Aditi Varshenya is GAIA’s U.S. Zero Waste Coordinator. Originally from India, Aditi grew up in China and is now based in New York City. Her academic background centers environmental justice, and she is pursuing a Master of Urban Planning at New York University. Aditi was a community organizer prior to joining GAIA and is fiercely dedicated to building a world that values people and planet before profit. 

Brieshen McKee is the Finance Manager for GAIA’s U.S. office.  She has a background in finance, administration and HR, and has worked with various Bay Area nonprofits in this capacity. Brieshen has an MBA with an emphasis in sustainable business.

Camila Aguilera is GAIA’s Latin America Program Advisor. Her interest in nature led her to hold a Diploma in Socio-Environmental Studies, which she hopes will become her subject of specialization. Previous to joining GAIA, she volunteered for different environmental initiatives, being the most significant a project she developed with local recyclers in the city of Concepción, Chile. Camila is also the co-founder of the local NGO Fundación El Árbol. In her spare time she enjoys riding her bike, hiking and reading.

Carissa Marnce is GAIA Africa’s Communications Officer. She holds a National Diploma in Journalism from the Durban University of Technology and is currently studying towards a postgraduate degree in Journalism. She has experience in writing for local news media and enjoys using various types of online media tools. Carissa is also environmentally conscious and believes in the ethical treatment of animals. Her hobbies include reading, creative writing and watching series. 

Chris Flood is the Development and Resource Mobilization Manager for GAIA’s U.S. office. Chris joined the environmental justice movement over twenty years ago, when he worked with Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL) to combat one of the most egregious examples of environmental racism in the country. Since then, he has worked at a variety of nonprofits on issues ranging from education to the environment.

Christie Keith is GAIA’s International Coordinator and the Executive Director of our U.S. office. She joined GAIA in 2005, and has 25 years of experience with social movements and international non-profit organizations. She began her work in Guatemala as a popular educator, program coordinator, and strategic planning facilitator for groups in the women’s movement and Mayan-campesino organizing community, as well as in international human rights. For the last 15 years Christie has worked from the U.S. on international waste, public health, and environmental justice issues.

Claire Arkin is the Communications Coordinator at GAIA. She has previously worked as an organizer for the Colorado Democratic Party, the online farmers market Farmigo, and the New York City Department of Education. Claire became involved in the environmental justice movement through co-organizing the Food Justice Contingent of the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City. She is based out of our Berkeley, U.S.A. office.
Denise Patel is the U.S. Program Director and Regional Coordinator for the U.S./Canada Region at GAIA. She has previously worked on campaigns and policy development with labor, environmental, and environmental justice organizations on toxics and chemical safety, fossil fuel divestment, and climate change, with a focus on improving environmental and occupational health. Denise is based in New York City.

Doun Moon joined GAIA as a Policy Researcher in 2017. She has been engaged in policy advocacy activities for the last five years working for national and regional civil society platforms including Asia Development Alliance and Korea Zero Waste Movement Network. Doun is based in GAIA’s Berkeley office.

Edel Garingan is the Resource Mobilization Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. He has been working in the development sector for more than 10 years in the areas of program planning, monitoring and evaluation, research, training, and resource mobilization. He has worked at different nonprofits on the issues of biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, human rights, social enterprise, children and youth development and participatory community development processes. On the side, he is a visual artist and uses his craft to help advance his advocacy.

Felicia Dayrit is the Zero Waste Program Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. Right after graduating AB Development Studies, she joined the Jesuit Volunteers and was deployed to Eastern Samar, Philippines for 10 months where she provided technical assistance in helping several farmers associations set up their cassava community enterprise. After her volunteer year, she joined GAIA in September 2018.

Froilan Grate is GAIA’s Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator and Executive Director of GAIA Philippines. Froilan is a committed environmental justice campaigner who has assisted more than 20 cities/municipalities in the Philippines in developing and improving waste management programs and systems. He has extensive experience in module development and training and legislative work, providing support to legislators at the local government level, especially in areas of policy review.

