Ecology & Economy: Resolving Our Climate Crisis

March 11, 2019 at Congregation Beth El in South Orange, NJ 

Five panelists from fields of economics, communications, engineering, biology, and law explore such questions as: what is an ethical response to climate change, can news help us live better, and is “growth” always good?  The interactive forum involved the audience in a constructive dialogue.

Speakers are:

  • Dr. Michael Taylor, environmental economist at Seton Hall University;

  • Patricia Canning, member of the South Orange Environmental Commission;

  • Allan Chernoff, CEO of Chernoff Communications;

  • Edward Lloyd, professor of environmental law at Columbia University,

  • Zahavah Rojer, AP Biology student and Co-Chair of the Horticultural Club at Columbia High School.  The forum is presented by CivicStory, a nonprofit solutions-based news site based in South Orange,

  • The forum is moderated by Susan Haig, CivicStory founder and creative director.

Forum Audio

Forum highlights: 3 short videos

More about the Speakers: 

  • Dr. Michael Taylor, Environmental Economist, Professor of Political Science, Director, Environmental Studies Program at Seton Hall University.

    • Michael Taylor is an environmental economist, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Seton Hall University.  He is also founding director of the interdisciplinary program in Environmental Studies and the Center for Mobile Research & Innovation. His current research activities are focused on the emerging role of mobile technologies in the areas of environment and health, as well as their associated public policy issues. Dr. Taylor received a PhD. in Environmental Economics, Philosophy and Environmental Science from The Ohio State University; an M.S. in  Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech; and a B.A. from the University of Connecticut.

  • Patricia Canning, MBA; B.S. Engineering; South Orange Environmental Commission

    • Patricia Canning serves on the South Orange Environmental Commission and has led the commission's effort to eliminate single-use plastics in South Orange.  She has served as a board member of the Achieve Foundation, a member of the Schools Committee for the Community Coalition on Race, and leader of the Dr. MLK Luminary Project celebrating Dr. King's birthday and legacy.  Professionally, Patricia is project coordinator for Advocates for Children, an organization that develops statewide policies to support families with children age zero to three in New Jersey. Patricia holds an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University or Rochester and an Industrial Engineering degree from Lehigh University. A South Orange resident for over 15 years, Patricia is an avid tri-athlete, and founded Team TRIumph, a triathlon group for women.

  • Allan Chernoff, media consultant, communications coach, video producer, author.

    • Allan Chernoff is CEO of Chernoff Communications, a media strategy firm that specializes in thought leadership ghostwriting, content creation, and video production.  Allan was CNN’s Senior Correspondent based in New York for 11 years, and previously served as CNBC’s Senior Correspondent.  His book, The Tailors of Tomaszow, co-written with his mother Rena Margulies Chernoff, is a unique communal memoir and history of the survivors of Rena’s hometown, Tomaszow-Mazowiecki, Poland.  Allan is a six-time winner of best reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Fortune, Money, Newsweek, and The Forward.  A graduate of Brown University, Allan served as an interviewer for the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Project.

  • Edward Lloyd, Professor of Environmental Law, Columbia University.

    • Edward Lloyd is the Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professor in Environmental Law at Columbia Law School. He is a leading expert in environmental legal issues and citizen suit litigation. Lloyd has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives committees on environmental enforcement. Among Lloyd’s numerous affiliations, Lloyd is a member of the Earth Institute’s Academic Committee, the Litigation Review Committee of the Environmental Defense Fund, the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, and the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Environmental Litigation. Lloyd is also the co-founder and co-director of the Eastern Environmental Law Center. A graduate of Princeton in Chemistry, Lloyd received a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin.     

  • Zahavah Rojer, Columbia H.S. Senior, Co-President, Horticultural Club

    • Zahavah Rojer is currently a senior at Columbia High School.  Born in Manhattan and raised in Maplewood, she is one of three co-presidents of the CHS Horticulture Club, and works as a page at the Maplewood Memorial Library.  In her free time, Zahavah enjoys reading, kickboxing, and watching BBC Earth nature documentaries narrated by David Attenborough. Her recent favorite courses include AP Chemistry (Mr. Festerling), AP US History (Mr. Cotter), and AP Biology (Ms. Biasucci.)  Zahavah will attend Cornell University this fall, and plans to major in Biology.

  • Susan Haig (Moderator) is Founder of, a solutions-based news site focused on sustainability and civics that won the Garden State Film Festival's 2016 Broader Vision award.  A graduate of Princeton University, she received an MM in piano performance and a DMA in orchestral conducting from Stony Brook University, and has conducted orchestra and opera performances throughout Canada and the US.   Haig was a founding member of Summit GreenFaith Circle, president of the Summit-New Providence Rotary Club, and a 2017 fellow of Lead NJ. She is conductor of the South Orange Symphony Orchestra.