Meet Dina Pugliesi: EDF Action's Organizer Building Grassroots Power for Climate Action in Pennsylvania
Dina Pugliesi, EDF Action’s grassroots organizer in Pennsylvania, says her favorite part of the job is meeting volunteers and hearing their stories and motivations. Every week, Dina holds volunteer “meet and greet” events at coffee shops, pizza parlors, and parks throughout Pittsburgh. At these events, new volunteers come together to hear about EDF Action’s work and connect with other local climate activists.
Dina is constantly meeting new people in her community, and she’s passionate about learning from their experiences and understanding what drives them to take action for climate; “Everyone has different reasons for doing this work, and people are really open with me about how the climate crisis has personally impacted them… our volunteers want to see their local communities thrive, and they are experiencing the costs of inaction.”
Dina joined the EDF Action team in August. Coming in during a critical time for federal action, she immediately hit the ground running; she relocated to Pittsburgh and started building organizing infrastructure, gathering petitions, meeting volunteers, and hosting events for local advocates. Her first few weeks on the job, Dina visited college campuses, farmer’s markets, and music festivals to spread the word about EDF Action’s work in the Pittsburgh community.
Dina came into this role with a background in environmental advocacy; she graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from Queens College and previously worked as a Campaign Coordinator with Greenpeace. She says, “I realized the environmental movement was deeply connected to federal politics, and that’s what brought me to this role with EDF Action. There is important work to be done at the intersection of political engagement and grassroots organizing.”
When asked what drives her passion for climate advocacy, Dina said, “I’ve always cared about our planet… climate change and plastic pollution are what keep me up at night!” Her theory of change is centered on creating sustained organizing infrastructure; “I want this community to be changed by the work we’re doing long after I’m gone… I look forward to supporting volunteer leaders and giving them the training, skills, and tools needed to organize all on their own.”
One volunteer leader, Peg Church, has been working with EDF Action for over a year. Peg was an elementary school counselor in Philadelphia for years and was shocked to see children experiencing severe asthma and other negative health impacts from decreased air quality. As a local volunteer leader, Peg plans events, gathers petitions, and regularly writes letters to the editor for her local paper (read her most recent letter in The Morning Call here). She recently spoke at EDF Action’s clean energy event at the Bethlehem SteelStacks and a climate rally in Bethlehem’s city square.
During the climate rally, Peg spoke about the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and shared a quote from Irish poet Jonathan Swift, “How is it possible to expect mankind to take advice, when they will not so much as take a warning?” Peg is inspired by this quote, and it motivates her to continue spreading the word about climate action and environmental solutions on a state level. Peg recognizes the need for unity in the environmental movement; as she put it, “we need to work together as a community, state, and world… it’s a crucial time and we need all folks — young and old — to make their voices heard.”
In Pennsylvania, EDF Action’s grassroots team continues to build a robust movement for climate advocacy. As Congress considers once-in-a-generation investments in clean energy infrastructure, volunteers across Pennsylvania are stepping up to take action! To join us at an upcoming local event in Pennsylvania, sign up here.
We will be running a series of posts on EDF Action’s grassroots work and the organizers leading the charge in key states and congressional districts! Check back on Wednesday for our next installment in this series. To learn more about how to take action in Pennsylvania, contact Dina at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our EDF Action Pennsylvania Facebook group.