As Bioneers rolls into our 34th annual gathering, the big wheels of massive change are turning.
Climate disruption bears down daily, and there’s a widely felt morning-after awakening that it’s going to crash the economy and bring civilization to its knees. Although the regime shift to renewables is now an accelerating inevitability, it’s going to take relentless political action. To beat the clock, we also need to override the doom loop of delay and propaganda the desperate fossil fuel industry will keep pushing.
Meanwhile, the unprecedented movements of the past decade for liberation, justice and multicultural democracy are swelling to challenge the right-wing populist and neo-fascist forces underwritten by cynical plutocratic elites. “Make feudalism great again” is proving to be a marketing challenge. Something’s gotta give.
At the core is a crisis of democracy: a radical disconnect between the world people want and the world corporations and their client governments have hijacked. The climate crisis and the inequality crisis are the same crisis. Our separation from nature and our separation from each other are the same dis-integration. The choice is clear: nihilism or regeneration. Shattering or wholeness.
For over three decades, the Bioneers Conference has served as a trellis on which this visionary movement of movements has grown and grown together around authentic “solve-the-whole problem” solutions.
Especially in these darkest of times, we come together to regenerate and celebrate. We invite you to join forces with the Bioneers community of leadership in this time when we’re all called upon to be leaders.
Speakers at Bioneers 2023
Keynote Speakers - Thursday, April 6th
Director of Policy and Advocacy | NDN Collective
Jade Begay, MA, a citizen of Tesuque Pueblo and also of Diné and Southern Ute ancestry, Director of Policy and Advocacy at NDN Collective, works at the intersections of storytelling, narrative strategy, climate and environmental justice, and Indigenous rights policy at the domestic and international levels. She previously served as the Creative Director and Climate Justice Campaign Director at NDN Collective but now directs its programs and projects that elevate policy and advocacy issues important to the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and tribal nations. In 2021, Jade was appointed by President Biden to serve on the inaugural White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and is a recipient of a Ripe for Creative Disruption Environmental Justice Movement Fellowship.
Host and Executive Producer | The Laura Flanders Show
Laura Flanders, one of the pre-eminent progressive journalists and media figures in the country, is the host and Executive Producer of the nationally syndicated The Laura Flanders Show, which airs on nearly 300 PBS stations nationwide (and online, on radio, and as a podcast). She is an Izzy-Award winning independent journalist, a bestselling author (including of: Blue Grit: Making Impossible, Improbable, Inspirational Political Change in America and Bushwomen) and a recipient of the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Media Center.
National Geographic Explorer and Founder | The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
Shane Gero, Ph.D., is a Canadian whale biologist, Scientist-in-Residence at Ottawa’s Carleton University, and a National Geographic Explorer. He is the founder of The Dominica Sperm Whale Project, a long-term research program detailing the lives of these enigmatic ocean nomads in the Eastern Caribbean. His research is motivated by a desire to understand animal societies, how and why they form, and sadly, what happens when they fall apart. Shane is also the Biology Lead for Project CETI who are applying machine learning and gentle robotics to decipher sperm whale communication. His science appears in numerous magazines, books, and television; and most recently was the basis for the Emmy Award winning series, Secrets of the Whales.
Director of Policy | Maine Environmental Education Association
Amara Ifeji, 21, an award-winning (2021 National Geographic Young Explorer and 2022 Brower Youth Award) climate justice activist, Director of Policy at the Maine Environmental Education Association, has had great success in mobilizing youth-led, grassroots movements to advance climate education legislation and ensure equitable access to outdoor learning for ALL youth in Maine.
President | One Fair Wage
Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley, co-founded (after 9/11) the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), which grew into a national movement of restaurant workers, employers and consumers. She then launched One Fair Wage as a national campaign to end all sub-minimum wages in the United States. Saru has won many prestigious awards for her advocacy, is frequently interviewed on major media and is the author of four books including: One Fair Wage: Ending All Subminimum Pay in America and Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning.
Keynote Speakers - Friday, April 7th
Lead Organizer | Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard
Ilana Cohen is a lead organizer of the Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard campaign and the international Fossil Free Research movement, which combats the fossil fuel industry’s dangerous influence on academia. She is also a 2022 Brower Youth Award winner and a climate journalist with bylines in outlets including The Nation, The New Republic, Teen Vogue, and Inside Climate News. Ilana is currently a senior and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Undergraduate Fellow at Harvard University, where she studies the ethics of climate change.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
Chair | Congressional Progressive Caucus
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, now serving her third term in Congress representing Washington’s 7th District, the first South Asian American woman elected to the House, is the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and serves on many key committees. A highly influential leader on progressive policies on: immigration, LGBTQ rights, labor issues, economic inequality, climate, clean energy, etc., Congresswoman Jayapal, prior to her election to political office, spent decades working internationally and domestically in global public health and development and as an advocate for women’s, immigrant, civil, and human rights. She is the author of two books, including, most recently: Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change.
Kim Stanley Robinson
Science Fiction Author
Kim Stanley Robinson, an American science fiction writer, is the author of about twenty books, including the internationally bestselling Mars trilogy, and more recently Red Moon, New York 2140, and The Ministry for the Future. He was part of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers’ Program in 1995 and 2016, and a featured speaker at COP-26 in Glasgow as a guest of the UK government and the UN. His work has been translated into 26 languages and won many awards including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. In 2016 asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson.”
Anton Vonk Associate Professor of Environmental Politics | University of California, Santa Barbara
Leah Stokes, Ph.D., one of the nation’s most influential leading experts and “engaged scholars" in climate and energy policy, is the author of the award-winning book Short Circuiting Policy, which examines the role of utilities in undermining regulation and promoting climate denial. Trained at MIT, Columbia, and the University of Toronto, Stokes’ widely read and cited work has been published in top scholarly journals, as well as the New York Times, Washington Post, and other popular media outlets. She is the Anton Vonk Associate Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a senior policy consultant at Rewiring America, and co-host of the popular climate podcast “A Matter of Degrees.”
Chef, Educator & Author
Bryant Terry, an award-winning chef, educator and author renowned for his activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system, is: Editor-in-Chief of 4 Color Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House and Ten-Speed Press); Co-Principal and Innovation Director of the Zenmi creative studio; and Chef-in-Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco. His most recent (2021) and 6th book, Black Food, was among the most widely critically acclaimed food-related books of recent years. His other books include: Vegetable Kingdom, Afro-Vegan, and Vegan Soul Kitchen. For the 2022-2023 academic year Bryant is also an Artist Fellow at UC Berkeley as a member of the second cohort of Abolition Democracy Fellows, working between the Black Studies and Art Practice Departments.
Co-Founder | Green Chemistry
John Warner, Ph.D. is a co-founder of the field of green chemistry. With 300+ patents and 100+ publications, he has designed and created technologies inspired by nature with the principles of green chemistry. After working at the Polaroid Corporation, John served as a tenured full professor at UMASS Boston and Lowell (in Chemistry and Plastics Engineering). In 2007 he co-founded (with Jim Babcock) the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry and (with Amy Cannon) Beyond Benign, a non-profit dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education. John has won many prestigious awards for his research, inventions and policy advocacy and has served as a sustainability advisor for several major firms.
Keynote Speakers - Saturday, April 8th
john a. powell
Director | Othering and Belonging Institute
john a. powell, Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, was previously Executive Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State, and prior to that, the founder and Director of the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He also formerly served as the National Legal Director of the ACLU, co-founded the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. Well-known for his work developing the frameworks of “targeted universalism” and “othering and belonging,” john has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University. His latest book is Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.
CEO | New Energy Nexus
Danny Kennedy, with a long background in eco activism, has become one of the nation’s leading figures in clean-technology entrepreneurship and the capitalization of the transition to a “green” economy. Co-founder of the solar energy company, Sungevity, and the clean energy incubator Powerhouse, Kennedy supports the clean technology and energy fields in myriad ways. In addition to leading roles with Third Derivative (a joint venture with the Rocky Mountain Institute) and the California Clean Energy Fund, Kennedy is currently CEO of New Energy Nexus, a global nonprofit providing funds, accelerators, and networks to drive clean energy innovation and adoption.
Teacher and Author
Joanna Macy PhD, teacher and author, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking and deep ecology. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, Macy has created a ground-breaking framework for personal and social change that brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger body. Her many books include Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power; World as Lover, World as Self; Widening Circles, A Memoir; and Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects. Macy is retired and lives in Berkeley, California.
Senior Fellow | Other & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley
Yuria Celidwen, Ph.D., of Indigenous Nahua and Maya descent, born into a family of mystics, healers and poets from Chiapas, Mexico, conducts research at U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Psychology at the the intersection of Indigenous studies, cultural psychology, and contemplative science; is a Senior Fellow at the Other & Belonging Institute; co-chairs the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit of the American Academy of Religion, and is part of the steering committee of its Contemplative Studies Unit. She also works with the United Nations on the advancement of Indigenous peoples’ rights and the rights of the Earth and is a teacher of Indigenous epistemologies, spirituality and contemplative practices.
Author & Journalist
Rebecca Solnit, one of our nation’s most influential writers, thinkers, historians and activists, is the author of 20+ books, including: Orwell’s Roses; Recollections of My Nonexistence; Hope in the Dark; Men Explain Things to Me; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; and A Field Guide to Getting Lost. She is also co-editor of Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility (coming April 2023) and writes regularly for the Guardian, serves on the board of the climate group Oil Change International, and just launched the climate project Not Too Late.
Panel and Interactive Speakers
Co-Creator & Stewardship Lead | Shelterwood Collective
Nikola Alexandre, Co-Creator & Stewardship Lead of the Shelterwood Collective, is a Black queer forester with MA degrees in both Forestry and Business Administration from Yale who founded Conservation International’s Ecosystem Restoration Program. After attending a nature-based healing gathering following the Pulse massacre, Nikola committed his life to tending the earth and reclaiming land stewardship as a way of nurturing a future for the communities he belongs to, which led to his co-founding the Shelterwood Collective in Sonoma County.
Researcher | Other & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley
Emnet Almedom is a researcher at the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley (which “advances groundbreaking research, policy, and ideas that examine and remediate the processes of exclusion, marginalization, and structural inequality”) who focuses on economic justice policy, corporate accountability and divest-invest models for public safety and climate justice. Her work has advanced non-police emergency response in Oakland, government data- and power-sharing for racial equity in New York City, and tenant rights in her hometown of Atlanta.
