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Resilience Roundtable: Linking Equity, Research, and Implementation – Climate Planning in Austin
January 19 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Planet Texas 2050 invites you to a semester-long Resilience Roundtable panel discussion series featuring leaders across the academic, non-profit, government, advocacy, and commercial sectors. Roundtables will include 2-3 speakers and a moderator from the Planet Texas 2050 leadership team and will be organized around topic areas drawn from the City of Austin’s climate equity plan as well other topics that intersect with the issues of resilience, climate justice, disaster response, biodiversity, environmental humanities, and more. Each panel discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A session and collective brainstorming towards continued action.
Panel Discussion One: Linking Equity, Research, and Implementation: Climate Planning in Austin
In this first edition of our Resilience Roundtable series, our panelists will provide the backstory for how Austin’s climate equity plan came together and ways in which researchers and local communities can be involved to help ensure equity throughout the plan’s implementation process. The format includes time for Q&A and a generative discussion towards brainstorming ideas for action. You can register here.
Zach Baumer is the Climate Program Manager at the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability. There he leads the City of Austin’s Climate Program, providing strategic direction to meet the city’s goal of net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Zach has been with the City of Austin since 2011, with prior experience working in the environmental consulting industry, primarily assisting large industrial clients with environmental data management, greenhouse gas inventories, and sustainability planning. Zach is a LEED Accredited Professional with an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. Zach is a native of Indianapolis and holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.
Celine Rendon is passionate about sustainability education and racial equity. She is the Texas Project Specialist at EcoRise where she supports the utilization of GIS mapping and data visualization to build coalitions at the local, state and national level and identify strategies for effectively serving marginalized communities. Prior to joining EcoRise, Celine was the Community Engagement Specialist with the Office of Sustainability, supporting the development and community involvement of Austin’s 2021 Climate Equity Plan. Celine has a BS in Environmental Science and a Bridging Disciplines certificate in Public Policy from the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, Celine enjoys film photography, gardening, and DIY projects.
Miriam Solis, PhD, MCP, is an Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on infrastructure planning and design. She is on the leadership team of Planet Texas 2050, UT’s campus-wide grand challenge research initiative. In 2020, she served on the City of Austin Climate Equity Plan Sustainable Building’s committee. Raised in California’s Central Valley, Dr. Solis is a first generation college graduate and the proud daughter of working-class Mexican immigrants. She received her doctorate in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to her faculty appointment, Dr. Solis was a Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellow, and worked for the cities of San Francisco, New York, and Richmond, CA.
Shane Johnson is the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter’s Clean Energy Distributed Organizer, primarily supporting community pressure to transition cities in Texas to be powered by clean, renewable energy, as well as leading organizing at the state-level to fix the Texas grid. Shane was the lead organizer for the #FixTheGrid People’s Hearing that provided a platform for Texans to tell Texas’s so-called leaders what they lived through during the February black outs, and he subsequently led a Town Hall and a rally to pressure the Public Utility Commission to start listening to the public to actually “fix” the Texas grid. Recently, Shane served as a co-chair of the Steering Committee of the City of Austin’s ambitious Climate Equity Plan, propelling a shift in city planning to center racial equity to begin addressing climate change’s root causes like systemic racism. Outside of his day-job, Shane served as a volunteer on Austin Justice Coalition’s policy team that helped win crucial and unprecedented victories in Austin to fight against police brutality and for systemic criminal justice reform—experience that is actually crucial to fight the climate crisis and fix the Texas grid. Shane grew up in North Austin and Pflugerville, trying to practice the ideal of working in your own communities first.