Polly Howells (Chair) was active in the civil rights, peace, and women's movements in the late Sixties and early Seventies. She became an LCSW psychotherapist, and practiced in Brooklyn, New York for 38 years. During that time she contributed to two Ms. Foundation for Women donor collaboratives as well as several other nonprofits, mostly organizations dedicated to women's issues or the environment. She was Board Chair of Internews Interactive, a pioneer of digital media convergence, for thirteen years, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Cambridge School of Weston, Massachusetts for six years. In the summer of 2007 she and her husband traveled to the Ecuadorian rainforest with the Pachamama Alliance, and in 2009 they closed their private psychotherapy practices. Since then she has been a facilitator of the Pachamama Alliance's Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposium, Joanna Macy's Work that Reconnects, and a yearly five-day residential workshop for women: Reclaiming our Lives, Living in Earth. She is also a member of the initiating group of Woodstock New York Transition.
Gay Dillingham (Vice-Chair) is Co-Founder, former President and Chair of Earthstone International, LLC, an environmental IP company manufacturing recycled glass into an engineered "white foam glass" for surface abrasion, non-toxic cleaning technologies, agriculture products and soon-to-be building products. This material is a replacement to many strip-mined materials and the new factory located at a solid waste landfill captures the greenhouse gas methane, converting it to power the kilns. Gay served as Chair of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board for six of eight years of her tenure. The EIB passed historic greenhouse gas regulations in 2010. Gay owns a production company, CNS Communications, and is an award-winning producer/director. She is executive director of the Livingry Foundation, served two years as board chair for the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers, and currently serves on the boards of Santa Fe Community College, New Voice of Business, and the World Security Institute.
Hugo Steensma (Treasurer) was a Director of SAM Sustainable Asset Management USA, Inc. SAM uses financial markets as the most powerful transmission mechanism to promote sustainable business practices. With its exclusive focus on Sustainability Investing, SAM provides a unique and broad range of sustainability solutions for investors, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. He founded a consulting firm specializing in assisting sustainable companies to procure equity and debt financing. Hugo started and managed Rabobank’s entry in the U.S. market. He initiated and directed the bank’s corporate finance activities with a focus on the food and agribusiness sector. He opened offices in New York, Dallas and San Francisco. He was with Bank of America, where he held management positions in corporate finance in Amsterdam, Brussels and San Francisco. Hugo served on the Board of Presidio Graduate School, which provides an MBA and MPA in sustainable management (www.presidioedu.org), and several environmental committees., and several environmental committees.
Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D., (Secretary) is a cultural ecologist and indigenous scholar-activist. She is associate professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and executive director of The Cultural Conservancy, an indigenous rights organization that she has directed since 1993. Her work is dedicated to indigenous revitalization, environmental restoration, intercultural understanding, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts. Melissa publishes essays in academic and popular journals and books. She edited a Bioneers anthology,Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings For A Sustainable Future (2008), focusing on the persistence of traditional ecological knowledge in contemporary indigenous communities. In 2005, Melissa co-produced the award-winning documentary, The Salt Song Trail: Bringing Creation Back Together. She has been a visiting scholar at the American Indian Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Melissa is Anishinaabe/Métis/Norwegian and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe. (www.nativeland.org)
Kenny Ausubel, Co-CEO & Founder of Bioneers, is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker, and social entrepreneur. Founded in 1990 by Kenny and Nina Simons, Bioneers is a fertile hub of scientific and social innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Its acclaimed national and local conferences are complemented by Kenny’s extensive media outreach, including an award-winning radio series, book series, and roles in projects such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The 11th Hour. Kenny co-founded the biodiversity organic seed company, Seeds of Change, and served as CEO until 1994. He was a pathfinder in advancing “backyard biodiversity” conservation and organic farming and food. His films include Hoxsey: When Healing Becomes a Crime (“Best Censored Stories” journalistic award). The film played in theaters, on HBO, and on international TV. It had a special screening for members of Congress, reported on National Public Radio, and helped influence national policy. He wrote the acclaimed companion book, When Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies. Kenny has written three books and edited several others. Among his recent honors: runner-up, 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge award for Dreaming New Mexico, a Bioneers program of which Kenny is co-director with Peter Warshall; more than 20 awards in international radio competitions (New York Festivals and Crystal Communicator); the 2007 Rainforest Action Network REVEL Award, with Nina Simons; and the 2006 Global Green–Green Cross Millennium Award for Community Environmental Leadership, with Nina Simons.