Noor Almusahwi, a refugee for most of his life and raised by a foster family, was able to succeed academically and to become an effective advocate for immigrants by public speaking, writing, working with nonprofits, and even briefing members of Congress on best practices to handle the humanitarian crisis at the border.
Director of the Pain Management Department | Santa Cruz Community Health
Michael Amster, MD, a physician and researcher at the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center with twenty years’ experience in pain management, is the founding Director of the Pain Management Department at Santa Cruz Community Health. A meditation practitioner for 30+ years, he is also a certified yoga and meditation teacher who conducts research on awe and leads mindfulness retreats.
Environmental Justice Organizer
Alfredo Angulo (they/them), a lifelong Richmond, CA resident and recent first-generation graduate from U.C. Berkeley, witnessed many oil spills, fires, and gas leaks from the second-largest refinery in California in that town, and became an environmental justice organizer, working on such projects such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management’s Community Emissions Reduction Plan for Richmond, as well as documenting the stories of those most harmed by generations of fossil fuel operations with the Richmond Progressive Alliance’s Listening Project.
Rising Appalachia, a world-traveling ensemble founded by Atlanta-raised, New Orleans-based sisters Leah and Chloe Smith whose soulful folk-roots sound traces back to their open-minded musician parents and to grassroots music communities in the hills and valleys of the Deep South as well as urban Atlanta, has consistently used its platform to activate, organize and support frontline justice work and community organizations. Fifteen years into an adventure that has taken this self-made, stubbornly independent band around the globe, they have recently released a new master-work, their seventh album, Leylines, recorded in California in a studio overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Program Associate and Co-Lead of Communications and Social Media Teams | I Am Why
Alondra Aragon, Program Associate and Co-lead of Communications and Social Media Teams at I Am Why, an organization founded in 2018 to “bring young women and gender expansive activists together with researchers and other partners to increase young activists’ individual and collective power," is a mother, a community organizer, land steward, youth advocate, and plant medicine promoter who has dedicated the past decade to working in the environmental and youth justice sectors. Alondra also works with the Hummingbirds Urban Farm collective.
Philanthropist / Impact Investor
Azita Ardakani is a serial entrepreneur, social activist and human centered communication expert. Azita created Lovesocial in 2010, an award winning creative agency which developed human driven campaigns and strategies mapping organizational community behavior. In 2016 she launched Honeycomb Portfolio, an experimental investment vehicle. Honeycomb is driven by nature's intelligence and is looking to bridge our entrepreneurial, social and emotional economic frame by deferring to nature.
Founder and Director | Fenceline Watch
Yvette Arellano is the Houston, TX-based founder/Director of Fenceline Watch (USA) an environmental justice organization dedicated to the eradication of toxic multigenerational harm on communities living along the fence-line of industry. Yvette has testified before the EPA, federal, state, and intergovernmental bodies about public health impacts from toxic exposure and potential solutions; has aided in crisis response post-chemical disasters; contributed to efforts to stop fossil fuel infrastructure expansions; and has worked on achieving a global plastics treaty with the Break Free From Plastics Coalition.
Associate Professor of Women, Gender, Spirituality, and Social Justice | California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
Alka Arora, Ph.D, an Associate Professor of Women, Gender, Spirituality, and Social Justice at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), developed an educational framework called “Integral Feminist Pedagogy” that weaves together feminist, ecological, embodied, and contemplative paradigms. She has published numerous articles and serves as an educational consultant, leadership coach, and certified facilitator of Gender Equity and Reconciliation International workshops. Alka was featured in the documentary film Women’s Spirituality in Higher Education.
Sonali Sangeeta Balajee
Founder | Our Bodhi Project
Sonali Sangeeta Balajee, an artist, organizer, facilitator, mindfulness/yoga instructor and health practitioner, is the founder of Our Bodhi Project, which supports healthy movement-building and organizing through deepening critical analyses, centering the health of all living systems, and enlivening the connection between social and spiritual wellness. Sonali spent 13 years in U.S. local government, working on social justice and racial equity initiatives and has extensive experience in community organizing. She also recently founded SSoMA (the Spiritual Social Medicinal Apothecary).
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.
Founder | UC Berkeley’s Program for Anti-Authoritarianism and Social Movements
Howard Besser, Professor Emeritus at New York University and the founder of UC Berkeley’s Program for Anti-Authoritarianism and Social Movements, has for 30+ years been a political activist while researching and teaching about the intersection of technology and public policy. He is particularly interested in grassroots movements for social change.
Bette Billiot, a member of the United Houma Nation Tribe of Louisiana who is a Community Organizer with the Sierra Club and Housing Louisiana, has represented and advocated for her community as part of several Gulf South delegations speaking on Louisiana industries, climate and land-loss issues internationally.
Deputy Director | Urban Tilth
Adam Boisvert has spent the past 13 years growing community and school garden and food production programs with the food justice organization Urban Tilth in Richmond, California. Currently, Adam serves as Urban Tilth’s Deputy Director and as a teacher-of-record for the Urban Agriculture Academy at Richmond High School, a year-round elective course rooted in hands-on, experiential learning.
Executive Director | Ecology Center
Martin Bourque, the Executive Director of the Ecology Center in Berkeley since 2000, has led that cutting-edge non-profit to become a high-impact engine for change locally, regionally and nationally, helping move progressive agendas in such domains as transparency in plastic recycling, pollution reduction, food and farming, access and equity, consumerism, and zero waste. A member of the Break Free from Plastics movement and a founding member of the Alliance of Mission-Based Recyclers (AMBR), Martin has appeared as a go-to source for the truth about recycling for many leading media outlets and in several documentaries, including: Bag It, The Story of Plastic, and Netflix’s Broken.
Co-Founder | Gender Equity and Reconciliation International
Rev. Cynthia Brix, Ph.D. (hon), is co-founder of Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI), which has organized over 300 trainings in 14 countries for healing and reconciliation between women and men and people of all genders. An ordained interfaith minister, Cynthia co-leads retreats on interfaith spirituality and co-convened seven international conferences on “inter-spirituality.” She is co-author of three books with William Keepin, including: Women Healing Women: A Model of Hope for Oppressed Women Everywhere, and, most recently, the collection: Gender Equity and Reconciliation: Thirty Years of Healing the Most Ancient Wound in the Human Family.
Founder | Reserva: The Youth Land Trust
Callie Broaddus, a Washington, DC-based conservation photographer and the founder of Reserva: The Youth Land Trust, a nonprofit empowering youth to conserve threatened species and habitats around the world, has focused since 2019 on the Ecuadorian Tropical Andes, Earth’s most unique biodiversity hotspot, where Reserva is working with partners to prevent gold mining in the fragile Dracula Reserve ecological corridor. Callie also serves on the advisory councils and boards of several leading conservation organizations.
Fellow in Environmental Humanities and Environmental Justice | Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah
Taylor Brorby, a Fellow in Environmental Humanities and Environmental Justice at the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah, is an award-winning, widely published writer and poet as well as a contributing editor at North American Review who also serves on the editorial boards of Terrain.org and Hub City Press. Taylor regularly speaks around the country on issues related to extractive economies, queerness, disability, and climate change, and is the author of Boys and Oil: Growing up gay in a fractured land; Crude: Poems; Coming Alive: Action and Civil Disobedience; and co-editor of Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America.
Intercultural Conversations Program Manager | Bioneers
Nazshonnii Brown-Almaweri, Intercultural Conversations Program Manager for Bioneers’ Indigeneity Program, is a West Oakland-based STEAM educator who advocates for exposure and opportunities for historically excluded people, especially Black and Native youth. She has provided many middle and high school students with the space to learn about STEAM at the intersection of ancestral knowledge and their lived experiences and has worked to help Oakland youth thrive in disciplines such as engineering. Nazshonnii is also a farmer connected to the Gill Tract Community Farm in Albany and was previously a STEM tutor, media educator, and youth program assistant for the American Indian Child Resource Center.
Co-Director, Indigeneity Program | Bioneers
Alexis Bunten, Ph.D., (Aleut/Yup’ik), Co-Director of 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.
Lead Circle Member | Youth vs Apocalypse
Aniya Butler is a 16 year old spoken word poet and organizer from Oakland, CA. She works with a youth-led climate justice group, Youth Vs Apocalypse where she directs the Hip Hop & Climate Justice Initiative and coordinates the No One Is Disposable campaign. Using poetry and organizing, Aniya emphasizes the importance of acknowledging that climate change is a direct result from the same oppressive systems responsible for the social injustices frontline people experience every day. Aniya wants to help rebuild a world with foundations of equity, sustainability, and love so that every living thing can truly thrive.
Action Lead Program Manager | Narrative Initiative
Orion Camero (they, their), a Filipinx queer visual storytelling educator and cultural organizer who honors the stories of their ancestors from the Central Valley farmworkers’ movements to Indigenous Babaylan resistance against the Spanish empire, is Action Lead Program Manager for Narrative Initiative (a story-based social change organization) and stewards the California Allegory, an epic collaborative image that acts as a centerpiece for intersectional justice education and cross-movement pollination.
Writer and Community Activist
Anneke Campbell, a writer and community activist who has worked as a midwife, nurse, English professor, yoga teacher and death educator; is the co-author (with Thomas Linzey) of: We The People: Stories from the Community Rights Movement in the U.S.; and editor of Nina Simons' book: Nature, Culture and the Sacred: One Woman Listens for Leadership. Anneke also co-produces and scripts videos for non-profit organizations, and writes essays and articles while completing a memoir on the intersection of history and politics in family life.
Executive Director | Beyond Benign
Amy Cannon, Ph.D., the Executive Director of Beyond Benign, was the world’s first recipient of a doctorate in Green Chemistry. After working in industry and academia, she co-founded (in 2007) Beyond Benign, a non-profit dedicated to advancing Green Chemistry education in K-12 through higher education. Amy has won many prestigious awards both for her work in research and her leadership in driving green chemistry education.
Erin Matariki Carr
Project Lead | RIVER
Erin Matariki Carr, of Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa descent, lives in her traditional homelands in Aotearoa/New Zealand and works in law and policy, with a focus on the interface between Indigenous and Western legal systems and methodologies. She previously worked as Manager of Planning & Design to create and implement policies under the world-first legislation conferring legal personhood to the Te Urewera rainforest. Matariki is currently a project lead at RIVER, where she focuses on the constitutional transformation movement in Aotearoa with a number of other teams, including Tūmanako Consultants and Te Kuaka NZA.
