Tag Archives | Sustainability

Inspire Speakers Series Presents Sustainability for All: Reimagining the Future of Black Communities

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Inspire Speakers Series Presents:
Sustainability for All: Reimagining the Future of Black Communities


The spring of 2020 launched the world and our country into a difficult and unpredictable time.  While battling a global pandemic, frontline communities are also faced with the need to continuously prepare for (and try to curb) the extreme effects of climate change at the same time we watch our nation gradually awaken to the realities and impacts of systemic racism and injustice. 


The current crises are compounding pre-existing challenges burdening our black communities as they continue to suffer disproportionately at every turn. Black communities have been infected at above average rates with COVID-19, suffer increased exposure to environmental health issues, have less access to healthy homes and schools, and are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and legislative misconduct.


While we all find ourselves asking the question, it is imperative to include and consult our marginalized communities when asking: What does a brighter future look like for Black People? 


Please join GBA for the final installment of our Sustainability for You, for Us, for All mini-series on Wednesday, September 9 from 12 – 2 p.m., presented in the spirit of our long-running Inspire Speakers Series


The event will draw connections between the built environment and racial equity and will feature a presentation by Jacqui Patterson, Senior Director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. The event will also include a panel discussion followed by a Q&A and a call to action for all participants. 


Other speakers include:

  • Emmai Alaquiva, Chief Executive Officer and President at Ya Momz House, Inc, and Emmy Award Winner
  • Alyssa Lyon, Sustainable Communities Director at Green Building Alliance
  • K. Chase Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of The Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Joylette Portlock, Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh

This event will be hosted on Zoom and recorded for future viewing. All participants must register in advance.

We hope you will join us for this important conversation!


About our Speakers:

Jacqui Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. Jacqui Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV&AIDS. Previously, she served as Assistant Vice-President of HIV/AIDS Programs for IMA World Health providing management and technical assistance to medical facilities and programs in 23 countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Patterson served as the Outreach Project Associate for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Research Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University. She also served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, West Indies.

Patterson’s publications/articles include: ”Jobs vs Health: An Unnecessary Dilemma”, “Climate Change is a Civil Rights Issue”, “Gulf Oil Drilling Disaster: Gendered Layers of Impact”, “Disasters, Climate Change Uproot Women of Color”; “Coal Blooded; Putting Profits Before People”; “Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution, Creating Jobs”: “And the People Shall Lead: Centralizing Frontline Community Leadership in the Movement Towards a Sustainable Planet”; and book chapter, “Equity in Disasters: Civil and Human Rights Challenges in the Context of Emergency Events” in the book Building Community Resilience Post-Disaster.

Patterson holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves on the International Committee of the US Social Forum, the Steering Committee for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Advisory Board for Center for Earth Ethics as well as on the Boards of Directors for the Institute of the Black World, Center for Story Based Strategy and the US Climate Action Network.



K. Chase Patterson

As a native of Pittsburgh, K. Chase Patterson began to appreciate the power of knowledge from his earliest days. After college at the University of Pittsburgh, Patterson started his professional career at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. While at the Urban League, he established that Black Male Youth Summit, now known as the Black Male Leadership Development Institute (BMLDI) and taught post-secondary prep classes at Wilkinsburg High School.

In 2015, he opened Society Men’s Grooming Lounge, an upscale barbershop in Pittsburgh’s Historic Hill District. Before becoming CEO of the Urban Academy, Chase served in several capacities, as Trustee, Business Manager, and Chief Operating Officer, and lead the rebranding and relocating the school. Now, as CEO of Pittsburgh’s oldest Charter School, the Urban Academy, Chase has the privilege of working every day to demonstrate that ALL children can learn when immersed in a rigorous, respectful, culturally relevant, and relational learning environment.

Chase served four years as General Chairman of the Pittsburgh NAACP Human Rights Dinner, was Chairman of the Chuck Cooper Foundation and the Adonai Center for Black Males, and has served on the boards of Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh NAACP, and Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project. His leadership has been recognized locally and nationally in Pittsburgh Magazine, Whirl Magazine, the New Pittsburgh Courier, Ebony Magazine, and Black Enterprise.

Chase has worked as a consultant and the Chief Diversity Advisor to the largest Panera Bread Franchisee, Covelli Enterprises, Chase served as the federal liaison to the Departments of Homeland Security, Immigration, State and Education on behalf of Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle. Chase and his son, Chase, live in Pittsburgh’s Stanton Heights community.


Joylette Portlock

Dr. Joylette Portlock is the Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, a nonprofit working to advance sustainability policies and practices in southwestern Pennsylvania. Sustainable Pittsburgh regularly works with hundreds of partners in the region — including local governments, nonprofits, and the business community — to ensure our economy is built to last and that our people and our planet thrive. Prior to her role at Sustainable Pittsburgh, Dr. Portlock served as Associate Director of Science and Research at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and as Executive Director of Communitopia, a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh that focuses on climate change communication. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in anthropology from MIT and a Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University. Her work focuses on building community around sustainability topics, with a particular interest in making important scientific, technical or complex information accessible and useful. Dr. Portlock has worked on environmental issues at the local, state, and federal level, and also currently serves on the Allegheny County Board of Health. She was an advisor to Project Drawdown, and serves in many other roles in the community, including as an advisory board member of the Black Environmental Collective. Dr. Portlock has lived and worked in the Pittsburgh region since 2007.


Emmai Alaquiva

Emmai Alaquiva, an Emmy Award-winning film director, photographer, and composer, skillfully showcases the soulful account of humanity across multidisciplinary art platforms.

