contesting the Daring Debates Global Finale on 16 November 2020, during the Awards Week of the Global Sustainability Film Awards 2020:
The first USA Chapter of Daring Debates hosted online in partnership with Eco Logic on 24 October 2020 saw shortlisted contestants from across the states debating the motion:
Subverting Democratic Processes to respond to the Existential Threat of the Climate Crisis is Justified
photo: Manhattan Bridge, New York, USA by Patrick Tomasso
Associate Attorney, Earthjustice
Surbhi Sarang is an Associate Attorney at Earthjustice, the premier non-profit environmental law organization in the US. She works to make the US food system more just, sustainable, and climate-friendly. After receiving her law degree from Columbia Law School in 2016, she immediately put it to use working alongside overburdened communities on local environmental justice issues in New York City. Before joining Earthjustice, she worked on national climate and clean air issues at the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington D.C. Surbhi received her B.A. in Mathematics from Oberlin College. She is based in New York City.
Research Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Science and Democracy
Jacob Carter is a research scientist for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In this role, Dr. Carter investigates how science is used in the policy-making process, focusing on issues of scientific integrity across the federal government.Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Carter worked at the Environmental Protection Agency as an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Postdoctoral Fellow. At the EPA, Dr. Carter integrated the effects of climate change into estimates of future coastal inundation on contaminated lands, such as brownfields and superfund sites, to help guide decisions on adaptation efforts that could better protect nearby communities from the spread of dangerous contaminants during future floods. He also helped model greenhouse gas emissions for the siting of renewable energy installations on green space versus contaminated lands as part of his work with EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative. Prior to his postdoctoral position, Dr. Carter was at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he helped establish an interagency task force on improving the health of honey bees and other pollinators, planned the planting of the first pollinator garden on the south lawn of the White House, and also worked on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.Dr. Carter has a B.S. in biology from the University of Central Arkansas, and an M.S. in biology from Kansas State University. He earned a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology and a graduate-level certificate in environmental studies from the University of Kansas.
Attorney, EDF, Energy Markets & Utility Regulation
Advocate Sudhir Mishra is one of the leading Environmental lawyers in India. He is also the founder of Trust Legal which is India’s leading Environment, Healthcare, Media and Broadcasting law firm. Adv Mishra heads the Asia Pacific region for its Environment, Health and Safety Law Committee. He has also been appointed as the “India Coordinator” and “Co-chair” of the International Section and is on the advisory board of India’s leading business magazine, Business World and Exchange4Media. Adv Mishra had been selected for one of United State Government’s most prestigious professional exchange programs for foreign opinion makers called International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP). In 2005, Mr. Mishra was appointed as Member, by Government of India, in two separate National Level Consultative Groups on Forest and wildlife. He is also a member of the Advisory Group for conservation of Lions in the State of Gujarat. In 2013, he was awarded as the ‘Best Environmental Lawyer of the Year’ by Legal Era Magazine in collaboration with CNBC TV 18 and Business Standard Newspaper.
Senior Manager, Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland
Christina Bowman is the senior manager at the Center for Global Sustainability. Her work focuses on climate and energy policy and equity issues. Her work spans across the Center portfolio to manage high-level deliverables and partnerships across the portfolio, as well as develop and align new projects and initiatives.
Previously she worked on clean energy for low-income communities at the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Clean Energy Savings for All Americans initiative, and at the International Council on Clean Transportation, and interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with a previous background in business management.
She was a 2018 Clean Energy Leadership Institute Fellow and serves on the DC Leadership Team, the 2015 finalist in the inaugural DC Climathon competition, and has contributed to the Huffington Post. She holds a Master of Public Policy with a specialization in Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland.
Co-Founder, Climate Defense Project
Ted is a co-founder and staff attorney with the Climate Defense project, which represents climate change activists engaged in civil disobedience and provides legal support to the climate justice movement. He’s also a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at Yale and an attorney working on climate change and social movement support. His book Beyond Fossil Law will be released by OR Books in early 2021.