Visionary Activist Astrologer | Coyote Network News
Caroline Casey, the renowned “Visionary Activist Astrologer” and “story-language crafter” at Coyote Network News (“the Mythological New Service for the Trickster Redeemer within us all”), has been hosting and “weaving context” on her beloved Pacifica Radio Visionary Activist Show for 26 years, and is the author of the book, Making the Gods Work for You. Caroline has long presented her uniquely provocative, inspiring and vividly entertaining “astro-mythological” political meta-story-telling in a very wide range of multi-media venues.
Sweta Chawla, PharmD, a former professor of pharmacy turned leadership coach, is a certified Art of Sacred Circle, Singing Tree and Step into Your Moxie facilitator who uses art, self-awareness and vocal expression to empower her clients. She has published articles and essays in many journals and magazines, and is the author of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For...Now What? as well as a contributor to the award-winning anthology: She’s Got This: Essays on Standing Strong and Moving On.
Co-Founder and Executive Director | People over Plastic
Shilpi Chhotray, co-founder and Executive Director of People over Plastic (a media platform for multicultural changemakers to hear powerful, intergenerational, solutions-oriented conversations that center the intersection between environmental and racial justice), is a globally recognized communicator and thought leader on the plastic pollution crisis. She was formerly the Global Communications Lead at Break Free From Plastic.
Associate Attorney | Communities for a Better Environment
Connie Cho, M.Sc., Associate Attorney, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), first joined CBE as a Justice Catalyst Legal Fellow in 2020. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked in local government, community organizing, and non-profit services to transform health care and social safety net systems in New York. Connie is a graduate of Yale, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School.
Co-Director | Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Christine Cordero is Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), which organizes with immigrants and refugees for a healthy environment and a thriving economy. For 20+ years she has strategized, organized and built coalitions around environmental health and justice, workers’ rights, and economic and racial justice issues. Christine is also an ordained priest of the Chozen-ji line of Rinzai Zen who trains in Oakland, CA and Kalihi Valley, HI.
Founder | Alchemus Prime
Marilyn Cornelius, Ph.D., a facilitator, coach, teacher, researcher, author and the founder of Alchemus Prime, integrates tools from behavioral sciences, design thinking, biomimicry and meditation to foster transformative change at the individual, team, organization, policy, and community levels. Among her many achievements, she has authored or co-authored 32 books whose topics span self-love, mindful reflection, trauma, leadership, food and wellness, spirituality, ethics, and poetry; and also hosts two shows on Facebook, Mornings with Marilyn and Beyond Medicine.
Chief Coordinating Officer and Co-Founder | Obran Cooperative
Joseph Cureton, Chief Coordinating Officer and co-founder of Obran Cooperative, the first worker-owned conglomerate corporation, focuses on corporate strategy, capital formation and transactional support for the Cooperative’s mergers and acquisitions practice. A serial entrepreneur (with additional backgrounds in software design and culinary arts), his work seeks to build pathways to a solidarity economy, centering on the challenges faced by modern workers.
Founder and Director | Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at California State University Chico
Cynthia Daley, Ph.D., born into a four-generation Midwestern farming family, is a professor within the College of Agriculture at Cal State Chico and currently serves there as both the Rawlins Endowed Professor for Environmental Literacy and the Director for the Center for Regenerative Agriculture & Resilient Systems (a consortium of interdisciplinary faculty and farmers who recognize the ecological benefits of regenerative farming practices including water conservation, soil fertility, and carbon sequestration).
Eriel Tchekwie Deranger
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).
Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company
The Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company (DAYPC) is a diverse group of teens that collaborates with professional artists to create dynamic, original productions. Combining hip hop, modern and aerial dance, theater, song, and rap, company members take the stage to tell stories that stem from their lived experiences and express their visions for a world transformed. Since 1993, DAYPC has performed original work for up to 25,000 audience members annually, garnering critical acclaim and widespread community support for both their technical prowess and their commitment to advancing inclusivity, equity, and justice.
Creator | Grieve and Breathe
Amber Deylon, a council facilitator, is the creator of Grieve and Breathe, a sacred ceremony that combines ritual, council and breathwork to help participants release grief and trauma stored in their bodies. She completed her Death Midwifery training with Bridging Transitions founders, Birgitta Kastenbaum and Cheserae Scala, and currently assists them in supporting families and educational retreats. Amber, who is also a board member of The New Normal Charity, came to her calling after her own journey with grief transformed her life and permitted her to move from surviving to thriving.
Co-Founder and Co-Director | Women's Earth Alliance (WEA)
Amira Diamond, co-founder/Co-Director of Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA), has over 2 decades’ experience delivering community-driven, rights-based programming at the intersection of gender, racial, economic, environmental and climate justice around the world. Before WEA she had stints as: West Coast Director of Democracy Matters, on the team of Circle of Life, and founding and performing with the ensemble, the Social Prophet Choir. Amira, also a leadership trainer, facilitator and strategic planner, has served on a number of organizations’ boards and advisory councils.
OAEC's WATER Institute | Co-Director
Brock Dolman co-founded (in 1994) the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center where he co-directs the WATER Institute. A wildlife biologist and watershed ecologist, he has been actively promoting “Bringing Back Beaver in California” since the early 2000s. He was given the Salmonid Restoration Federation’s coveted Golden Pipe Award in 2012: “…for his leading role as a proponent of "working with beavers" to restore native habitat.
Program Officer | NDN Collective
PennElys Droz, Ph.D., of Anishinaabe and European descent, a mother of five, is a Program Officer with NDN Collective (“an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change”), and a founding board member of Sustainable Nations, an Indigenous regenerative community development organization. She has worked in Indigenous engineering and regenerative development for over twenty years, with the vision of the re-development of ecologically, culturally and economically thriving, sustainable Indigenous Nations.
Co-Founder and Managing Director | Orchid Capital
Tenesha Duncan, a Black feminist strategist exploring the intersections of reproductive and economic justice, is the co-founder and Managing Director of Orchid Capital Collective, an impact investing firm leveraging integrated capital to fund the shift toward community driven comprehensive birth and reproductive care. Tenesha brings over a decade of experience in reproductive health, rights, and justice in direct service provision, care quality improvement, organizational development, coalition building and facilitation, philanthropy, and venture capital.
Founder and Executive Director | International Cultural Arts & Healing Sciences Institute (ICAHSI)
Amikaeyla Gaston, an award-winning vocalist, musician and musical director, is the founder and Executive Director of the Oakland, CA-based International Cultural Arts & Healing Sciences Institute (ICAHSI), which seeks to “aid at-risk populations by bringing together artists and healers of all forms and from all specialties to promote healing and wellness through the arts.” She is also a Cultural Ambassador for the State Department who has worked with political refugees, war survivors, and at-risk populations worldwide in inter-cultural literacy and restorative justice projects.
Ana Paula Vargas
Brazil Program Director | Amazon Watch
Ana Paula Vargas, Brazil Program Director at Amazon Watch, has been working for 20+ years on communications and culture, human rights, and social justice issues in Brazil. She has collaborated with the press, local NGOs, the Brazilian government and international institutions to support and promote projects from popular associations, social movements and grassroots organizations. In the United States, as a member of the US Network to Defend Democracy in Brazil, she has organized advocacy and resistance to threats to human rights, to the Amazon rainforest and to Indigenous people, organizing rallies in alliance with other organizations and activists fighting for climate justice.
Oceanographer | University of Hawaii Mānoa
Andrea Kealoha, Ph.D., from Pāʻia, Maui, is an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii Mānoa who specializes in climate change and human impacts to coral reef health. She is the Director of UH Maui College's water quality lab and will be starting a faculty position at UH Mānoa in Fall 2023. In addition to conducting coral reef research to support marine resource management, Andrea also works with students and the community on water quality monitoring and education to increase diversity in STEM.
Andri Snær Magnason
Writer and Filmmaker
Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer and documentary fllmmaker. His latest book, On Time and Water, is a search for a new language to explain the climate crisis through science, family stories and mythology. His work ranges from poetry to non-fiction, children's literature, science fiction, theater and documentary film. Andri has won some international awards, the Tiziano Terzani Award in Italy, the Philip K. Dick honorary mention in USA for LoveStar and the Icelandic literary Award in all categories. He ran for president of Iceland in 2016 with environmental issues on the agenda and came in third.
Anuhea “BB” Haruki Hoshide Cooke
Anuhea "BB" Haruki Hoshide Cooke, a māhū wahine (trans femme) of Kānaka Maoli, Japanese, Choctaw, Chinese, Irish and English ancestry, is a drag/burlesque performer, poet, dancer and Indigenous/queer rights activist working to protect the lands and waters of their people, and is also a core contributor to Lonoikamakahiki, a Native-led and intertribal Hawaiian prayer journey. Anuhea has organized alongside many movements, including Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter, and the Run4Salmon.
Briana Di Mara
Briana Di Mara, an accomplished violinist known for her evocative improvisations and her ability to play a broad range of genres from many different cultures, trained in Western classical music as a child and the went on to study and perform a wide variety of musical traditions, including from the Celtic, Balkan, Turkish and Arabic worlds. She harmoniously weaves these influences into her own unique, eclectic sound and compositions.
Program Associate | New Energy Nexus
Bryan Vega, a Program Associate with New Energy Nexus (a groundbreaking clean energy nonprofit seeking to "create an abundant world with a 100% clean energy economy for 100% of the population in the shortest time possible time"), is working on the ground on the “Lithium Valley” project in the Salton Sea area. Raised in both the Valle of Mexicali in Mexico and California's Imperial Valley, Bryan, who has an academic background in political science and ethnic studies, is an experienced community organizer and civil rights activist.
Vice Chair | Esselen Tribe
Cari Herthel, the Vice Chair of and medicine woman for the Esselen Tribe, is a survivor leader and somatic therapist whose healing and reconciliation practice extends into mending the sacred hoop.
| United Houma Nation
Christie Lacoban, 16, a citizen of the United Houma Nation tribe residing in Houma, Louisiana, is a Community Resource Coordinator for a non-profit there and studies pow-wow dance styles and beadwork through the Federal Indian Education Program. Christie, a highly accomplished beadworker at such a young age, was taught that traditional craft from Houma elder, Louise Billiot, and has mastered the embroidery stitch, two-needle, brick and peyote stitch styles.
