In our 32nd annual conference, Bioneers showcased the connections from ancient wisdom of forests to the visionary struggles of Amazonian First Peoples to protect the rainforest – from the wisdom of trauma for healing to Ecological Medicine and health equity – from the genius of the biophilic design revolution to designing nature-based infrastructures – from the Green New Deal to regenerative agriculture and the power of soil to sequester carbon – from multicultural healing, eco-feminism and a culture of pluralism to the dismantling of corporate power.
2021 Featured Speakers
Faculty Director | Do No Harm Coalition
Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF and Faculty Director of the Do No Harm Coalition, Dr. Rupa Marya is one of the nation’s leading figures working at the intersection of medicine and social justice (including in investigating the health effects of police violence on communities and helping set up a free clinic under Lakota leadership at Standing Rock). She is also singer and musician who leads the internationally touring band Rupa and the April Fishes and the co-author (with Raj Patel) of the brand new book: Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice.
Co-Founder | Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines
Nemonte Nenquimo, an Indigenous activist from the Ecuadorian Amazon, first female president of her tribe (the Waorani of Pastaza Province) and co-founder of the Indigenous-led Ceibo Alliance and its sister organization Amazon Frontlines, was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people on Earth in 2020 (the only Indigenous woman on the list) and won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize among other major awards, for her struggles against the ravages of oil drilling in her people’s ancestral lands.
Professor of Forest Ecology | University of British Columbia
Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia, one of the planet’s leading experts on the synergies and complexities of forests and the development of sustainable forest stewardship practices, Suzanne Simard is a world-renowned pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence whose work has influenced several major filmmakers and novelists. She is the author of the currently best-selling Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest.
Julian Brave NoiseCat
Director of Green New Deal Strategy | Data for Progress
A prolific, widely published 28-year-old Indigenous journalist, writer, activist and policy analyst, Director of Green New Deal Strategy at Data for Progress, Julian Brave NoiseCat has become a highly influential figure in the coverage and analysis of Environmental Justice and Indigenous issues as well as of national and global political and economic trends and policies.
CEO and Founder | Bioneers
Kenny Ausubel, CEO and founder (in 1990) of Bioneers, is an award-winning social entrepreneur, journalist, author and filmmaker. Co-founder and first CEO of the organic seed company, Seeds of Change, his film (and companion book) Hoxsey: When Healing Becomes a Crime helped influence national alternative medicine policy. He has edited several books and written four, including, most recently, Dreaming the Future: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature.
Co-Founder and Chief Relationship Strategist | Bioneers
Nina Simons, co-founder of Bioneers and its Chief Relationship Strategist is also co-founder of Women Bridging Worlds and Connecting Women Leading Change. She co-edited the anthology book, Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart, and most recently wrote Nature, Culture & The Sacred: A Woman Listens for Leadership. An award-winning social entrepreneur, Nina teaches and speaks internationally, and previously served as President of Seeds of Change and Director of Strategic Marketing for Odwalla.
Director | Equity Research Institute, USC
Manuel Pastor, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at USC and Director of its Equity Research Institute, has long been one of the most important scholars and activists working on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities and the social movements seeking to change those realities. He has held many prominent academic posts, won countless prestigious awards and fellowships for his activism and scholarship, and is the author and co-author of many important, highly influential tomes, including most recently, State of Resistance: What California's Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America's Future (2018) and the just-about-to-be-released Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter.
Student Organizer | Florida PIRG Students
Alexandria (Alex) Gordon, a senior at Eckerd College (in St. Petersburg, FLA) and student organizer with Florida PIRG Students, a student-run nonpartisan nonprofit, got her start organizing on that group’s New Voters Project, working to register young people for the 2018 midterm elections. In 2019 she launched a successful campaign to get Eckerd to sign the “Break Free From Plastic Pledge” and eliminate all nonessential single-use plastics on campus, resulting in Eckerd becoming the first school in the nation to implement such a pledge. Alex continues to build support for campuses and communities to break free from plastics and to build student power in the state of Florida.
Founder | 350.org
Bill McKibben, one of the most important thinkers on environmental issues and climate activists of our era, is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, a founder of the remarkable influential grassroots climate campaign 350.org and the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. A recipient of the Right Livelihood Prize (sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel’) in 2014, and the Gandhi Peace Award, he has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, the seminal, groundbreaking text, The End of Nature, published 30 years ago; and his most recent, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
Co-Founder | South Los Angeles Youth Leadership Coalition
Nalleli Cobo, now 20, has been a passionate Environmental Justice activist since age 9, when she realized the oil drilling operation across the street in her South Los Angeles neighborhood was making her and many of her family and neighbors very sick. She helped create a grassroots campaign, People not Pozos (i.e. “wells” in Spanish) that has been fighting ever since to close the well permanently. Nalleli went on to co-found the South Los Angeles Youth Leadership Coalition, which sued the City of Los Angeles for Environmental Racism. Nalleli has become an award-winning, internationally renowned, profoundly inspiring young leader.
