Craig S. Altemose, Executive Director of Better Future Project – Contact Craig

Altemose-compressed2_(1).jpgCraig is an experienced, award-winning social justice activist. He has served on the governing bodies of a number of different statewide and national non-profits, written and led a successful effort to pass the nation’s most ambitious call for climate action by a state legislature, and co-founded and led Students for a Just and Stable Future, a network of students dedicating to promoting climate stability. He holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School, a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. in International Relations and Global Affairs from Eckerd College (where he served as student body president and more recently, a visiting professor).

During his graduate studies, Craig was appointed by Harvard’s president to a commission to recommend a climate action plan for the university and was appointed as the youngest member of the Massachusetts Climate Protection and Green Economy Advisory Committee by the MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to assist in the state’s development of its climate action plan. He also organized over 200 individuals to participate in a principled act of civil disobedience on the Boston Common to call for 100% renewable electricity. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he was awarded an Irvin Kaufman Fellowship to launch his public service career. Over the course of his activism, he has also received awards from Clean Water Action, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Toxics Action Center, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment Massachusetts, Alternatives for Community and Environment, and the Sierra Student Coalition. A native of Morris Plains, New Jersey, Craig’s Presbyterian faith has led him to involve himself in a wide variety of issues to advance progress and reduce human suffering, and he ranks building a better world free from fossil fuels as his foremost priority in that continuing struggle.

Craig helps with training and provides overall strategic support for Climate Summer.

Marla Marcum, Director of Programs – Contact Marla

Marla-Marcum_(1).jpgMarla is a native of the Missouri Ozarks and a graduate of Sewanee (The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee).  After college, she served as an Americorps VISTA member and VISTA Leader with Utah Campus Compact, a statewide network that links and supports Utah’s colleges and universities in promoting civic engagement and preparing students for responsible citizenship. Marla is a 2003 graduate of the Boston University School of Theology, with a Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) degree in Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics. A lifelong United Methodist, Marla is a founding member of Cambridge Welcoming Ministries and currently serves as the congregation’s Lay Leader.  She is also the Director of Christian Education at Lexington United Methodist Church. Marla chairs the Climate Change Task Force of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church and is co-chair of the Reconciling Ministries Committee. Marla works with other denominational leaders on the Massachusetts Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Working Group.

Knowing that what seems impossible can be accomplished through collaborations between unlikely allies, Marla took a leave of absence from her doctoral program in Social and Ecological Ethics at Boston University School of Theology to help develop networks of people emboldened to reject subtle climate compromises and to both demand and continue to create the solutions we need and to participate in building a movement strong enough to create a better future. Marla has been with Climate Summer since June 2009, working first as mentor and Community Outreach Coordinator (particularly finding housing for the teams), and later as the Coordinator for the 2010 program. As the Director of New England Climate Summer, Marla is excited to continue working with people all over New England who are raising the clarion call for social and ecological justice.

Marla oversees Climate Summer, runs the training, and provides hands-on support to riders throughout the summer.

Shea Riester, Campus Divestment Organizer – Contact Shea

Shea-Riester-200x300_(1).jpgConvinced that climate change is the largest looming threat to life on earth, Shea hopped on a bike to help build the climate movement with Climate Summer after graduating from Brandeis in 2012.  Shea now lives in Boston and dedicates himself to supporting student fossil fuel divestment movements at as many campuses as he can muster.

Shea studied the history and theory of social movements at Brandeis, and was very involved in environmental and social justice student activism. His proudest past moments include organizing with the Occupy Wall Street movement at its inception and participating in the national mobilization to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.  He is deeply passionate about building more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable communities that live in greater harmony with all life on Earth.   He feels we must use non-violent social action now to prevent the potentially irreversible destruction of our planet due to climate change, and is ready to do whatever necessary for a more just and sustainable future for all.

Shea plays a major role in Climate Summer training and mentors riders throughout the summer. 


Ben Trolio,  Finance Associate – Contact Ben

Ben-Trolio-145x300_(1).jpgBen Trolio is a native New Yorker concerned for the future of our planet.  He is a recent graduate from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in natural resources.  Outside of academic life at UNH, he led the Student Environmental Action Coalition(SEAC) and co-founded their divestment campaign.  Ben was able to take skills from his time in the Climate Summer and Ride for the Future programs to mobilize the student base at his university.  He is now excited to use fundraising as a tool to build the climate movement in his new work with Better Future Project. He believes that we need to invest our bodies, creativity, time and wallets in the movement in order to avoid a 2 degrees Celsius rise in temperature. 

Ben works with Climate Summer riders on fundraising, helps with training, and mentors riders throughout the summer.

Emily Kirkland, Communications Coordinator – Contact Emily


Emily Kirkland is originally from San Francisco and graduated from Brown University with a degree in Economics and Environmental Studies. As a student, she published articles and photos documenting the effects of climate change in Peru, coordinated media outreach for the Brown Divest Coal Campaign, and participated in the 2011 Keystone XL sit-ins outside the White House. Emily has been amazed by the recent growth of the climate movement and is excited to work with BFP to continue building power and momentum. She oversees the organization’s web and social media presence and coordinates press outreach and email communications. 

Emily helps with training and mentors riders on media outreach throughout the summer.


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