James Ousman Cheek


Climate Central Civic Science Fellow



Project focus: The Fellow will help Climate Central learn how to most effectively engage with coastal stakeholders to build their capacity to respond to sea-level rise.

J. Ousman Cheek is an interdisciplinary environmentalist and sustainable development specialist based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to advancing environmental justice, sustainable development, and creative engagement through holistic approaches that enable material transformation.

With a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Japanese from Howard University, he has built a diverse career, advocating for and engaging in community-beneficial approaches to sustainability, including urban agriculture, environmental education, and food justice. His professional experience includes roles such as Just Transition Campaign Representative at Sierra Club, where he coordinated local and state-level green development priorities with national resources and managed multi-stakeholder coalitions.

Ousman’s skills extend to policy analysis, environmental education, and multimedia content production. He served as a Policy Communications Intern for the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, attended the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, and the Generation Connect Global Youth Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. His proficiency in Japanese and experiences in Egypt, Japan, and Ghana enrich his global perspective, making him a key player in international environmental dialogues. He has spoken at numerous conferences on topics like global waste reduction, the history of environmental justice, and the socioeconomic dynamics of the Just Transition.

He currently serves as the Rita Allen Civic Science Fellow for Climate Central’s Sea Level Rise Program, bridging gaps between climate science and regional stakeholders through free climate risk mapping tools and communications. He will pursue an outreach strategy with city planners, community leaders, and climate justice groups to promote coastal resilience adaptation and mitigation strategies.