Deanna Van Buren
Executive Director | Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
A widely-traveled, award-winning, groundbreaking activist architect with 16 years’ experience designing projects internationally and a major thought leader in advocating for restorative justice centers (a radical transformation of the criminal justice system), Deanna Van Buren is Executive Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, an architecture and real estate development firm innovating in the built environment to end mass incarceration; and serves on the national board of Architects/ Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility.
Biologist, Avid Gardener and Author
Anne Biklé is a biologist, avid gardener, and co-author, along with her husband, David Montgomery, of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health. Biklé is among the planet’s leading experts on the microbial life of soil and its crucial importance to human wellbeing and survival.
Co-Founder | Start: Empowerment
Alexia Leclercq (she/they), a young environmental justice organizer based in Austin TX and NYC, is a co-founder of Start: Empowerment, a non-profit that works with teachers and students to implement radical social and environmental justice education and programming and that organizes at a grassroots level to combat environmental racism. Alexia was just announced as one of the winners of this year’s prestigious Brower Youth Awards.
David R. Montgomery
Professor of Geomorphology | University of Washington
David Montgomery is a professor of Geomorphology and, along with his wife and collaborator Anne Biklé, co-author of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health a landmark exploration the microbiome. Montgomery's research looks at the process shaping Earth’s surface and how they affect ecological systems—and human societies. He has studied everything from the ways that landslides and glaciers influence the height of mountain ranges, to the way that soils have shaped human civilizations both now and in the past. He is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and has received many awards throughout his career, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the Vega Medal. In addition to The Hidden Half of Nature, Montgomery is the author of the seminal Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back To Life.
2021 Presenters (Many More To Come)
Director of Community Engagement | Designing Justice+Designing Spaces
Brandi Mack, Director of Community Engagement with Designing Justice+Designing Spaces (an Oakland-based architecture and real estate development non-profit working to end mass incarceration), Co-National Director for The Butterfly Movement (dedicated to providing personal/professional development for black women and girls), and on the faculty of Biomimicry for Social Innovation’s “Living Systems Leadership” retreat for women, is also a holistic health educator, therapeutic massage therapist, permaculture designer, living systems thought leader, and mother of three daughters.
Associate Professor of Education | University of Nottingham
Sarah Amsler, an eco-social researcher, writer and educator, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham and a member of the Our Bodhi Project and the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures arts/research collectives, focuses in her work on how patterns of interpersonal, historical-social, epistemic, ontological and metabolic violence are reproduced in affective, embodied, conceptual, political and relational realms; and on strategies to interrupt systems of power that fuel suffering and destruction, so that other ways of being can become possible.
Renowned Musical Ensemble
Rising Appalachia, a renowned musical ensemble founded by Leah Song and Chloe Smith in 2006, and now grown to include David Brown on upright bass and baritone guitar, Biko Casini on world percussion, Arouna Diarra on ngoni and balafon, and Duncan Wickel on fiddle and cello, is rooted in various folk traditions, storytelling, and passionate grassroots activism. The band routinely provides a platform for local causes wherever it plays and frequently incites its fans to gather with it in converting vacant or underused lots into verdant urban orchards and gardens. In a time of social unraveling, Rising Appalachia’s unique interweaving of music and social mission and old traditions with new interpretations exudes contagious hope and deep integrity.
Invasive Plant Researcher and Activist | Everglades Restoration Ambassadors
David Baldwin, a Fort Lauderdale, FL-based 18-year old, who has done research alongside members of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and interned in a biogeochemistry lab at Florida Atlantic University, has been doing groundbreaking work on finding innovative land-management solutions to invasive weeds in his region. A member (since he was 14) of Everglades Restoration Ambassadors, a nonprofit that removes nonnative plants, he educates elementary school students about nonnative species using educational modules he developed. Baldwin was also just recently announced as a 2021 Brower Youth Award winner.
Artistic Director | Kearny Street Workshop
Jason Bayani, MFA, a theater performer and author, is Artistic Director of the Kearny Street Workshop, the oldest multi-disciplinary Asian Pacific-American arts organization in the country. A Kundiman Fellow, his published works include: Locus (a 2019 Norcal Book Award finalist) and Amulet. He has written for World Literature Today, Muzzle Magazine, Lantern Review, and other publications and performs regularly around the country. His first solo theater show was 2016’s Locus of Control.
Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology | UC Santa Cruz
Chris Benner, Ph.D., the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at UC Santa Cruz, also directs the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change and the Institute for Social Transformation there. His research examines the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment. He has authored or co-authored seven books (including the forthcoming Solidarity Economics) and more that 75 journal articles, chapters and research reports.
Outreach Specialist | Poverello House
David Bouttavong, a Fresno, CA-based first generation queer Lao American, is on the outreach team of Poverello House, working with individuals experiencing homelessness in his town, and also serves on the board of the Laotian American Community of Fresno. He has had extensive experience as a health educator working with young men experiencing trauma and incarcerated youth with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and doing advocacy on issues affecting young men and boys of color, including with Fresno Barrios Unidos and the Fresno Unified School District.
Sonali Sangeeta Balajee
Founder | Our Bodhi Project
Sonali Sangeeta Balajee is the founder of Our Bodhi Project, which promotes practices at the intersection of Belonging, Organizing, Decolonizing, Health, and Interconnectedness. Sonali previously spent 13 years in government in Portland, OR, leading equity-based projects, has been an activist in HIV/AIDS work, environmental justice, and racial equity for 30 years, has 20 years’ experience in dance and music performance and 35 years’ practicing yoga and mindfulness. She sits on the boards of Bioneers and Worldtrust.
Co-Director of Bioneers Indigeniety Program | Bioneers
Alexis Bunten, Ph.D., (Aleut/Yup’ik), Program Manager for Bioneers’ Indigeneity Program, has been a researcher, media-maker, manager, consultant, and curriculum developer for organizations including the Sealaska Heritage Institute, Alaska Native Heritage Center, and the FrameWorks Institute. She has published widely about Indigenous and environmental issues, and is the author of So, how long have you been Native?: Life as an Alaska Native Tour Guide. (bioneers.org)
Staci K. Haines
Co-Founder | Generative Somatics
Staci K. Haines, a leader in the field of Somatics, is the co-founder of Generative Somatics, a multiracial social justice organization bringing somatics to social and climate justice leaders and organizations. She specializes in somatics and trauma and leads programs for healers, therapists and social change leaders to transform the impact of individual and social trauma and violence. Her most recent book, The Politics of Trauma: Somatics, Healing and Social Justice is based on that work. Staci is also the author of Healing Sex: A Mind Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma and the founder of GenerationFIVE, a community-based organization working to end the sexual abuse of children within five generations.
Lauren D. Hage
Executive Director and Co-Founder | Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education
Lauren D. Hage, an educator, consultant and ecological designer, is Executive Director and co-founder of the non-profit Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education, which encourages the study and practice of “Earth Intimacy,” “Co-Liberation,” “Embodiment” and “Prayerful Action” as key approaches for addressing the social and ecological crises of our times. Lauren is dedicated to supporting people to pursue their passions and shape their actions from a foundation rooted in interrelationship. Lauren comes from Ashkenazi Jewish (Russian), Sicilian, and Scottish ancestry.
Deborah Eden Tull
Author | Relational Mindfulness
Deborah Eden Tull, a Zen meditation and mindfulness teacher, author, activist and educator who spent 7 years training at a silent Zen monastery, has been teaching dharma for 20 years and sustainability practices for nearly 30. Her teaching style is grounded in “engaged awareness,” which emphasizes the connection between personal awakening and global engagement. Author of: Relational Mindfulness: A Handbook for Deepening Our Connection with Our Self, Each Other, and Our Planet and The Natural Kitchen: Your Guide for the Sustainable Food Revolution, Eden offers retreats, online courses and consultations internationally. She also teaches The Work That Reconnects, a program created by Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, and is affiliated with UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center.
Assistant Professor of American Studies | University of New Mexico
Nick Estes, Ph.D. (Kul Wicasa/Lower Brule Sioux), is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico and a member of the Oak Lake Writers Society, a group of Dakota, Nakota and Lakota writers. In 2014, he was a co-founder of The Red Nation in Albuquerque, NM, an organization dedicated to the liberation of Native people from capitalism and colonialism. He serves on its editorial collective and writes its bi-weekly newsletter. Nick Estes is also the author of: Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.
Founder and Executive Director | Herbicide-Free Campus
Mackenzie Feldman is the founder and Executive Director of Herbicide-Free Campus, an organization that works with students and groundskeepers around the country to advocate for an end to the spraying of synthetic herbicides at schools and a transition to organic land management. Her campaign resulted in the entire University of California system going glyphosate-free, and Mackenzie worked with a coalition to get herbicides banned from every public school in the state of Hawaii. Mackenzie is also a Food Research Fellow for Data For Progress and was a winner of the prestigious Brower Youth Award in 2019 for her work with Herbicide-Free Campus.
