COP22 Delegate Bios
Tom B. K. Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
Since the late 1980’s, Tom has been involved with environmental related issues and programs working within tribal governments in developing indigenous-based environmental protection infrastructures. Tom works with indigenous peoples worldwide and is known as one of the environmental justice movement grassroots leaders in North America addressing toxics and health, mining, energy, climate, water, globalization, sustainable development and indigenous rights issues. From his participation and leadership in the First National People of Color Environmental Justice Leadership Summit in 1991 in Washington D.C.; to the 2010 World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia; to co-facilitating the Climate Space assembly at the World Social Forum in Tunis, Tunisia in April 2013; he has become an environmental justice leader, both locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Currently, Tom is also playing a leadership role in supporting the Water Defenders at Standing Rock in the historic fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Areas of Expertise: Indigenous Peoples Rights, Indigenous-led solutions, toxics and health, REDD, false solution, environmental health, mining, energy crisis, climate policy, globalization, sustainable development.
Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson
Kali Akuno is a founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson, an emerging network of worker cooperatives and supporting institutions. Cooperation Jackson is fighting to create economic democracy by creating a vibrant solidarity economy in Jackson, MS that will help transform Mississippi and the South. Kali also served as the Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network, the Executive Director of the Peoples’ Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) based in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Kali has authored many articles and pamphlets Black, international and working class politics, with a focus on how government counterinsurgency, state violence, the drug war, mass incarceration and neoliberalism impact Black communities. Some of Kali’s most noted works include, most recently “Casting Shadows: Chokwe Lumumba and the Struggle for Racial Justice and Economic Democracy in Jackson, MS”, “Revolutionary Nationalism for the 21st Century”, and “Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era”.
Areas of Expertise: Black, international and working class politics, just transition, Hurricane Katrina, zero waste, food sovereignty, solidarity economies, worker cooperatives, state violence.
Diana Lopez, Directora, Southwest Workers Union
Diana Lopez is the Directora of the Southwest Workers’ Union based in San Antonio, Texas. The Southwest Workers’ Union, with 3,500 members, works to reframe public policy to protect the community and include the voices of local residents. It has led successful strategic campaigns targeting wages, environmental clean-up, economic revitalization, healthcare and energy policy. Lopez began working with the Southwest Workers’ Union as a high school intern. It was while conducting a health study in neighborhoods near two of San Antonio’s six military bases that she made the connection between birth defects, cancer and other health problems associated with pollution from military installations.Lopez won the 2009 Brower Youth Award from Earth Island Institute and the Urban Renewal Award for her community organizing and for promoting food sovereignty, premised on the belief that people have the right to decide what to eat and that food should be healthy and accessible to everyone in the community. Diana has brought local struggles to three United Nations Conventions on Climate Change. She sits on coordinating committees of the South by Southwest Experiment, and Grassroots Global Justice.
Areas of Expertise: Environmental health, health policy, community organizing, food sovereignty, military pollution, Just Transition
Alberto Saldamando, Human Rights Lawyer, Indigenous Environmental Network
I work with the Indigenous Environmental Network primarily as a technical inside person at the annual Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties. I also work on International Indigenous Rights and Human Rights in the climate change context. I represent IEN in various capacities, including the California Air Resources Board (Jurisdictional REDD Program) and as an IEN delegate on an international delegation to Honduras to investigate the assassination of Berta Cáceres, and to honor her memory.
Areas of Expertise: Indigenous Peoples Rights, International Law, Human Rights, Carbon Finance, REDD, Frontline Communities, Standing Rock
José T. Bravo, Executive Director, Just Transition Alliance
José is a leader in Californian and national chemicals policy reform work, and Green Chemistry as a member of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE). CHANGE is an alliance of health, environmental, labor, resource organizations and EJ organizations throughout California. Also, José is on the steering committee of the State Alliance for Federal Reform of Chemicals Policy (SAFER). SAFER is an alliance of organizations in key states working to create a pre-market testing system and regulation for all chemicals. José works directly with Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities and Labor (Organized and Unorganized). José’s work in social justice issues is rooted in his upbringing in the Southern California farm fields alongside both his parents. José has also worked on immigrant rights issues since his days as a student organizer in the 80’s to the present. José has participated in the Environmental Justice movement since 1990, over the years he has gained recognition as a national and international leader in the EJ movement. José is also serves on the board of Communities for a Better Environment.
Areas of Expertise: Just Transition, Community and Labor alliances, Social Movements, Carbon Finance, Environmental Justice, Environmental Health
Jaron Browne, National Organizer, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Jaron Browne is a National Organizer with Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), building out GGJ’s Just Transition work, including support for CJA’s Our Power Campaign, and other national and international climate justice and new economy campaigns. In 2015, Jaron coordinated the It Takes Roots delegation to the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris and was a co-author of the summation report We Are Mother Earth’s Red Line, analyzing the impact of Paris Climate Agreement. Before joining GGJ, Jaron was an organizer with POWER and Causa Justa::Just Cause for nearly 13 years, building the power of working class Black and Latino families in the Bay Area. Jaron helped to lead a five year campaign against the US Navy and the Lennar Corporation that succeeded in stopping the early transfer of a radiologically contaminated Superfund site for development before the land is fully cleaned.
Areas of Expertise: social movements, climate justice, Just Transition, Paris Accord, environmental health, solidarity