Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice – Part of the Social Equity Week Event Series
April 5, 2016 | 6:00-8:30 PM | CIC – Venture Cafe (5th Fl.)
Cambridge, MA

In the unfolding tragedy of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, social and environmental justice issues are once again a critical focus for American citizens, who are concerned about environmental health and safety as well as environmental justice.

In April, BASG member, Arnold Sapenter, will moderate a panel discussing environmental justice and related social issues as they apply to Boston and Massachusetts.  The panel will talk about programs that exist in greater Boston to address environmental justice issues and the challenges and opportunities that exist here. In addition, they’ll explore the connection between environmental justice and sustainability and lead our follow-on discussion.

Panel IMG_1894 Steven Estes-Smargiassi-2

Arnold Sapenter, MBA and LEED GA, is the recent Director of Sustainability and past Director of Diversity and Program Monitoring for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. He has served on many advisory boards and committees including the Massachusetts Leading By Example Committee and the Advisory Committee for the Governor’s Diversity Initiative. As Director of Diversity and Program Monitoring Arnold Sapenter created and chaired the Cultural Diversity and Environmental Justice Committees for MassDEP from 1993 to 2003.

As a community leader and volunteer Mr. Sapenter serves as President of the National Council of Presidents for the National Forum of Black Public Administrators and has served over 12 years as President of the NFBPA Boston Chapter.   In addition, he is an active member of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Board of Overseers and past co-chair of the Employment and Training Systems Committee for the Boston Private Industry Council, as well as past Board Vice President for The Fenway Health Center.

Mr. Sapenter has served in Massachusetts state government since 1987 and retired in 2015 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Sam Lipson is Director of Environmental Health for the Cambridge Public Health Department. He came to the CPHD in 1996 and established the Environmental Health Division in 1998. He has 20 years of experience in public health risk assessment, biological safety, environmental health policies and other environmental health sub-disciplines, and has served as a board member of the American Lung Association in Massachusetts, Mass. Public Health Association Leadership Board, and currently serves as a Commissioner for the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Commission and as the public health representative on the Toxic Use Reduction Advisory Committee (Mass. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs). Sam has organized Cambridge Biosafety Forums in 2002 and 2008 to train community members, biosafety professionals, and public health officials and co-organized the Risk Assessment for Nanomaterials: Current Developments and Trends in 2007 to educate occupational health and risk assessment professionals.  Sam has led community stakeholder processes that have helped CPHD to generate policies on West Nile virus response, nanomaterials health and safety, and an expansion of biosafety oversight authority held by the Cambridge Biosafety Committee.

With cooperation from Harvard and MIT faculty and staff at the Museum of Science Sam has staged a series of local air quality studies in Cambridge that have utilized community volunteers and graduate students to examine pervasive air quality on a much smaller scale than offered by existing regulatory infrastructure. This has led to publications and grant awards to support further work. A primary goal of this research is the development of community-based air quality monitoring strategies capable of producing longitudinal, high quality data that will assist the municipality to generate health -sustaining policies for transportation and land-use.  The recently completed study of bicycle commuter routes has produced data that indicates the relative burden of vehicle pollution on cyclists.  Prior to coming to the CPHD, Sam was an analytical chemist in Massachusetts and California. He holds a B.S. from the University of California Berkeley and completed his M.S. coursework at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Stephen Estes-Smargiassi is Director of Planning and Sustainability for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. He is a planner and engineer, with degrees from MIT and Harvard.  In 29 years at MWRA, Stephen has lead or participated in all MWRA water quality and supply planning initiatives. He has been active in research on water resource issues and climate change for over 20 years, oversaw MWRA’s successful water conservation program, led efforts to protect the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, and works to ensure a safe and sustainable water and sewer system for 2.5 million people in the Boston area.  He loves maps and proudly drinks tap water, especially in Boston.

Kerry Bowie is Managing Partner of Msaada Partners, LLC, which helps organizations tackle social, economic, and environmental problems with a focus on strategy, management, operations, and design.  Prior to launching this consulting firm, Kerry served as Associate Commissioner for Operations at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for over seven years after serving as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary for Environment at the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA) and gaining extensive experience as an environmental engineer and manager at Texas Instruments in Dallas.  In his most recent role, Kerry coordinated the state’s Brownfields Program and MassDEP’s Environmental Justice Strategies and represented the department on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, MA Food Policy Council, and the Commonwealth’s Climate Change Adaptation Sub-Committee.  Kerry holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Michigan, respectively, as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Rebecca Herst is Senior Climate Project Manager for UMass and the Boston Harbor Association. She will join us to talk about The Boston Harbor Association’s work on climate resillance for highly vulnerable harbor communities. Her full profile is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccaherst

Please join us for this critical conversation and be sure to check out these other events scheduled as part of Social Equity Week Series. — Carol, Holly, Tilly.

April 4th: Social Equity in the Built Environment
Hosted by the US Green Building Council of Massachusetts


Photo credit: Jake May/AP