Poet, Musician, Visual-Artist, Filmmaker, Educator and Activist
Alixa Garcia, born in Colombia, is an award-winning poet, musician, visual-artist, filmmaker, educator, and activist. Her performance work with the duo Climbing PoeTree has been featured in hundreds of universities, conferences and festivals, including at the United Nations and T.E.D.’s Ideas Worth Spreading. Her visual work has been exhibited in major museums and public spaces, including in Times Square and at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art. Her latest work is currently being exhibited in the Kunsthal Kade Museum, Netherlands.
Executive Director | Freedom Lodge
Ruby Gibson, Th.D., of Lakota, Ojibwe, Mestizo and Mediterranean descent, is an educator, researcher, author and leading practitioner of Somatics, as well as a traditional healer. Executive Director of the non-profit, Freedom Lodge, which provides historical trauma healing to Indigenous populations internationally, she has done groundbreaking work bridging bodywork, Transpersonal Psychology, traditional healing and spirituality for 35 years. Author of My Body My Earth, The Practice of Somatic Archaeology, she has developed two new healing modalities: Somatic Archaeology© and Generational Brainspotting™.
Journalist and Author
Ben Goldfarb is the author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. His work has appeared in publications including the Atlantic, Science, Orion
Keep It in the Ground Campaign Organizer | Indigenous Environmental Network
Dallas Goldtooth (Isanti Dakota/Dine) from Cansayapi village in Oceti Sakowin territory (currently called Minnesota), is the National Keep It In The Ground Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He travels extensively across North America as a public speaker and organizer to support frontline Indigenous communities fighting fossil fuel extraction on their lands. He is also a Dakota language activist and cultural teacher, a film producer, playwright, actor and a comedian who co-founded The 1491s, an all-Indigenous social media group that uses comedy and satire as a means of critical social dialogue.
Permaculture Designer and Environmental Scientist
Carmen Gonzales, a permaculture designer, environmental scientist and activist, grew up on both the Navajo Reservation and in Southern California, and her work for the past 16 years has focused on collaborating on wise design strategies in water retention landscaping and water and air quality programs for tribal nations in Northern Nevada and California, working with tribes, land planners, and scientists to balance good science, traditional knowledge, personal healing, and cultural evolution. She is driven by the vision of supporting the revitalization of Native communities through building relationships that nourish land and life for the benefit of all beings.
Senior Director of Programs and Research | Bioneers
Teo Grossman, Senior Director of Programs and Research at Bioneers, previously worked on a range of projects from federal range management to state-level assessments of long-range planning to applied research on topics including climate change adaptation, ecosystem services, biodiversity, and ecological networks. A Doris Duke Conservation Fellow during graduate school, Teo holds an MS in Environmental Science & Management from UC-Santa Barbara.
Co-Founder | Permaculture Magazine
Maddy Harland co-founded a publishing company, Permanent Publications, in 1990 and Permaculture Magazine in 1992 to explore traditional and new ways of living in greater harmony with the Earth. She is the author of Fertile Edges—regenerating land, culture and hope and The Biotime Log. Maddy and her husband, Tim, have designed and planted one of the oldest forest gardens in Britain: once a bare field, it is now an edible landscape and haven for wildlife.
Associate Director of Climate Planning & Resilience | Climate Resolve
Natalie Hernandez is a Los Angeles region-based specialist in environmental policy and community planning who is deeply knowledgeable about climate change-related government processes, funding, stakeholder engagement and resilience. She is Associate Director of Climate Planning & Resilience at Climate Resolve, where she has: managed climate preparedness projects, co-authored California's Adaptation Planning Guide, led community outreach for an urban cooling project in Canoga Park, and provided technical expertise on a number of climate grant programs. Her past positions include stints at the California Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, Institute for Local Government, and USC's Equity Research Institute (formerly USC PERE).
Founder and Director | Biomimicry for Social Innovation
Toby Herzlich, founder/Director of Biomimicry for Social Innovation (BSI), is an internationally recognized trainer, facilitator, and executive coach who has consulted for many organizations, including the Sierra Club, Agroecology Fund and Young Climate Leaders Network. Toby leads BSI’s Living Systems Leadership retreats and serves as faculty in Biomimicry 3.8’s two-year program for professionals. Toby sees herself as a cross-pollinator among change agents working on climate solutions and social equity, germinating a co-evolving network of leaders using nature’s intelligence for guidance and inspiration.
Leading Ecological Thinker, Teacher, Writer and Speaker
David Holmgren is (along with Bill Mollison) the co-originator of the Permaculture concept, following publication of their seminal 1978 text, Permaculture One. Globally recognized as a leading ecological thinker, teacher, writer and speaker who promotes Permaculture as a realistic, attractive and powerful alternative to dependent consumerism, he is the author of several books, including: Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability; Future Scenarios: How Communities Can Adapt To Peak Oil and Climate Change, and, most recently, RetroSuburbia: The Downshifter’s Guide to a Resilient Future.
