IC Sustainability Week brings you a wide variety of speakers who are experts in their respective field. 

Stephen Ritz

Stephen Ritz is an internationally acclaimed, award winning educator, author of best-selling book, The Power Of A Plant, and Founder of Green Bronx Machine. Known as America’s favorite teacher, Stephen is responsible for creating the first edible classroom in the world and he and his students have grown more than 65,000 pounds of vegetables in the South Bronx. Stephen’s work has been features by Forbes, Fast Company, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, TNT, Disney, NPR, and internationally from Columbia in Dubai. His TED Talk boasts more than 1 million views and ranks among the Top 10 Food/Education TED Talks of all time. Named a Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teachers Prize and one of NPR’s Fifty Great Teachers, Stephen was name 2018 Global Food Educator. Recently featured on the cover of TIME for Kids and in an Emmy Award Winning episode of PBS’s Glowing A Greener World, Stephen has presented three times at The White House, including at the inaugural South by South Lawn.


Natalie Mahowald

Natalie Mahowald received her PhD from MIT in meteorology and an MS in Natural Resource Policy from Michigan. She has spent time at Stockholm University, UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and NCAR.  She is currently the Irving Porter Church Professor of Engineering,  Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences as well as is the Faculty Director for the Environment, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University. She is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and American Geophysical Union. She was an author on the recent Special Report on 1.5, as well as the 5th Assessment Report of Working Group 1 within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.



Dr. John Makransky is offering a public talk and workshop on Sustainable Compassion Training which helps people learn to cultivate a more inclusive and replenishing power of care and compassion for self and others that is less susceptible to empathy fatigue and burnout.  This model adapts a pattern of contemplative practice seen across faith traditions into a secular and inter-religious form aligned with areas of social psychology and neuroscience.

Dr. Makransky is Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology at Boston College and Senior Academic Advisor for Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche’s Centre for Buddhist Studies in Kathmandu University, Nepal. Dr. Makransky developed the Sustainable Compassion Training model, which was incorporated into an international education initiative that was launched by the Mind and Life Institute in 2014 and continues under the Courage of Care Coalition. For the past 15 years, he has taught ways to cultivate more inclusive and sustainable compassion to educators, healthcare and mental health providers, social workers, hospice volunteers, clergy, and those who work with prisoners, at-risk youth, the hungry, and the dying. Dr. Makransky has taught contemplative workshops at numerous institutions, and he is also former president of the Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies.

John Makransky is co-founder of the Foundation for Active Compassion and of the Courage of Care Coalition.

Sponsors include IC Mindfulness and Wellness Initiative Working Group, Provost Office, Department of Media, Arts, Sciences and Studies, Dean’s Office, Park School of Communications, Center for Faculty Excellence, and Office of Religious & Spiritual Life.


Brad Edmondson

Brad Edmondson is a nationally recognized writer, conference speaker, and consultant who studies the impact of social change on business. His writing and speeches address such topics as immigration, health, population aging, and how businesses respond to poverty, climate change, and other societal problems. Brad was the editor of American Demographics magazine from 1985-1998 and vice president of ePodunk.com from 1999 to 2007. He is the author of Ice Cream Social:  The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry's (2014) and Postwar Cornell:  How the Greatest Generation Transformed a University (2016). He is now working on a book about the environmental revolution and backlash in New York’s Adirondack State Park.   




Jeff served on the Ben & Jerry's corporate board for almost 40 years, providing in house legal counsel and fostering many of the company's social initiatives. Jeff's current role in B.O.D emeritus, a role he is happy to do alongside being Vice President of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation. Jeff resides in Ithaca Where he is the president of Social Ventures, as well as a co-founder of the Community Dispute Resolution Center and a community micro-finance program. In addition, Jeff has also served on the local school board, working to eliminate race and socio-economic status as a predictor of student success, and is an advisor to the Dorothy Cotton Institute, Alliance of Family Justice, and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Alongside his other commitments Jeff is on the Board of the Oakland Institute and currently he is helping with the Poor People's Campaign.


Christopher C. Foote

Christopher has been employed with Wegman's for 29 years since High School, and has been in the current role of Sustainability Coordinator a little over 2 years. Christopher holds an AAS degree in Natural Resource Conservation and a BS in History. Chris is also an avid Fly Fisherman and Camper.