A Sustainable World

Sustainability Pioneers



Sustainability Pioneers is a Southwestern Pennsylvania-based series of short documentaries visualizing a bridge from our fossil-fuel based economy to an economy based on renewable energy and sustainable living.

The series is produced by Kirsi Jansa, a documentary filmmaker and journalist and the producer of Gas Rush Stories, short documentaries on shale gas exploration.

Sustainability Pioneers is funded by The Heinz Endowments and The Fisher Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. It is produced in collaboration with Rachel Carson scholar and energy consultant Patricia DeMarco and The Institute for Green Science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Visit the Sustainability Pioneers Website.





Kirsi Jansa

documentary filmmaker

I believe in the power of authentic human stories. Stories have the power to change the way we see the world, and can therefore change the world.

I am a journalist – an advocate for democracy and people’s right to know. I am a documentary filmmaker – an Agent of Change. As a representative of an independent media I work for the people and not for money interests. (More about me and my work at  www.kirsijansa.com)

A major change in energy production is needed if humankind wants to preserve a livable planet. My first short documentary series, Gas Rush Stories (www.gasrushstories.com), explores the various ways that shale gas exploration is changing the state of Pennsylvania. Sustainability Pioneers, my second documentary series, will outline different paths to a sustainable energy future.

We, the people, are amazingly creative and resourceful when we work together. Stories can help us discover our power, both personal and universal.


Patricia M. DeMarco, Ph.D

SP sustainability advisor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am a biologist by training, working in energy and environmental policy for over 30 years, and a Rachel Carson scholar with a Visiting Researcher appointment at Carnegie Mellon University currently writing a book titled “Pathways to Our Sustainable Future” funded by The Pittsburgh Foundation Clyde W. and Ida Mae Worthington Fund.







Will Zavala

SP on-line editor

willstill-2I am a professor in the school at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and director of the Documentary Salon. I want to learn more about sustainability.  Is it a model for growth, or an alternative to growth? Is it cheaper or more expensive than our current systems? Do we need more than sustainability to save the planet?







Brittany Page

SP graphic designer

For KirsiI’m a video production specialist with a passion for creativity. I include it in everything I do and love when I can collaborate with others to create something amazing! Creating a sustainable world is so important for the present and future. I hope to be part of the transition into a self-sustainable future.







Ricardo Iamuuri

SP composer, score

RicardoI am a multimedia sound collage artist. I shoot and direct. I write and compose. I perform live original scores for short films. Sustainability is a reality. It’s not a theory or something intangible. It is a term conscious of interconnection and interdependence. It states the obvious: consider the whole. My interest in Sustainable Pioneers is motivated by a commitment to becoming more informed about the issues explored in this series.







Sharon Walsh

SP journalistic advisor

SharonAs a journalist, I’ve seen many ups and downs in the business of news. But I’m happy to say I still love this wonderful profession and am challenged every day to find new ways to get accurate information to the public. As the editor of PublicSource, I strive with my team to tell new stories about energy and the environment, criminal justice, political accountability and issues of the elderly and disabled. Find us at publicsource.org.







Joe Osborne

SP environmental advisor

osborneI’m an attorney with the Group Against Smog and Pollution, a nonprofit environmental organization founded in 1969 and focused on improving air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania.  The term “sustainability” is increasingly overused and sometimes even abused.  However, it’s not just another meaningless buzzword; rather, it concerns one of the most important questions we face: How do we meet the needs of society today without threatening the survivability of future generations?

We have a moral duty to find a way to live sustainably, but that doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to joyless lives of sacrifice and self-denial.  Humans are incredibly innovative.  Our obligation to live sustainably isn’t an obstacle, it’s another avenue for human creativity and innovation.




Kathy Knauer

SP journalistic advisor

Kathy Knauer

I am the executive producer of The Allegheny Front, an award-winning independently-produced public radio program that covers the environment in Pennsylvania.

For many years, I was an environmental scientist with a wastewater agency and worked at Carnegie Mellon University managing a water quality survey of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers and small watersheds. She has a Master of Science in Environmental Health from the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.






Andrew Twigg

SP web consultant

Andrew TwiggI’m an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Design, where I focus on web design, visual communication, and cross-media design systems, and am an independent designer practicing visual-verbal design strategy, branding and web design. I’ve been concerned with issues of sustainability since involvement in my undergrad’s community energy and sustainability program, and I believe that good sustainability can be good business.






Fritz Byers

SP legal advisor


Cynthia Tam

SP marketing assistant


Brooke Smokelin

SP Bridge Party artist and performer