Attorney | Greenpeace International
Michelle Jonker-Argueta, J.D., acting Senior Legal Counsel for Strategic Litigation at Greenpeace International, advises campaigns on the development and implementation of strategic litigation to hold governments and corporations accountable for climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as the resulting human rights violations. An attorney registered with the New York Bar who holds a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, she is also a Dutch lawyer.
Author, Investigative Journalist, Analyst
Antonia Juhasz, one of the nation and the world's leading, award-winning investigative journalists and writers on energy and climate whose bylines include Rolling Stone, Harper’s, The New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN.com, The Nation, The Guardian and many more, is the author of three books, including: Black Tide and The Tyranny of Oil. An adjunct lecturer at Tulane University, she is a 2020-2021 Bertha Fellow in Investigative Journalism and has held many prestigious journalism fellowships at leading universities in the past decade. Antonia has traveled all over the world in her investigations of oil extraction’s impacts and founded and runs the (Un)Covering Oil Investigative Reporting Program sponsored by the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Comedian, Writer and Producer
Jackie Keliiaa (Yerington Paiute and Washoe), an Oakland, CA-based comedian, writer and producer, is a regular performer at a number of Bay Area comedy clubs and has performed at San Francisco SketchFest, Punchline San Francisco, Comedy Oakland and Tommy T’s, among many other venues. Some of her performances can be found online at: Team Coco LIVE: Moses & Friends and Illuminative’s 25 Native American Comedians to Follow. Jackie is also one of the comedians profiled in the recently published book, We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy.
Programs & Volunteer Manager | Chapter 510
Jahan Khalighi, a spoken word poet, youth educator and community arts organizer, leads creative writing workshops for personal and collective transformation in a wide range of settings, from juvenile detention centers to classrooms, from community centers to boardrooms. He currently manages programs at Chapter 510, a youth creative writing and publishing program in Oakland, CA. Jahan has performed widely, including at: TEDxSonoma, YBCA, Mission Cultural Center, Bioneers and Esalen; and some of his work has been published in Whoa Nelly Press.
Assistant Professor of Fire Science | Management of Complex Systems Department at UC-Merced
Crystal Kolden, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Fire Science in the Management of Complex Systems Department at the University of California, Merced, is a former wildland firefighter. She conducts research on how humans can mitigate catastrophic wildfire disasters while embracing and acknowledging fire as our ancestors did. She lives in rural California, where she burns the land to heal it.
Executive Director | Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines
Beatriz (aka “Bia”) Caiuby Labate, Ph.D., a San Francisco-based queer Brazilian anthropologist whose main areas of interest are the study of plant medicines, drug policy, shamanism, ritual, religion, and social justice, is Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines and co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Group for Psychoactive Studies (NEIP) in Brazil. Bia also serves as: Public Education and Culture Specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS); Adjunct Faculty in the East-West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS); Diversity, Culture, and Ethics Advisor at the Synthesis Institute; and is the author, co-author, and co-editor of 24 books and a number of journals and peer-reviewed articles. (chacruna.net).
| weDialogue and the World Café Community Foundation
Amy Lenzo, who pioneered the World Cafe online process and has hosted hundreds of online World Cafes with people from all over the world since then, has been hosting conscious online engagement for over a decade and has been a cutting-edge leader in creating distinctly human interactive online spaces that help us connect with ourselves, each other and the natural world.
Title VI Indian Education Coordinator | American Indian Child Resource Center
Manny Lieras (Navajo & Comanche), the Title VI Indian Education Coordinator with the Oakland Unified School District, works with urban American Indian youth at The American Indian Child Resource Center and has established himself as an influential role model and change agent in the Oakland, CA, intertribal community. He also teaches pow wow drumming and singing, has produced a film series, Injunuity (www.injunuity.org), and works with the Occupied Canoe Family in the Bay Area.
Podcast Host | The Future Is Beautiful
Amisha Ghadiali, a facilitator, speaker and writer with extensive backgrounds in sustainable fashion, socially conscious entrepreneurship, activism, meditation and yoga, is host of the globally-acclaimed podcast The Future Is Beautiful. She has led many retreats, workshops and rituals around the world, and designed programs such as: The Heart of Transformation, Wild Grace, and a residential fellowship in community facilitation leadership. She also hosts an online membership community—Presence: for Creative, Connected and Courageous Living; and works one-to-one in her Presence Leadership Mentoring program.
