NRDC – Director, Health Program
Linda Greer is director of NRDC’s health and environment program. Since joining NRDC in 1981, she has concentrated on toxic chemicals in air, water, food, shelter and consumer products. In recent years, Linda has spearheaded NRDC’s international environmental health work, first conducting a mercury use inventory in China and then launching an initiative calling on multinational corporations to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of factories in their supply chain there. Linda also works on NRDC’s global mercury pollution initiative to reduce the use and release of mercury into the environment through sharp reductions in the United States and negotiations of a globally binding internationally treaty in the United Nations.
Linda currently sits on the National Academy of Science’s Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology. She has a B.S. in biology from Tufts University, an M.S.P.H. in environmental science and engineering from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. in environmental toxicology from the University of Maryland.
Global Water Fund – Founder and the Executive Director
Stella Thomas is the Founder and the Executive Director of the Global Water Fund, whose aim is to raise awareness of the global water crisis and to find tangible financial and technical solutions to problems of water scarcity and sanitation. Ms. Thomas serves as a liaison to governments, international organizations, and business and civic groups on issues related to sustainable development and the environment. Through backgrounds in diplomacy and international relations, Ms. Thomas also consults on global water issues and on water technologies, and advises governments and industry leaders on environmental, health, economic, political, and social factors related to water. She is also the author of many writings on water and sustainable development and frequently lectures to organizations around the world.
Ms. Thomas has been involved with the following organizations: US Congress, United Nations (New York), UN Summit on Sustainable Development (South Africa), NATO (Brussels), European Space Agency (Paris), Ministerial Conference on Water (The Hague), Council of African Unity (Paris), UNESCO (Paris), United Nations Development Program (New York), OECD (Paris), Ministry of Finance (Paris), World Bank (Paris), World Trade Organization (Geneva), Council of Water (Morocco), League of Arab Nations (Paris).
Ms. Thomas holds two Bachelors Degrees from Michigan State University in the fields of International Relations and Political Science. She holds diplomas in Economics from the University of Cambridge and The London School of Economics. Ms. Thomas also attended the School of International Relations & Diplomacy/University of Paris, where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Natural Resources & Conflict Resolution, and completed a Master’s Degree at the University of Oxford in Water Science, Policy & Management.
Vandana Shiva (Hindi: वन्दना शिवा; b. November 5, 1952, Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand, India), is a philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, in 1978 with the doctoral dissertation “Hidden variables and locality in quantum theory.”
She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization, (along with Jerry Mander, Edward Goldsmith, Ralph Nader, Jeremy Rifkin, et al.), and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices, as is evident from her interview in the book Vedic Ecology (by Ranchor Prime) that draws upon India’s Vedic heritage. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundacion IDEAS, Spain’s Socialist Party’s think tank. She is also a member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society.
She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.
Public Patent Foundation, President and Executive Director
Daniel B. Ravicher is PUBPAT’s Executive Director and a Lecturer in Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Labeled a modern day ‘Robin Hood’ by Science magazine, and awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship for social entrepreneurship, Professor Ravicher is a registered patent attorney who writes and speaks frequently on patent law and policy, including twice testifying as an invited witness before Congress on the topic of patent reform. As a result of his accomplishments and professional reputation, Professor Ravicher was named to both Managing Intellectual Property magazine’s ’50 Most Influential People in IP’ list and IP Law & Business magazine’s ‘Top 50 Under 45’ list. Professor Ravicher received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was the Franklin O’Blechman Scholar of his class, a Mortimer Caplin Public Service Award recipient and an Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, and his bachelors degree in materials science magna cum laude with University Honors from the University of South Florida. Professor Ravicher writes about patent policy issues for The Huffington Post and patent related corporate valuation issues for Seeking Alpha. He is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals for the Federal, 2nd and 11th Circuits, the District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the State of New York, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Summer Rayne Oakes
Summer Rayne Oakes has taken an unlikely career path, having parlayed her background in environmental science and entomology with a successful career as a fashion model. Considered one of the foremost authorities in sustainable design, Oakes has co-founded the award-winning online materials marketplace, Source4Style; authored the best-selling style guide, Style, Naturally; is creative designer behind her line of recycled optics and shades called eco by Summer Rayne Oakes; has collaborated on collections with Payless ShoeSource, Portico Home and Aveeno; and was the muse behind the creation of the Prius C (Toyota even went so far as to name a paint color in her honor).