Once homeless, Alaquiva shifted the trajectory of his life’s path to become one of the most distinct trailblazers in the arena of creative arts. Multi-award decorated, Alaquiva is the CEO of Ya Momz House, Inc, a digital media agency, co-founder of the Hip-Hop On L.O.C.K. youth program and curator of OpticVoices, an interactive photography exhibit.

Alaquiva hold’s a 2017 Emmy nomination his international directorial debut of the film Ghetto Steps” and was selected by the City of Pittsburgh to spearhead the Amazon Pitch Video for their second Headquarters. Moreover, Alaquiva is a Pittsburgh Business Times and SMART 50 Pittsburgh’s, “Top CEO”, appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts under Governor Tom Wolf, nationally honored as Black Enterprise Magazine’s “BE 100 Modern Men of Distinction” as well as a national BMe Community Leader recognized by President Barack Obama. Most recently, Alaquiva wrote and directed a viral PSA, “Unspeakable” which aims to amplify the voices of the Deaf, hard of hearing and those with disabilities.


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This event features female leaders in sustainability.







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GHSA K-12 Virtual Happy Hour: Climate Change Education for All!

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Green & Healthy Schools Academy K-12 Virtual Happy Hour  

Climate Change Education for All!


The science is in–the climate is changing and as educators, we need to prepare our students to be future leaders. However, many of us find it difficult to teach about climate change. The reasons are varied: the politicized nature of the topic, feeling unqualified in the content area, lack of resources or time. The truth is that informing our students about climate change is more than teaching them the science—it’s teaching them the range of solutions!  

GBA’s Teacher Cohorts are designed so every teacher of any subject area can take on the challenge of climate educationCome learn from a panel of this year’s participants about their journey designing for climate in their lessons and how to join our Pittsburgh and West Virginia cohorts next year!  The Zoom link will be sent upon registering. Contact Ellen Conrad (ellenc@gbapgh.org) with any questions.


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This event encompasses United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action and Goal 4: Quality Education.

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Bridge to 2030: Water

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The Bridge to 2030 educational series invites Pittsburgh to go deep on topics integral to the Pittsburgh 2030 District – energy, water, transportation, indoor air quality, and financing.

Jordan Fischbach of RAND will talk about how climate change exacerbates stormwater issues. We’ll also take a deep dive into how Alex Wasko & Megan Hicks, two GIS analysts at PWSA, are determining impervious surfaces in Pittsburgh, in an effort to minimize runoff in the future and collect more accurate stormwater data. Information gathered in the study will be used as background data for the upcoming stormwater fee from PWSA. Finally, we will close the event with a stormwater capture and reuse system on CMU’s campus, explained by Martin Altschul.


3:00 – 5:00 – Presentations, Panel Discussion, and Q&A
5:00 – 6:00 – Networking Reception with Appetizers!


Ballroom at Hotel Fairmont – 510 Market Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222


  • Jordan Fischbach, Ph.D. – Co-Director, RAND Climate Resilience Center
    • The Pittsburgh region is challenged by a number of stormwater impacts, including flooding and sewer overflows. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these impacts by increasing the intensity and volume of rainfall. Jordan will describe how the RAND Corporation team has been working to address this urgent planning need by evaluating the potential benefits and costs from green stormwater infrastructure across the region as well as in key City of Pittsburgh watersheds.
  • Alexandra Wasko & Megan Hicks – GIS Analysts, PWSA
    • Alex & Megan will take a dive into their GIS research determining impervious versus pervious surfaces in the region. This research will be the background PWSA’s upcoming stormwater fee.
  • Martin Altschul, P.E. – Director of Strategic Facilities Initiatives, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Martin will give us an overview on CMU’s innovative water capture system, how they treat it, and use it to supplement building’s condenser water for cooling on campus.


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The Punch List – 8/10/18

Inspired home renovation for new artists. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund granted $50,000 to The August Wilson House, one of the 16 projects they award this summer. The funds will aid in the opening of the late playwright’s home in the Hill District and be dedicated to supporting the community—especially rising artists—rather than […]

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The Punch List – 8/3/18

Plans to keep Pittsburgh’s riverfront beautiful. The Pittsburgh City Council approved the RIV – new legislation for riverfront zoning. The guidelines for the 35 miles of riverfront include restrictions for height and distance from the river for new constructions. Developers can bypass certain restrictions by offering a public feature, like affordable housing, public parks, or […]

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The Punch List – 7/27/18

Certification Central at Hazelwood Green. Remake Group will be the project director for the property that is aiming to be a “global model for sustainable development practices.” A public trail and bike- and pedestrian-friendly streets join the plans for the large public green space. The projected certifications include LEED-ND Gold, WELL Community Standards, Living Community Challenge, p4 Performance Measures, […]

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The Punch List – 7/20/18

We Pittsburghers love our parks. Preservation Pittsburgh, along with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the City are teaming up to add three Pittsburgh parks to the National Register of Historic Places. Pittsburgh’s largest – Frick Park, Highland Park which houses the Zoo and a vital water reservoir, and 124-year-old Riverview Park are all candidates. The expected one year process […]

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The Punch List – 7/13/18

Let’s get swinging along the riverfront. Izzy Rudolph of McKnight Realty Partners says his company’s renovation project of the Terminal Building (where GBA’s office lives!) is a potential spot for covered public riverfront swings. KDKA’s Ken Rice has been advocating to have these tranquil swings in Pittsburgh after seeing them along the Ohio River in Cincinnati (inspired […]

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The Punch List – 7/6/18

Hyped about faster, cleaner transportation. The first Hyperloop transit route in the U.S. will span from Pittsburgh to Chicago, and its development is quickly progressing. Consultants will soon begin environmental impact and feasibility studies, following this past year of testing in Las Vegas. The transit system is vacuum based with some propulsion, and the projected air and noise pollution is less than […]

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