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 Mater 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.
Beau Baconguis is the Regional Plastics Campaigner for GAIA Asia Pacific. She has been working in the field of environmental advocacy since 1995. She was involved in the lobby for the passage of the Philippine Clean Air Act and the Philippine Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. A huge part of her advocacy work was dedicated to campaigning against GMOs and toxic pollution. Beau is also a permaculturist and a natural builder.
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.
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.
Janelle Nice is the Bookkeeper and Office Administrator for GAIA’s U.S. office. Previously she has worked as an Office Manager in various industries, gaining experience in bookkeeping, tech support, HR, and event coordinating. She is passionate about excellent administration and is happy to support GAIA’s team.
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.
Lusanda Majola is GAIA Africa’s Network Development Officer based in South Africa. She holds a degree of Social Science with majors in Geography and Environmental Management and currently furthering her studies in the same field. She joined the civil society sector in 2018 as an intern focusing on a green hospitals campaign at groundWork. She currently works part time and splits her time with GAIA Africa and groundWork
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 Zero Waste Program Associate 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.
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. 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
Agnese Marcon is the Communications Coordinator of Zero Waste Europe. Agnese has a background in Art History but comes from the advertising world where she worked as Account and Project Manager. In 2017, she decided to leave the commercial sector to use her skills for a good cause. After a sabbatical year she joined Zero Waste Europe in July 2018 as Project and Communications Officer to launch the ZWE Live! learning project. Then she moved from working only on the Cities & Communities Programme to coordinating the organisation’s overall communications and later on the Rethink Plastic alliance’s as well
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 Network and Admin 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.
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.
Zaklina Znajder is the Finance & Event Coordinator for Zero Waste Europe. She has a background as a Logistics engineer, Zaklina continued her master in sustainability. She is always looking for new opportunities how to make a change for a better and cleaner world. And guess what? This journey led her to join Zero Waste Europe where she will gladly help the organisation to be more efficient and organised. She is a self-motivated, dependable team player with professional experience in the administrative and customer oriented environment and leadership background as a store manager. She accepts new challenges with a positive attitude while always trying to come up with a solution. Her strengths are willingness to support, educate and drive for better performance.