Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Visionary Environmental Activist and Business Leader

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine's “Heroes for the Planet” for his success in helping Riverkeeper, New York’s clean water advocate, lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group's achievement helped spawn more than 160 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe. In 2009, he was named one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Agents of Change.”

Kennedy was also featured in the acclaimed environmental documentary The Last Mountain, the Sundance 2011 official selection. The film examines the struggle to save Coal River Mountain in Coal River Valley, West Virginia — the last mountain in the area untouched by the mining practice of mountain top removal.

Kennedy is a professor of environmental law at Pace University School of Law and serves as co-director of the school’s Environmental Litigation Clinic. He also serves as President of Waterkeeper Alliance, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and co-host of radio show Ring of Fire.  He is a partner on the CleanTech investment team of Silicon Valley’s VantagePoint Capital Ventures, the environmental advisor to Napo Pharmaceuticals, and serves on numerous boards. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant district attorney in New York City.

He is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City's water supply. The New York City watershed agreement, which he negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development. He also helped lead the fight to turn back the anti-environmental legislation during the 104th Congress. He has also worked on environmental issues across the Americas, and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.

Among his published books are the New York Times best-seller Crimes Against Nature (2004); The Riverkeepers (1997); and Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr: A Biography (1977). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside magazine, The Village Voice, and many other publications. Kennedy’s award-winning articles have also been included in anthologies of America’s best crime writing, best political writing and best science writing.

Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation, he attended Pace University School of Law, where he earned a master’s degree in environmental law.

James Howard Kunstler

Journalist, Urban Planning Expert, Social Critic

James Howard Kunstler

Stunned by the pervasiveness of this all-fronts assault, James Howard Kunstler wrote his first critique of American architecture and urban planning, The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Manmade Landscape in 1993, which launched him into the spotlight as a commentator on America’s man-made landscape—a topic that he treats with great urgency: “A land full of places that are not worth caring about will soon be a nation and a way of life that is not worth defending.” Reminding us that we are where we live, Kunstler says, “The future will require us to build better places, or the future will belong to other people in other societies.” In 1996, he followed up with Home from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World for the Twenty-First Century; and Kunstler’s third book in this urban-planning trilogy, The City in Mind: Meditations on the Urban Condition (2001), examines eight cities—Paris, Atlanta, Mexico City, Berlin, Las Vegas, Rome, Boston, and London—and discusses the ways in which their design and architecture have shaped their cultures and successes.

More recently, Kunstler has trained his eye on the oil crisis. His bestselling book, The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil Age, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century (2005), explored the sweeping economic, political and social changes that will result from the end of access to cheap fossil fuels. In the follow-up, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation (2012), Kunstler evaluates what has changed in the last seven years, scrutinizing and questioning the various technologies being heralded as “magic bullet” solutions to the energy crisis, including vertical farms, fracking, and corn ethanol, but finds none he thinks can sustain a society fundamentally unwilling to significantly alter its energy-dependent lifestyle.

In print and in person, Kunstler speaks in a provocative, entertaining voice, applies a critical eye and has the good sense to write from passion. According to The Christian Science Monitor, “disturbing others’ sense of normality is something Kunstler does well … everyone who knows his work acknowledges his power to wake up a crowd.” Kunstler has aptly described his lectures as “stand-up comedy with some dark moments.” His audience knows he is dependably acerbic, witty, well-read, and exceedingly alert, drawing from a tremendous store of hard facts and idealism that ends on a good note: well-earned and reasoned hope.

Ted Jojola

Professor, Founder of the Indigenous Design + Planning Institute

Ted Jojola

Theodore (Ted) Jojola, PhD, is the founder of the Indigenous Design + Planning Institute and a cofounder of the Indigenous Planning Division of the American Planning Association.  He is President of a non-profit foundation, The Society for the Preservation of American Indian Culture, as well as board member of other foundations including the Chamiza Foundation, Tricklock Theatre Company, the Bataan-Corregidor Foundation of New Mexico, and the Isleta Pueblo Housing Authority. Dr. Jojola teaches courses such as Indigenous Planning, Planning for Native Lands, Contemporary Indigenous Architecture, and Communication Techniques for Planning.