Prominent Permaculture Teacher, Designer and Speaker
Penny Livingston, one of the most renowned and respected leaders in the field of Permaculture, has been teaching internationally and working professionally in land management, regenerative design and permaculture for 30 years. She has extensive experience in all phases of ecologically sound design and construction and specializes in the site planning and design of resource-rich landscapes that integrate rainwater collection, agroforestry systems, edible and medicinal planting, pond and water systems, habitat development and watershed restoration for homes, farms, co-housing communities and businesses. She is currently teaching online courses with Ecoversity and the Permaculture Skills Center.
Teacher | Generative Somatics
Donaji Lona draws on her Zapotec Indigenous ancestry in her work as a longtime community organizer and as a teacher, practitioner and bodyworker for 9+ years in the field of Somatics. She works predominantly with immigrant communities and communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area (in English and Spanish) and is currently a teacher with Generative Somatics, an organization that focuses on bringing a politicized Somatics practice to movement-building organizations.
Restorative Food Systems Director | Bioneers
Arty Mangan, Bioneers' Restorative Food Systems Director, joined Bioneers in 1998 as Project Manager for the Restorative Development Initiative. A former board president of the Ecological Farming Association and member of the Santa Cruz GE Subcommittee that banned GE crops, Arty has worked with farmers and agriculture since 1978, first as a partner in Live Juice and later with Odwalla, where he was in charge of fruit sourcing.
Editor in Chief | Sierra Magazine
MaMuse, a musical duo (Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker) fed by folk and gospel traditions that has been together 13 years and produced five albums, uses a wide variety of acoustic instruments (upright bass, guitar, mandolins, ukulele, and flutes) with the goal of creating uplifting music that opens hearts, nurtures a love of life and “inspires the world into thriving.”
Program Director | Chacruna Institute’s Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative
Joseph Mays, MSc, an ethnobotanist, biologist, anthropologist and conservation activist who has conducted extensive cultural and ethnobotanical fieldwork in Peru and Ecuador, is the Program Director of the Chacruna Institute’s newly launched Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative of the Americas, where he conducts research and builds connections with small Indigenous communities throughout the Americas to support Chacruna’s mission of increasing cultural reciprocity in the psychedelic space.
Founder and CEO | Emotion Dynamics LLC
Karla McLaren, M.Ed., an award-winning author and social science researcher, is a leading figure in the study of healthy empathy and the revaluing of “negative” emotions to help people open new pathways of self-awareness, deep healing, and effective communication. Founder and CEO of Emotion Dynamics LLC and developer of the Empathy Academy online learning site, she is the author of: The Power of Emotions at Work: Accessing the Vital Intelligence in Your Workplace; Embracing Anxiety: How to Access the Genius of this Vital Emotion; The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill; The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You; and many other titles and courses.
Founder | Conservation Communities Initiative
Sonja Michaluk, a Princeton, NJ-based 18-year old young scientist and citizen science activist who participated in her first freshwater bio-assessment as an eager six-year-old, founded the Conservation Communities Initiative, which encourages people to monitor and protect their local aquatic habitats and advocate for data-driven environmental decision making. The initiative runs a microbiology and genetics lab that facilitates use of a genetics-based bio-assessment method that Michaluk developed, which can identify the presence of threatened, endangered, and nonnative species from trace water samples. Michaluk has recently helped secure several big wins for aquatic environments, including the modification of a natural gas pipeline to protect ecologically critical land in Central New Jersey.
President | Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Carroll Muffett, President of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a nonprofit that uses the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society, is an expert on international environmental law and a leader in the emerging fields of climate litigation and climate-related financial and legal risks. He is lead researcher on a number of CIEL investigations, including on the oil industry's nefarious role in: climate science, geo-engineering, the global plastics crisis, and carbon capture. He is also a member of the Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and on the board of the Climate Accountability Institute.
Osprey Orielle Lake
Founder and Executive Director | Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
Osprey Orielle Lake, founder and Executive Director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, works with grassroots and Indigenous leaders, policy-makers and scientists to promote climate justice, resilient communities, and a just transition to a democratized energy future. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is the author of the award-winning book, Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature.
Emeritus Fellow in Social Anthropology | University of Kent
Daniela Peluso, Ph.D., Emeritus Fellow in social anthropology at the University of Kent and a member of the board of directors of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines, is a cultural anthropologist who has worked over the last two decades in lowland South America, mostly with communities in Peru and Bolivia. She has been actively involved in various local efforts on issues relating to health, gender, Indigenous urbanization and land-rights, working in close collaboration with Indigenous and local organizations. Her publications focus mostly on Indigenous ontologies, urbanization, violence and relatedness.
