EcoWatch is a Cleveland-based nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting the voice of the grassroots environmental movement and mobilizing millions of people to engage in democracy in pursuit of a sustainable future.
EcoWatch, founded in 2006 by executive director Stefanie Penn Spear, publishes the bimonthly newspaper EcoWatch Journal that is distributed for free throughout Ohio with a readership of more than 100,000 per issue. EcoWatch Journal provides a venue for environmental organizations to get their news out to a broad audience and motivates individuals to become engaged in their community, adopt sustainable practices and support strong environmental policy.
EcoWatch’s Next Generation program encourages students to be good stewards of the planet by providing free copies of EcoWatch Journalto teachers grades 6-12. This program gives teachers a tool in the classroom to teach students about the solution-based sustainability projects happening in their region, and encourage them to become engaged in their community by being environmental leaders in their school, home and neighborhood.
Matthew J. Castelli – Matt is the Director of Human Resources for the Retail Division of Darice, the leading wholesaler/retailer of craft supplies in the United States. He is responsible for directing and establishing Human Resources policies and procedures for over 30 retail locations and 1000 employees throughout the Midwest. Matt is also a Councilman for the city of Middleburg Heights where his dedication to the environment is evidenced through his introduction of a Green Building Policy, his revision of guidelines for storm water management to help reduce pollution and increase green space, and his desire to continually promote energy efficiency and environmental awareness. Matt graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and has served on a variety of community, educational and non profit advisory councils and boards. He resides in Middleburg Heights with his wife Kristen, daughter Marcella and son Pete.
James R. Leikin, Treasurer – Jim is currently working in a private practice in Beachwood, Ohio in the field of public accounting. He earned his BS in Accounting at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has been practicing in his profession for twenty four years in the Cleveland Area. He is currently involved with many non-profit agencies in helping with their accounting and tax filings. It is his hope that his expertise will be useful to this organization through his participation on the board.
Oakland Lewis - Oakland moved to the Cleveland area November of 2001 from New York City. Wanting to get involved with the local community he became an active member in his daughter’s PTA. He eventually became the president of the PTA and led the team to two successful years. After his daughter changed schools Oakland again became very active in the PTA and was the VP in charge of fundraising. Here too he had two very successful years bringing in more funds year over year. While working on a school levy Oakland was approached by someone form the mayor’s office to sit on the Cable Commission. Eventually Oakland became a very active member of the cable commission in Euclid. After the budget cuts and the recent economic upheaval, the commission was disbanded. Having some time on his hand, and being a financial coach, Oakland started volunteering his time as a financial coach to certain families at the YMCA. Eventually he was approached by the director to be part of the advisory board. Today Oakland is a very active member of the advisory board. He heads up the Membership and Program committee. This committee is charged with getting the right programs in place and keeping the members engaged. He is also actively working on the goal to raise 30K for the Strong Kids campaign. This campaign raises money to help with scholarships for families who cannot afford the membership fee. Oakland lives in Euclid with his wife Robin and daughter Bryce. He enjoys learning new things, languages, cooking and traveling to name a few.
Steven Newman – Steve is the Program Director for the non-profit organization United Labor Agency. The United Labor Agency mission is to strengthen the community by focusing the resources, compassion and commitment of the labor movement. For the past ten years, he has been fortunate to have the opportunity to work in many different facets within the Ohio community. His main duties include grant writing and creating partnerships and alliances with other organizations to help people that struggle with their employment needs. Steve received a Masters degree from the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western University. He loves the outdoors and wants to do what he can to help protect it. Steve lives in northeast Ohio with his lovely wife Tracey and two small children Eli and Sophie.
Ann-Marie Potemski, Secretary – Ann-Marie is Client Delivery Manager for Xerox Corporation. With over 16 years of experience with Xerox, focusing on the healthcare industry, Ann-Marie is skilled in all aspects of account management including strategic planning, new product/services development and lead generation. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Sales Marketing and Personnel Management from the University of Akron. Ann-Marie’s passions include community involvement and sustainability. Ann-Marie has coordinated events and raised thousands of dollars for countless organizations as the Xerox Community Involvement Coordinator. Some of the organizations supported: Benny Cowgill Foundation, Genesis House, Haven of Rest Ministries, Special Olympics, Dancing Wheels, Toys for Tots, City Mission, Heart and Hand, March of Dimes, Special Olympics and many others. Other professional organization involvement includes: YWCA, WIN, Toastmasters International, Pi Sigma Epsilon and American Production & Inventory Control Society.
