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2023 Greater Houston Environmental Summit

2023 Greater Houston Environmental Summit

In September 2023, CEC hosted a diverse gathering of its members as well as influential leaders, subject matter experts, educators, enthusiasts, volunteers and passionate citizens for a day of inspiration, education and collaboration.

2023 Theme: Strengthening Connections for a Greener, Healthier Houston

Energized by the 2023 theme, CEC was joined by a line up speakers who are leaders in the field helping to advance environmental issues through communications, policy, community initiatives, and commerce (photos and bios below).

  • Chris Tomlinson, Columnist, Houston Chronicle
  • Lisa Lin, Director of Sustainability, Harris County
  • Ivy Walls, Entrepreneur / Founder, Ivy Leaf Farms & Fresh Houwse Grocery
  • Brooke Campbell, Director, Volunteer Houston
  • Danielle Garcia, Water Justice Specialist, Bayou City Waterkeeper

Big thanks to this event’s presenting sponsor, Natural Awakenings magazine for their promotional support of this event. Please check out their latest issue at: www.naturalawakenings-houston.com

The event took place at University of Houston – Downtown’s Center for Urban Agriculture and Sustainability (CUAS), in the heart of downtown Houston. Conveniently located to allow visitors to commute via walking, biking or metro. While visiting, guests also visited CUAS’ demonstration garden and water cistern. Check out CUAS here.

The event included a planet-friendly lunch from Bloom Foods which featured an array of delicious plant-based sandwiches, pesto-quinoa salad, and green tea. Attendees also enjoyed coffee generously donated by Greenway Coffee and cookies generously donated by Blackwood Farms. Special thanks to Central City Co-Op for their help arranging refreshments!

Speaker Information

Keynote: Chris Tomlinson

Chris Tomlinson is the business columnist for the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News, focusing on energy, business, and policy. Tomlinson’s commentary appears twice a week and draws on his 25 years of reporting experience. The Texas Managing Editors named Tomlinson opinion writer of the year for 2021 and he is the author of two New York Times bestsellers.
Previously, Tomlinson was the supervisory correspondent for The Associated Press in Austin, responsible for state government and political reporting in Texas. From 2001-2009, he was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and served as the East Africa bureau chief in Nairobi, Kenya. Tomlinson has reported from more than 30 countries, including Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Congo. Before becoming a journalist, he spent seven years in the U.S. Army. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 with special honors in humanities. He serves on the board of advisers of The Texas Book Festival and the Museum of Human Achievement.

Danielle Garcia

Danielle Garcia joined Bayou City Waterkeeper as the Water Justice Specialist in 2022. She received her Masters of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy from Texas Southern University, where she specialized in sustainable environmental and land use planning. Her research focused on sustainable development, environmental justice, climate change mitigation, rural planning and development, community resiliency, and social equity. Prior to attending Texas Southern University, Danielle attended The University of Texas at San Antonio where she received her Bachelor of Arts. in Geography and Environmental Sustainability. Her time at UTSA focused on GIS Analysis and Latin American Studies analyzing social justice and environmental health and equity issues in the Latinx community. She looks forward to building new frameworks for water justice advocacy in greater Houston through research, analysis, mapping and visualizations, and community engagement.

Lisa Lin, LEED AP

With over 15 years of sustainability experience in the public, private, non-profit, and higher education sectors, Lisa Lin is the first Director of Sustainability for Harris County. Her previous roles and responsibilities include leading the implementation of sustainable transportation initiatives at Rice University, coordinating San Antonio’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan during her time as Climate Program Manager for the City of San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability, and serving as the Sustainability Manager in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability for the City of Houston. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University and a Master of Science in Sustainable Urban Development from the University of Oxford.


Ivy Walls

Ivy Walls owns and operates Ivy Leaf Farms an urban farm dedicated to complete neighborhood wellness through food equity in Sunnyside. She started Ivy Leaf Farms shortly after moving to Sunnyside and realizing that food options were high caloric or non-existent, and decided to do something about it. She has created:

@greenhouwse, a mobile nursery and grocery store that hosts events to fund the farm and keep produce at low or no cost
@ivyleafoutdoors, a practical, fashionable, outdoors brand that has functionality from the farm to the city. Proceeds from the every purchase go to supporting Ivy Leaf Farms and fellow black farmers.

Ivy Leaf Seed Co, a company dedicated to Non-GMO Organic seeds.

Black Farmer Box, a partnership between @freshlifeorganic & Ivy Leaf Farms that strives to create a sustainable, equitable, and affordable food system from farmers to food desert communities.

And @freshhouwse A Community based grocery store in Sunnyside.

Brooke Campbell, CNP, CVA

Brooke Campbell, CNP, CVA is the Director of Volunteer Houston, a wife, best friend, AmeriCorps NCCC alum, rescue kitten mom, backyard gardener, instructional designer, international traveler, INTJ (information architect), better listener than talker, and is obsessed with doing good. Her passion for volunteering began when she accompanied her parents to deliver a casserole to a homeless man living in the woods. The passion that was sparked that day has developed into a fulfilling career. As the “Service Learning Initiator” for her AmeriCorps NCCC team, she has created space for intentional service learning reflections among program participants. Brooke is trained in instructional design and evaluation and has authored two professional training courses for a national nonprofit. She also instructs Points of Light’s Volunteer Engagement Training Program for volunteer administrators in the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Brooke is an avid believer in the mutual benefits of collaborations and serves on both the Texas Nonprofit Summit and Power Tools for Nonprofits (Houston) Advisory Committees.


This event was part of a larger 2023 Houston Climate Summit. This event was presented free of charge by a coalition of organizations including Houston Climate Movement, Air Alliance Houston, Coalition of Community Organizations, Zelma’s SteAm Congregation, Extinction Rebellion Houston, the Houston Climate Justice Museum, and the Houston Youth Climate Strike. See below!