If you spot UofL’s Justin Mog zipping past on his bike, give him a (green) thumbs up.
On Monday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer awarded Mog the city’s Joan Riehm Memorial Environmental Leadership Award, making him the eighth recipient of the honor.
Mog, named UofL’s first assistant provost for sustainability initiatives in 2009, said he was “tickled pink” by the award.
“What an incredible honor to follow in the footsteps of past recipients who I regard so highly as my own local sustainability heroes – terrific citizens and servants like Larry Owsley, Mike Mulheirn, Pamela Dumm, Tina Ward-Pugh and Tom Owen. Sadly, I came to Louisville too late to know Joan Riehm personally, but her impact on our community is undeniable. I am humbled to receive this award in memory of Joan. Let’s continue working together every day to cement the only legacy that would truly have mattered to her – a sustainable future for Louisville,” he said.
The award honors public service employees, volunteers or students who have made Louisville a clean, green and healthier place to live, work and play.
It was created after Riehm’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2008. Louisville’s first female deputy mayor, Riehm initiated Metro government’s inclusion in Partnership for a Green City, a collaborative effort to improve sustainability whose members are four of Louisville’s largest public entities: UofL, Louisville Metro Government, Jefferson County Public Schools and Jefferson Community & Technical College.
“As deputy mayor, Joan Riehm was best known for her positive personality, practical strategy and an ability to build community collaboration toward ambitious goals,” said Brent Fryrear, director of Partnership for a Green City. “Justin embodies those characteristics of leadership as he promotes sustainability on campus and in the community. He also leads by example in the way he lives.”
Mog is an avid bicyclist who has never had a driver’s license and calls himself not only “car-free” but also “TV-free.” An urban-foraging vegetarian known to take “technology vacations,” he and his wife, Amanda Fuller, live in a fully solar-powered house in Portland where he also gardens and keeps bees. His mission in life “is to help people understand that sustainable solutions are not only fun and life-affirming, but they are all around us. We need to only change the way we perceive and respond to the daily and long-term challenges of life,” he said.
Past recipients of the award are citizen volunteer Mike Hayman; retired JCPS teacher Darleen Horton; Dumm, JCTC’s business manager; Ward-Pugh, former Metro councilwoman; Mulheirn, former JCPS director of facilities and environmental services; Owsley, former UofL vice president of business affairs; and Owen, UofL professor and archivist and a former Metro councilman.
Mog earned his BS in Environmental Studies & Geology at Oberlin College and an MS and PhD in Land Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Environmental Studies. His graduate research focused on assessing the sustainability of international rural development projects, and his studies took him to Ghana, Costa Rica and the southern Philippines as a Fulbright scholar in 2001. He continued this work from 2005-2008 when he lived with his wife in Paraguay working on sustainable rural development efforts with the U.S. Peace Corps and Plan Paraguay.