Thomas J. Quinn – Tom worked as a reporter, editor and columnist in his 41-year career at The Plain Dealer. He also served in Vietnam as an army correspondent and photographer. He won awards in breaking news writing in police and courts coverage and in investigative reporting on medical care and public transit. He worked as a TV-radio columnist and assistant state editor and also covered suburbs, education, energy and environment. In 2005, he initiated and contributed to a six-month series, Crude Awakening, which detailed a coming worldwide energy crisis. The staff-produced series won state and national awards, including the Excellence in Journalism Award from the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation. The Columbia Journalism Review featured Tom in a 2005 article entitled, “Working the Fringes,” which detailed how his news-gathering style led to the Crude Awakening series. In 2007, Tom joined the EcoWatch board and staff and now serves as senior editor of EcoWatch Journal.
Michelle Sheehan – Michelle is a partner at the law firm Reminger Co., LPA. She concentrates her legal practice on litigation including insurance coverage matters, government liability, premises liability, and appellate advocacy. In addition to handling civil jury trials in state and federal court, she routinely argues cases before the state and federal appellate benches. She is also a frequent lecturer for professional associations and continuing legal education seminars dealing with insurance coverage and risk management issues. Michelle is actively involved in the community. She has served as President of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, serves on the Visiting Committee to the Dean of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, the Board of Trustees for the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association and the Rocky River Civil Service Commission. She has also spearheaded many new projects for the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Assoc. and other organizations in town. Michelle is an avid environmentalist and actively involved in sustainability projects in Cleveland. She earned her B.A. in Public Administration from Miami University and J.D. degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Florida.
Jeff Smith, President – Jeff is a partner in the firm of Fisher & Phillips LLP where he practices ERISA / employee benefits law on behalf of employers. His practice includes representing employers in all matters related to employee benefits, including retirement plans, health plans, multiemployer pension plan issues and non-qualified deferred compensation issues. Jeff also assists nonprofit organizations in tax matters. He earned his Bachelor of Science in mathematics and economics from Baldwin-Wallace College and then received his law degree from Case Western Reserve University. Jeff is also a member of Symphony West Orchestra, where he plays the violin.
Eileen Victoriano – Eileen is a Manager within Ernst & Young’s Advisory Services. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Management Information Systems from Miami University. Eileen has managed projects at global businesses to promote efficiencies, strategically align IT with their business and implement compliance policies and/or processes. She also holds her CISA (certified information systems auditor). Eileen’s interest in green initiatives stems from an appreciation of nature and sustaining a clean environment for our future generations. She is an advocate for the revitalization efforts of Northeast Ohio and member of the City Club’s Young Leaders.
Kerry Watterson — A native of New York City with family roots in Cleveland, Kerry joined McDonald Partners from UBS Financial Services in 2009. Prior to UBS, Kerry served as vice president of investor relations for Teligent Inc. in Washington, DC.
Earlier in his career, Kerry was a member of the corporate finance department at E. F. Hutton & Company Inc. in New York, working on a wide range of public and private securities offerings. He subsequently spent over 10 years in the telecommunications industry in senior financial positions.
He has more than 20 years of finance and capital markets experience, and has served as an adjunct instructor of finance in bachelor's and master's degree granting programs at Lorain County (Ohio) Community College
Kerry started his professional career as a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard, serving on active duty for five years in operational and staff positions.
He holds an MBA in finance from Columbia University, and is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy with a BS in management.
He is also a member of the boards of directors of The United States Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, Rivergate Foundation and The Cleveland Rowing Foundation, and is a past member of the boards of The Cleveland Music School Settlement and The Intermuseum Conservation Association.
He resides in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with his wife Joann and their daughter Olivia.
By Astrid Caldas
As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it.
A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. NOAA
The updated 2020 Atlantic hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms. NOAA
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dana Drugmand
An unprecedented climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths is to be fast-tracked at Europe's highest court, it was announced today.
The European Court of Human Rights said the case, which accuses 33 European nations of violating the applicants' right to life by disregarding the climate emergency, would be granted priority status due to the "importance and urgency of the issues raised."
