Video of the event on Wednesday, April 25, 2018

In honor of Fashion Revolution Week and the growing movement for a transparent and equitable future as clothing wearers, we gathered in Oakland, California for a panel discussion on synthetic biology, its impact on our clothing choices and its potential threat to:

  • Climate stability: how do “lab grown” materials interact with the carbon cycle?
  • Social justice for land based communities: where are the feedstocks grown to fuel synthetic biology, and who is impacted by these landscape pressures?
  • Regional economies: what systems and communities are being supported by investment and consumer dollars in “lab grown” synthetic biomaterials?

Listen in to a panel of renowned scientists and advocates and together develop a holistic framing for considering equity and ethics in our material culture.

RESOURCES:

Download the paper Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind by John R. Schramski, David K. Gattie and James H. Brown: PNAS-2015-Schramski-9511-7

PANELISTS:

Dr. Jeff Creque: Dr. Jeff Creque is co-founder of the Marin Carbon Project and a Director at the Carbon Cycle Institute, where he provides senior leadership on carbon farming and land management. He brings thirty years of applied experience and theoretical training to the task of informing and facilitating the goals of the Marin Carbon Project. He is an agricultural and rangeland consultant and Natural Resources Conservation Service certified nutrient management planning specialist. In addition, he has many organizational affiliations including: Founding Board Member, Alliance for Local Sustainable Agriculture (Marin); Co-Founder, Bolinas-Stinson Beach Compost Project; Agricultural Director, Apple Tree International; and Co-Founder, West Marin Compost Coalition. Dr. Creque holds a PhD in Rangeland Ecology from Utah State University, and is a California State Board of Forestry Certified Professional in Rangeland Management.

Anuradha Mittal: Anuradha Mittal, founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, is an internationally renowned expert on trade, development, human rights and agriculture issues. Recipient of several awards, Anuradha Mittal was named as the Most Valuable Thinker in 2008 by the Nation magazine.

Mittal has authored and edited numerous books and reports including (Mis)Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land GrabThe Great Land Grab: Rush for World’s Farmland Threatens Food Security for the PoorVoices from Africa: African Farmers and Environmentalists Speak out Against a New Green Revolution;2008 Food Price Crisis: Rethinking Food Security PoliciesGoing Gray in the Golden State: The Reality of Poverty Among Seniors in Oakland, CaliforniaTurning the Tide: Challenging the Right on CampusSahel: A Prisoner of Starvation; America Needs Human Rights; and The Future in the Balance: Essays on Globalization and Resistance. Her articles and opinion pieces have been published in widely circulated newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Bangkok Post, Houston Chronicle, and the Nation. Anuradha has addressed the Congress, the United Nations, given several hundred keynote addresses including invitational events from governments and universities, and has been interviewed on CNN, BBC World, CBC, ABC, Al-Jazeera, National Public Radio and Voice of America.

Anuradha is on the board and advisory committees of several non profit organizations including the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), International Forum on Globalization, and is a member of the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s which focuses on providing leadership for Ben & Jerry’s social mission and brand integrity.

Dana Perls: Dana Perls is the senior food and technology campaigner with Friends of the Earth, and leads the Food and Agriculture team’s international and national regulatory and market campaigns on biotechnology and genetic engineering. Prior to joining Friends of the Earth, she was the Northern California community organizer with Pesticide Watch, where she led regional campaigns to ban or regulate toxic pesticides used in agriculture. Dana brings a strong background in grassroots campaign organizing and environmental policy and combines them with her commitment to environmental justice. She has also worked on campaigns focused on water contamination to human rights to water in Panama where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer. Dana holds a Masters in City Planning from U.C. Berkeley in CA, and a B.A. from Cornell University.

Nikki Silvestri: Nikki Silvestri is the Founder and CEO of Soil and Shadow, a project development firm working to create systems change while improving relationships between communities. As the Co-Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director ofPeople’s Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.

An accomplished communicator, Nikki is well known for her combination of vulnerability and razor-sharp analysis. In addition to her speaking appearances at conferences and private events, Nikki regularly forwards the message of equitable economies through numerous media channels. BET.com, the Huffington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle have featured her writing, and her recent television appearances include All In with Chris Hayes and the Melissa Harris Perry Show on MSNBC.

Nikki is a Faculty Member at the Food Business School (she co-designed and taught one of their inaugural courses, “Ethical Leadership in Food Business“). She sits on the Board of Directors of the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies(BALLE), and is an advisory board member of MeWe, the next-gen social network, and TendLab. Nikki began her work in social change through the foster care system in Southern California, where she directed Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops. She has a master’s degree in African American Studies from UCLA, and is originally from Los Angeles. She currently lives in Oakland, with her husband and son.

Rebecca Burgess: Rebecca Burgess is the Executive Director of Fibershed, and Chair of the Board for Carbon Cycle Institute. She has over a decade of experience writing and implementing hands-on curriculum that focuses on the intersection of restoration ecology and fiber systems. She has taught at Westminster College, Harvard University, and has created workshops for a range of NGOs and corporations. She is the author of the best-selling book Harvesting Color, a bioregional look into the natural dye traditions of North America. She has built an extensive network of farmers and artisans within our region’s Northern California Fibershed to pilot the regenerative fiber systems model at the community scale.

Panel Moderator: Heather Podoll holds a M.S. in Agricultural Ecology from UC Davis. She has spent the past 20 years involved with various aspects of study, practice, promotion and teaching of sustainable and organic food production systems, working with a range of nonprofit, philanthropic and educational organizations. She is currently developing educational programs in organic gardening and natural dye cultivation for her community in Marin County, California.