Gemma Estrella  is GAIA’s Network Development Coordinator. Originally from Barcelona, she has been involved with Human Rights and grassroots organizations in Spain, Mexico, and the United States. In 2005 she moved to Mexico, where she lived seven years and worked as a Program Manager at Promedios de Comunicación Comunitaria. Prior to joining GAIA, Gemma worked at Centro Legal de la Raza, in Oakland, as the Donor Relations and Communications Coordinator, and has also continued working as a freelance video editor.

Jed Alegado is GAIA Asia Pacific’s Regional Communications Officer for the #breakfreefromplastic movement. Prior to joining GAIA, he has worked with several non-government organizations as a media and communications officer and project manager. He holds a masters degree in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies part of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague, Netherlands.

Julie Zarene de Guzman is GAIA Asia Pacific’s Zero Waste Officer. She holds a masters degree in Women and Development and studied Chemical Engineering at the University of the Philippines. She served with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines where she closely worked for mainstreaming LGBTI rights and peer education of women with disabilities’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. She also worked as a project coordinator in establishing a feminist learning space for indigenous women leaders with LILAK Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights. Identifying herself with ecofeminism, she strives to link issues of gender and the environment. 

Katherine Galido is GAIA Asia Pacific’s Plastics Campaigner. She has more than twenty years of experience working in environmental and human rights issues. She has worked with local communities and multi-stakeholder groups on policy advocacy, campaigns, natural resource management, sustainable livelihood and inclusive landscape governance.

Magdalena Donoso is the Coordinator for GAIA Latin America and the Caribbean. She has worked in communications and networking with several Chilean NGOs and in Television Trust for the Environment (UK), supporting educational and activism programs in forestry and biodiversity for 15 years. For the last ten years she has worked on waste issues with cities in Latin America, particularly defending the rights of recyclers and promoting zero waste. She is based in Concepción, Chile.

Miko Aliño is GAIA’s Asia Pacific Program Manager and is based in the Asia-Pacific office in Quezon City, Philippines. He has worked with various development and environmental organizations in the past 10 years, focusing on urban poor and climate change issues.

Miriam Azuring or Mayang is GAIA’s Asia Pacific Deputy Director. Before joining GAIA,  Mayang coordinated the policy and lobbying work of two global civil society platforms on accountable development finance to human rights and environmental instruments, the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness and the NGO Forum on ADB. She also steered Philippine coalitions and non-profits for policy advocacy and mainstreaming of integrated local solutions. For ten years, she has managed grants programs for civil society campaigning in the Philippines and regionally in Asia wherein she has administered full grants cycles, knowledge management, and communications work. Earlier in her career, she was a researcher for the progressive think tank, IBON Foundation. She holds a master’s degree in public management.

Monica Wilson is GAIA’s Policy and Research Coordinator and the Associate Director of our U.S. office. She has worked with GAIA since 2002, and served five years as GAIA’s International Co-Coordinator. Monica serves on the board of the Grassroots Recycling Network, was previously on the board of the Northern California Recycling Association, and is a master composter. In 2012 she was honored to be named by the California Resource Recovery Association as “Recycler of the Year” together with GAIA’s US & Canada Program, for achievement in the field. Monica is based in GAIA’s Berkeley, U.S. office.

Neil Tangri is GAIA’s Science and Policy Director. A founding member of GAIA, Neil has worked on international environmental policy, climate and development finance, and provided technical support to GAIA members. Neil has a captain’s license from the U.S. Coast Guard and a PhD from Stanford University.

Niven Reddy is GAIA Africa’s Regional Coordinator based in Durban, South Africa since November 2017. He has previously worked for a maritime college where he facilitated social science programmes before working at an environmental planning consultancy. He then joined the environmental justice movement with groundWork in 2016 where he focused on air quality and working with local waste picker groups.