Artist, Activist, Healer, Grower and Educator
Naima Penniman, an artist, activist, healer, grower and educator committed to planetary health and community resilience, is the co-founder of WILDSEED Community Farm and Healing Village, a Black and Brown-led intentional community focused on ecological collaboration, transformative justice, and intergenerational responsibility. She is also: Program Director at Soul Fire Farm, dedicated to supporting the next generation of B.I.P.O.C. (Black/Indigenous/people of color) farmers; the co-founder/co-artistic director of Climbing PoeTree, an internationally-acclaimed performance duo; a Thai Yoga Massage practitioner; and a member of Harriet's Apothecary, a collective of Black women-identified healers.
Transit Justice Activist | Turnout4Transit
Peter Pham, a San Jose, CA-based 22-year old environmental and transit justice activist with Turnout4Transit, a coalition of environmental advocacy groups, labor unions, and social justice organizations, has been fighting for better public transit throughout the San Jose metropolitan region and beyond with the goals of slashing regional emissions, decreasing traffic congestion, and increasing local residents access to opportunities. This past year Pham and his colleagues helped pass a ballot measure to generate $100 million for rail services in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, and he is a just recently announced 2021 Brower Youth Award winner.
Activist and Fighter for Indigenous Rights | Apache Stronghold
Naelyn Pike, 22, is a renowned young Chiricahua Apache activist and lifelong fighter for Indigenous Rights who follows in the footsteps of her grandfather who founded the Apache Stronghold to protect their people’s sacred sites and rights. At age 13 Pike was the youngest Indigenous girl to testify before Congress. Today she continues to battle corporations and political leaders whose actions damage the Earth as she fights for environmental sustainability and Indigenous rights at the local, state, and national levels.
Nailah Pope Harden
Executive Director | ClimatePlan
Nailah Pope Harden, who has years of community organizing experience spanning regional, state and national environmental justice campaigns, is the South Sacramento-based Executive Director of ClimatePlan, where she: manages state policy campaigns; mobilizes partner organizations; provides analysis on policy, state investments, and legislation; and builds strong relationships with state agencies and key decision-makers, all in order to further Climate Plan’s vision of a healthier, more equitable California.
Artemisio Romero y Carver
Co-Founder | Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA)
Artemisio Romero y Carver is an 18-year old, Santa-Fe, NM-based artist, poet and organizer who helped found Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA), a youth-led nonprofit working to hold elected officials accountable for the health of the planet, future generations, and BIPOC communities by leading protests, lobbying for federal and state legislation, endorsing candidates, and educating voters. Romero y Carver, currently a steering committee member and spokesperson for YUCCA, served as its Policy Director during New Mexico’s 2021 legislative session during which three of the organization’s priority bills were passed, and was also Santa Fe’s 2020 Youth Poet Laureate.
Co-Director of Bioneers Indigeniety Program | Bioneers
Cara Romero (Chemehuevi), Program Director of the Bioneers Indigenous Knowledge Program, previously served her Mojave-based tribe in several capacities, including as: first Executive Director at the Chemehuevi Cultural Center, a member of the tribal council, and Chair of the Chemehuevi Education Board and Chemeuevi Headstart Policy Council. Cara is also a highly accomplished photographer/artist. (bioneers.org/pages/indigeneity-program)
Executive Director | Amazon Watch
Leila Salazar-López, the Executive Director of Amazon Watch, has worked for 20+ years to defend the world’s rainforests, human rights, and the climate through grassroots organizing and international advocacy campaigns at Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network, Global Exchange, and Green Corps. She is also a Greenpeace Voting Member and a Global Fund for Women Advisor for Latin America.
Anita Sanchez, Ph.D., of Aztec and Latina ancestry, has drawn from Indigenous wisdom and modern science to guide thousands of leaders in corporations and nonprofits in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces and communities. She is the author of six books, including the international bestselling: Success University for Women in Business, and the International Latino Book Award winner: The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times. (sancheztennis.com/anita, foursacredgifts.com)
Professor of African American Studies and Chair of Ethnic Studies | Merritt College
Jason Seals, a professor of African American Studies and Chair of Ethnic Studies at Merritt College in Oakland, California, also has a long career in youth development, serving in multiple roles across the nonprofit, mental health and juvenile justice sectors, and he continues to facilitate community workshops and professional development trainings on a wide range of topics, including radical healing, anti-racism, parenting/fatherhood, and systems change. Professor Seals is also often called upon to provide his expertise as a consultant, curriculum designer and speaker, and he provides a platform for a wide range of African-American authors, leaders, activists and artists in his podcast, A Moment of Truth.
co-director and educator | Weaving Earth
tayla shanaye is a bicultural Black mother who inhabits the intersection of somatic liberation, reproductive justice, and nature connection. She is a somatic educator and therapeutic counselor focused on the resolution of racialized and gendered trauma, the Co-Director and educator at Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education, and author of several publications. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Women’s Spirituality at CIIS.