Senior Staff Attorney Environmental Justice Program, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
Christine Appah is a senior staff attorney in the Environmental Justice Program. Her work focuses on urban environmental health issues and sustainability. Her dedication to environmental justice was inspired by her work in an undergraduate research program on childhood asthma rates and air quality at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society where she worked to preserve safe and affordable housing for vulnerable families. As a staff attorney, Christine engaged in litigation, legislative advocacy and community outreach. Prior to joining NYLPI, Christine served as a regional director at the New York State Division of Human Rights. Christine graduated magna cum laude from The City College of New York and earned her law degree from Duke University School of Law.
Victoria Bogdan Tejeda
Associate Attorney, Earthjustice
Victoria Bogdan Tejeda joined Earthjustice in 2018. Her work focuses on representing community and environmental groups against polluting industries, such as petrochemical facilities and waste incinerators.
Victoria is a 2017 graduate of U.C. Davis School of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of Environs Environmental Law and Policy Journal. During law school she clerked with Earthjustice’s California office and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resources enforcement division. After graduation, she was a legal fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity, fighting the leasing of Western public lands for oil and gas development, assisting communities opposing fossil fuel infrastructure, and defending against the attempted rollback of federal environmental laws.
For nearly a decade before becoming a lawyer, Victoria wrote grants and consulted for environmental and social justice nonprofits. She also co-founded and led the group Nerds for Nature, which focused on bringing together scientists, activists, and community members to develop creative solutions to San Francisco Bay Area environmental concerns.
NE Regional Communications Strategist, Earthjustice
As an advocate of environmental justice and communicator, Nydia serves as a liaison to members of the press and Earthjustice’s environmental and legal advocacy. Based in NYC, she is engaged in both federal and northeast state-level cases and issues with a focus on clean energy, pesticides, and agriculture as it pertains to the climate crisis. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and with over 7 years of political experience in Washington, D.C., Nydia collaborates with organizations and coalitions to solidify legal and legislative actions with calls to improve quality of life for communities across our nation and the environment. As a steward of the outdoors with a passion for camping, birding, and biking, Nydia has spent significant time out in nature camping in over 15 states and counting.
Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice
Julian Gonzalez serves as Earthjustice’s water policy lobbyist as a part of the Healthy Communities team in Washington, D.C. Before joining Earthjustice, Julian worked for GreenLatinos, handling water and oceans policy development, advocacy, and outreach to help ensure Latinx perspectives on water issues were reflected in Washington. Prior to joining GreenLatinos, Julian worked on Clean Water Act implementation issues for the Association of Clean Water Administrators, serving as a liaison between state agency leadership and their federal counterparts in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and between various states themselves.
Originally from the Bronx, New York City, Julian’s environmentalist journey began with frequent trips to the Bronx Zoo and volunteering with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. Along the way, Julian received a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Biology and Management from the University of Delaware and a J.D. from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in Washington. Julian also serves as a board member for the Hispanic Bar Association of Washington, D.C. Outside of work, Julian can usually be found playing basketball all over D.C., watching New York sports teams, cooking, or walking his dog Misty.
Paralegal, Harmon Linder & Rogowsky
Geo has participated in Policy Debate for over a decade, starting his career in middle school for the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice where he was awarded semifinalist of the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) in 2008. In 2013 he reached the double octofinals of the Tournament of Champions (TOC) and in his senior year of high school was a semifinalist at the National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) in 2014. Before completing his B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies at the University of Iowa he and his partner Sam Gustavson and the team of Brooke Kimborough and Coco Christopherson closed out the Cross Examination Debate Association championship in 2018 making it the first close out in several years at CEDA. He has also been awarded the All-American debate award and the Brian "baby jo" Johnston Outstanding Debater Award.
Attorney and Policy Advisor