Co-presented by Imagine 5 and Project Drawdown, this panel discussion will center underrepresented voices and delve into storytelling approaches as a tool to elevate climate solutions and inspire action. Attendees will walk away with strategies they can deploy in their own spheres of influence to utilize storytelling for hope while featuring climate heroes accelerating current solutions whose stories too often go unheard.
About The Speakers
Matt Scott - Director of Storytelling and Engagement, Project Drawdown
As director of storytelling and engagement at Project Drawdown and founding director of the Drawdown Stories program, Matt Scott (he/him) passes the mic to those who often go unheard in the climate space. Inspired by human-centered design, Matt shapes and implements the organization’s strategy for climate solutions storytelling. He is the host of the climate solutions short documentary series, Drawdown's Neighborhood. Previously Matt worked as global community director and storyteller of the world’s largest global hackathon—NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge— while also collaborating on projects with the Australian Government, USAID, the United Nations, Nike, the White House, and more.
Clara Kitongo - Tree Equity Manager, Tree Pittsburgh
Clara Kitongo lives in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh. She was born and raised in Uganda. Clara has worked in urban forestry for the last three years, focusing on engaging elementary through high school students in climate action through tree planting projects. Clara has expertise in classroom education, environmental conservation, and local government. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Maths from Chatham University and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from the Heinz School of Information Systems and Public Policy. She is the Tree Equity Manager at Tree Pittsburgh and focuses on supporting a broad spectrum of environmental justice work and community planning for climate adaptation and readiness. Clara is a musician, too, and has found ways to weave her passion for music and its ability to connect people with her work in the environmental work she does in Pittsburgh.
Josh Benitez - Co-Director, Common Ground Relief
Josh Benitez is proud to be born and raised in New Orleans, which he exemplifies in his work as co-director of Common Ground Relief, where he is helping to reach drawdown through habitat restoration, ecological education, and community aid in the place he loves. Josh describes himself as “a person who is really in love with the community, and any chance I can have to be a part of it, is what I am leaning into.” Josh cultivates this spirit through his work as a professional musician, making the essential link between ecology and art while he connects with others. Josh’s work at Common Ground Relief focuses on environmental and community stewardship in Southeast Louisiana—namely sequestering carbon through planting thousands of trees, marsh grass plugs, and Louisiana irises every year. Revitalizing native habitats and protecting coastline communities is part of a larger effort to decolonize land so that people and wildlife can thrive amid the climate crisis.
Nelson ZePequeno - Founder, Black Men With Gardens / The Nature Hood L.A
Los Angeles-based advocate for sustainable creativity and media activist Nelson ZePequeno, is the founder of viral Instagram account @BlackMenWithGardens and cofounder of the new outdoors foundation 'The Nature Hood L.A.'. His advocacy largely centers around cultivating progressive masculinity and combating misrepresentation of Black and Brown communities throughout digital media. As an artist and scenic designer he's focused on supporting the industries surrounding media productions, transition toward sustainable creativity.
Aditi Mayer - Visual Storyteller, Climate Activist, Imagine
Aditi Mayer is a visual storyteller, sustainability activist, and speaker whose explores the intersections of style, sustainability, and social justice. Her work looks at the ways we can use fashion as a tool for climate action-- championing an intersectional lens that champions both people and the planet. In 2020, she was named a National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow and spent a year in India documenting the intersections of artisans and agriculture. Her work has been celebrated by the likes of Vogue, National Geographic, The UN, The Guardian, ELLE, and more.
Kiana Kazemi - Environmental Justice Strategist, Imagine 5