Dune Lankard, a native Athabaskan Eyak from the Copper River Delta of Alaska, was a commercial fisherman in Prince William Sound when the Exxon Valdez oil spill transformed him into an activist and social entrepreneur. He is co-founder of Redzone, the virtual home of Alaska’s wild salmon, fished and protected for over 3,500 years by the Eyak people. Their mission is to preserve and protect the Delta and Prince William Sound watersheds, so that the salmon will continue to return to their birthplace and nurture the wildlife for which they are the cornerstone species, and so that the community of fisherpeople in Cordova and the region will flourish, for the circle is one: bioregional conservation means local economic sustainability. Dune is co-founder of the Eyak Preservation Council, the Native Conservancy Land Trust, the FIRE Fund, and the RED OIL Network — Resisting Environmental Degradation of Indigenous Lands. (www.redzone.org)
Chief Oren Lyons (Honorary), is Faithkeeper of the Wolf Clan, Onondaga Council of Chiefs of the Hau de no sau nee, or Six Nations — Onandaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora. Chief Lyons helped establish the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. He has been very active defending indigenous rights in U.N. forums around the world, and is a principal figure in the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders, a council of grassroots leaders of North American Indian nations. Recently retired as a professor of American Studies at SUNY Buffalo, where he directed the Native American Studies Program, Chief Lyons co-editedExiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations and the U.S. Constitution, with the late John Mohawk, who also served on the Bioneers board. He is also a widely exhibited artist, the author of Dog Story, and a major figure in world lacrosse.
David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and senior advisor to the president of Oberlin College, is an award-winning scholar and leader in the sustainability movement, renowned for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and ecological design. David authored Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse ("The real fault line in American politics is not between liberals and conservatives… It is, rather, in how we orient ourselves to the generations to come who will bear the consequences, for better and for worse, of our actions.") He is also the author of Design on the Edge: The Making of a High-Performance Building; The Last Refuge: Patriotism, Politics, and the Environment In An Age of Terror; The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention; Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition To A Postmodern World; and Earth In Mind: On Education, Environment, and The Human Prospect. (www.davidworr.com)
Jim Sheehan is Founder and President of both the Center for Justice and the Community Building Foundation in Spokane, Washington. After graduating from Gonzaga Law School and spending more than 20 years as a public defender in Eastern and Western Washington, he received a windfall inheritance and wanted to put it to work for the greater good. Jim renovated the rundown Saranac Hotel, recreating it as the Community Building, a safe, welcoming, and affordable home for area nonprofit offices in Spokane’s downtown. In addition, he founded the Center for Justice, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to protecting human rights, preserving the Earth, and holding the government accountable to the principles of democracy. Since Jim established the Center, it has served its numerous clients at low or no cost. The son of a house painter and a housewife, Jim graduated from college in California and served two years in the army. He also serves on the board of the New Priorities Foundation.
Nina Simons, Co-CEO & Co-Founder of Bioneers, is a social entrepreneur who translates her life experience into tools for serving the emerging leadership of others. Nina maintains a strong focus on writing and teaching about women’s leadership and restoring the ‘feminine’ in us all, and on leveraging Bioneers’ inspiring solutions and stories to make the biggest possible difference in the world. She has co-produced the annual Bioneers conference since 1990. Through the Bioneers Women’s Leadership Program, Nina offers 5-day Cultivating Women’s Leadership trainings several times a year, with co-facilitator Toby Herzlich, intended to strengthen the inner resources and tools required to help women of all ages and backgrounds step more fully into progressive change-making. In 2002, Nina produced a retreat for diverse women leaders called UnReasonable Women for the Earth, organized to brainstorm about envisioning a broad, progressive women’s movement with environment at its heart. The gathering served as an incubator, resulting in the formation of CODEPINK: Women for Peace. Nina was previously president of Seeds of Change, the biodiversity organic seed company, and a marketing executive with the fresh juice company Odwalla. Nina co-edited (with Anneke Campbell), and wrote the introduction for, the newest Bioneers anthology book, Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart (Park Street Press, Fall 2010).
Lynne Twist, global activist, speaker, consultant, coach and award-winning author of The Soul of Money, has dedicated her life to global initiatives that create a sustainable future for all, including protecting the world’s rainforests and empowering indigenous people. She is the co-founder of The Pachamama Alliance with her husband, Bill Twist, and is co-creator of the global media campaign, FOUR YEARS.GO, to build a movement of commitment and action that will cause a positive tipping point in humanity’s future by the end of 2014, setting us irreversibly on a new path. Lynne has been responsible for raising hundreds of millions of dollars and has trained thousands of fundraisers. She is the president of the Soul of Money Institute in San Francisco, California. Lynne founded the Institute to express her commitment to empowering people in finding peace and sufficiency in their relationship with money and the money culture. (www.pachamama.org) (www.fouryearsgo.org) (www.soulofmoney.org)
Greg Watson is Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Technology within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Greg’s long career of exemplary, cutting-edge public service has included serving as executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI). Since residents of the Dudley Street neighborhood of Roxbury, Massachusetts won eminent domain power to redevelop abandoned property in their community, DSNI has become a beacon in the community development field. Greg has also been director of educational programs for Second Nature, serving and supporting senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just, and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education; executive director of the New Alchemy Institute; director of The Nature Conservancy's Eastern Regional Office; and commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture. (www.mass.gov — then enter in the search bar: Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs)