State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


From Consulting to Cycling: MSSM Alumni Join Climate Ride

After graduating from the M.S. in Sustainability Management program, JD Capauno, Eileen Quigley and Ryan Meinke have gone on to make businesses more sustainable, adaptive and innovative through their work at the New York-based consulting company Closed Loop Advisors.  This September, the group will take their passion for sustainability one step further when they participate in Climate Ride, a 320-mile charitable bike ride from New York City to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness and support for the Earth Institute.

Through Climate Ride, the Earth Institute has attracted a team of participants dedicated to creating a more sustainable world. Like all members of the Earth Institute Climate Ride team, Capuano, Quigley and Meinke are going the extra mile to bringing attention to pressing climate and energy issues.

Why did you decide to do Climate Ride? 

JD Capuano: It seemed like a lot of fun!  It’s also a great way to get people’s attention about the subject because they know you’re serious if you’re willing to pedal that far for a cause.CR_logo

Eileen Quigley: It was a pretty simple decision for me. It combines several of the things I’m passionate about, which are biking, raising awareness about climate change, challenging myself and spending time with people passionate about the same things I am. It’s inspiring to know that so many others would do this physical challenge for a cause they feel strongly about. I can’t wait to feed off of their energy. I also love the opportunity to see speakers on climate change topics each night of the ride. I’m looking forward to learning!

Ryan Meinke: I thought this would be a great way to raise awareness among my friends and family and mobilize some funds for the Earth Institute and other worthy environmental causes.  I’ve never raised more than a few hundred dollars for anything before, and now I’m over halfway to the lofty goal of $2,400!

Why are you supporting the Earth Institute?

JD: The Earth Institute conducts cutting edge scientific research into the climate problems we’re all facing. I want to direct people’s attention to EI’s discovery of the science and solutions for one of humanity’s most pressing problems.

Eileen: The Earth Institute is the home of my graduate program and I want to support my alma mater. I also think that there are many organizations spreading the word about climate change but the Earth Institute is doing in depth research and looking to inform at a detailed level. I’m a scientist by nature so I am a big fan of the scientific approach.

Ryan: I think there’s a need for genius scientists focusing their brainpower on understanding and developing solutions to big long term environmental problems.

The team at Closed Loop Advisors (left to right): Ryan Meinke, Samuel Abbay, Larry Cheng, Eileen Quigley and JD Capuano.
The team at Closed Loop Advisors (left to right): Ryan Meinke, Samuel Abbay, Larry Cheng, Eileen Quigley and JD Capuano.

How has your experience been training and preparing for Climate Ride?

JD: Training for Climate Ride is getting me into great shape!  Plus when anyone asks me what I’m up to on the weekend, training comes up and that leads to conversations about Climate Ride, its objectives, and why I’m riding on the Earth Institute team.

Eileen: My training hasn’t been too existent yet since I travel a lot so I’m not home on weekends to do long rides. I’m hoping to get in a few more 50 mile rides in September when I’m on vacation in Pennsylvania but for now I’m relying on the strength I build up in frequent spinning classes!

Ryan: I haven’t trained much because I have a new baby! But I have been commuting to work most days and riding Citibike whenever I don’t have my own handy.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Eileen: Everyone sees the occasional biker on the road but not usually in the masses that the Climate Ride will be. I’m excited to turn heads of observers and let them know what we are doing and encourage them to do the same.

Ryan: Stop driving! Get on your bike!  Just because fossil fuels are cheap and most people burn them with abandon doesn’t mean you should!

To find out how you can support the Earth Institute Climate Ride team, visit the team page here.

For more on Closed Loop Advisors, you can visit their website here.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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