Missouri Ozarks and a graduate of Sewanee (The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee). After college, she served as an Americorps VISTA member and VISTA Leader with Utah Campus Compact, a statewide network that links and supports Utah’s colleges and universities in promoting civic engagement and preparing students for responsible citizenship. Marla is a 2003 graduate of the Boston University School of Theology, with a Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) degree in Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics. A lifelong United Methodist, Marla is a founding member of Cambridge Welcoming Ministries and currently serves as the congregation’s Lay Leader. She is also the Director of Christian Education at Lexington United Methodist Church. Marla chairs the Climate Change Task Force of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and is co-chair of the Reconciling Ministries Committee. Marla works with other denominational leaders on the Massachusetts Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Working Group.
Knowing that what seems impossible can be accomplished through collaborations between unlikely allies, last year Marla took a leave of absence from her doctoral program in Social and Ecological Ethics at Boston University School of Theology to help develop networks of people emboldened to reject subtle climate compromises and to both demand and continue to create the solutions we need and to participate in building a movement strong enough to create a better future. Marla has been with Climate Summer since June 2009, working first as mentor and Community Outreach Coordinator (particularly finding housing for the teams), and later as the Coordinator for the 2010 program. As the Director of New England Climate Summer, Marla is excited to continue working with people all over New England who are raising the clarion call for social and ecological justice.
Vanessa Rule, Director of Community Engagement – Contact Vanessa
Since January 2007, Vanessa has been the lead coordinator of Somerville Climate Action, a community network that brings people and organizations together to build a resilient, just, and sustainable community. As an organizer, she focuses on building relationships across stakeholder groups to develop collaborative actions and projects at the intersection of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Among other groups, she has engaged with the local business and environmental justice communities in Somerville. Prior to fully devoting herself to climate issues, she worked on watershed management and multi-stakeholder involvement to address ecological issues across municipal boundaries in the greater Boston area. She holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Environmental Sciences degree in Resource Management and Administration from Antioch New England University.
Tara Escudero, Gulf Coast Coordinator – Contact Tara
Tara is from Long Island, NY and studied English and Political Science at the State University of New York at Fredonia, near Buffalo, NY. She currently lives in Houston, TX and hopes to continue her education as well as work toward a more empathetic world. Tara is an alumna of the 2011 Climate Summer program.
Ben Stumpf, Web and New Media Coordinator – Contact Ben
Ben is a high school teacher, documentary filmmaker, and web designer who has offered these skills to social justice movements for most of his adult life. He has been teaching creative technology (filmmaking, graphic and web design, animation, digital music) for over 10 years. He loves to make films that raise awareness about social causes, including time banks, local currencies, immigration policy, competition, and global warming’s effects on New England fishing. Prior to joining BFP, he was active with Somerville Climate Action and Transition Somerville, and spent 3 years at United for a Fair Economy, managing their technology and leading workshops on economic inequality.
Shea Riester, Campus Divestment Organizer – Contact Shea
Convinced that climate change is the largest looming threat to life on earth, Shea hoped on a bike to help build the climate movement with Climate Summer after graduating from Brandeis in 2012. Shea now lives in Boston and dedicates himself to supporting student fossil fuel divestment movements at as many campuses as he can muster.
Shea studied the history and theory of social movements at Brandeis, and was very involved in environmental and social justice student activism. His proudest past moments include organizing with the Occupy Wall Street movement at it’s inception and participating in the national mobilization to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. He is deeply passionate about building more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable communities that live in greater harmony with all life on Earth. He feels we must use non-violent social action now to prevent the potentially irreversible destruction of our planet due to climate change, and is ready to do whatever necessary for a more just and sustainable future for all.
Sophie Robinson, Operations Coordinator - Contact Sophie
After the realization that she could no longer pursue her intended career of becoming an environmental science teacher due to the urgency of climate change, Sophie decided to dedicate her time to building the climate change grassroots movement. She graduated from Williams College in 2011 with a degree in psychology and environmental science. Her upbringing on a southern NH organic berry farm left her with a passion for sustainable agriculture, which she pursued in her studies. Last year she lived in Nashville, and there she interned for an author writing about the growing movement of local food, and she was also an active member of Occupy Nashville. Sophie wears a lot of hats for Better Future Project, including being the media point person, overseeing 350MA logistics, coordinating outreach for our summer internship programs, and facilitating general office organization. Her favorite part of the job is getting to talk with new members of the movement over coffee to discuss how they want to use their specific skill set to enhance the movement.