Rhoda David is the Operations and Finance Coordinator for Asia-Pacific and handles administration and finance matters. She holds a degree in business administration with a major in accounting. She has over 30 years of experience in the fields of human resource, administration and finance, and has worked with various NGOs working on issues related to family development and youth organizing, urban poor housing and agriculture. Rhoda is based in GAIA’s office in Quezon City.

Sherma Benosa is the Knowledge Management Officer for GAIA Asia Pacific. Prior to joining GAIA in November 2016, she worked for Philippine based non-government organizations working on agriculture and health. She also worked as managing editor of a health magazine and has written feature stories on arts, culture, health, and business for various publications. A fictionist writing mostly in the vein of social realism, she uses storytelling to add her voice to the call for social justice and equity and to delve on issues that are often overlooked in discourses.

Shibu Nair is the GAIA India Coordinator. He has been active in movements and campaigns related to environment and toxics since 1991. He entered into the realm of environmental activism through organizing environmental education programs for schools in Kerala. He is one of the pioneers of zero waste movement in India, and led the zero waste campaigns and programs for Thanal — one of the oldest environmental organizations in South India. His expertise is in organics management, designing and developing zero waste systems at community level and strategizing zero waste programs and campaigns.

Sonia G. Astudillo is the Communications Officer for GAIA Asia Pacific. She has more than 15 years of experience working in media and communications for women’s magazines, a Philippine Senator and a Congressman, and three other NGOs: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia Pacific, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Asia, and The Way To Happiness – Philippines. She studied Journalism and has a master’s degree in public policy from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, Japan. She is also a certified raw vegan chef, detox coach, and yoga teacher. In her spare time, she does batik painting.

Patricia Parras is GAIA’s Network Development and Campaign Associate. As a graduate student currently pursuing international relations, her academic background has piqued her interest in international development. She has witnessed and been involved with affairs that have helped to shape international relations, including participation in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation National Organizing Council, becoming head of delegation under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths Program (JENESYS), and working under United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Vivian Breckenridge is the Failing Incinerators Project Coordinator for the U.S./Canada Region. Before joining GAIA, she worked to support grassroots leaders in North Carolina and the Ecuadorian Amazon in their pursuit for environmental and social justice. Previously, she worked in Los Angeles, D.C., and Cameroon, conducting research and managing projects for various international and environmental policy organizations. Vivian holds a Master of Environmental Management, with a focus on Environmental Justice. She is based in the New York Office.

Yobel Novian Putra is the Climate and Clean Energy Campaign Associate for GAIA Asia Pacific. His interest in waste issues started from learning the history of a catastrophic landfill avalanche in his hometown, Bandung, Indonesia. Later on, his interest transformed into a passion for learning about zero waste. Before joining GAIA, Yobel worked for 2 years as Zero Waste Policy Advocacy staff at YPBB Bandung (a local NGO which implemented a Zero Waste Cities program since 2013). He was also involved in Aliansi Zero Waste Indonesia works. Yobel graduated from Institut Teknologi Bandung with a degree in environmental engineering.

Zero Waste Europe team members

Alexandra Clipa is the Admin Assistant for Zero Waste Europe. Alexandra has a background in International Relations and European Studies and a Master in Political Science from Université libre de Bruxelles. She has always been interested in topics such as sustainability, economics and development studies. She has previously worked for a company specialized in the production of organic, fair trade and sustainable ingredients from the Amazon Rainforest, and through this activity she has become more aware of the importance of climate protection and the necessity to adopt a much healthier and eco-friendly lifestyle.

Delphine Lévi Alvarès is the European Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic. Delphine joined Zero Waste Europe in April 2016 and took on the role of European Coordinator for the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement. Before joining ZWE, Delphine spent two years as Senior Advocacy Officer at Zero Waste France, promoting zero waste strategies and achievements in the French political arena and participating in the improvement of French waste policy. She started her career at Cniid in 2010 as a Campaigner on Incineration and Landfill, and played a key role in the transition of Cniid to Zero Waste France in early 2014. Delphine holds a a masters degree in European Policy and Sustainable Development engineering.

