Jim Merkel is the author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth and directs the Global Living Project. GLP consults with campuses and municipalities and offers workshops and lectures on sustainable living. His recent work as Dartmouth college’s sustainability coordinator helped Dartmouth earn the highest grade given on the Sustainability Report Card issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute for the years he led the campus’s sustainability efforts. Originally a military engineer trained in foreign military sales, the Exxon Valdez disaster and the invasion of Iraq prompted him to devote his life to sustainability and world peace. Jim founded the GLP and initiated it’s Summer Institute, where teams of researchers attempted to live on an equitable portion of the biosphere. While at Dartmouth, Jim worked to integrate environmentally and socially sustainable practices into the college’s operations and culture. His projects included Sustainable Dining, Solar Thermal Evaluation, Carbon Reduction, Sustainable Offices, Green Greeks and Solid Waste Reduction.
Bill Pfeiffer is a deep ecologist, cultural engineer and author of the book Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture. In 1990, he founded Sacred Earth Network (SEN), a visionary not-for-profit environmental advocacy group. With SEN he traveled extensively in Siberia and North America to facilitate cultural exchanges and collaborate with indigenous elders and shamans on variety of issues. He has led numerous “culture change” experiences along with workshops from his home and forest base in Petersham, MA. He brings decades of counseling and meditation experience into the mix and has received glowing reviews from participants.
Cathy Pedevillano is a visionary healer, teacher, and guide. Through her healing work, trainings, and workshops, Cathy assists people in waking up to who they are and reclaiming their power. She is committed to sharing the teachings and practices of shamanism to help bring balance and healing to the world. Cathy began her professional life as a wildlife biologist, receiving a B.S. and M.S. in this field. She has worked as a wildlife biologist, wetlands scientist and environmental educator for a variety of state, federal, and private organizations such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Massachusetts Audubon Society, and Northfield Mountain. She has also taught outdoor leadership and teambuilding programs to children and adults. Cathy worked as a consultant for the Sacred Earth Network (SEN), a nonprofit environmental organization, for eleven years. At SEN, she coordinated exchanges of indigenous people from Siberia and the U.S., initiated a project to help save endangered snow leopards in Eurasia, and co-created and co-lead a workshop called “Healing Self, Healing Earth” which combines deep ecology and shamanism. Cathy is also a trained facilitator of “Council of All Beings” workshops and has worked with Deep Ecologists Joanna Macy and John Seed.
Reverand Charlie Ortman is a senior Mister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair. Alternative service as a Conscientious Objector during the Viet Nam War led him into a career in Social Work for many years. Being a child of the 50s and 60s opened him to communication through music and a 20 year career as a singer songwriter that took him around the world. After graduating from Meadville/Lombard Theological School, Charlie was ordained to the UU ministry in 1992. He has served congregations in Burlington, IA, Fitchburg, MA. and as the Senior Mister of the UU Congregation in Montclair for the past 19 years. He says, “For me, ministry is working collaboratively to promote ever greater opportunities for transformation – individually, in the community, and in the world. Ministry is promoting the possibilities and probabilities of goodness in what often seems like a broken world. Reaching out beyond ourselves and our homes, the strength of the religious community is where I find the greatest hope for working cooperatively and sustainably with other like-minded persons in helping and healing our communities and our world.” Charlie recently rode his bicycle across the country and published a memoir of the journey, Moving on… Lessons from the Road.