Featured Keynote Speakers:

Nicole Foss 

Click here for a descrpition of Nicole's keynote

Click here for a description of the Energy Democracy Panel


Nicole Foss is Senior Editor of The Automatic Earth, a big-picture website. Since January 2008, she and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going global credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and geopolitics in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. 

Nicole is also an international speaker on energy and global finance. She has lectured in hundreds of locations across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and has made many media appearances in a variety of countries. In addition, she has been involved in teaching permaculture design certificate courses in Central America, Europe and Australia. 

Prior to the establishment of The Automatic Earth, Nicole was Editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and financial crisis. She also ran the Agri-Energy Producers' Association of Ontario, where she focused on farm-based biogas projects, grid connections for renewable energy and Feed-In Tariff policy development. While living in the UK she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where she specialised in nuclear safety in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and conducted research into electricity policy at the EU level. She also has significant previous experience practicing as an environmental consultant.

Her academic qualifications include a BSc in Biology from Carleton University in Canada (where she focused primarily on neuroscience and psychology), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, the common professional examination in law and a Masters degree in international law in development from the University of Warwick in the UK.

To visit Nicole’s website, the Automatic Earth, please click here

To watch a video about Nicole and her work click here

Jim Merkel

Click here for a description of Jim's keynote

Click here for a description of the Limits of Growth Panel


Jim Merkel became dedicated to world peace and sustainable living after an ethical hemorrhage while designing and marketing top-secret military electronics.  Following the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, Jim quit work to begin an experiment in simplicity, limiting his earning, spending and impact. He traveled to Kerala. India in 1993 to study their sustainability achievements and returned to found the Global Living Project where five teams of researchers attempted life as global citizens. Jim has traveled, often by bicycle, searching for sustainable societies and documented his findings in Radical Simplicity – Small Footprints on a Finite Earth.

In an exciting new collaboration, Jim is joining forces to create a film with The Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions who will serve as producer with Susan Jennings and Eric Johnson contributing to the film’s production. Award-winning filmmakers Deborah Shaffer and Robert Maraist of Fulcrum Films are contributing their creativity and skilled cinematography work to create the documentary film, The One-Hundred-Year Plan.

To visit Jim’s website, the Global Living Project, please click here

To learn about Jim’s current cinematic collaboration with Community Solutions please click here

To watch a video about Jim and his work click here

Featured Speakers:

Megan Quinn Bachman

Click here for a description of the Limits to Growth Panel


Megan Quinn Bachman is a journalist and environmental educator in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She is an award-winning reporter, columnist and photographer for the weekly Yellow Springs News, a columnist for the environmental news service website EcoWatch.com and adjunct instructor at Antioch University Midwest, where she teaches courses on ecology, environmental policy, sustainable agriculture and conservation.

To watch a video about Megan and her work click here


Kristen Barker

Click here for a description of the Community Economics Panel


Kristen Barker is a social entrepreneur and the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative (CUCI). CUCI creates jobs that are accountable to workers and our communities by developing worker owned businesses based on the Mondragon-United Steelworkers union co-op model. CUCI has launched three co-ops, one non-profit and has three projects in various stages of feasibility/business planning. Prior to working full-time for the union co-op movement with Mondragon North America/MAPA, she spent 12 years at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center fostering faith, labor & community partnerships. She is the mother of a resilient daughter with special needs. She is a lifelong Cincinnati resident (except 2 years in El Salvador) and a Xavier graduate.

For more information about Kristen Barker and her work, visit the CUCI website by clicking here

To watch a video about Kristen and her work click here

Bob Brecha 

Click here for a description of the Energy Democracy Panel


Dr. Robert Brecha was born and raised in Ohio and attended Wilmington High School and then Wright State University, graduatingwith a B.S. in physics in 1983. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990. From October 1990 until November 1992 he was a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich, Germany. Upon returning to the US, he took a position at the University of Dayton, where he has been since August 1993. He is now a Professor of Physics and teaches in the Renewable and Clean EnergyGraduate Program and coordinates the Sustainability, Energy and the Environment (SEE) Minor and other SEE initiatives.  Since 2006 he has been working periodically as a visiting scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

To watch a video about Bob and his work click here

Tom Clevenger

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Tom Clevenger is currently the Assistant Director for Administration and Finance at the Glen Helen Ecology Institute. In 2014, He helped start the grassroots run Zero Waste Yellow Springs initiative which seeks to curtail waste and address the issues waste and consumption create for the villagers and institutions of Yellow Springs. Tom's work background includes Solid Waste/Recycling Management, Outdoor Environmental Education, and Non Profit Administration and Finance. He holds a M.A. in Management and Leading Change from Antioch University Midwest.

