Meet Philly’s new environmental justice advisory group


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The rest of the commission

The remaining 14 members of the commission include lawyers, a doctor, and a sanitation worker-turned-activist. Here they are:

Mariel Diana Featherstone is a program assistant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy.

Radika Bhaskar is an engineering professor at Thomas Jefferson University, where she has partnered with the Office of Sustainability and the Philadelphia Water Department to measure the cooling effect of small urban green spaces.

Carlos Claussell works for the global Institute for Sustainable Communities, where he supports community-led resilience work focused on the advancement of equity for communities of color. According to a biography on the Institute’s website, Claussell has experience designing public transportation and water infrastructure projects in Philadelphia and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He  worked on the city of Philadelphia’s Green City Clean Waters Plan in a role with The Nature Conservancy.

Su Ly works for the EPA, coordinating programs that help individuals, schools, local governments, and businesses become more energy-efficient or transition to renewable energy, according to a LinkedIn profile. Ly graduated from the University of Pennsylvania last year, where he studied levels of air pollution in Philly parks.

Joyce Lee is an architect and sustainable building design expert who founded the consulting company IndigoJLD Green + Health. She has worked with the Queens Botanical Gardens, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum of the American Revolution.

Nahdir Austin is a chemical engineer in vaccine manufacturing for Merck and a graduate of Drexel University, according to a LinkedIn profile.

John Armstead is an adjunct professor at Villanova, according to a LinkedIn profile, and a retired director of the EPA’s regional Land and Chemicals Division.

Terrill Haigler wears a face mask on North 17th Street
Terrill Haigler, aka “Ya Fav Trashman” organized an MLK Day cleanup on North 17th Street in North Philadelphia in 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Carolyn Moseley is executive director of the Eastwick United Community Development Corporation. She’s a vocal advocate for solutions to the chronic flooding her community has faced for decades, which climate change threatens to make worse. She has pitched her community a bold plan to move the most flood-threatened residents to higher ground within the neighborhood.

Jerome Shabazz is director of the Overbrook Environmental Education Center, located on a former brownfield site in West Philly. The organization serves environmental justice communities in three distinct ZIP codes and promotes smart growth and sustainable best practices for urban communities.

Ebony Griffin is an attorney at the Public Interest Law Center, where she supports low-income, historically disinvested communities and communities of color advocating for sustainable neighborhoods. For years she has pushed the city to make surplus land more accessible to community groups and helped gardeners stave off displacement. Griffin’s organization helped put together an online resource for navigating the legal process to secure garden land in the city.

Kintéshia Scott is an attorney at Community Legal Services’ Energy Unit, where she helps low-income Philadelphians get access to affordable water, heat, and electricity through direct legal representation and policy advocacy.

Gabriella Gabriel Paez has spent years planting trees and training other tree advocates in both English and Spanish through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Tree Tender program. Paez advised the city on the Philly Tree Plan, which aims to nearly eliminate the difference in temperature between the hottest Philadelphia neighborhoods and the citywide average and is expected to be released early this year.

Paul Devine Bottone is a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and advocate for climate action.

“While I despair over the impacts that climate change will have on those of my own and earlier generations, I am especially troubled thinking of our young people who may never know a world not beset by such chaos,” he wrote in an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer last year. “The physical and mental health risks coming to our area from scorching heat, flooded sewers, and air tainted by smoke from far-off wildfires are manifold and daunting to consider.”

Terrill Haigler is a former professional dancer and sanitation worker who gained a viral following through his Instagram account @_yafavtrashman. He now advocates for improved working conditions for sanitation workers and a stop to illegal dumping of debris in Philly neighborhoods.

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