Columbia Climate Conversations was created in 2020 by a team of dedicated researchers, advocates, and students. The CCC team is dedicated to bringing diverse voices to the forefront of conversations about climate change, sustainability and environmental justice.

Below is the original founding team. Currently, CCC is managed by Columbia SDG Student Hub. For questions on CCC, please contact them moving forward. 

Headshot of lauren

Lauren Ritchie

Lauren Ritchie is a 20-year-old Bahamian climate activist, writer, podcast host, and a recent graduate of Columbia University where she studied Sustainable Development. She created Columbia Climate Conversations during her junior year of college. She is the creator of The Eco Justice Project, a digital platform that educates on global climate justice, promotes intersectional climate action, and seeks to make sustainable living more accessible and inclusive by amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. She is a writer and content strategist for Brown Girl Green, a Youth Ambassador for Plastic Pollution Coalition, an Ambassador for the Global Wildlife Conservation (now ReWild), and the co-host of the podcast Black Girl Blueprint, a platform to center the voices and celebrate the accomplishments of young Black women in a vast array of fields. 

Benjamin Keisling

Benjamin Keisling

Benjamin Keisling is a glaciologist and activist and began working at CCC while he was a Post-Doc fellow at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Benjamin is now a Research Associate at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. His research uses computer models to recreate the past behavior of ice sheets in order to predict how they will change with the warming climate. The newest project he’s involved with, GreenDrill, will drill into the bedrock underneath Greenland’s ice sheet to reveal the past distribution of the ice. He is also studying leadership models that promote diversity in geoscience with a project called alliance-building Offshore to Achieve Resilience and Diversity (All-ABOARD). He also serves on Lamont’s newly created Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, and is an outspoken figure dedicated to broadening the participation of historically underrepresented groups in the geosciences. Along with Kailani Acosta, he helps to organize and supervise Columbia Climate Conversations created by Lauren Ritchie. 

Kailani Acosta.

Kailani Acosta

Kailani Acosta is a fourth-year Ph.D. student at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, interested in biological oceanography. Her research is primarily on the transformation of Phosphorus and Nitrogen in the upper ocean in the Gulf of Mexico and how nutrients change over time and space. Her research interests include nutrient cycling, microbial ecology, and ecosystem modeling. She is passionate about increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. At Columbia, she created the Seminar Diversity Initiative, an initiative focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in research seminars, co-founded the Race Talk Book Club, and co-chaired the Lamont Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. Along with Benjamin Keisling, she helps to organize and supervise Columbia Climate Conversations created by Lauren Ritchie. 

Kwolanne Felix headshot

Kwolanne Felix

Kwolanne Felix was born in Haiti and raised in Miami Florida. She is a student at Columbia College studying History. She works in international relations and development, focusing on gender-responsive and environmentally sustainable policy. She's currently an intern at the Women Environmental Development Organization and is a UN African Descent Fellow and a Student Scholar at the Saltzman Institute.  She's worked with organizations like UN Women, the Council of Foreign Relations, and the Malala Fund as she advances her interest in international relations. She is active on campus, where she advocates for marginalized students’ access to resources, and founded the Inclusion and Diversity Committee of Columbia College Student Council. She writes a column for the Columbia Spectator in her free time where she brings her nuanced and intersectional perspectives.