‘Protect Our Future’<p>Cláudia Agostinho (21), Catarina Mota (20), Martim Agostinho (17), Sofia Oliveira (15), André Oliveira (12) and Mariana Agostinho (8) are <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/09/03/youth-climate-lawsuit-portugal-33-european-countries" target="_blank">bringing the case</a> with nonprofit law firm Global Legal Action Network (<span style="background-color: initial;">GLAN</span>), arguing that none of the countries have sufficiently ambitious targets to cut their emissions.</p><p>Portugal recently sweltered through its <a href="https://www.ipma.pt/pt/media/noticias/news.detail.jsp?f=/pt/media/noticias/textos/resumo-clima-julho-20.html" target="_blank">hottest July in 90 years</a> and has seen a rise in devastating heatwaves and wildfires over recent years due to rising temperatures. Four of the applicants live in Leiria, one of the regions worst-hit by the forest fires that killed more than 120 people in 2017. </p><p>Responding to the development, André Oliveira, 12, said: "It gives me lots of hope to know that the judges in the European Court of Human Rights recognise the urgency of our case." </p><p>"But what I'd like the most would be for European governments to immediately do what the scientists say is necessary to protect our future. Until they do this, we will keep on fighting with more determination than ever."</p>
‘Highly Significant'<p>The decision represents a "highly significant" step, <a href="https://www.glanlaw.org/about-us" target="_blank">GLAN</a> Director Dr. Gearóid Ó Cuinn said in a <a href="https://youth4climatejustice.org/" target="_blank">press release</a>.</p><p>"This is an appropriate response from the Court given the scale and imminence of the threat these young people face from the climate emergency," he added. </p><p>By suing the 33 countries all together, the youths aim to compel these national governments to act more aggressively on climate through a single court order, which would potentially be more effective than pursuing separate lawsuits or lobbying policymakers in each country.</p><p>If successful, the defendant countries would be legally bound not only to ramp up emissions cuts, but also to tackle overseas contributions to climate change including those of their multinational enterprises.</p>
‘Major Hurdle’<p>The <a href="https://youth4climatejustice.org/the-case/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">countries targeted</a> include all of the European Union member states as well as Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, none of which are currently aligned with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/paris-agreement">Paris agreement</a> target to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) and pursue a limit of 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F).<a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> </a></p><p><a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Action Tracker rates</a> most of Europe as "insufficient" in terms of its emissions reduction policies based on the Paris target, while Ukraine, Turkey and Russia are assessed as "critically insufficient" – meaning they are on track for a warming of 4 degrees C or higher.</p><p>The European Union has pledged to slash its emissions by <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/eu-climate-action/2030_ctp_en" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least 55 percent by 2030</a>. But the Portuguese youth plaintiffs are calling for cuts of at least 65 percent by 2030, a level that <a href="http://www.caneurope.org/energy/climate-energy-targets" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">European climate campaigners say</a> is necessary to meet the 1.5 degrees warming limit.</p><p> The 33 countries must each respond to the youths' complaint by the end of February, before lawyers representing the plaintiffs will respond to the points of defense. </p><p>"Nothing less than a 65 percent reduction by 2030 will be enough for the EU member states to comply with their obligations to the youth-applicants and indeed countless others," Gerry Liston, legal officer with GLAN, said in a press release.</p><p>"These brave young people have cleared a major hurdle in their pursuit of a judgment which compels European governments to accelerate their climate mitigation efforts."</p><p><span></span><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/11/29/court-advances-landmark-youth-climate-lawsuit-against-33-european-nations" target="_blank">DeSmog</a>. </em></p>
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By Liz Kimbrough
Six grassroots environmental activists will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in a virtual ceremony this year. Dubbed the "Green Nobel Prize," this award is given annually to environmental heroes from each of the world's six inhabited continents.
Kristal Ambrose, the Bahamas<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzI3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDM5NTk5MX0.fdMrrUqf0HvWq0Uh0Ii3mXxJczHPyN1jcnSsQoXoerE/img.jpg?width=980" id="b9e66" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b8b8777f7964bb7100672b3be0abf3fe" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Kristal Ambrose. Goldman Environmental Prize
Chibeze Ezekiel, Ghana<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzM2MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTgzOTE3OX0.KoEZr3oMPKbeG2uT8q-ZsGPOGtIZ3l6V6NXEK5U90FU/img.jpg?width=980" id="65224" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6ec640a8ba56a4db22b57e4f8734a7a4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Chibeze Ezekiel. Goldman Environmental Prize
Nemonte Nenquimo, Ecuador<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzM2Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzYxODYwM30.cys5ZsFGd75UcjybADGBPFt20jrzgrsFujoj_qMTK4E/img.jpg?width=980" id="96b5a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0778ab7334e3297e0ead52d5fd1499e5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Nemonte Nenquimo. Goldman Environmental Prize
Leydy Pech, Mexico<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzQwNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkzOTYzOH0.uHlN2FQoJJ_KFJWTn4oL__lDyjA0-HDnxewBhwgQRVg/img.jpg?width=980" id="9ab07" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc347126d4ce9ddbb3b9c1b4673391b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Leydy Pech. Goldman Environmental Prize
Lucie Pinson, France<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzQxMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NzE0NTU1NX0.OutmX3sfl4pMaoYssTQ4zk7Y14_hans7-Z-0B0xsjfM/img.jpg?width=980" id="4bcd7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4bff14750dc0a70fc79e9484ea2bdbd4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Lucie Pinson. Goldman Environmental Prize
Paul Sein Twa, Myanmar<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0NzQxNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDAyNjU0MH0.DHrKykngmcJyJ5rn4r91ANH7FmQ7Us6ZMEOis8yAzGY/img.jpg?width=980" id="8fa36" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0e703d62288df00931cd678c861c6e0b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Paul Sein Twa. Goldman Environmental Prize
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A large volcano in Indonesia erupted Sunday, sending a plume of smoke and ash miles into the air and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the region.
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