Formerly an on-air correspondent for Discovery Networks Planet Green, Oakes has once again turned to the media world, producing an award winning environmental art short entitled eXtinction and serving as Chief Sustainable Storyteller for ABOVELIVE, a digital media platform that curates the finest content, products and experiences around the environment.
Vanity Fair has named Oakes a “Global Citizen,” Outside called her one of the “Top Environmental Activists,” and CNBC called her one of the “Top 10 Green Entrepreneurs of 2010.” Summer Rayne is a graduate of Cornell University with degrees in Environmental Science and Entomology and is a Udall environmental scholar, PERC Environmental Fellow, and National Wildlife Federation Fellow.Oakes graduated from Cornell University and currently lives in Brooklyn with her two dozen exotic insects.
Organic Cotton Farmer
Carl Pepper was born in Uvalde, Texas. He moved to the South Plains of Texas in 1992. Upon Carl’s graduation from Abilene Christian University, he married Debbie in 1988. They have two daughters. Carl hopes to make this world a better place by purposely raising his daughters with values that will positively affect the world around them. His hobbies are quail hunting and attending farm auctions, and he has a talent for modifying farm implements to better suit his farming needs.
Carl is vice-president of the board of directors of Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative and the fifth generation to carry on the agricultural way of life. He farms 3,000 acres of land, which produce organic cotton. He gives two reasons for growing organically: (1) the organic way is the best system for the land, and (2) the satisfaction he gains by doing what others said, “Can’t be done.”
Gary Harvey is a design visionary who successfully predicts tastes to drive future trends in product, communication and youth culture. He consistently achieves strong aesthetic results with a meticulous eye for detail balanced against exceptional business acumen.
Organic Cotton Farmer
Together with her husband Terry Pepper, LaRhea Pepper farmed 960 acres in dryland organic cotton near the Panhandle town of O’Donnell, Texas, avoiding genetically-modified seed and chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and relying on crop rotations, cover crops and compost to maintain soil fertility, naturally-occurring lady beetles and lacewings to control pests, and North Texas’ hard freezes to defoliate cotton plants for harvest.
Mrs. Pepper has also been active in helping create the processing, distribution and markets to support organic cotton farmers, which still represent only 1/10 of 1% of all cotton planted in the U.S.. In the early 1990s, she co-founded the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Co-op, to ensure an adequate supply of raw fiber to the industry, and organized two firms to convert this fiber into finished products ready for sale: Cotton Plus and Organic Essentials. Cotton Plus exists to buy back farmers’ ginned cotton and to contract spinning and weaving into prints, plaids, flannels and other fabrics. Organic Essentials sells organic cotton personal care products, such as cotton balls, swabs, rounds and tampons.
Currently, the Co-op includes about 30 farming families working 10,000 acres and producing more than 6000 quarter-ton bales, about 1/3 of all the organic cotton grown in the U.S. Mrs. Pepper hopes that this organic cotton industry can lower the toll on the local ecosystem and farmers’ health from chemicals used in conventional farms. The EPA designates 7 of the top 15 pesticides used in conventional cotton fields as “possible” or “known” human carcinogens, and finds that cotton ranks second only to corn in the total amount of pesticides applied (amounting to roughly 1 pound of chemicals for ever yard of cotton fabric).
She also hopes that organic cotton can provide the value-added niche for smaller, family farmers to survive in a low-margin, high-capital, commodity industry which increasingly winnows out all but the most efficient, largest scale operations.
Marci Zaroff coined the term and pioneered the market for ECOfashion®, then Founded leading brands “Under the Canopy” & “FASE”. Marci also is co-Founder/President of Metawear Organic — the first sustainable style manufacturer in the USA. A graduate from UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School and co-Founder of “The Institute for Integrative Nutrition”, for over two decades, Ms. Zaroff has been an internationally-recognized authority, visionary, ECOpreneur, change agent, consultant & keynote speaker of ECOfashion, green business, social innovation and an organic/sustainable lifestyle.
Director/Advisor on numerous Boards, including the Organic Trade Association, Textile Exchange, Cradle to Cradle “Fashion Positive”, Fair Trade USA, AllergyKids Foundation and Teens Turning Green, Marci was instrumental in defining the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the 1st Fair Trade Textile Certification for the USA, driving authenticity, environmental compliance and social justice worldwide. Marci is featured in the book: “Eco Amazons: 20 Women Who are Transforming the World” and has received countless recognitions, including the Natural Product Industry’s “Socially Responsible Business Award”, New York Moves “Power Woman Award”, Fashion Group International’s “Rising Star Award” and a prestigious “Henry Crown Fellowship” of The Aspen Institute.