​Global Ecofeminism Conference: Women, Sustainability, and the Environment

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
Santa Monica College

Thanks to a grant from the SMC Global Citizenship Intiative, we are proud to present an all-day conference which will inform students at SMC and neighboring colleges about the role environmental degradation, lack of access to natural resources, and toxic exposure plays in the lives of women aroundthe world, and how women in a variety of professions are working on solving these problems. The conference is also informed overall by this year's SMC Global Citizenship Initiative theme, “Peace and Security: managing conflict and violence in a turbulent world".

The conference will examine how climate change and other environmental issues relate to conflict, violence, security, etc, and how women specifically will be affected.

Conference Schedule

9:30 - 10 a.m.

Morning Introductory Keynote
HSS 263

10 - 10:45 a.m.

Women in Green Careers
HSS 263

Women and Toxic Chemicals
HSS 156

11 a.m. - Noon

The Green Screen
HSS 263

Global Girl Media Session
HSS 156

Noon - 12:45 p.m.

Women and Food
HSS 263


Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch. There will be food trucks parked on campus!

Temachtia Quetzalcoatl blessing and ritual dance (1:55 p.m. ­ 2:25 p.m.)

2:30 - 4 p.m.

Global Citizenship Panel
HSS 263

4:15 - 5 p.m.

Afternoon keynote
HSS 165

Conference Planning Committee

Melanie Klein, Sociology + Women’s Studies, Santa Monica College
Kaya Foster, Sustainable Works
Zury Chavez, Santa Monica College student


Anais Walsdorf, Santa Monica College student
Caroline Feller-Howard, Santa Monica College student
Chandler Le Francis, Santa Monica College student
Gillian Grebler, Earth Science, Santa Monica College
Jane Paul, Urban Sustainability + Liberal Studies, Antioch University
Jazmin Martinez, Santa Monica College student
Nury Chavez, Santa Monica College student

Conference Ambassadors

Jazmin Martinez, Caroline Feller-Howard, Crystal Bonilla, Anais Waldorf, Chandler Le Francis, Breanna Khorrami, Skye Gonzalez and Gabriella Brown


(Will be tabling on the Quad.)
SMC Associated Students
Bead for Life
Rising International
Rosy's Mexican Boutique
Stoned By Heidi


Jill Stein

Introductory Morning
HSS 263, 9:30 - 10 a.m.

Jollene Levid

Afternoon Keynote
HSS 165, 4:15 - 5 p.m.

Option 1: Women and Toxic Chemicals

10 a.m. - 10:45 a.m., HSS 156

This panel will discuss the health factors (especially reproductive health) associated with exposure to toxins in cosmetics and home cleaning products, and well as alternatives that are less harmful to the environment and human health

Martha Arguello

For the past 32 years Martha has served in the non-profit sector as an advocate, community organizer, and coalition builder. She joined PSR-LA in 1998 to launch the environmental health programs, and became Executive Director in November 2007. She is committed to making the credible voice of physicians a powerful instrument for transforming California and our planet into a more peaceful and healthy place.

Lori Baralt

Lori Baralt, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersection of reproductive and environmental health, primarily with regard to environmental links to breast cancer. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Breast Cancer Action, a national non-profit breast cancer organization that focuses on preventing involuntary exposures to chemicals linked to breast cancer.

Susan James

Licensed cosmetology instructor since 1971; currently work as Director of Education in the private sector since 1971; joined SMC cosmetology staff in 2006 teaching Electricity, Chemistry, sanitation, disinfection, and hazardous chemical formulations to include analysis, exposure limits, points of entry to protect students and clients from over exposure of infection meeting all California State Board guidelines.

Artista Marchioni

For over 35 years, Medicine Woman Artista Marchioni, Registered Nurse and Holistic Practitioner, has helped thousands of individuals improve their lifestyle through good health. She has worked as a Holistic Health Consultant and Educator in a wide array of mediums. Her teaching has expanded from storefront to radio in New York, California, and Florida. She is a frequent speaker for a wide variety of groups.

Belinda Waymouth

Belinda Waymouth is a Green writer for the Huffington Post and UN web magazine OurWorld 2.0. She is a former SMC student, about to graduate from the Geography/Environmental Studies program at UCLA. Born in New Zealand, she now lives in Santa Monica, CA. She has a background in print/radio journalism, and the entertainment industry. As a mother, Belinda is committed to a sustainable future, and believes in defending the environmental underdog - whether flora or fauna.

Option 2: Women in Green Careers

10 a.m. - 10:45 a.m., HSS 263

This panel will discuss how women in diverse careers are working on issues related to sustainability, community development, and social justice.

Roberta Brodsky

Roberta Brodsky Connors is the Vice President of Administration for Nartifer Solar USA in Los Angeles, CA, having previously held a position as finance Manager. She is also a solar installation volunteer for GRID Alternatives. Prior to joining Martifer, Roberta completed the coursework for photovoltiaics at Santa Monica College, as well as a year-long intership at Global Green USA, a Los Angeles-based environmental non-profit, where she researched energy efficiency and renewable energy issues. She also previously directed an e-waste recycling program for an inkjet remanufacturer based in the Sant Fernando Valley. In her former career, Roberta was a freelance reality television producer. She earned her Master's degree in Pacific International Affairs from USCSD, focusing on Environmental Policy, and a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and Russian Studies from UCLA. She is NABCEP certified in photovoltaics and a LEED Green Associate. Roberta currently lives in Temecula, CA with her husband, teenage stepdaughter and newborn baby.