Founder | Santa Cruz Permaculture and UCSC Right Livelihood College
David Shaw, a whole systems designer, facilitator, educator, and musician, founded Santa Cruz Permaculture and the UCSC Right Livelihood College, a partnership with the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” He supports communities locally and globally to transform their shared future through strategic dialogue and collective action.
CEO, Author and Regenerative Farmer | Restoration Agriculture Development Inc
Mark Shepard, CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development, runs New Forest Farm (in Viola Wisconsin), a cutting-edge solar, wind and local biofuel-powered 110-acre commercial-scale perennial agricultural savanna, one of the first of its kind in the USA. Mark also teaches agroforestry, Permaculture and Restoration Agriculture and designs natural resource and agricultural properties worldwide and is author of the award-winning books: Restoration Agriculture: Real-world Permaculture for Farmers and Water for ANY Farm. A certified organic farmer since 1995, Mark is also a founding member of the American Hazelnut Company, on the board of the Stewardship Network, and a lead designer for the Valley Foundation of the Reed Jules Oppenheimer Foundation.
Founder | Great Plains Action Society
Sikowis (aka Christine Nobiss) (Plains Cree/Saulteaux, George Gordon First Nation) grew up in Winnipeg but has been living in Iowa City for 15 years. She is the founder of the Great Plains Action Society, “a collective of Indigenous organizers of the Great Plains working to resist and Indigenize colonial institutions, ideologies, and behaviors.” She speaks, writes and organizes extensively on Indigenous rights, the climate crisis, environmental collapse and colonial capitalism.
Eriel Tchekwie Deranger
Co-Founder and Executive Director | Indigenous Climate Action
Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation), a leading global figure in Indigenous Rights and Climate Justice activism, is the co-founder and Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action and is a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change. She also sits on a number of boards of notable non-profit organizations (including Bioneers) and activist groups. She has organized divest movements, lobbied government officials, led mass mobilizations against the fossil fuel industry, written extensively for a range of publications and been featured in documentary films (including Elemental).
Co-Founder | Healing Generations Institute and the National Compadres Network
Jerry Tello, of Mexican, Texan and Coahuiltecan ancestry, raised in South Central Los Angeles, has worked for 40+ years as a leading, award-winning expert in transformational healing for men and boys of color; racial justice; peaceful community mobilization; and providing domestic violence awareness, healing and support services to war veterans and their spouses. He co-founded the Healing Generations Institute and the National Compadres Network, where he is currently Director of Training and Capacity Building. He has authored numerous articles, videos, curricula, and a series of children’s books, and is a member of the Sacred Circles performance group.
'Stop It At The Source' Campaigner | 350.org
Clayton Thomas-Muller (Mathias Colomb Cree/Pukatawagan), the Winnipeg-based ‘Stop It At The Source’ Campaigner with 350.org and a founder and organizer with Defenders of the Land, is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive global movement for energy and climate justice. He also serves on the boards of Black Mesa Water Coalition, the Global Justice Ecology Project and Bioneers and is a steering committee member of the Tar Sands Solutions Network. Clayton has for over 12 years campaigned across North America organizing in hundreds of Indigenous communities to defend against the encroachments of the fossil fuel industry.
Somatic Practitioner and Writer
Nazbah Tom (Diné), a Toronto-based somatic practitioner and writer, uses a combination of drama therapy, conversation, gestural practices, breathwork, new somatic skills, and bodywork to support individuals and groups through processes of embodied transformation.
Deputy Director of Eco-Cultural Revitalization | Karuk Tribe
Bill Tripp (Karuk from the Klamath River Basin) is the Deputy-Director of Eco-Cultural Revitalization for the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources. A specialist on forest management and the lead author on the Karuk Eco-cultural Resource Management Plan (ECRMP) and co-author of the Karuk Climate Adaptation Plan, his work involves developing partnerships and strategic action plans to enable large landscape collaborative management throughout Karuk Aboriginal Territory and beyond.
educator | Weaving Earth
brontë velez (they/them), a Black-Latinx transdisciplinary artist, activist, designer and educator, is the Creative Director of the Lead to Life design collective and an Ecological Educator for the Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education. brontë is also currently working on a “mockumentary” with Jazz musician Esperanza Spalding and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
Director of Education and Community | TreePeople
Ariel Lew Ai Le Whitson, Director of Education and Community at TreePeople, leads and manages TreePeople’s environmental education, water equity and community organizing departments. The engagement team supports thousands of community members across Southern California, with a focus on environmentally and economically stressed communities that have faced historical environmental injustice, in actively participating in initiatives focused on climate change solutions, reforestation, water security, fire resilience, urban soils, waste management, and planting a healthy urban tree canopy.
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