Who We Are
We are a group of Elders who are deeply concerned about climate change and its escalating impacts on our planet. We recognize that among the important roles we have as Elders are the responsibilities to be stewards of the Earth, to preserve it for our children and for the generations to come, and to lead in these efforts with our voices and actions.
We are part of the ManKind Project/New England. (http://newengland.mkpusa.org/) The ManKind Project/New England is one of the many geographic entities within the ManKind Project, a global organization with a presence in more than 21 nations. (http://mankindproject.org/) Among other things, the ManKind Project seeks to “empower men to missions of service, supporting men to make a difference in the lives of others – men, women, and children around the world.”
Jud Lawrie has been committed to climate and environmental issues since the 1960s. Professionally, he worked for many years in public transportation in Chicago and North Carolina. He chose the field due to its environmental benefits: reduced air pollution, energy conservation, and higher-density urban development. In 2012 he retired to northern Vermont where he is able to indulge his passion for the outdoors in all seasons. He appreciates the Vermont environment—clean air, mountains, lakes and rivers, forests, and farms.
Over the years Jud has been involved with many environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, 350.org, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Vermont Natural Resources Defense Council and the Green Mountain Club.
Lance Polya, PhD, recently retired from teaching at the University of Vermont. He was an Adjunct Lecturer in the Environmental Program where he taught courses in Systems Thinking and Systems Modeling to technical and nontechnical students. Prior to that, he was a consultant who conducted workshops in the basic and advanced principles of systems thinking to organizations in the public and private sectors.
With a family that includes four grandchildren, Stew is dedicated to leaving a healthy and vibrant world to future generations. He was a California native, and experienced first-hand the devastation from the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which fouled beaches and killed countless birds and marine animals. That experience inspired him to join the Sierra Club and identify himself as an environmentalist. A retired engineer, Stew now enjoys a peaceful life on Cape Cod, where he volunteers for local environmental causes, gardens, kayaks, bicycles, and enjoys the poetry of Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry.
Robert Ryan has had a lifelong love affair with nature. In 1970, he participated in the inaugural Earth Day. Before “Climate Change” had entered the national vocabulary, he was discussing the issue with eighth graders while teaching Environmental Science. He continues his work now with the Newton node of 350 MA, Students and Alums for Climate Justice Boston College, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and other organizations.
For the past 40+ years, Robert has worked consulting, training and coaching with a focus on organizational and leadership effectiveness. Recently, he worked with ClientEarth, a London-based NGO, using the law and science to mitigate climate change in Europe, Africa and China.
A key part of Robert’s motivation in his work on climate change is his family—his wife, two children and one grandchild.
Stephen Simmer is father of six and a retired psychotherapist, and has published a book on anger management for men. Prior to his therapy work, he received a PhD in Religious Studies, and taught in several colleges in the Northeast. He is a former Mission Coordinator for the Mankind Project-USA, where he helped to identify and honor men of outstanding mission around the world. He continues his fascination with the capacity of some small committed groups to have a large social and cultural impact. He is a relative newcomer to the issue of climate change in comparison to his ECJ colleagues, but an enthusiastic learner. He is the (somewhat reluctant but earnest) webmaster for our group.