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Sharon Abreu, Executive Director
Irthlingz, Arts-Based Environmental Education (501)(c)(3)

Sharon has been combining music and environmental education for several years. She began doing volunteer work for the environment when she joined New York’s Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in 1992. From there she got involved in other environmental causes like the Redwoods and global climate change.

Sharon has appeared with legendary folksinger Pete Seeger in concerts to benefit the Delaware Bay Schooner Project and the Ships to Save the Waters conference. Pete told Sharon, “You have a good strong voice. Go out there and get people singing!” This is a charge she does not take lightly. She shares Pete’s belief that inspiring and empowering people through music and song, communicating directly to the heart, is the way to unite people and engender love and caring for the natural environment.

In 1998, Sharon was hired to sing at the United Nations in New York for a trade union ceremony during the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development (UN-CSD). Being a trade union member (North American Traveling Musicians Union), Sharon became a member of the trade union delegation to the UN-CSD. She performed her original compositions at this ceremony during the UN-CSD from 1999-2001 and 2004-2006.

In 2000, Sharon performed her song "Change in the Climate" and spoke about the importance of public education at a special meeting for the New York City Metro Region Input to the New York State Greenhouse Gas Action Plan. She has performed for the Citizens Awareness Network (CAN), People's Action for Clean Energy (P.A.C.E.), the March for Peaceful Energy in Washington, D.C., Millstone Anti-Nuclear Rally in Connecticut, National Jobs for All Coalition, "Human Rights Day" at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, and Earth Day in New York City, and the Plight of the Redwoods Campaign and Redwood-Sequoia Congress in northern California.

Sharon has been featured on Joel Landy's nationally award-winning Songs of Freedom cable television show in New York City and the Earth Matters cable television show in Connecticut. Her original songs have been played on, among others: WFUV (Woody's Children), WBAI (Eco-Logic & Wake Up Call), and WJFF (Ballads & Banjos) in New York, WFDU in New Jersey, WMBR in Massachusetts, WRUW in Ohio, WGLT in Illinois, WLRN in Miami, KUNI (Live from Studio One) in Iowa, KSVR and KSER in Washington State, and KMUD in California.

In 1999, Sharon and Irthlingz president Michael Hurwicz co-wrote Turn the World Upside Down, an interactive musical show based on Hudson River Sloop Clearwater's Classroom of the Waves, teaching kids about recycling and keeping the water clean. They performed the show at the New York Aquarium with Emmy winner Bill Nye The Science Guy, on Manhattan and Brooklyn cable television, and in the New York City Public Schools through the Brooklyn Arts Council, satisfying New York State academic standards for science.

In 2002, their original climate change musical show The Great Climate Caper was premiered by middle school students in their home town of Eastsound, Washington. In 2006, students from the High School for Environmental Studies in New York performed songs from their climate change musical revue Penguins on Thin Ice at the U.N. for the UN-CSD. In 2007, the students performed the complete 35-minute show for the UN-CSD in the U.N.’s Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium, receiving a standing ovation from delegates from around the world, who expressed the desire for more artistic and heart-centered communication at the U.N.

Sharon and Michael performed at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in South Africa in 2002. Sharon sang for U.N. World Environment Day in San Francisco and the U.N. COP11 climate meeting in Montreal in 2005. She had the honor of singing her song “Wangari” for 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai in Berkeley, California in 2006.

Strongly influenced by folk and popular music, Sharon began writing songs at age 14. Sharon graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Music from New York University. She studied opera with Metropolitan Opera sopranos Licia Albanese and Diana Soviero. Sharon has had leading roles in several operas and has been a soprano soloist with performing groups in the New York metropolitan area and with Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers. She has taught voice, violin and piano and guitar in her private studio. She has also taught water chemistry for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, and given presentations on climate change for the Green House Network at colleges and universities, and at ABC-TV in New York.

Sharon has given workshops on “Music as a Fun and Effective Tool for Environmental Education” at several conferences, including the North American Association of Environmental Educators and People for Puget Sound’s Storming the Sound workshops for environmental educators.

In 2009 Sharon and Michael performed at the World Environmental Educators Congress in Montreal and the Earth Matters on Stage Eco-Drama Festival and Symposium at the University of Oregon, Eugene.

They have brought their music to conferences such as Navigating Our Future in Washington State, Climate Change and the West in Boulder, Colorado, Climate Crisis Coalition in New York City.

In the spring of 2010, Sharon premiered her one-woman musical show about climate change, The Climate Monologues. The show presents stories of real people affected by or working to solve the energy and climate crises. A short original song complements each monologue. The show runs just over an hour, leaving time for community discussion following each performance.

In March 2011, Sharon received a Nature, Ecology and Society Environmental Justice Award for her presentation of The Climate Monologues at the City University of New York Graduate Center's Culture of Climate Change colloquium. For more information and to schedule a performance, please visit http://www.ClimateMonologues.com.