Rapper, Educator and Vegan Chef
DJ Cavem, raised in Denver’s Five Points district (aka the "Harlem of the West”), a rapper who coined the term “eco-hip hop” in 2007, is also an educator and vegan chef on a mission to raise consciousness about climate change, food justice and plant-based foods far and wide. His albums and EPs include: The Teacher’s Lounge; The Produce Section; and, most recently the BIOMIMICZ project. Cavem has performed and spoken widely, nationally and internationally, collaborating with many artists and sharing the stage with such luminaries as Nick Jonas, Public Enemy, 2 Chains, Questlove and Wyclef Jean. He and his wife and collaborator, Arasia “Alkemia” Earth, founded and run the Vita Earth Foundation, which hosts health and wellness summer camps, “culinary concerts" and "Recipes for Resistance" workshops, which focus on culinary climate action.
Co-Founder | Midia India
Eric Terena (aka DJ Eric Marky), an Indigenous youth activist and media maker, co-founder of Midia India (an Indigenous communication collective), is a member of Youth4Climate and was responsible for the audiovisual coverage of the participation of Indigenous leaders from Brazil at the United Nations Climate Change conferences COP25 and COP26. Eric is also a specialist in ethno-media and works with Indigenous singers.
Chief Ernest Alfred (K’wak’wabalas), a traditional (hereditary) leader and elected Council Member of the ‘Namgis First Nation, in 2017 led the 284-day “Swanson Occupation” to protect wild salmon against the impacts of Industrial open-pen fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago of the Kwakwaka'wakw coastal waters of British Columbia. His work to protect ancient rainforests and the cultural and spiritual practices that rely on a healthy environment has inspired a generation of Indigenous leaders to continue to uphold their ancestral responsibilities, rights and sovereignty.
Economic Development Director | Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians
Bio coming soon.
Healing Circles Manager | Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY)
Jodie Geddes, a national thought-leader on Restorative Justice with an academic background in Conflict Transformation, is the Healing Circles Manager at Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), a role that involves supporting the design and implementation of weekly African-American healing circles, events, and trainings. Jodie is also a published author and poet.
Undergraduate Student | UC Davis
Joe Sweeney is currently an undergraduate studying Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology at UC Davis. While in high school, he participated in the Bioneers Intercultural Conversations program that seeks to create a safe space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to share their cultures and develop the skills to better support and uplift Indigenous voices and communities. The experience elicited in him the desire to explore the intersections between climate change, ecology, activism and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). He hopes to pursue a career as a wildlife biologist, working on community based management solutions to the climate crisis.
Development/Communications | Bay Peace: Better Alternatives for Youth
Julianna Horcasitas currently works on development and communications for Bay Peace: Better Alternatives for Youth, a non-profit organization that offers "holistic youth leadership programs to empower Bay Area youth to transform and heal from militarism, systemic violence and intergenerational trauma.” Born and raised in the East Bay in a Hispanic family with several generations of strong women mentors, Julianna, who is working toward a psychology degree, has used her media and communications skills for a number of Bay Area non-profits. (http://www.baypeace.org/)
Co-Facilitator | Ancestors & Money coaching cohort
justine epstein (she/they) is an organizer, facilitator, rites of passage guide, naturalist and activist dedicated to transmuting legacies and systems of harm through wealth redistribution, social justice movement building, ancestral healing, cultural rites of passage, embodied community and deep ecology. A guiding council (board) member of Weaving Earth, justine is also co-facilitator for the Ancestors & Money coaching cohort.
President | Waterfall Unity Alliance
Kawenniiosta Jock (Kanien’kehá:ka, Wolf Clan from Akwesasne, Mohawk Nation Territory), President of the Waterfall Unity Alliance, board member of Onkwe Inc., and an alumna of the Akwesasne Freedom School, is an activist, land protector, master seamstress, traditional full-spectrum doula, mushroom hunter and artist. She works on preserving and restoring her people’s language, cultural teachings and ancient knowledge.
Co-Coordinator of the Bioneers Youth Leadership and Education Program | Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education
Kayla Douglass, of Hawaiian, Korean and German ancestry, is a local activist and creative entrepreneur who is in her 2nd year working with Weaving Earth as the Co-Coordinator of the Bioneers Youth Leadership and Education Program. Kayla’s creative pursuits include storytelling and traditional crafts from her various traditional lineages, such as lauhala weaving, hula, and yeomsaek (traditional Korean natural cloth dyeing).
Novelist, Essayist and Scholar
Keenan Norris, an Associate Professor at San Jose State University, is a novelist and essayist whose latest novel, The Confession of Copeland Cane, won the 2022 Northern California Book Award. His essays have garnered a 2021-22 National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award and 2021 Folio: Eddie Award, while his debut novel, Brother and the Dancer, won the 2012 James D. Houston Award. His most recent work is a "biblio-memoir," Chi Boy: Native Sons and Chicago Reckonings.
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.
Midwife and Founder | Birthland
Kiki Jordan, born and raised in Berkeley, is a local community midwife and founder of Birthland Midwifery, which is currently working to bring a perinatal wellness and birthing site to Oakland. Former Director of the Marin Family Birth Center, Kiki sits on the board of the California Association of Licensed Midwives and is Board President of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. Trained in an apprenticeship model that honored the tradition of community-based reproductive healthcare, she is passionate about creating accessible pathways to midwifery care and has a particular interest in healing models that can improve trans-generational traumas experienced by Black women.
Writer and Filmmaker
Laleh Khadivi, born in Esfahan, Iran, is a writer of fiction and nonfiction as well as (since 1999) a director, producer and cinematographer of documentary films. Her debut novel, The Age of Orphans, received multiple prestigious awards, and her documentary film, 900 WOMEN, aired on A&E and premiered at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published widely, including in The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, VQR and The Sun. She was also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant and a Pushcart Prize for her story, Wanderlust.
UC Berkeley Tech Policy Fellow
Luca Belli, Ph.D., the founder of Sator Labs and a UC Berkeley Tech Policy Fellow, was previously the co-founder and Research Lead for Twitter's Machine Learning Ethics, Transparency and Accountability (META) team where he guided industry-leading approaches for responsible ML practices and product changes. Before that he operated as a Data Science and Machine Learning Engineer at Conversant and WolframAlpha.
Youth Ambassador | Sacramento Native American Health Center
Manaia Taula-Lieras, 17, (of Diné, Umatilla, Samoan and Chicana ancestry), a Youth Ambassador at the Sacramento Native American Health Center, founded and is President of the World Justice Club at her high school, where she focuses on promoting diversity and a safe space for underrepresented students, along with providing accurate information about social and environmental issues. Manaia, who has received several scholarships from the Native Like Water program to exchange cultural knowledge with indigenous peoples from Hawaii to San Diego, has a passion for writing and ethnic studies and spends her free time involved in hula and Tahitian dance, as well as surfing.
Title VI Indian Education Coordinator | Oakland Unified School District
Manny Lieras (Navajo & Comanche), the Title VI Indian Education Coordinator for the Oakland Unified School District who relocated to Oakland to work with urban American Indian youth at the American Indian Child Resource Center, is an influential role model and change agent in the Oakland Intertribal community. Beyond his educational work, he teaches pow-wow drumming and singing, leads programs such as Native Like Water, and has been an activist state-wide and nationally fighting for American Indian education, land rights, fishing and hunting rights, Indian child welfare, and sovereignty. A well known artist and singer in American Indian drum circles, Manny is also the producer of the mixed-media project, Injunuity.
Mayor Jesse Arreguin
Mayor of Berkeley
Mayor Jesse Arreguin is the first Latino Mayor of Berkeley, elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020, after serving on the City Council for eight years. He also serves as President of the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Bay Area’s regional planning agency, where he led the development of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation for the San Francisco Bay Area. He also serves on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and is the Chair of the Bay Area Regional Collaborative. He is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. As Berkeley’s Mayor, he has made addressing homelessness, affordable housing, improving infrastructure and combating climate change his top priorities.
Founder and Executive Director | Vilda
Mia Andler, author of The Sierra Forager and co-author of The Bay Area Forager, is the founder and Executive Director of Vilda, a non-profit that runs nature connection programs for children in Tahoe, Truckee and the San Francisco Bay Area. Mia, who has been foraging since she was a little girl and has studied the regenerative practices of earth-based cultures around the world, has made frequent media appearances highlighting her work.
Carnivore Conservation Director | Project Coyote
Michelle Lute, Ph.D., a conservation scientist and advocate with 15 years’ experience in biodiversity conservation on public and private lands around the globe, is the Carnivore Conservation Director for Project Coyote overseeing the organization’s programs and campaigns across the country, helping promote human-wildlife coexistence through effective public engagement, equitable participatory processes and evidence-based decision-making. She began her career in the National Park Service, then worked for non-profits and held research positions at universities across the US, and most recently served as Wildlife Conservationist at the New Mexico State Land Office. Michelle has authored more than 30 publications in ecology and social science disciplines.
Poet and Activist
Myra Estrada, a poet and activist of African-American and Mexican ancestry, was a 2021 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, and is a Youth Speaks SPOKES Member and a 2023 Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam finalist.
Indigenous Rights and Climate Activist
Priscila Tapajowara (Tapajó I Brazil), born in Santarém in the Amazon, is an Indigenous rights and climate activist, photographer, film director and producer who has been using audiovisual tools for 9 years to fight in defense of the Amazon. She has been the cinematographic director of a number of documentaries in Brazil; a producer of the Latin American Film Festival CineAlter; a coordinator and communicator at Mídia India; and Vice-President of the Instituto Território das Artes.
Executive Director | Solidaire Network
Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director of Solidaire Network and Solidaire Action, a community of donor organizers mobilizing critical resources to the frontlines of social justice, is a passionate advocate for participatory grassroots-led power building. Her wide-ranging career devoted to racial, economic and climate justice has included work in Asia, Africa and the Americas in such domains as youth development, addressing the digital divide, community organizing, research, policy analysis and strategic planning. She is co-author of Leading with Joy: Practices for Uncertain Times, and is also a poet, essayist, educator, yoga instructor and leadership coach.
Co-Founder | Center for Humane Technology
Randima Fernando, a co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, which has helped over 100 million people globally understand the harms of extractive technology through "The Social Dilemma" and other projects, previously served for seven years as founding Executive Director at Mindful Schools, a nonprofit that has taught mindfulness to millions of kids worldwide. Before that, Randy led award-winning projects and authored three #1-ranked 3D graphics books over seven years at NVIDIA. He also serves on the Spirit Rock Meditation Center board.