Eilidh Robb is the Communications Officer for Zero Waste Europe. Eilidh has a background in Geography and a Masters in Global Environmental Law, both achieved in Scotland where she is from. She decided to dedicate her life to protecting the environment, and believes in achieving climate justice through systemic change. She jumped into the Brussels bubble with Food & Water Europe to work on climate and energy policy, petrochemicals, and vested interests. She also remains active in the UK, continuing to volunteer with the UK Youth Climate Coalition who she has been campaigning with since 2017. She has coordinated and initiated many campaigns on vested interests and fracking at both national and UN level. She is going to contribute her communications experience to both Rethink Plastic and Zero Waste Europe.

Estelle Eonnet is the European Communications Officer for the Break Free From Plastic Movement. Estelle has an educational background in journalism, film making and anthropology. She has previously worked as news producer for an international TV channel and Head of Communications & Marketing for a start-up. Estelle also has founded a production company and is working during her spare time on several documentaries. She recently decided to get involved with the Break Free From Plastic movement and use her energy and skills for a cause that she is passionate about: fight against the plastic pollution, and the protection of our environment.

Esra Tat is the Associate Director of Zero Waste Europe. Esra leads on the strategic development of Zero Waste Europe as a network and organisation, and manages the implementation of the vision with the team and member organisations. She coordinates the development of European campaigns in partnership with Zero Waste Europe’s members across the continent, and acts as the European Regional Coordinator towards GAIA International to further promote zero waste models worldwide.

Heli Pärna is the Finance & Admin Officer of Zero Waste Europe. Heli has a background in translation and literature and she has previously worked in the European Commission as Assistant in the Interpretation Directorate and Project Coordinator in the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Unit (DG ECHO). She first learned about Zero Waste Europe whilst volunteering for the Estonian NGO Let’s Do It. She loves nature and animals and has always been very vocal about environmental issues and animal rights. She is very happy to be joining the ZWE team, because working in the environmental field has been a goal for her for some time now. Apart from nature and animals, Heli loves theatre and literature. She is part of the Brussels English language theatre group and a member of ImproBrussels.

Iveta Cadrova is the Membership Coordination Officer of Zero Waste Europe. Iveta has an educational background in languages and project management. She has previously worked as event manager in the private sector. She has now decided to leave that sector and use her energy and skills for a cause that she is passionate about: fighting against plastic pollution and protecting the environment. Iveta’s main strengths are her organisational skills and a positive attitude. She speaks English, French and Slovak.

Jack McQuibban is the Cities Program Coordinator of Zero Waste Europe. Jack has an educational background in international relations having studied at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. For the past 5 years, he has worked for two different NGOs within the international development and sustainability sectors, helping to build movements and communities for change. He has led successful campaigns at the local level within the UK as well as at the global level at institutions such as the United Nations. Jack will be leading our work with municipalities, helping to connect members from across Europe to build and contribute towards the transition of cities towards zero waste strategies.

Janek Vähk  is the Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator of Zero Waste Europe.  As Development and Policy Coordinator, he manages the relationship with Zero Waste Europe’s funders and leads on climate and energy policy advocacy work towards EU institutions. Previously, he worked for the Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) in Brussels where he coordinated fundraising efforts on behalf of FoEE and its 6 programmes. Prior to the FoEE, Janek worked for the Justice and Environment (J&E) where he provided leadership for the development of strategic partnerships. He holds an Msc in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University and Postgraduate degree in Charity Marketing from Cass Business School.

Jan-Lars Lagas  is the Finance and Office Manager of Zero Waste Europe.  Jan Lars has been with Zero Waste Europe since May 2017 as Office and Finance manager. He has experience working on sustainability issues for various organisations, including Friends of the Earth Europe and the European Green Party. Jan Lars holds two Masters degrees: one in European Studies from the University of Maastricht and one in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Uppsala.

