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Meet the SustainUS Delegation to the UN Convention on Biodiversity!

United Nations Convention on Biodiversity

Populations of wild vertebrate species fell by an average of nearly one third globally between 1970 and 2006, according to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 report issued in 2010, with the sharpest loss occurring in the tropics. In the past century, 35 per cent of mangroves, 40 per cent of forests and 50 per cent of wetlands have been lost. The change in the abundance and distribution of species, compounded by climate change, has serious consequences for human societies and is moving ecosystems ever closer to thresholds, or “tipping points”, beyond which their services will be seriously undermined.

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which has not yet been ratified by the United States, has played an important role in developing approaches to address biodiversity. However, implementation has lagged, and the world did not meet the 2010 target for reducing the loss of biodiversity.  SustainUS has had tremendous success in galvanizing support for and participation in international negotiations on climate, women's, and sustainable development issues. This delegation will start making that same impact on biological diversity issues!

SustainUS is sending its third official delegation to CBD 11 October 8-19 2012 in Hyderabad, India.

Meet our delegates!



Convention on Biodiversity Lead Delegate                  (Pennsylvania)                                                               This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was here in the Midwest – whether through conversation with her extended family of Norwegian farmers, reconstructing animals skeletons found in the woods, or training horses and teaching riding lessons – that she cultivated the fascination with relationships between humans and environments that guides her to this day. Since she began as an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College, she has drawn on theories and methodologies from a wide range of disciplines in both the natural and social sciences to study questions of agriculture, livelihoods, and environmental justice.  Field work beginning in 2002 has taken her from Lake Michigan, to the Bronx River, to the Long Island Sound, to small farms in Mexico, Ecuador, and Dominica. She has also collected testimony from female veterans of the East Timorese Resistance movement as a Research Associate with the Foundation for Post Conflict Development. Her academic work is intimately connected to her political engagement, and Emma remains devoted to community projects in several contexts. She helped to found and lead a local food rescue and redistribution program with support from Sarah Lawrence College, which received the 1st Annual Youth Award for Social Change from the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless in 2005. That same year, Emma was awarded a Morris K Udall Scholarship for dedication to the environment, and also received a Campus Ecology Fellowship from the National Wildlife Federation for ecology education and community environmental justice forums in the South Bronx, NY. Emma received an M.A. in Geography from Miami University for her work on indigenous land rights and management practices in the Carib Territory of Dominica. In 2010, she served as SustainUS Policy Advisor and Delegate to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity 10th Conference of the Parties in Nagoya, Japan where she and fellow youth representative Hirotaka Matsui (of Japan’s Eco League) delivered the Youth Opening Statement to the CBD Plenary Session. In 2012, she lead a SustainUS delegation to the 56th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-56), held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, where she presented her Citizen Science paper on gendered processes of agricultural globalization.

Emma is currently a PhD candidate pursuing a dual-degree in Geography and Women’s Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She is spending the 2012 year conducting fieldwork on the cultivation of diverse maize varieties in Mexico’s Central Highlands and studying Nahua language and culture with support from a Boren Graduate Fellowship and National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement grant.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Delegate
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a natural resources and environmental science senior at the University of Kentucky. He is currently the coordinator of the UK Beyond Coal Coalition, UK Greenthumb Environmental Group, and the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition. He serves on the board for Bluegrass Greenworks and the national Student Environmental Action Coalition. Patrick works for the UK Office of Sustainability and the UK Appalachian Center, and is heavily involved in trying to create a culture of compassion and sustainability in the heart of coal mining culture. He has been invited to speak at rallies and on panels, and has participated in meetings with current EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson as well as high ranking White House officials. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Delegate        (Fairbanks, Alaska)                                                                This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , a native New Mexican, developed a love for both nature and science at an early age. She has worked on a number of research projects including the development of microfluidic devices, analyzing the toxicity of nanoparticles, modeling historical changes in the Rio Grande, and evaluating ice break up on Alaska’s North Slope.  Her main interest, however, is the safe and equitable distribution of water resources.  In 2008 she founded the WaterCan Walk for Water in Sherman, TX to raise funds and awareness about water scarcity and sanitation issues in eastern Africa, and in 2009 she worked with Engineers Without Borders to design a water pumping system for a school in Guatemala. She also spent a semester at the American University in Dubai where she studied civil engineering as a William Jefferson Clinton Scholar.  More recently, she has developed a growing interest in climate change after working in Alaska and seeing firsthand that climate change is not some far-off hypothetical problem, but an issue that is having a significant impact on communities today.  In 2009 and 2010, she attended the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as a youth delegate.  She graduated summa cum laude from Austin College (B.A. in Math with honors), and in 2011 she completed her MS in Environmental Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.  Currently, she is working as a researcher in Fairbanks, Alaska, and in the future, she hopes to work as a liaison between scientists and policy makers to address international environmental issues.

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