Performing Arts Director | Destiny Arts Center
Rashidi Omari, affiliated with Oakland’s renowned Destiny Arts Center since 2003, is its Performing Arts Director and the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company's Co-Director. He also teaches dance and spoken word in school and community spaces throughout the Bay Area and presents on Destiny’s Creative Youth Development model nationally and internationally. Rashidi, whose passion for and profound knowledge of hip hop and related dance styles were kindled by his youth during the “golden age” of the genre, has been dancing since the age of three and has been performing extensively since 1993 with a wide array of companies.
Managing Director of California | New Energy Nexus
Rebecca Lee is the Managing Director of California at New Energy Nexus, a global non-profit organization working to accelerate a just and equitable clean energy future by supporting diverse clean energy entrepreneurs with funds, accelerators, and networks. Previously, she led the regulatory team at Sungevity, a residential solar developer and more recently, was a Senior Fellow at Gridworks where she facilitated workshops with diverse stakeholders to develop collaborative frameworks to advance equity and accelerate decarbonization. Rebecca was also lead author and researcher for "Advancing High Road Labor Standards in Transportation Electrification."
Co-Founder | Village Farm at Stanley
Sam Burris-Debosky, a farmer, carpenter, rites-of-passage guide and lifelong student of the natural world, co-founded and directed Village Farm at Stanley, in Aurora, Colorado, an urban farm dedicated to food-justice and education. Sam is part of the Weaving Earth team co-hosting/facilitating the Community of Mentors at this year's Bioneers Conference.
Community Organizer | BAY-Peace
Founding Director | Ancestral Guard
Sammy Gensaw, III, (Yurok) is the Founding Director of the Ancestral Guard, Artist, Yurok Language Speaker, Singer, Writer, Cultural/Political/Environmental Activist, Regalia Maker, Mediator, Youth Leader & Fisherman.
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 and Facilitator | Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education
Will Scott is a co-founder and facilitator at the Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education, which works to create systems change through education at the confluences of social and environmental justice. (weavingearth.org)
Partner | Full Spectrum Capital
Chad Dyer is a Partner at Full Spectrum Capital where he focuses on accelerating Just Transition using the Good Life Pledge framework. He also serves as advisor to Adasina, Anthropocene Ventures, Bronze, The People’s Ecosystem, and circular fashion social enterprise Suay Sew Shop.
Founder and Director | Artist As First Responder
Ashara Ekundayo is a queer, Black feminist interdisciplinary independent curator, visual artist and arts organizer whose creative practice is rooted in joy-informed pedagogies and the study and creation of Black archives, site-responsive ceremony, and artist-based strategies that illuminate the specific expertise of Black womxn of the African Diaspora. She is the founder/Director of Artist As First Responder, which serves as a platform to support creatives working to heal communities and save lives.
Lupe Romero Elicea
Co-Director | Climate Justice Alliance’s Just Transition Revolving Loan Fund & Incubator
Guadalupe “Lupe” Romero Elicea, Co-Director of the Climate Justice Alliance’s Reinvest in Our Power initiative, migrated from Mexico to the Bay Area at 17 and became involved with the Immigrant and Chicanx student movements. Guadalupe later became a worker-owner of Spectrum Apparel printing and co-founded its political arm, Printers United, with the goal of creating screen printing for art, revolutionary propaganda and social movement support.
Director of Agroecology and Land Stewardship | Deep Medicine Circle
Benjamin Fahrer is the Director of Agroecology and Land Stewardship for the Deep Medicine Circle (DMC) and the owner of Top Leaf Farms, a design/build company focused on innovative ecological rooftop farming systems. Over the last 25 years Fahrer has played key roles with bio-intensive land projects that have helped define regenerative practices and showcased scalable and easily replicated climate solutions.
Assistant Professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center | University of Hawaii, Mānoa
Kiana Frank, Assistant Professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, weaves contemporary Western techniques with traditional Native Hawaiian science to study how microorganisms shape the land for productivity and health. Her work evaluates overall ecosystem health and informs current monitoring, restoration, cultivation, and management practices in Hawaii. She works to inspire the younger Hawaiian generations to cultivate a connection to science through their culture.
Co-Founder | Afghan Friends Network
Humaira Ghilzai, who immigrated to the US in 1979 after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, is a writer, consultant and cultural producer who co-founded Afghan Friends Network and instituted the Sister City relationship between Hayward, California and Ghazni, Afghanistan where she has done extensive work to improve education for girls, boys, and women. Humaira has worked with professional theatres, authors, playwrights, and artists for over a decade, utilizing her extensive knowledge of Afghan people, culture, religion, and history to bring authenticity to their creative work. Humaira made her Broadway debut with the stage production of Kite Runner in 2022 and her first play, Pilgrimage, will have a world premiere in 2024.
Hilary Giovale, descended from Celtic, Germanic, and Nordic peoples and a “ninth-generation settler” is a “reparative philanthropist” and community organizer who seeks to follow Indigenous and Black leadership in support of human rights, environmental justice and an equitable future. She uses storytelling and ritual in her work with groups of fellow Euro-descended settlers to understand the impacts of colonialism, rekindle ancestral memory, divest from whiteness, and make reparations.
Percussionist and Drummer
Michaelle Goerlitz, a San Francisco Bay Area-based highly versatile percussionist and drummer, has played with a wide range of artists, including: VNote Ensemble, ‘Chelle & Friends, Mark Levine, Tammy Hall, Rhiannon, Yair Dalal, Barbara Higbie, Jami Sieber, Roger Glenn, Mimi Fox and Samba Rio. She also co-founded two long-lived Bay Area groups, the Blazing Redheads and Wild Mango, and she teaches extensively, both privately and at music camps and schools.
Law Student and Community Organizer
Britt Gondolfi, born and raised in Southeast Louisiana, is a law student, community organizer, future state legislature candidate, and mother. Since 2017, Britt has worked with the Bioneers Intercultural Conversation Program facilitating programming for students from Atlanta and from Bogalusa and Houma, Louisiana. While in Law School, Britt has supported the Bioneers Rights of Nature initiative by researching the intersection of tribal sovereignty and federal Indian law and facilitating workshops on the Rights of Nature at the Ho-Chunk and Mashpee Wampanoag nations.
CEO | Downtown Crenshaw Rising
Damien Goodmon is the CEO of Downtown Crenshaw Rising and the architect of the Liberty Ecosystem. Raising over $34 million in philanthropy and $90 million in commitments from impact investors and debt partners, the attempt to acquire the Crenshaw Mall is the most successful capital raise for a community-owned real estate project in American history. Based in the Crenshaw community of L.A., the Liberty Ecosystem's mission is to liberate marginalized communities by building a community-driven, people-centered, environmentally-sustainable local economy.
Co-Director | Sogorea Te’ Land Trust
Corrina Gould (Lisjan Ohlone), born and raised in the village of Huichin (aka Oakland, CA), is the chair and spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan and co-founder and Lead Organizer for Indian People Organizing for Change, a small Native-run organization that sponsored annual Shellmound Peace Walks from 2005 to 2009. As a tribal leader, she has continued to fight for the protection of the Shellmounds, uphold her nation's right to sovereignty, and stand in solidarity with Indigenous relatives to protect sacred waters, mountains, and lands all over the world. Her life’s work has led to the creation of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, a women-led organization in the Bay Area that seeks to heal and transform legacies of colonization and genocide.
Danielle Hill Greendeer
Writer, Farmer, Crafter, Dancer and Artist
Danielle Hill Greendeer (Mashpee Wampanoag), is a writer, farmer, crafter, dancer and artist who is also a seed-steward of King Philip Corn, a historically Wampanoag heirloom corn variety stolen during the King Philip War but now rematriated back into Wampanoag soil. Danielle also teaches a course on Native Food Systems at the UMass Amherst Stockbridge school of Agriculture.
Founder and CEO | Impact Finance Center
Stephanie Gripne, Ph.D., founder/CEO of Impact Finance Center, is the creative force behind several social enterprises designed to accelerate the Impact Investing Movement and move $1T into a number of social ventures that do well by doing good. Lauded by Forbes as “the Steve Jobs of impact investing,” Stephanie is continuously identifying, educating, and activating philanthropists and investors who want to become impact investors, and has, in just five years, helped generate 260 direct impact investments totaling some $260M.
Program Manager | UCSF's Hub of Positive Reproductive and Sexual Health (HIVE) and Team Lily programs
Cynthia Gutierrez, an award-winning, first-generation (Nicaraguan/Salvadoran) reproductive justice organizer, full spectrum doula, cultural strategist, writer and public speaker, works at the intersections of reproductive, disability, legal and environmental justice. A graduate of the 2021 Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice cohort, Cynthia is currently: Program Manager for UCSF's Hub of Positive Reproductive and Sexual Health (HIVE) and Team Lily programs; an abortion storyteller with We Testify: and on the boards of ACCESS Reproductive Justice, the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, and Women's Voices for the Earth.
Co-Founder | Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education
Dave Hage is co-founder of the Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education and a member of the Teaching Team for Weaving Earth’s adult programs. He has been facilitating circles for youth and adults since 2006 and is passionate about serving others in deepening their own relationship to self, to others, and to place.
Lauren D. Hage
Co-Founder and Executive Director | Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education
Lauren D. Hage, an educator, consultant and ecological designer, is co-founder and Executive Director 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.
Principal of Strategy Development | Biome Trust
Jan Hania is Tuwharetoa, Raukawa-ki-teTonga, Te Atiawa of Aotearoa/New Zealand, and is the Principal of Strategy Development for Biome Trust, which is focused on having a sustained impact in environment, education, and human wellbeing. Jan has worked both in Aotearoa and internationally on large-scale bioregional regeneration and climate adaptation initiatives. Jan develops exemplar equity-based projects that are practically implemented, demonstrating effective and sustained outcomes.
Educator and Facilitator
Lara Hania, with 30 years’ experience as an educator in Aotearoa/New Zealand, is committed to contributing to re-establishing Indigenous Māori equity and sovereignty as well as human-nature connections. Lara facilitates professional development for teachers and professionals enhancing cultural competency and nature connection and is a dynamic storyteller who shares narratives that draw on the patterns and wisdom of Te Taiao (the natural world) as a blueprint for humanity.
Senior Producer | Bioneers
J.P. Harpignies, Bioneers Senior Producer, affiliated with Bioneers since 1990, is a Brooklyn, NYC-based consultant, conference producer, copy-editor and writer. A former Program Director at the New York Open Center and a senior review team member for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge from 2010 to 2017, he has authored or edited several books, including Political Ecosystems, Delusions of Normality, Visionary Plant Consciousness, and, most recently, Animal Encounters.