Dr. Jojola is a Distinguished Professor and Regents’ Professor in the Community & Regional Planning Program, School of Architecture + Planning, University of New Mexico (UNM). He holds a PhD in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa where he attended the East-West Center.  He has a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BFA in Architecture from the UNM.  He is an enrolled tribal member of the Pueblo of Isleta. From 2008-2010, he was Visiting Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University where he was a member of the faculty of the School Geographic Sciences and Planning.  He was Director of Native American Studies at UNM from 1980-1996, and established the interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program in Native Studies.

Daniel Salau Rogei

Simba Maasai Outreach Organization

Daniel Salau Rogei

Daniel Salau Rogei, a national of Kenya, is one of the founders of the Simba Maasai Outreach Organization (SIMOO), a community-based non-profit organization formed in 1996 that works with the Maasai pastoralists of Kenya. SIMOO’s overall goal is to improve the living standards of community members through integrated development, advocacy, and capacity building.

Among the achievements of SIMOO are the establishment of sustainable sources of water that provide safe and clean water to people and livestock; livelihood diversification programs, which include dry land agriculture, improved livestock husbandry, entrepreneurship, and natural resource management; general community empowerment through education (both formal and informal), capacity building, and networking; participation in national, regional and international processes that have a direct and indirect impact on the lives of the Maasai; and Biodiversity and Environmental conservation through such initiatives as indigenous tree nurseries, cultural resource centres, and cultural shows.

Together with Maasai leader Francis ole Sakuda, Daniel is a featured commentator in Quench, the short documentary film produced by the Maasai Cultural Exchange Project (MCEP) that focuses on the lives and culture of the Maasai tribe and their desperate need for water in Maasailand, Kenya.

Elizabeth Royte

Science and Nature Writer

Elizabeth Royte

Elizabeth Royte is the author of Bottlemania: How Water Went On Sale and Why We Bought It (2008); Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash (2005); and The Tapir's Morning Bath: Solving the Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2001.

Her writing on science and the environment has appeared in Harper’s, National Geographic, Outside, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, and other national publications. Her work is included in The Best American Science Writing (2004), the environmental omnibus Naked, and Outside magazine's Why Moths Hate Thomas Edison. A former Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow, Royte is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review, a contributing editor for OnEarth, and a correspondent for Outside magazine.

She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their daughter.

Seamus McGraw

Author, Journalist, Storyteller

Seamus McGraw

Seamus McGraw is the author of a few books, including the critically acclaimed The End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone, and Betting the Farm on a Drought: Stories from the Front Line of Climate Change (2015).

Seamus has been a regular contributor to many publications, incuding The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Playboy, Popular Mechanics, Reader’s Digest, The Forward, Spin, Stuff, and Radar, and has appeared on Fox Latino. He has received the Freedom of Information Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors, the Golden Quill Award, as well as honors from the Casey Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalists.

A father of four, he lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Kren, his children, and a neighborly bear named “Fardels” who has boundary issues.

Cris Stainbrook

President, Indian Land Tenure Foundation

Cris Stainbrook

Cris Stainbrook, Oglala Lakota, has been working in philanthropy for 25 years and has been president of Indian Land Tenure Foundation since its inception in 2002. As the Foundation’s president, Stainbrook provides leadership, strategic direction, management, fundraising and policy oversight to the organization with an emphasis on the successful implementation of the Foundation’s mission.

Before joining ILTF, Stainbrook spent 13 years at Northwest Area Foundation, where he held several positions. As program officer, he managed grant making programs in sustainable development, natural resource management, economic development and basic human needs. During his final four years with Northwest Area, he served as the community activities lead, overseeing a rapidly growing staff and implementing new programs aimed at developing community-directed plans.

Stainbrook was a founding member of Native Americans in Philanthropy and served on the board of directors for 11 years. He was also a founder and longtime advisory committee member of the Two Feathers Endowment of The Saint Paul Foundation. He currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Community Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation. In addition, he has served on a number of committees within the Council on Foundations and the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Stainbrook holds a bachelor of science from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in fisheries science from Oregon State University.