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Rider Profiles: Keya Chatterjee, Steve Katz, Josh Lasky, Swetha Kannan

Keya Chatterjee – Senior Director, Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach at WWF
Mother and Author of “The Zero Footprint Baby”

Keya Chatterjee has a unique spin on the ‘big picture.’ In her case, she’s talking about satellite images of planet Earth. Before joining WWF, she worked for NASA and used the images to communicate research results on climate change. The detailed images of deforestation, sea ice loss and development gave her a unique perspective on the state of the planet. This visual representation of our human impact motivated Keya to shift her focus from plot-level projects to the planet as a whole.

Today, Keya is part of WWF’s climate team, working on every level – local to global – to bring awareness about climate change to the masses and facilitate progress at the highest levels of government toward a new global climate treaty.

Keya is also the author of the “The Zero Footprint Baby.” She writes: In our culture, pregnancy, birth, and childrearing are deeply connected to consumption and resource use. From the baby shower to the minivan and the larger apartment or first house, the baby-raising years are the most hyper-consumptive of our lives, and can set a family on an unsustainable track for years to come. The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby shows how to raise a child with little to no carbon footprint.

Keya also serves on the board of the Washington Area Bicycling Association (WABA) and is passionate about bicycling as a mode of transportation.  Keya’s commentary on climate change policy and sustainability issues has been quoted in dozens of media outlets including USA Today, the New York Times, Fox News, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and NBC Nightly News. 

Steve Katz  – Law, Policy, and Management Expert – 2nd Time Rider!

When Steve Katz signed up for his 2nd Climate Ride – the upcoming Climate Ride NYC-DC this September – we asked what made him come back to return again this year. Very simply, he said “Climate Ride is one of the best things I’ve done in my adult life.”

From Chicago to Washington D.C.
Steve Katz was raised on a bike in Schwinn Bicycle Country – outside Chicago, IL – which has engendered strong civic oriented families and communities. Steve majored in cultural anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, biking to classes, then moved back to Chicago and got involved in numerous Chicago-based nonprofits, including working at a community foundation where he learned about grants and grant making.

After moving to Washington DC and while working on Capitol Hill in the 80s and 90s, Steve founded The Penny Jar Foundation, which used coin drives to teach school kids about raising funds, and making grants for food, shelter, and clothing in their communities, resulting in grants of up to $15,000.

Today Steve is a Washington, D.C. based law, policy, and management expert who consults to the Federal government and international aid and development agencies and institutions including U.S.AID, the OECD, and the World Bank. Steve is a published author, speaker, and graduate school lecturer.

From a childhood love of bikes, to 30 years in the car
Steve remembers the independence and mobility he experienced riding bikes with friends while growing up, and around 2007 Steve got back into cycling, and now rides 34 miles for his round-trip commute to work.

In 2012 Steve signed up for Climate Ride NYC-DC during a Meet and Greet in Washington D.C. Steve has three thoughts in mind: train to fulfill a physical challenge; spend days on a bike; and tour for an important cause – addressing, educating, and preventing the impact of climate change.

See Steve’s fundraising tips below…

Steve and all the hair-free guys pose on the last Climate Ride!

Fundraising success – Steve’s tips
As a returning rider, we asked Steve what his keys to success were for fundraising. He says he learned a lot from his 2012 experience, including: the need for a clear request and call to action; staying positive and describing common ground solutions; create a fundraising calendar (and stick to it!); don’t rely on electronic media only – make phone calls and engage in some conversations!

So be sure to engage in some conversations with Steve out on the road in September!

Josh Lasky – Washington DC – 5 time Climate Rider!

Josh is currently riding across the US raising funds and awareness of Climate Ride and then he’ll meet us for the NYC-DC ride in September. He’s been sending us his musings from the road:

Nearly 2,300 miles in to my cross-country journey at my unofficial halfway point in Crested Butte, CO, I’ve been constantly reminded that bicycles are incredible machines. As I continuously refine my own “velosophy,” I’d like to make an argument for travel at the speed of bike.

For me, the story of industrialization can be summed up in one amazing fact: the energy in one barrel of oil is roughly equivalent to the energy output of one human being working a manual labor job full-time for the span of 11 years….read more of Josh’s cross-country experiences here.

Swetha Kannan – Dallas, TX

”Kannan, a Dallas-based Texas Instruments engineer, said she’s been an avid supporter of green causes for many years. The 30-year-old native of India volunteers at the Deep Ellum community garden, belongs to several green networking groups and started a sustainability blog last year. Already, a dedicated bicyclist, she had been on the lookout for a charity endurance event that benefitted environmental causes. When she read about the Climate Ride in the Green America newsletter, she immediately jumped in.”  Thanks for finding us Swetha! We’re looking forward to riding with you! Read more about Swetha here.