Check out our Featured Speakers from Austin Earth Day Festival 2013:



Mayor Lee Leffingwell & Lucia Athens, Chief Sustainability Officer for City of Austin (3:00 pm, Stage 1)

Austin Progress Toward Becoming a Sustainable City”

Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens will discuss significant progress made and ways that Austin can continue to become more sustainable.
Mayor Lee Leffingwell is an Austin native who grew up in the Bouldin neighborhood in South Austin. First elected to the City Council in 2005, he became Austin’s mayor in 2009. His father was an Austin firefighter and later a Travis County Deputy Sheriff; his mother worked as an admissions clerk at the University of Texas. Mayor Leffingwell attended Austin public schools then graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Lucia Athens, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Austin, has served as a leader in the green building movement for two decades. She is a licensed landscape architect as well as author of the book, “Building an Emerald City: A Guide to Creating Green Building Policies,” published in 2010 by Island Press. She began her career in green building in the early 1990’s, working on the development team for the City of Austin’s Green Building program, the first such program in the United States.

Lucia returned to the City of Austin as its first Chief Sustainability Officer in September 2010. The Office of Sustainability launched a coordinated framework for the City’s sustainability activities on Earth Day 2012, featuring 40 signature initiative areas and over 150 projects, with performance goals and metrics to measure progress.


Sylvia Acevedo, Social Entrepreneur & White House Advisor (3:20 pm, Stage 1)
Scalable Systems for Social Campaigns

In 2007, Sylvia Acevedo began using her engineering expertise as a social entrepreneur to create scalable solutions in education, workforce and health. Within 6 years, Sylvia created national mobilization campaigns that drew over 225,000 attendees and created scalable systems that gave 250,000 books, 25,000 toothbrushes, 15,000 playground balls and 1000 pairs of eyeglasses to children in need.

US News and World Report recently named Sylvia one of the top 100 American Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In 2011, President Obama named her to the White House Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The President of Mexico honored Sylvia with the Ohtli award, its most prestigious civil rights recognition for non-Mexican nationals. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the United States and chairs the Early Childhood committee on the White House Commission.

Jonathan Bloom--photo by Fran Collin

Jonathan Bloom, Author of “American Wasteland” (3:40pm, Stage 1)
What a Waste: Tackling America’s Food Waste Problem

Jonathan is a journalist, food waste expert and the author of American Wasteland, winner of the 2011 IACP Green Matters Award. He created the blog Wasted Food and has been advocating for change on the issue since 2005. Jonathan now focuses on raising awareness on food waste, and has given talks from South Bend to Singapore. He also consults on food waste reduction, most recently working with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and several startups. In addition, he is the Hawkins Expert-in-Residence at Bucknell University for 2012-2013.

Jonathan grew passionate about the topic of food waste while a Park Fellow in the journalism master’s program at UNC Chapel Hill. Upon graduation, the Boston native stayed in North Carolina to work on his book and his Southern accent. An earnest yet mediocre composter, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Newsweek. Jonathan now lives in Durham, N.C., with his family and many, many containers for leftovers.


ChristyPipkin2Christy Pipkin, Executive Director of The Nobelity Project (4:00 pm, Stage 1)
Local Acts = Global Impact
Inspired by Nobel Peace Prize winning environmentalist Wangari Mathaai, Christy and her husband Turk Pipkin founded The Nobelity Project in 2005 to work with communities in need to affect positive change. Christy now oversees all of their global action projects including reforestation efforts in Kenya, Mexico, and Bastrop Texas.
“The act of planting a tree is more than a contribution to our global community. You don’t plant trees with expectations for today, but with hope for tomorrow. I am a firm believer that local action has global impact, and that no act is too small to matter. At times global issues can seem overwhelming, but I like to remember when Desmond Tutu told us of a saying in Africa‚Äì ‚ÄúThere is only one way of eating an elephant‚Ķone piece at a time.‚Äù

As the Executive Director of The Nobelity Project, Christy Pipkin works to bring the non-profit’s initiatives to fruition— creating motivating documentaries and short films, helping educational outreach in the US and abroad, and maintaining oversight on development projects around the world.  She believes that by improving conditions in one community you improve the state of the global community, and by working together we tilt the world towards peace.

hightowerJim Hightower,¬†America’s #1 Populist (4:30 pm, Stage 1)

Inspired by AEDF 2012, Hightower is back! ¬†Weighing in on 3 big issues we face, Coal, Fracking & Tar Sands. ¬†Hightower will help kick off a rhythmic rally finale with Austin Beyond Coal at 5:00pm! ¬†Participate in a dramatic rally, “The Story of Energy in Texas” and an amazing salsa music finale.



(Click Here to See the Speaker Lineup from Austin Earth Day Festival 2012)