Malcolm Bliss, 350MA Coordinator - Contact Malcolm
Malcolm David Bliss is a consultant and entrepreneur with a track record of building up fast-growing organizations, developing strategy for large-scale operations, and implementing enterprise technology solutions. Malcolm’s 30 years of professional experience includes awards from Inc 500, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Software 500, and academic experience from Harvard, New York, Suffolk Universities and Union College. He has served in executive roles and advised a wide range of clients including Pfizer, Ford Motor Company, AT&T, Medtronic, Liberty Mutual, and Abbott Laboratories. His written work has been published in journals such as Strategic Finance and its international affiliates. He has made video and live speaking appearances to audiences in the thousands.
As a life-long environmentalist, Malcolm became increasingly and deeply concerned with society’s lack of response to the climate crisis. His concern motivated him to become a presenter with Mass Interfaith Power and Light, affiliate with Climate Action Now, and found Fossil Fuel Divest and Boston Climate Research. In late 2012, Malcolm devoted his attention to the climate crisis full-time, and initiated volunteer work with 350MA where he became a facilitative leader. As part of his volunteer work with 359MA, Malcolm took the divestment campaign to faith organizations, governments, and pensions. He organized meetings and trainings; helped develop the organizational structure of the network; supported legislative and media activity; and built individual and organizational relationships across the state. As a member of the Better Future Project Staff, Malcolm serves as state-wide coordinator for 350MA.
Malcolm believes that although the climate crisis holds severe and unavoidable consequences for all life on earth, that humanity will eventually create a just and stable future beyond fossil fuels. He is dedicated to mitigating the consequences of the climate crisis and working to achieve that future. Malcolm and his family make their home in the Porter Square area of Cambridge Massachusetts.
Dorian Williams, Natural Gas Organizer - Contact Dorian
Dorian is originally from Chicago is but warming up to New England, where she currently attends Brandeis University and expects to graduate in May 2013 with a major in Anthropology. After beginning to internalize the severity of climate change during her first year of college, Dorian found an organizing home and community with Students for a Just and Stable Future (SJSF). Since 2010, Dorian has contributed, led and supported a number of grassroots campaigns to fight fossil fuels and support a transition to renewable energy. While daunted by the urgency with which we must tackle this issue, Dorian is also emboldened by the recent successes and momentum of the climate and energy justice movement. As we stand at the threshold for change, Dorian believes grassroots groups like Better Future Project will play a pivotal role in achieving that change and is excited to be a member of the team.
A proud New Englander, Beth grew up in southern New Hampshire,attended Harvard University, and now lives in Jamaica Plain— although she did spend a year away getting her master’s degree at Trinity College Dublin. For the past eight years, she has worked as a writer and editor for a range of clients, including Sesame Workshop, the University of Kentucky, and the Navy. She became a member of 350.org in 2010 and was excited to join 350MA last year. She is also an active member of Boston Climate Action Network (BostonCAN), where she writes blog posts and helps put out the organization’s newsletter. She is inspired by students’ fossil fuel divestment campaigns and eager to help Divest Harvard share its powerful message with the Harvard community.
A native Mainer of many generations and a proud New Englander, Joshua has lived, worked, and studied in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. After nine years of work in academic libraries, he is excited to work in the climate justice movement, and to return to satisfying his deeper passions for promoting a more peaceful, compassionate, and dignified society.
Ken Ward has over thirty years experience in organization building and campaigning. He was senior staff for the State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), where he served as Executive Director of New Jersey and Rhode Island PIRGs, and co-founded U.S. PIRG, the Fund for Public Interest Research, Green Corps, Public Interest Graphics and the National Environmental Law Center, for which he served as President. Ken was Deputy Director of Greenpeace USA, Director of Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living, and co-founder and general contractor for the Jamaica Plain Green House, a regional hub for 350.org campaigning.
In 2006, Ken convened the Bright Lines project, a network of senior environmentalists critical of the dominant US climate strategy, and wrote A Response to the Death of Environmentalism and the Bright Lines Climate Strategy, both published on Grist.org, which outline approaches Ken is currently pursuing as a Fellow, such as the recently launched Metro Boston Climate Defense.
Ken is a graduate of Hampshire College and attended Andover Newton Theological School as a Special Student.
Elana Sulakshana, Organizing Intern
Sulakshana is a high school senior in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Last summer she worked with Reclaim our Beaches and a collective of environmental activists in Chennai, India, which inspired her to take action in her hometown. She is very concerned about climate change and the future of the planet and plans to study environmental science in college.
Wuzhou Yang, Research & Policy Intern
Wuzhou comes from China originally. He is very interested in the renewable energy related areas and wants to dedicate himself into the sustainability and green energy fields. He was very excited to study in the Energy Systems program at Northeastern University. After 2 years of hard work, he graduated from Northeastern with with a Master degree in Energy Systems in May, 2012. He is working as a research intern at Better Future Project on the coal-free Massachusetts campaign.