For information about the Zero Waste Yellow Springs click here

MaryEllen Etienne

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MaryEllen Etienne provides ongoing input into the industry’s development, and helps businesses, municipalities and others incorporate robust reuse policies and strategies into their sustainability efforts. She regularly speaks about reuse and its triple bottom line benefits, and recently helped develop a national standard for sustainable resource management training programs as well as the first certification for zero waste facilities and professionals. MaryEllen is the CEO of Reuse Institute and the creator and producer of ReuseConex. She is also the founder of Reuse Alliance and co-founder of Creative Reuse Association and REUSE.International. She has worked with several other notable reuse and recycling organizations. She received her degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, is on the board of directors of Association of Ohio Recyclers, Reuse Institute and SCRAP USA, and the advisory boards of National Recycling Coalition and US Zero Waste Business Council. She is the program director for the Solid Waste Disposal Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO.org).

To visit the Reuse Institute website, please click here

To visit the website of the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, please click here

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Tina Fields

Click here for a description of Tina's workshop

Click here for a description of Tina's pre-conference workshop


Tina R. Fields, Ph.D., has taught about the cultural, psychological, & spiritual sides of environmental issues since 1999, including five years living and guiding outdoors with the field-based Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University, and four years training sustainability activists at the M.A. level with New College. She is a dynamic speaker (and singer) who has served as keynote for such organizations as the European Ecopsychology Society, Napa-Solano Audubon Society, and the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness.

At Naropa, Dr. Fields teaches courses in Ecopsychology, Psychology of Wilderness Experience (8 days outdoors, including a fasting solo), three intensive residential courses in Transpersonal Psychology and in Ecopsychology, Ecopsychology in Context, and Transpersonal Service Learning.  

Her current work ties together ecopsychology, spiritual beliefs and practices, applied bioregional understanding, reskilling, and storytelling (including the history of thought, family ecological identity, and myths) to help environmental behavior change shift from a perceived burden to a chosen joy.  Tina is listed in numerous editions of Who’s Who. She is an ACISTE certified Spiritual Guidance Counselor specializing in non-clinical ecotherapy and spiritual emergence, a scholar/practitioner of shamanism and Druidry (pre-Christian Celtic earth-based spirituality), interfaith celebrant, and an accomplished visual and performance artist whose creative work helps build community and remind industrialized people of our animistic connection to the living world.

To watch a video about Tina and her work click here

Rev. Ann Fox

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The Reverend Ann C. Fox, a former native of the UK, is Minister Emerita of Unitarian Memorial Church, Fairhaven, MA. She holds a Master of English Education from the City University of New York and a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. She has two adult children in California and the Netherlands and two grandchildren. She lives with her husband in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. 

Richard Heinberg

Click here for a description of the Energy Democracy Panel


Richard will be appearing via Skype to participate in the Energy Democracy Panel

Richard Heinberg is a journalist and educator who has written extensively on energy, economic, and ecological issues, including oil depletion. He is the author of thirteen books, and presently serves as the senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. He is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels. He has written for Nature, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Christian Science Monitor among other publications, and has delivered hundreds of lectures on energy and climate issues to audiences around the world.

He is the author of thirteen books including:

Richard Heinberg is the author of thirteen books including:

  • Our Renewable Future (June 2016)
  • Afterburn (2015)
  • Snake Oil (2013)
  • The End of Growth ( 2011)
  • Peak Everything (2007) 
  • The Party's Over (2005)

For Richard Heinberg’s website please click here

For our conference sponsor and sister organization’s website, post carbon institute click here

To watch a video about Richard and his work click here

Eric Johnson

Click here for a description of Eric's tour


Eric Johnson has been involved in energy issues since the mid-seventies.  As an editor for Community Solutions over the last ten years, Eric has edited their two documentaries on peak oil and passive house construction.  Recently, he began the Yellow Springs Energy YouTube Channel with Community Solutions, which seeks to document the many local efforts of citizens to reduce their carbon footprint and save energy.  He will be giving a tour of his 100 year old home which he has been retrofitting for 15 years, dramatically reducing his energy consumption.

Jonna Johnson

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Click here for a description of the Community Activism Panel


Jonna earned her Master’s degree with Northern Arizona University’s interdisciplinary, scholar-activist Sustainable Communities program.  Her academic concentration and professional expertise is in community empowerment and holistic sustainability education.  Her passion for authentic relationships with young people, all earthlings, and the earth as a whole has guided her to work with community-based nonprofits, social justice organizations, national parks, peace cooperatives, higher education, residential outdoor education, and youth empowerment summer camps.  Jonna specializes in advanced analysis of Dr. Seuss, and gourmet peanut butter and banana combinations.

