Susannah Tuttle, M.Div – NCCC Eco-Justice / NCIPL Program Director
Susannah Tuttle joined the staff of the NC Council of Churches (NCCC) in August 2011. In this role Susannah has served as the director of the NC Interfaith Power & Light (NCIPL) campaign for over a decade and in 2020 launched the Eco-Justice Connection as a strategy to highlight the intersectional work of the Council. She received a Masters of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. In 2004 Susannah was hired as UNC Chapel Hill’s first Sustainability Research Associate and went on to co-initiate Trace Collaborative, LLC a consulting firm specializing in the implementation of sustainability within the design and construction industry. Susannah is a founding member of the Southeast Faith Leaders Network (SFLN) and is an active member of the US Climate Action Network. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Southeast Climate & Energy Network (SCEN), the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for the Earth (UUMFE) Board of Directors, the Advisory Boards of Carolinas Integrated Sciences Assessment (CISA), and UNC Law School’s Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics (CE3). Susannah lives on a gravel road in Orange County, NC with her husband who is a builder, gardener, and musician, and their two beloved dogs. Contact Susannah: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rishi Ranabothu – Intern & Youth Leaders Initiative (YLI) Founder
Rishi is a Cary native, a freshman at Enloe High School and is working towards his Eagle Scout rank. He has been involved with NCIPL for more than a year now. His passion to ensure a green and bright future for everyone led him to found the Youth Leaders Initiative at NCIPL. He works with youth of all faiths to bring energy efficiency and sustainability to their congregations and ultimately protect all of God’s creation. Rishi spreads his love and knowledge of STEM, teaching under-privileged students robotics at the Boys and Girls Club. Camping with his Boy Scout Troop, volunteering for the Cary Teen Council and running Track and Cross Country in his school team are other activities he enjoys. He also likes visiting and exploring new places with his family. Pursuing higher education to be a medical doctor and save people’s lives is his goal. Contact Rishi: email@example.com
Susan Brooks – Eco-Justice Education & Advocacy Fellow
Susan Brooks is excited to begin working with NCIPL as she feels a calling to be more involved in environmental, particularly environmental justice, issues. Susan has served at the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (IDS) in various capacities since 2003. Susan graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina State University in 1990 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Political Science. Upon graduation from Harvard Law School in 1994, Susan worked for the public defender office in Jacksonville, Florida and then at a couple of private civil practice law firms in North Carolina before joining IDS, where she seeks to assure that attorneys appointed to represent poor people in the state have the resources, training, and support they need to best serve their clients. Susan is active at Benson Memorial United Methodist Church in Raleigh, where she serves as lay leader and vice-chair of the Church & Society Committee, promoting awareness and education within the congregation and the community on issues such as climate change, ecology, racism, homophobia, poverty, and other societal concerns. Susan lives with a handsome tabby cat named Gadget. Contact Susan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Klein – Eco-Justice Youth Leadership Fellow
Hannah is currently a senior at Appalachian State University. She is pursuing a double major of Sustainable Development and Religious Studies, with Honors. After school, she plans to take time to engage with practical theology and social activism, then to apply to graduate programs for a Masters of Divinity. With NCIPL she aspires to create a national network of Interfaith, Power & Light youth leaders who will collaborate to form creative solutions for environmental and social injustice. She is passionate about the power of spirituality to influence people’s engagement in social action; thus, Hannah utilizes an interfaith-based platform to communicate our moral responsibility to protect creation. In her personal life, she spends time reading, exercising, being in nature, and hanging out with her corgi, Milo.
Kathy Whitaker Knight – Faith Energy Champion Partner
Kathy began partnering with NCIPL in the summer of 2020 as a Faith Energy Champion program partner with The Roanoke Center and Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC). She is a REC member-owner and lives in Tillery located in Northeastern North Carolina. Kathy received a BSW from East Carolina University (graduated at age 40). Kathy spent a very rewarding 25 years working with MH/SA/ID populations, DV/SA survivors, Breast Cancer survivors, PLWHA and their families. She is currently in her second year of working as a 2020 Census Field Supervisor. Kathy is married with a big blended family of 6 children and 9 grandchildren and has a couple of lively German Shepherds, running the yard. Contact Kathy: email@example.com
Volunteer Advisory Council Members
Penny J. Hooper
NCIPL Leadership Council Chair
Unitarian Coastal Fellowship
Penny Hooper and her husband built a passive solar home in 1982 in Smyrna, on the central coast of NC where he runs their commercial fishing operation, and they raised their two children. In the new millennium, 2000, they finally added a heat pump and central air conditioning, just as the kids were headed to college! In 2010 they added 12 PV panels on their roof which provides about half of their electricity. She started the Green Sanctuary team at her Unitarian Coastal Fellowship church in 1998 and served as the Sustainability Committee Chair and lead Biology Instructor at Carteret Community College before her retirement in 2010. Her continuous environmental activism is well known in her county and won her the Woman of the Year Award in 2016.
Contact Penny: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Gary Smith
NCIPL Energy Working Group Chair
Community United Church of Christ
Gary received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Lehigh University, and spent his career in pharmaceutical research. A member of Community UCC in Raleigh, Gary co-founded their Justice in a Changing Climate initiative. He has a passion to reduce fossil fuel use which he pursues through chairing NCIPL’s Energy Working Group, helping churches obtain PV solar, and reducing his own energy consumption; his home is heated and cooled by geothermal HVAC and includes a solar array that provides 80% of their electricity. He enjoys nature, science and the out of doors, the latter especially while on a bicycle.
Contact Gary: email@example.com
Dr. Carl W. Sigel
Chair & Environmental Ministry Liaison of NC Episcopal Dioceses
Church of the Nativity Episcopal
After retiring from the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Carl Sigel volunteers for organizations that promote mitigation and adaptation to climate change and restoring biodiversity. Carl is deeply committed to nonprofit organizations that focus on the environment, community service, youth education and development, food security, and social justice. With a lifetime interest in sustaining the Creation, he represents NCIPL and the Raleigh Convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina on the Diocesan Chartered Committee for Environmental Ministry.
Contact Carl: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Stephen Jurovics
Author – Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action, and Climate Change
Yavneh: A Jewish Renewal Community
Stephen Jurovics, Ph.D., spent the last 16 years of his corporate career as a contractor to the EPA working on several aspects of climate change. Prior to that, he worked almost three decades for IBM in positions ranging from aerospace engineering to building energy analysis. His book Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action, and Climate Change was published by Morehouse Publishing, an imprint of Church Publishing. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and B.S. and M.S. degrees from Columbia University.
Contact Stephen: email@example.com
NCIPL Historian & Founding Steering Committee Member
Pullen Baptist Church
Dan Figgins’ final assignment with the U.S. State Department was as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya. He teaches political science courses at NCSU including “Global Environmental Treaties and Policies.” In 1998, he helped start a weekly Sunday school class on Earth Care at Pullen Baptist Church in Raleigh. In recent years Linda Rodriquez, wife of NCIPL Leadership Council member Bob Rodriquez, has led the class expanding its format from studying books to inviting outstanding environmental experts and social action leaders. Dan has been a member of NCIPL and its predecessors since 1998 when volunteers organized to support NC Council of Churches’ staff work on environmental stewardship. Because Dan participated the planning of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit at UNEP headquarters in 1989, he has been aware of the reality of climate change and its human-caused weather disruptions for more than a quarter of a century.
Contact Dan: firstname.lastname@example.org