Experts, activists and representatives, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, will come together to decolonize nature conservation and propose alternatives that respect human rights and the environment.
Simon Counsell, UK
Independent researcher and writer on conservation and human rights, nature-based solutions, forests, and carbon offsetting
Simon Counsell is an independent researcher and writer on conservation, human rights, and ‘nature-based’ climate solutions, and currently an advisor to the international Indigenous rights advocacy group, Survival International. He was for 23 years the Executive Director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, a London-based NGO which supports Indigenous and traditional peoples of the world’s rainforests in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their rights. He has been on the front line of campaigns to protect the world’s forests for more than three decades, previously leading the international forests campaign for Friends of the Earth. He has a BSc in Environmental Science and an MSc in Forestry and Land Use from Oxford University.
Mordecai Ogada, Kenya
Carnivore ecologist and conservation scholar
Mordecai Ogada is a carnivore ecologist and conservation scholar who has been involved in conservation policy and practice for the last 18 years in Kenya and other parts of Africa, mainly on human-wildlife conflict mitigation and carnivore conservation. Over the last three years, Mordecai has been engaged in examining the policy problems and prejudices that underlie the challenges experienced in wildlife conservation, particularly in the global South. These issues form the central theme of ‘The Big Conservation Lie’ a book focused on Kenya co-authored with John Mbaria. He is currently the Executive Director of Conservation Solutions Afrika, a natural resource management consultancy based in Nanyuki. Dr. Ogada consults for Survival International on the Impact of Conservation Practice on the lives and rights of Indigenous People, particularly in Africa.
Fiore Longo, France
Research and Advocacy Officer at Survival International
Fiore Longo is a Research and Advocacy Officer at Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples. She is also the director of Survival International France and Spain. She coordinates Survival’s conservation campaign, and has visited many communities in Africa and Asia that face human rights abuses in the name of conservation. She has also visited Indigenous communities in Colombia and worked on Survival’s Uncontacted Tribes campaign.
Dina Gilio-Whitaker, USA
Lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues.
Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues. At CSUSM she teaches courses on environmentalism and American Indians, traditional ecological knowledge, religion and philosophy, Native women’s activism, American Indians and sports, and decolonization. She also works within the field of critical sports studies, examining the intersections of indigeneity and the sport of surfing. As a public intellectual, Dina brings her scholarship into focus as an award-winning journalist as well, with her work appearing at Indian Country Today, the Los Angeles Times, High Country News, Time.com, Slate, History.com, Bioneers, Truthout, the Pacifica Network, Grist, and many more. Dina is the author of two books; the most recent award-winning As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock. She is currently under contract with Beacon Press for a new book under the working title Illegitimate Nation: Privilege, Race, and Accountability in the U.S. Settler State.
Yannick Ndoinyo, Tanzania
Executive Director at Traditional Ecosystems Survival Tanzania
Yannick Ndoinyo is a conservationist and community development specialist with over 20 years of experience working in Tanzania. He is the founder and executive director of Traditional Ecosystems Survival Tanzania (TEST), an organization that focuses on promoting the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples in Tanzania.
Yannick has published several works, including a chapter on human rights violations in the name of conservation in the book Environmental Defenders, and an assessment of human-elephant conflict in the Western Serengeti. He is an honorary member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and serves as the deputy chair for the Human Wellbeing and Sustainable Livelihoods (HWSL) theme of the IUCN Commission on Economic, Environmental, and Social Policy (CEESP).
Robert Flummerfelt, USA
Robert Flummerfelt is an award-winning investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker who has worked in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for five years. He focuses in his investigations and writing on abuses by powerful international actors such as multinational corporations, conservation organizations, and the aid sector, as well as themes such as neocolonialism.
John H. Knox, USA
Professor of International Law
John H. Knox is the Henry C. Lauerman Professor of International Law at Wake Forest University, in North Carolina. He received his law degree from Stanford Law School with honors in 1987, and worked as an attorney at the U.S. Department of State and at a private law
firm before joining academia in 1998. Between 1999 and 2005, he chaired a national advisory committee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and from 2008 to 2012, he was Special Counsel to the Center for International Environmental Law. From 2012 to 2018, he served as the first UN Independent Expert, then the first Special Rapporteur, on the human rights obligations
relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. In 2018, in his final report to the UN Human Rights Council, he presented Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment. He is on the board of the Universal Rights Group and of Shift and on the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law. His publications include
The Human Right to a Healthy Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
Shauri Molimo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Activist and Community Leader
Shauri Molimo is from a Batwa community living in the village of Lukungula, territory of Kalehe, South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her community was evicted from their ancestral land in the Kahuzi-Biega forest due to its conversion in the 1970’s into Kahuzi-Biega National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shauri is a ‘Batwa leader’, representing her community in defending their right to land and protesting the human rights violations they suffer in the name of ‘conservation’.
Ashley Dawson, USA
Professor of English
Ashley Dawson is Professor of English at the Graduate Center / City University of New York and the College of Staten Island. Recently published books of his focus on key topics in the Environmental Humanities, and include People’s Power: Reclaiming the Energy Commons (O/R, 2020), Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change (Verso, 2017), and Extinction: A Radical History (O/R, 2016). Dawson is the author of a forthcoming book Environmentalism from Below (Haymarket), and co-editor of the essay collection Decolonize Conservation! (Common Notions).
Tom Goldtooth, USA
Indigenous Environmental Network
Tom is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. Tom has been awarded with recognition of his achievements throughout the past 40 years as an activist for social change and environmental and climate justice. From the strength of his community organizing and leadership he has brought the local issues of environmental, economic, energy, climate justice and the rights of Indigenous peoples to the national and international levels. Tom initiated the first international Indigenous conference on the rights of Mother Earth in 2012 at the Haskell Indian Nations University and serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Alliance of the Rights of Nature. Tom is a recipient of numerous awards including the 2015 Gandhi Award and in 2016 was presented Sierra Club’s highest recognition, the John Muir award. Tom is a Sun Dance leader and active in his ceremonial responsibilities and is a father, grandfather and great grandfather.