Executive Director | PowerCorpsPHL
Julia Hillengas, co-founded (in 2013) and is Executive Director of PowerCorpsPHL, initially a City of Philadelphia workforce development initiative designed to help address youth disconnection and violence and promote urban environmental sustainability. Julia, who has extensive experience as an educator, coach, community organizer and public sector leader, currently leads PowerCorps’ strategy, partnerships, and expansion, seeking to work as a bridge-builder between young people and economic opportunities nationally.
Hip-Hop and R&B Artist
Jada Imani, a Hip-Hop and R&B artist immersed in the Soul, Funk and Jazz traditions, is a community activator who started (at age 15!) curating creative spaces for local artists at cafes, community centers and festivals, including Oakland's First Friday, Life is Living, and Fridays at Oakland’s Museum of California.
Co-Founder and Curator | Full Spectrum Labs
Taj James, co-founder and Curator at Full Spectrum Labs, a Principal with Full Spectrum Capital Partners, and co-founder and a Senior Advisor at Movement Strategy Center, is a father, poet, strategist, designer, and philanthropic and capital advisor. Taj seeks in his work to connect community stewards with capital stewards in order to bring financial value into alignment with sacred values in ways that build community wealth.
Councilmember | Richmond City Council
Claudia Jimenez, a trained architect and Environmental Planner and dynamic community organizer, originally from Colombia, has, for the last ten years been actively involved in Richmond and Contra Costa communities in a wide range of campaigns to ensure access to health, jobs, housing and services, especially for those most impacted by discrimination based on race, ethnicity, citizenship status, and other forms of social and economic exclusion. She was elected to the Richmond, CA City Council in 2020 and has been instrumental in passing key proposals to “reimagine public safety” as well as saving millions of dollars by getting the city out of Swap bond deals.
Climate Scientist, Buddhist Zen Priest and Grief Ritual Facilitator
Kritee Kanko, born in India, weaves her quest for racial justice, climate action and trauma healing into her work as a climate scientist, Buddhist Zen priest and grief ritual facilitator. She co-founded Boundless in Motion and the Rocky Mountain Eco-Dharma Retreat Center, two non-profit organizations based in Boulder, Colorado. She previously directed the Climate Smart Agriculture program in India for the Environmental Defense Fund for 11+ years.
Co-Founder | Bridging Transitions
Birgitta Kastenbaum, co-founder of Bridging Transitions, offers conscious living and conscious dying education (including end-of-life doula/midwife training) and provides end-of-life support centering emotional, spiritual, and collective wellness. A community gatherer, she uses story and ritual to reconnect us to ourselves, each other, the natural world, and the sacred. Her work invites us to embrace new paradigms for dying, death, and grief that are rich in wonder and love. Bridging Transitions hosts a variety of community events, including End of Life Midwives In Conversation a free, virtual monthly offering.
Co-Founder | Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI)
William Keepin, Ph.D., co-founder of Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI), a one-time a whistleblower in nuclear science policy, is a mathematical physicist whose research on efficient renewable energy strategies for abating global warming influenced international environmental policy. He has published widely on scientific and spiritual topics and co-convened seven international conferences to foster collaboration between religions and science. Will is also the author of five books, including: Song of the Earth: A Synthesis of Scientific and Spiritual Worldviews, and co-author, most recently of the collection: Gender Equity and Reconciliation: Thirty Years of Healing the Most Ancient Wound in the Human Family.
Senior Policy Advisor for Climate and Resilience | City of Boulder
Brett KenCairn, Boulder Colorado’s Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Action and leader of that town’s Natural Climate Solutions team, is the Director of the Center for Regenerative Solutions (CRS)—an initiative to expand natural climate solutions nationally that is co-sponsored by the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. He also is the founder or co-founder of four organizations including: the Rogue River Institute for Ecology and Economy, Veterans Green Jobs, and Community Energy Systems.
Director of Programs | 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 is currently Director of 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.
Mahjabin Khanzada, born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, began working as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Kabul at age 18 and was able, in August 2021, to get on an emergency evacuation flight to the U.S., 6 days later the Taliban seized all of Afghanistan. Today, Mahjabin lives with her family in the Bay Area, working hard to rebuild their lives with courage and resilience and grateful to be able to share her story so more people can learn about the realities of what is happening to the Afghan community, both in Afghanistan and abroad.
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.
Co-Founder | Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at California State University Chico
Tim LaSalle, co-founder of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems at Cal State Chico, previously served as: first CEO of the Rodale Institute; Executive Director of the Allan Savory Center for Holistic Management; and as Research Coordinator for the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in Africa on soils and food security for smallholder farmers. A Professor Emeritus, California Polytechnic State University, Tim also served as President and CEO of the California Agriculture Leadership Program.
Co-Founder | Start:Empowerment
Alexia Leclercq, a grassroots organizer, scholar and artist, has led dozens of environmental justice campaigns from passing legislation, fighting for clean water, addressing aggregate mining pollution to international advocacy and speaking at the UN on climate negotiations. Co-founder of the Colorado River Conservancy and of Start:Empowerment (a Queer and BIPOC-led nonprofit at the nexus of climate education and environmental justice organizing), her work has been recognized by the Brower Youth Award, Jericho Activism Prize, WWF Conservation prize and more. Currently a graduate student at Harvard, her research there focuses on the use of liberatory pedagogy to advance climate justice and air quality in communities of color.
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.
Youth Engagement Coordinator | Kahnawake Collective Impact
Carlee Kawinehta Loft (Shé:kon sewakwé:on), of Kahnawake/Mohawk ancestry, is the Youth Engagement Coordinator at Kahnawake Collective Impact; the Training Manager for the Muskrat Collective; and co-founder of Iakwatonhontsanónsta'ts—the Kahnawake Youth Environment Collective.
Founder | Elephant Circle
Indra Lusero, a Colorado licensed attorney, founder of Elephant Circle and the Birth Rights Bar Association, designed Colorado’s ambitious Birth Equity bill package that passed in 2021 and has been involved in legislation to eliminate the shackling of incarcerated people during pregnancy and birth and improve midwifery and birth center regulations. As a Queer, Genderqueer, Latinx parent, Indra is attuned to the importance of people on the margins leading the dismantling of oppressive systems to build a more equitable world.
Youth Chairman | Esselen Tribe
Andrew MacDonald, the Youth Chairman of the Esselen Tribe, who studies Sociology at Monterey Peninsula College, is dedicated to learning as much as possible about First Nations’ cultures, practices, societies, and values, and contributing to the reviving of Indigenous worldviews. He is also intent on reuniting his tribe.
National Director | The Butterfly Movement
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.
National Climate and Environment Reporter | Capital B News
Adam Mahoney, the national climate and environment reporter at Capital B News, a local-national nonprofit news organization focused on the Black experience, was previously an environmental justice reporter at Grist and reported on the police for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Guardian. Mahoney received the Peter Lisagor Award for best reporting on race and diversity in Illinois in 2021 and was a 2022 national finalist for best community-centered journalism from the Online News Association.
Director | The Cleveland Tree Coalition
Samira Malone is the Director of The Cleveland Tree Coalition, a collaborative of public, private and community stakeholders partnered with the City of Cleveland to create a healthy, vibrant, sustainable and equitable urban forest. Samira works to raise awareness of the critical need for a robust tree canopy in Cleveland and to generate financial support for the work of the Coalition. Her practice as an urban planner and environmental leader is rooted in racial and environmental restorative justice and holistic community development.
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.
Founder | Unity Through Creativity Foundation and the Singing Tree Project
Laurie Marshall, an author and artist, founder of the Unity Through Creativity Foundation and the Singing Tree Project, is a certified K-12 Art and Social Studies teacher who has worked for four decades to empower youth and adults through creative collaboration in her Peace Building through Art Inspired by Nature programs. An Arts Integration and Project-Based Learning specialist, she has served mostly low-income children, seeking to nurture creativity, a love of learning and a collaborative spirit and has made innovative use of visual art and storytelling in a wide range of consensus building, leadership training and conflict prevention initiatives with clients that have included NASA, FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Interior, the U.S. Botanical Gardens, as well as public schools, hospitals and prisons around the U.S.
Executive Director | Center for Whole Communities
Ginny McGinn, Executive Director of the Center for Whole Communities and an artist, has a long history working on social and organizational change and in building partnerships across lines of power and privilege. Previously, Ginny served as president of Bioneers, where she was instrumental in greatly expanding the reach of its programs. Ginny facilitates and consults on organizational change around the country, using Whole Thinking Practices and the tools she and her colleagues at the Center for Whole Communities have helped evolve.
Maureen Nandini Mitra
Editor | Earth Island Journal
Maureen Nandini Mitra is the Editor of Earth Island Journal, an award-winning, environmental magazine. In addition to her work at the Journal, she occasionally writes for other international publications and co-hosts Terra Verde, an environmental issues-themed talk show on KPFA public radio in Berkeley. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Public Press, Grist, Truthout, The Guardian, The New Internationalist, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, among others.
Gender & Women's Studies Professor and Director of Media Studies | UC Berkeley
Minoo Moallem, a Gender & Women's Studies professor and Director of Media Studies at UC Berkeley, has published many papers, articles and book chapters on Iran, the Middle East, gender and other topics and is the author of several books, including: Between Warrior Brother and Veiled Sister: Islamic Fundamentalism and the Cultural Politics of Patriarchy in Iran, and the co-editor of Between Woman and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms, and The State. Professor Moallem is affiliated with many centers and institutes, including the Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Berkeley Center for New Media; Center for the Study of Race and Gender; and the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies, to name only a few.
Professor | UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health
Rachel Morello-Frosch is a professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health whose research integrates community-based and environmental health science methods to understand structural determinants of environmental health among diverse communities with a focus on social inequality, racism, discrimination, psychosocial stress, and how these factors interact with environmental hazard exposures to produce health inequalities. She also collaborates with environmental justice partners to develop tools to improve policy and regulatory decision-making, and to advance environmental justice.
Campaign Organizer | Breathe Free Detroit
KT Morelli, the Campaign Organizer for Breathe Free Detroit, is a seasoned activist who lived in the shadow of Detroit's incinerator for over a decade and helped lead the grassroots, community-powered campaign which was ultimately successful in shutting the incinerator down (in 2019). KT is also a member of GAIA's US Failing Incinerators Project, Break Free From Plastic’s US Environmental Justice delegation for the Global Plastics Treaty, and Michigan's Environmental Justice Caucus.