Erik Lindberg

Click here for a description of the Limits of Growth Panel


Erik Lindberg earned his Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature in 1998, began his career as a carpenter, and now owns and runs a company called Community Building and Restoration, which specializes in historic restoration. In 2008 he installed a rooftop farm on the building that housed his shop and warehouse, and within a year was operating what may have been the world’s first rooftop CSA.  This project launched him into a world of sustainability activism about which he had been previously unaware.  In 2009 he helped start The Victory Garden Initiative and serve as board president, and was part of the inaugural steering committee of Transition Milwaukee. He has been a frequent contributor to "Resilience." In 2011 his wife gave birth to their twin sons, Evjen and Isak; his writing and activism has, since then, become less frequent but all the more meaningful.


Nadia Malarkey

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Nadia Malarkey is a garden and landscape design professional who began her practice in 1996. She specializes in providing a comprehensive and personalized landscape design service throughout the Midwest and beyond. Her work is synonymous with creating spaces that are architecturally dynamic, aesthetically pleasing and ecologically regenerative. In developing each design Nadia considers the possibilities and limitations of each site, the architecture of the home, and the particular wishes of the client. She then develops a design where harmony, rhythm, and aesthetic integrity combine to create a unique and appealing sense of place.

Nadia's projects incorporate environmentally friendly practices to produce landscapes that enhance biodiversity and biomass while enriching our experience of the changing seasons. Many of her gardens exemplify how regenerative design, while addressing habitat fragmentation and climate change, can be elegant, uplifting and ever-evolving in surprising ways.

Nadia is a Pre-Registered Member of The Society of Garden Designers (SGD), UK; a Member of the Ecological Landscape Alliance, USA, the Yellow Springs Environmental Commission,  and the Yellow Springs Resilience Network. Nadia spearheaded the three part Environmentally Friendly Landscaping Series in Yellow Springs in collaboration with John DeWine and Michele Burns of Flying Mouse Farms, Doug and Kat Christen of Smaller Footprint Farm and ISA certified arborist, Bob Moore. She is also the founding member of the Yellow Springs Pollinator Regeneration Project.

Nadia continues to attend conferences and pursue study on the history and innovations in garden design, spatial design, ecological landscaping, soil health, environment and climate change.

In 2015, Nadia’s project entitled “Regenerating Suburbia” was selected as a Finalist in the annual SGD Awards for the category ‘Planting Design.’

To visit Nadia’s website please click here

Nicole Manieri

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Nicole is a student of Herbalism, a singer/songwriter, and dedicates her life to community-based healing work in various forms. She has spent the last nine years  in attentive practice in the art and science of building compassionate, accountable relationship with herself, her family, her community circles, and her local habitat - believing that personal transformation, and how it plays out in relationship,  is the root of cultural transformation.  With her husband and son, she lives a life close to the earth with the intention to reclaim the dignity and restorative wisdom of the Wild in our inner and outer landscapes.

Rhine McLin

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Rhine Lana McLin is an American Democratic politician from Ohio. McLin received her Bachelor of Arts in sociology and secondary education from Parsons College and her Master of Education in guidance counseling from Xavier University. She also holds an associate's degree in mortuary science granted by the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

McLin was elected mayor of Dayton in 2001, defeating incumbent Republican Michael R. Turner and began serving her term in 2002. She was re-elected in 2005, defeating opponent David R. Bohardt. McLin was an Ohio delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention. In 2009, she finished her term as mayor.

Rhine McLin's political career has been full of firsts. In 1994, McLin became the first African-American woman elected to the Ohio State Senate. She was the first African-American woman to serve as Ohio Senate minority leader. Upon leaving the Senate, she became the first woman to serve as mayor of Dayton. She is the third African-American mayor of Dayton. Finally, in late 2005 she was the first African-American woman to serve as head of the Ohio Democratic Party.

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Matt Stannard

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Click here for a description of the Community Economics Panel


Matt Stannard is policy director for Commonomics USA and a longtime economic justice advocate, on the board of directors of the Public Banking Institute, and has provided economic and legal advocacy support for victims of violence and economic insecurity in the U.S. and abroad. He has spoken and written on worker-owned cooperatives, basic income, public banks, and the intersection of economic oppression and interpersonal violence. His education includes a JD from the University of Wyoming's College of Law. 

To read an article by Matt Standard please click here

To visit Matt’s website, commonomicsusa, please click here

Sellus Wilder

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Click here for a description of Sellus's pre-conference workshop


Sellus Wilder is a former City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem of Frankfort, KY, where he lives with his wife and children. When not producing film and video projects, Sellus can be found farming on the banks of the Kentucky River.

To watch a video about Sellus and his work click here


Linda Wigington

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Click here for a description of Linda's tour


Linda Wigington was the 2002 recipient of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's Champion of Energy Efficiency Award. Linda Wigington is a residential energy consultant and founder of the Affordable Comfort conference. Through ACI, she worked under contract to PG&E to support projects that aimed to achieve deep energy reductions (70% or more) as part of the Thousand Home Challenge. She has direct knowledge of many residential energy projects that are delving beyond business as usual to achieve 70% and greater reductions in site energy use.

Visit Linda's website here