Joan Marc Simon  is the Executive Director of Zero Waste Europe.  Based in Brussels, he has been a leading voice for Zero Waste in Europe since 2007 and he is a regular keynote speaker in many industry and NGO meetings in Brussels but also at local level as well as internationally. He is member of the Steering Committee of the Break Free from Plastics movement. Among many other publications he has authored the Zero Waste Masterplan for cities as well as the book “Zero Waste – How to reactivate the economy without trashing the planet”. With a background in Economics, he has more than 10 years of experience working with governmental and non-governmental organisations in the field of good governance, new economics, social justice, and environment.

Justine Maillot is the Consumption & Production Campaigner and Policy Coordinator of Rethink Plastic Alliance.  She has a background in International, European and environmental law, and worked at the EU Unit of Greenpeace for four years on EU ocean and fisheries policy before joining ZWE. After an eighteen month break travelling and getting involved in different small local projects, she joined Surfrider Foundation Europe, where she mainly worked on plastic pollution and contributed to the work of the Rethink Plastic alliance. Besides the work on plastics for the Rethink Plastic Alliance she joins our team on Consumption and Production where she will be leading our work on food contact materials, particularly the health impacts from single use packaging.

Kaisa Karjalainen is the Zero Waste Academy Coordinator for Zero Waste Europe. She has an educational background in environmental engineering and she’s about to graduate with an MBA focusing on leadership and service design. Previously, she worked as a consultant for companies, organisations and events on how to establish environmental management systems, she conducted sustainability training, life cycle assessments, and she designed waste management plans. She spent the last years working for a reuse centre and environment school designing services related to sustainability education in order to keep discarded materials in use for longer.

Larissa Copello is the Consumption and Production Campaigner. Larissa has a background in Law and she worked as a Legal Consultant on environment, health, and safety policies. She is passionate about environmental protection and sustainable development practices. She is a zero waster at heart, and enjoys running campaigns and empowering people towards sustainable consumption patterns. She also likes cooking and preparing her zero waste cosmetics and products, while fostering her creativity!.

Mariel Vilella is the Director of Global Strategy of Zero Waste Europe.  Mariel is currently driving the global work of Zero Waste Europe as Director of Global Strategy, building bridges and identifying opportunities for collaboration across borders to promote zero waste policies and practices with members worldwide. Prior to this role, between 2014-2019 she was the Managing Director of Zero Waste Europe, during its foundation and early development. Before 2014 she was the lead climate policy campaigner for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). Today she continues to guide GAIA’s work on zero waste project guidelines for major sources of climate finance, and international energy policy with impacts on the waste sector. She has extensive experience in research, publication development and project management.

Pierre Condamine is the Waste Policy Officer for Zero Waste Europe. Pierre has an educational background in political science and a Master in Sustainable Development, Pierre decided to dedicate his professional life to protect the environment. As he grew up near the Atlantic coast he has a special connection to nature and thus will seize every opportunity to support the ecological transition. He is then determined to make change towards a Zero Waste society happen at the European level, along with promoting citizen’s empowerment at a local level.

Rossella Recupero is the Communications Officer for Zero Waste Europe. Rossella has an educational background in International Affairs and a Master in Economics of Development, Cooperation and Innovation. She is passionate about building and developing connections between people, opportunities and ideas. Traveling and living in different countries gave her the opportunity to directly see an impressive general environmental degradation. Therefore, she decided to take action to protect the world we all live adopting a Zero Waste lifestyle and dedicate her professional life to this cause.

Shanar Tabrizi is the Chemical Recycling & Fuels Policy Officer for Zero Waste Europe. Shanar is an environmental engineer  specialised in industrial ecology and renewable energy systems. She has developed circular economy strategies and reports on E-waste policies and waste prevention measures for the construction industry. She also has a background in peace-and development studies. After a period working with grassroot organisations in South Africa supporting waste picker movements and climate and waste campaigns, she spent three years on climate technology transfer initiatives at the United Nations Environment Programme, particularly focusing on knowledge management, gender mainstreaming and impact assessments.