Palliative Care Consultant | Mettle Health
Ladybird Morgan, a registered nurse, social worker and craniosacral practitioner, has 20+ years’ experience in hospice and palliative care, addressing trauma, mental health challenges and repercussions of sexual violence. Ladybird, who guides medical practitioners, families, caregivers and institutions around the world on how to be present to difficult experiences, is currently a private palliative care consultant with Mettle Health and a staff member at Commonweal’s Cancer Care Help Program. She is also a co-investigator/study therapist with a University of Washington study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy and a Learning Facilitator for Synthesis Retreat’s Psilocybin Practitioner Training.
Tom Little Bear Nason
Tribal Chairman | Esselen Tribe of Monterey County
Tom Little Bear Nason, born on his aboriginal homelands in Big Sur, CA, has been the Tribal Chairman of the Esselen Tribe since 1993, helping preserve 1,200 acres of Esselen sacred land, one the first “Land-Back” achievements for a non-federally recognized tribe in California. He has been involved in the preservation of traditional landscapes for 30+years and worked with agencies to remove one the largest dams in California history, effectively preserving salmon and steelhead populations. He continues to work with tribes, state agencies, land trusts and conservation groups to expand tribal land stewardship, and is also a Culture Bearer, Fire Ecologist, and Bear Dance Leader.
Founder and Director | Molodi
Jason Nious, a performing artist and creative director whose background with high school step teams and NCAA gymnastics launched his career, has traveled extensively with Cirque du Soleil, Usher, Stomp, Step Afrika, and numerous theatre and film productions. As founder and Director of the Las Vegas, NV-based, award-winning body percussion ensemble, Molodi, Jason designs new touring productions and facilitates Molodi's arts education program, reaching over 20,000 students per year. He also serves as an arts integration consultant with Focus 5, Cirque du Soleil, Cleveland Playhouse, and The Smith Center; and is an Artist-In-Residence with the Museum of Dance, Education Chair of the LAB LV Theatre Company, and regularly conducts in-school residencies through the Nevada Arts Council.
Co-Facilitator | Spirit Root Medicine People
Loa Niumeitolu, a Tongan poet, community organizer and educator with degrees in English and International Development, is a farming teacher and lead farmer at Tennyson High School Farm in Hayward, California. She trained in planting taro and other foods of Moana Nui under Tura Koronui in Atiu, Cook Islands; and worked as a land steward at both Sogorea Te Land Trust and at Gill Tract Farm on Ohlone Territory (the East Bay). Loa also co-founded the LGBTQ+ Indigenous support groups One Love Oceania (OLO) and the Oyate Tupu'anga Project, and currently co-facilitates Spirit Root Medicine People (SRMP).
Co-Founder | Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project
Mateo Nube, one of the co-founders of the Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project, was born and grew up in Bolivia. Since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, he has worked in the labor, environmental justice and international solidarity movements. Mateo is also a member of the Latin rock band Los Nadies, national co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance and co-chair of the Justice Funders’ Board of Directors.
Climate Journalist and Author
Madeline Ostrander is a Seattle-based climate journalist and the author of At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth, one of Kirkus Review’s 100 best nonfiction books of 2022. The former Senior Editor of YES! Magazine, her writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The NewYorker.com, The Nation, PBS's NOVA Next, Slate, and numerous other outlets.
2021 Brower Youth Award Winner
Peter Pham, an undergraduate student majoring in Public Health, engages in the youth climate movement to pass climate action at the municipal, county, and state levels. He serves on the board of a youth climate nonprofit, an environmental advocacy group and an urban forestry nonprofit, and served as a 2021 redistricting commissioner. Peter won a prestigious Brower Youth Award for his activism in 2021.
John Christian Phifer
CEO | Larkspur Conservation
John Christian Phifer, Executive Director of Larkspur Conservation and President of the Conservation Burial Alliance, utilizes his background as a funeral director, embalmer, end-of-life doula, funeral celebrant and home funeral guide to demystify death and bridge environmental advocacy and end-of-life care. His work, which led to the creation of Tennessee’s first conservation burial ground, was recently featured on PBS in the documentary Bury Me At Taylor Hollow.
Director of the International Marine Mammal Project | Earth Island Institute
David Phillips, a biologist specialized in marine wildlife conservation and Director of Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project, has also served as the Institute's Executive Director since its founding in 1982 and has played a leading role in building its network of activist projects. David has represented marine mammal conservation issues at international conventions, including the International Whaling Commission, and has testified before Congress. The U.N.’s Environment Programme granted him its Leadership Award in honor of his efforts to protect dolphins from indiscriminate fishing techniques. In 2009, he helped open the David Brower Center, a LEED Platinum-rated green building that serves as a hub for the environmental movement.
Program Director | Amazon Watch
Christian Poirier, who has 20+ years’ experience in international development focused on environmental, agrarian and social justice issues, is a senior member of Amazon Watch’s team who has coordinated its Brazil Program since 2009, helping lead international solidarity campaigns to halt the construction of large dams in the Amazon and to pressure the global private sector to cease its complicity in environmental destruction and human rights abuses in the region. While managing Amazon Watch’s Paris office, Christian partnered with European NGOs on Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns, and prior to joining Amazon Watch, he assisted Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement and managed rural development and micro enterprise projects in West Africa.
Facilitator | Singing Tree Project
Leslie Rein, a former mental health counselor, municipal government administrator, and dancer, has, since 2019, focused on visual art, including by working on collaborative murals as a Singing Tree Project facilitator and by facilitating the creation of large, collaboratively made chalk drawings on school playgrounds and in other public spaces.
Trainer | Gender Equity and Reconciliation International
Jorge Rico, M.A. a Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI) Trainer based in Providence, Rhode Island, co-leads the GERI Latin America Project and the GERI corporate training program, and also leads the Men’s Ministry at Concordia Center for Spiritual Living in R.I. Originally from Bolivia, he has 25+ years’ experience in Human Resources in the USA and Latin America, including developing numerous Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in corporations.
Chief Operating Officer | Open Lunar Foundation
Chelsea Robinson, from Waitakere in Aotearoa/New Zealand, lives in Tahoe, CA and leads the Open Lunar Foundation, which seeks to “create good governance and stewardship of the Moon.” Her background includes working on climate policy, movement building, commons management and improving democracy.
Founder | Urban Tilth
Doria Robinson, a 3rd generation resident of Richmond, CA and one of its great civic leaders who has worked tirelessly to build community-controlled wealth and local empowerment, is: Executive Director of Urban Tilth; co-founder of worker-owned Cooperation Richmond; and recently elected District 3 Richmond City Council Member. Doria, a Certified Permaculture Designer, earlier in her life worked on organic farms and at the women-owned organic produce distribution company Veritable Vegetable and at Real Food Company. In 2014 she led the charge to develop Urban Tilth’s 3-acre urban farm in Richmond and in 2016 relaunched a farm-to-table CSA social entrepreneurial venture which now serves produce to 440 West County families each week.
Heidi Honegger Rogers
Associate Professor | University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Nursing
Heidi Honegger Rogers, DNP, FNP C, APHN BC, a family nurse practitioner, advanced practice holistic nurse and associate professor at the University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Nursing, is Director of Interprofessional Education for the UNM Health Sciences Center and leads the Planetary Health Task Force for the American Holistic Nurses Association. She is also engaged with the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, the Planetary Health Alliance and the Work That Reconnects Network.
Program Director of the Indigeneity Program | Bioneers
Cara Romero (Chemehuevi), Program Director of the Bioneers Indigeneity 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.
Chair | Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies
Lawrence Rosenthal, Ph.D., is Chair of the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies, which he founded in 2009. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the Nation, the International New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy, and many others. He co-edited Steep: The Precipitous Rise of the Tea Party and The New Nationalism and the First World War; and is the author of Empire of Resentment: Populism’s Toxic Embrace of Nationalism.
Senior Fellow | Center for Whole Communities
Kristin Rothballer, a Senior Fellow of the Center for Whole Communities and a founding trustee of the Tyler Rigg Foundation, consults on strategy, programs, equity and organizational development for several nonprofits, foundations, and social and land-based enterprises. Kristin’s previous roles have included: Managing Director of the inclusive green economy nonprofit, Green for All; wilderness retreat leader for Ecology of Awakening; manager of earth-based retreat centers, including Bell Valley Retreat and Tunitas Creek Ranch; and Director of Programs at Bioneers. She also helped co-create the climate change-themed musical FIREROCK, and recently earned a Certificate in Spirituality and Social Change from Pacific School of Religion.
Founding President | Safina Center
Carl Safina, whose lyrical non-fiction writing about the human relationship with the living world won him a MacArthur “genius” prize, has written ten books, two of which have been named New York Times Notable Books of the Year, including his 2020 book Becoming Wild; How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace. Carl lives on Long Island, New York, with his wife, Patricia, and their dogs and feathered friends.
Executive Director | Amazon Watch
Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch since 2015, leads the organization in its work to protect and defend the bio-cultural and climate integrity of the Amazon rainforest in solidarity with Indigenous and forest peoples. For 25+ years Leila has worked to defend the world’s rainforests, human rights, and climate through grassroots organizing and international advocacy campaigns at Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network and Global Exchange. She is also a Global Fund for Women Advisor for Latin America, a Greenpeace Voting Member and serves on the Advisory Circle of Daughters of the Earth. (amazonwatch.org)
Co-Founder | Daughters for Earth
Zainab Salbi, frequently named one of the “women changing the world” by leading publications ranging from Newsweek to The Guardian, founded Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization dedicated to women survivors of wars when she was just 23. Under her leadership (1993–2011), it grew from assisting 30 women to helping more than 420,000. The author of several books, including the best seller Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny and her latest, Freedom is an Inside Job; in 2022 Zainab co-founded (with Jody Allen) Daughters for Earth, a new fund and campaign that aims to inspire all women to engage in climate change action to protect and restore the Earth.
Author, Consultant and Trainer
Anita Sanchez, Ph.D., of Nahua (Aztec) and Mexican American ancestry, is a consultant and trainer who seeks to bridge Indigenous wisdom and modern science for individual and societal renewal. Her award-winning work focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion and cultural transformation. Anita, a board member of the Pachamama Alliance and of Bioneers, is the author of seven books including the international bestseller: The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times. She also leads an annual Pachamama Alliance journey into the sacred headwaters of the Amazon each year (her next journey is June 3-14, 2023).
