Profile

Andrew Schwartz, Director of Operations

Andrew Schwartz

Director, Sustainability and Global Affairs

Andrew has nearly a decade of experience working with community leaders and elected officials across the country to build movements, craft communications and affect change on a wide range of issues.

As Director of Sustainability and Global Affairs, he works to changes both policies and culture to advance the sustained well-being of the people of the world. A graduate of the Union Theological Seminary, Andrew began his career as a youth representative to the United Nations Rio+20 Conference in Brazil in 2012.  He serves on the board for the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.

A native of Oregon, Andrew and his wife, Emily, currently live in Portland.

Q&A with Andrew

What got you involved in the environmental movement?

During my second year at Union i served as a Youth Representative to the United Nations and focused on Rio+20 – a major conference in Brazil about climate change. Before taking the position I didn’t know or care much about the climate crisis but that changed.. Climate change threatens every part of our lives and has the ability to unbraid our collective future. Working on climate change allows me to work for a better future by advocating for a better more equitable society that values people over profits.

What is the connection between social justice and climate change.

Our society is built upon consumption and domination. We take and take and take without worrying about the consequences. The West was and is built upon the exploitation of the poor here in America and across the world, taking from them their labor and resources with little recompense. It’s unjust and killing the world.

How can we stop the climate crisis?

The cycles of oppression, consumption, and exploitation that precipitate the climate crisis have been normalized to the point that many people don’t see them as a problem. Or, for those who do, the systems that perpetuate these ways of thinking and being seem too big to overcome. The great lie about climate change is that it’s up the individual to stop climate change but instead we must disrupt the systems which is done through movement building, policy creation and public education. Yes everyone can do something in their individual lives but it’s much more important for us to work in community to disrupt the climate crisis inducing systems of consumption and exploitation.

How do you understand CEEs role in this work?

CEE approaches the climate crisis through the lens of equity, morality, and justice. We challenge the environmental community and broader society to see how the people and planet suffer through the lens of morality rather than stats and figures. Too much of the climate movement focuses on the science of climate change and the impacts it has on nature. It overlooks the very real suffering people around the world and here in the United States are experiencing right now. Climate change is not a far off thing that our kids have to worry about. It’s something we need to and can address right now.

From the Blog

Banks Gather for Finance in Common Summit on Sustainability Solutions – Will it Matter?

This week 450 public development banks (PDBs) are gathering at the Finance in Common Summit, a seminal moment in the world of banking. The banks in attendance represent nearly $2.5 trillion in annual investments ranging from local banks and projects to multilateral banks providing development assistance across the globe. The… Read more

World Bank invested over $10.5 billion in fossil fuels since Paris Agreement

Big Shift Global – Research Papers Calling for an end to public financing of fossil fuels and a shift to investing in sustainable, renewable energy to provide energy access for all World Bank provides assistance and finance for fossils despite climate pledge Energy transition too slow to avert climate crisis… Read more

Portland General Electric to close only coal-fired power plant in Oregon

Congratulations to the state of Oregon on the announcement of closing its only coal-fired plant! Gratitude to all the community members who worked diligently towards this result. Many thanks to the Sierra Club and it’s Oregon Chapter for their dedication towards this important win.  Updated Oct 15, 2020; Posted Oct 15,… Read more

Deep Water Mining – What’s really going on in our Oceans?

“The world is too tragic for naive optimism” – Cornel West The coronavirus has spurred a number of recovery plans including from the World Bank and the Democrats, and the European Union all of which keep the climate and sustainability at the forefront. Threaded through all of them is the… Read more

The Rebirth of Coal

Funding for fossil fuels has not slowed down. In 2015, 197 nations signed The Paris Climate Agreement pledging to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The science is clear that unless emission from fossil fuels drop to near 0 by 2030, the world is sure to eclipse the… Read more

A Time for Change

The coronavirus pandemic should be understood as a dress rehearsal for climate change. The rapidity and breadth of its impact has been too much for our systems to bear. It’s put health care, social security, food systems, sanitation, and most everything else to the absolute test. Thus far food is… Read more

A Community Response to Climate Change – Regional Minister’s Training

A problem with climate change is that no one knows what’s going to come next. Yes there are climate models – some from nearly 40 years ago – that accurately predict the moment we are in: record floods, incredible droughts, dwindling snowpacks, and a full ⅓ of the year consumed… Read more

On Food & Faith: 2019 Ministry in the Time of Climate Change Highlights; Beyond Religion; and More…

Dear Friends, What a weekend!  We had 150 faith leaders, activists, farmers, academics, and community leaders from around the Midwest (coasts too!) come together at Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO) to learn how our food systems and land use impacts and is impacted by climate change. There are so… Read more

Allensworth

Not many people know where Allensworth, CA is. Of all the people I asked in Fresno only one had heard of it. Allensworth is a small town about 30 miles north of Bakersfield that according to the last census is home to 471 people. The town leadership says its closer… Read more

On Water & Faith: Minister’s Training 2018

We began the conference with a water ceremony.  In a large circle, on a beautiful late spring day, 70 of us gathered around a copper pot to pay homage to Creator, life-giving water, and to one another. The water each of us poured into the pot carried stories of hope… Read more