Topic Leaders and Presenters

Kelly Sorenson – Executive Director of Ventana Wildlife Society

Kelly Sorenson is a wildlife biologist focusing on saving endangered species in the wild, including work with peregrine falcons, bald eagles and California condors. As Executive Director for Ventana Wildlife Society since 2003, Kelly led the effort to establish the endangered California condor to central California. He has written peer-reviewed scientific publications and technical reports in the field of wildlife conservation. Kelly holds a degree from West Virginia University and a Masters in Public Administration from Golden Gate University.

2016 Slides:

Results Of A 20-Year California Condor Release Effort

Dave Foreman – activist, author, and co-founder of Earth First! and The Wildlands Project

Dave Foreman began his environmental work with The Wilderness Society in the 1970s, first as Southwest Representative and then from the central DC office. In the early 80s, disillusioned with mainstream environmentalism, he cofounded Earth First! Dave is a founder of The Wildlands Project and is now the Executive Director and Senior Fellow of The Rewilding Institute, a conservation “think tank” advancing ideas of continental conservation. He has written several books including Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior, and Rewilding North America.

Robert Gifford – professor at University of Victoria, BC, Canada, environmental psychology researcher

Robert Gifford is a professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada and leads the Environmental, Social, and Personality Lab. His main research interests are environmental psychology, social psychology, and personality psychology. He is the Founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in the Human Dimensions of Climate Change. Robert has written several papers and is the author of Environmental Psychology: Principles and Practice.

Presentation 2016:

Creating Empowering Messages to Shift Human Culture

William Ryerson – founder and President of the Population Media Center

William Ryerson is founder and President of Population Media Center, and President of the Population Institute. For over 40 years he has worked in the field of reproductive health, including two decades of experience adapting the Sabido methodology for behavior change communications to various cultural settings worldwide. In 2006, he was awarded the Nafis Sadik Prize for Courage from the Rotarian Action Group on Population and Development. William received a B.A. in Biology (Magna Cum Laude) from Amherst College and an M.Phil. in Biology from Yale University.

2016 Presentation:

Using Entertainment to Improve Lives

Joe Bish – Director of Issue Advocacy at Population Media Center

Joe Bish (M.S. in Environmental Advocacy and Organizing, Antioch University New England, 2005) has worked in the field of population advocacy and politics since 2006. As Director for Issue Advocacy for PMC, he oversees efforts to positively influence consumers of U.S. news media on their understandings of issues related to international population size and growth. Joe also coordinates the Global Population Speak Out initiative, an activist-organizing platform providing young learners, professional activists and other concerned citizens with tools to help spread environmental and social-change messages related to population.


2016 Ecologistics Acting for Change


Lord Man Parable

Stephanie Mills – lecturer, activist, and author of Whatever Happened to Ecology?

Stephanie Mills, a longtime bioregionalist and NeoLuddite, has been a wordsmith for ecology and social change since 1969. Her books include Epicurean Simplicity and In Service of the Wild. She has written and edited numerous periodicals, participated in countless conferences, and served on the boards and advisory committees of dozens of ecologically oriented organizations from the local to the national level. She is a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, a member of the Human Nature School’s Elders Council, and serves on the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center’s Board of Directors.

Eileen Crist – educator, author of Images of Animals and editor of Gaia in Turmoil

Eileen Crist received her Bachelor’s from Haverford College in sociology and her doctoral degree from Boston University in sociology, with a specialization in life sciences and society. She has lived in Amherst, MA where she studied environmental evolution (Gaia theory) with Lynn Margulis. Eileen holds postdoctoral degrees from University of California, San Diego and Cornell University. She teaches at Virginia Tech in the Department of Science and Technology in Society and is the author and coeditor of a number of books and papers.

Bill McKibben – author, educator, and founder of (Pre-recorded video)

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change. He is a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. Bill is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Deep Ecology Collaboratory

Roberto Monge – Sr Cloud Solutions Engineer at RightScale, Alliance of the virtual Tech Warrior Camp

Roberto Monge brings us a special report on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in Standing Rock, ND. Together with his team from Geeks without Bounds, and his young daughter, he traveled to the encampment and worked to establish internet connectivity to the remote camp.

The Redcloud Defense Center, Geeks without Bounds, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Digital Smoke Signals have teamed up to use technology for good. Join us in this alliance of the virtual Tech Warrior Camp. Together we can make a major difference and get the real story out. We have a billion dollar corporation and the militarized local government trying to suppress the message.

Presentation: Tech Warrior Camp Slides

Videos: Arresting Peaceful Protestors, Pepper Spraying Peaceful Protestors, Rounding Up Peaceful Protestors

Sharon Rippner – co-founder of San Luis Obispo Citizens' Climate Lobby

Sharon Rippner is a retired psychologist and long-time resident of San Luis Obispo County. She first became aware of and concerned about global warming over 25 years ago and her concern has steadily grown since then. In early 2013, she heard about a promising avenue for citizen action on the issue, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and immediately joined with two other people to found the San Luis Obispo chapter of this organization.

Matt Ritter – author, editor, and professor of botany at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA

Matt Ritter is a botany professor at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. He specializes in cultivated trees, especially those in the genus Eucalyptus. He is Editor-in-Chief of Madrono, the journal of the California Botanical Society. He is the coordinator of the Official California Register of Big Trees. Matt is a contributing author to the second edition of the Jepson Manual and the Flora of North America Project. In 2011, he won the R.W. Harris Excellence in Education Award, International Society of Arboriculture.

Derrick Jensen – author of Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet

Derrick Jensen is an American author and radical environmentalist (and prominent critic of mainstream environmentalism). He has published several books, including The Culture of Make Believe, Endgame, and The Myth of Human Supremacy that question and critique civilization as an entire social system, exploring its inherent values, hidden premises, and modern links to supremacism, oppression, and genocide, as well as corporate, domestic, and worldwide ecological abuse.

Denise Dudley – Our Mistress of Ceremonies

Denise Dudley is a professional trainer and keynote speaker, a business consultant, and founder and former CEO of SkillPath Seminars, the largest public training company in the world, and a regular speaker on our very own Cal Poly SLO campus, as well as the campuses of USC, UC Irvine, and UCLA.