Percussionist, Hand Drummer and Educator
Elizabeth Sayre, a percussionist, hand drummer and educator based in Oakland, CA, studied with master drummers in the US and Cuba, and has played, taught, and written about Afro-Cuban batá drumming and other folk and traditional arts since the mid-1990s. She has served as Musical Director for Arenas Dance Company, directed by Cuban master dancer-choreographer Susana Arenas Pedroso, since 2012, and accompanies weekly virtual orisha song classes with legendary Cuban vocalist Bobi Céspedes. Elizabeth has written on folk and traditional arts, and some of those essays appeared in the Philadelphia Folklore Project’s magazine, Works in Progress. Elizabeth also plays Brazilian percussion and performed with Philadelphia-based dance band sensation Alô Brasil.
Founder | Santa Cruz Permaculture and the 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.
Assistant Professor of Nursing | St. Francis Xavier University
Nein teluisi De-Ann Sheppard tleyawi Ktaqmkuk, of Mi’kmaw and Irish descent, an Indigenous scholar and critical educator based in Nova Scotia, worked as a primary healthcare nurse practitioner in many remote Indigenous communities across Canada for over 35 years. An Assistant Professor of Nursing at St. Francis Xavier University, her research contributes to growing the revolutionary shift in nursing consciousness, pedagogy, and curriculum, striving to create decolonized teaching and research spaces.
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 wroteNature, 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.
Co-Founder | Covenant Pathways
James Skeet (Navajo), co-founder of the non-profit, Covenant Pathways, and co-proprietor (with his wife, Joyce) of Spirit Farm, on ancestral land in Vanderwagen, New Mexico, draws from ancient Native wisdom, including traditional farming and spiritual practices, to create a regenerative haven where soil vitality, nutrient rich foods, human health and free markets can prosper for another 10,000 years.
Attorney/Of-Counsel | Quarles & Brady LLP
Samantha Skenandore (Ho-Chunk/Oneida), Attorney/Of-Counsel at Quarles & Brady LLP, has vast knowledge and experience in working on matters involving both federal Indian law and tribal law. Her extensive previous experience includes serving as a Tribal Attorney for the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Justice and clerking for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Indian Resources Section. She currently advises tribal and corporate clients in tribal governance, governmental affairs, corporate transactions, real estate, labor issues and litigation. Samantha represents clients before members of Congress, congressional committees and agencies through federal lobbying services.
Coordinator | California Farmer Justice Collaborative
Minkah Smith, a community organizer and multifaceted artist from South Central Los Angeles, currently serves as the Coordinator for the California Farmer Justice Collaborative and as Program Coordinator for Sankofa Gardens, a project of The Butterfly Movement. Her intentions within these organizations include: supporting collaborative processes focused on reclaiming land to build wellness, feeding melanated communities, and enhancing resource networks between urban and rural farmers throughout the state.
Director | Rich City Rides
Najari Smith is the Executive Director of Rich City Rides, a Richmond, CA-based organization he founded in 2012 that uses bike ownership and bicycling as base-building vehicles for healthy civic change, and that has been transitioning into the broader community-focused development through the incubation of new enterprises. For over 10 years, Najari and Rich City Rides have worked to unite communities, transform vacant lots into vibrant parks, make closed storefronts into worker-owned cooperatives and strip away the barriers to using bicycles as viable, healthy green transportation options.
Organizer and Author | Climate Justice Arts Project
David Solnit, a longtime mass direct action organizer, puppeteer and arts organizer with the Climate Justice Arts Project, is renowned for using the arts in movements and campaigns to win positive change. He is the author of the Street Mural Manual and editor/co-author of GlobalizeLiberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World.
Founder and CEO | Recompose
Katrina Spade, a designer and the inventor of a system that transforms the dead into soil (aka human composting), is the founder and CEO of the public benefit corporation Recompose, which led the successful legalization of human composting in Washington State in 2019 and became the first company in the world to offer the service in 2020. They have composted over 200 people to date, and the process is now also legal in Oregon, Colorado, Vermont and California. Katrina’s many honors include Echoing Green and Ashoka fellowships and a Harvard Kennedy School Visiting Social Innovator.
Drummer and Teacher
Mar Stevens has studied West African drumming for 19 years. She started her journey under the apprenticeship of Master Drummer Afia Walking Tree of Spirit Drumz and has studied in Guinea, Africa. She has led a number of drum circles for women and taught classes and workshops at Born to Drum and Drum Sundays in Berkeley. She currently teaches a children’s drum class at Meadows Livingstone School and leads the ensembles Sistahs of the Drum and Sistah Boom.
Director of Training and Capacity Building | 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.
Clayton Thomas-Müller, a member of the Treaty #6 Mathias Colomb Cree Nation (aka Pukatawagan) in Northern Manitoba, Canada, is a Winnipeg-based, award winning Indigenous and human rights and climate activist who has campaigned across North America organizing in hundreds of First Nation and Native American communities to defend their territories against the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry with a special focus on stopping the expansion of the Canadian tar sands and its associated pipelines. Clayton is also an award-winning film director, media producer, and bestselling author. His book, Life in the City of Dirty Water, was a national bestseller and a CBC Canada Reads finalist.
Founder and Principal | Suits and Signs Consulting
S. Craig Tucker, who has 20+ years of advocacy and activism experience, especially working with tribal members, fishermen and farmers in the Klamath Basin on dam removal, traditional fire management, gold mining, and water policy, is the founder and Principal of Suits and Signs Consulting, which provides professional advocacy and campaign planning services to tribes, local governments and non-profits working to protect watersheds and advance social justice.
Co-Founder | Kheprw Institute
Pambana Uishi, one of the founders of the Indianapolis-based Kheprw Institute (a community-based organization focused on “Empowerment, Economy, Education, and Environment”), is currently its Finance Lead, handling accounting, fund development, human resources, and grants. Pambana has 30+ years’ experience in youth leadership development and community empowerment and is passionately committed to creating a more human-centered, just, affirming world for all life forms.
Founder | Earth Uprising International
Alexandria Villaseñor co-founded the U.S. Youth Climate Strike movement (part of the youth-led international Fridays for Future movement) at age 13. Now 17, Alexandria has become an internationally-recognized, prestigious award-winning activist, speaker, author and founder of several initiatives, including Earth Uprising International. A contributing author to All We Can Save, an anthology of women climate leaders, and a child petitioner for the groundbreaking international complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Children vs. Climate Crisis, Alexandria serves on the advisory board of Evergreen Action, is a youth spokesperson for the American Lung Association, and is the youngest Junior Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Executive Director | Safe Return Project
Tamisha Torres-Walker serves on the city council of Antioch, CA (District 1) and is a co-founder and the current Executive Director of the Safe Return Project in Contra Costa County, an organization invested in securing the freedom and liberation of formerly incarcerated and convicted individuals using participatory action research and grassroots organizing to end mass incarceration and mass criminalization of poor people. She has been a community organizer and known advocate on issues related to mass incarceration and racial disparity in the criminal justice system since her own release from incarceration in 2009.
Chef, Restaurateur and Author | Chez Panisse
Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and the founder of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley (est. 1971). She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995 she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free regenerative organic school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. In 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act. In 2021, she was awarded the inaugural Carver Carson Award for American innovation in environmental protection and agriculture from the Henry Ford Museum. Alice is the author of sixteen books including her most recent We Are What We Eat: A Slow Food Manifesto.
Co-Founder | Birth Detroit and Birth Center Equity
Leseliey Welch, MPH, MBA, is a public health leader with a business mind and a visionary heart, holding love as a guiding value, a way of being, an action and a politic. She is Co-founder of Birth Detroit (Detroit's first freestanding birth center) and Birth Center Equity, a mom and a tireless advocate for work that makes communities stronger, healthier and more free.
Founder and Chief Planting Officer | 100K Trees for Humanity
Amos White, founder and Chief Planting Officer of 100K Trees for Humanity, created 100K Trees in 2019 as a political and community action response to America's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Since its founding, 100K Trees has formed partnerships with a number of organizations, including the Sierra Club and American Forests, and Amos was appointed to CALFIRE's Urban Forestry Advisory Committee in 2021 and to the Alameda County Agricultural Advisory Committee in 2022. He also authored the CA Urban Greenbelt Initiative to plant trees at scale for climate, for equity and for health in 433 CA communities by 2030.
Loren White, Jr.
Community Development Coordinator | Indigenous Environmental Network
Loren White, Jr., who has been working on environmental and economic justice for nearly 20 years, recently joined the Indigenous Environmental Network as its Community Development Coordinator. Since 2018 he has been working with Indigenous frontline communities to help design and develop, manage and maintain the collaborative Regenerative Community Loan Fund, as well as assisting in bringing to fruition a number of other projects rooted in principles of sustainability, equity, and “Just Transition.”
Lead Advisor | Third Act
Akaya Windwood, founder of the New Universal Wisdom and Leadership Institute, on the faculty of the Just Economy Institute, “Lead Advisor” at the activist group Third Act, and former President of Rockwood Leadership Institute (for ten years), also directs the Thriving Roots Fund. A longtime “transformation facilitator,” Akaya has won slews of awards for her activism and visionary leadership and is the author of: Leading with Joy: Practices for Uncertain Times.
One Earth | Co-Founder and Executive Director
Justin Winters, the co-founder and Executive Director of One Earth, a philanthropic organization working to galvanize science, advocacy and philanthropy to drive collective action on climate change, is focused on creating a vision for the world in which humanity and nature coexist and thrive together, based on three pillars: 100% renewable energy; protection and restoration of 50% of the world’s lands and oceans; and a transition to regenerative, carbon-negative agriculture. Prior to One Earth, Justin served as Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for 13 years, where she awarded over $100 million in grants across 60 countries.
Wildchoir, formerly known as “Thrive Choir,” is an Oakland, CA-based, politically and socially engaged diverse group of vocalists, artists, activists, educators, healers and community organizers who join together in harmony. They have performed with nationally-acclaimed artists for social change including Rising Appalachia, Climbing PoeTree and MaMuse. They also frequently share the stage with progressive leaders, including Bernie Sanders, Ericka Huggins, Joanna Macy, and Fania Davis. Their music has inspired thousands at marches, conferences and festivals across California. Wildchoir spent its first years as the musical voice of Thrive East Bay and the global Thrive Network, and it is forever grateful to the Thrive Network for all its support and collaboration, but it is thrilled to be beginning a new phase of its musical journey as an independent ensemble.
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