Arlene Hopkins

Alrene Hopkins is an educator and artchitect working to enhance urban resilience by developing community-based climate change mitigation and adaptation programs and projects. Integrating across multiple-disciplines, she is translating science into pragatic strategies that can adopted and adaptively managed by neighborhoods and independent householdes, and well as by local public institutions such as schools, libraries, fire stations, parks, and city halls. She is a research-based practitioner, program and project manager working to advance wise ways and new traditions in community. She is a member of the Resilience Task Force of the IUCN, the Sustainable Cities Research Coordination Network and the Environmental Program Group of the American Evaluation Association.

Jane Paul

Jane Paul is Teaching FAculty at Antioch University Los Angeles, in the Masters in Urban Sustainability program, teaching Fieldwork Planning and Fieldwork Seminars, and well as participating in the curriculum and program development team. Jane is also Teaching Faculty and Head of the undergraduate concentration Urban Community and Environment, creating curriculum and program design. In addition to work at Antioch University, Jane has been an environmental policy consultant, focused on the green economy and sustainability. Jane is the chair of the Antioch University Los Angeles Sustainability Committee, a representative on the Lost Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Change (LARC), and serves on the Good Food Economy and Academic Partnerships workgroups of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. Jane was the chair of the City of Los Angeles Green Retrofit and Workforce Development Advisory Council appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Kabira Stokes (Moderator)

Kabira Stokes is the founder and CEO of Isidore Electronics Recycling which provides e-waste recycling services to Los Angeles residents, businesses, and governmental organizations while functioning as an on-the-job training and employment program for previously incarcerated Angelenos who face barriers to employment. Kabira holds a Master's degree in public policy from the University of Southern California with a focus in Prison Reentry Policy and Environmental Governance. She has consulted for the non-profit Green For All and worked for the City of Los Angeles as Senior Field Deputy for then-City Council Prsident Eric Garcetti, focusing on Public Safety and Houth Development issues.

Option 1: The Green Scree; The Environment and Film

11 a.m. - Noon, HSS 263 (one hour)

This panel will discuss the world of environmentally related documentary filmmaking.

Sheila Laffey, Ph.D.

Sheila is an award winning producer/director of documentaries and short dramatic films, mostly on the environment which have aired on PBS stations and are distributed by Green Planet Films. She teaches at SMC where one of her courses is Green Screen: Films on the Environment and Transformation. Sheila earned a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from NYU and was Prgram Coordinator for the National Audubon Society in Hawaii. A chapter about her work appears in Search for Reality: The Art of Documentary Filmmaking.

Anastasia Sonkin

At the University of California Berkeley. Anastasia studies Media Studies and Film and listened to food movement pioneers like Michael Pollen and Francis Moore Lappe'. She learned both the power of storytelling, and also a new medium in which to express herself: the documentary. For Anastasia, film became a form of activist expression and activist incentive. When she is not making films, she co-owns Roots & Stems, a sustainable floral design company. Roots & Stems incorporates natural elements in their designs, aspiring to create ecologically sustainable designs. Anastasia also builds edible roof top gardens for restaurants and living walls, bringing food and nature into the urban environments. She is driven to make tranformative change by cultivating community and more unity around food.

Mary Liz Thomson

Mary Liz Thomson is an award winning socially conscious filmaker, most recently Director and Editor of the feature documentary. Who Bombed Judi Bari? (CiINE Golden Eagle and 5 Festival Awards) This Film and is an inside account of the battle with Big Timber to save the last of California's ancient redwoods, and a victorious civil rights lawsuit against the FBI. Thomson also covers environmental issues such as the Plastics Vortex in articles for The Huffington Post, Alternet, and others. She started out in San Francisco co-directing docs and music videos, and writing for a legendary local zine, Komotion. She wants to have an impact in both the narrative and documentary filmmaking world and is currently writing a feature film script with an eco storyline. She has worked extensively in Feature/TV story development, as well as been involved with SyFy Channel movies, and the Sundance TV series "The Sierra Club Chronicals."

Option 2: Global Girl Media Session

11 a.m. - Noon, HSS 156 (one hour)

This panel will discuss the work of Global Girl Media, an organization that develops the authentic voice and self-expression of teenage girls in underserved communities by training them to become citizen journalists, harnessing the power of new digital media to inspire self-esteem, community activism and social change.

Alejandra Castillo

Alejandra Castillo is a senior at Wallis Annenberg High School and preparing for her first year of college. She was awarded the Posse Scholarship to Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges in New York. In 2013, she was accepted into GlobalGirl Media, where she found and used her voice to state her opinions and the social problems in her community, and gained many new friends. She looks forward to meeting new people, to learning more basic journalistic and equipment operating skills, and helping raise awareness about the social inequality that the female population is still challenged with. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Student Body Treasurer at her school.

Francesca Guerrini

Francesca Guerrini is an experienced and committed journalist with extensive global experience. As a journalist (written and broadcast) Francesca covered major events in US (political conventions, elections, business news, financial crisis, and natural disasters). As a freelance writer for various Italian magazines she wrote feature stories and interviewed writers, artists, actors, and scholars. As an editor for a weekly magazine Oggi7, published in New York City, she ran the day-to-day activities, assigning, and editing contributions. She has a degree in Philosophy from the Universita's degli Studi de Milano, Italy, and working experience in Italy and in the US (New York City and Los Angeles). Francesca is strategist and catalyst for international change working for non-profit organizations in Los Angeles providing philanthropic management and empowered the lives of young girls.

Gillian Grebler

Gillian Grebler is a cultural and linguistic anthropologist. She teaches anthropoligy at Santa Monica College, including a new class which she co-teaches called "The Culture of Food." Grebler started the Food Justice Project at SMC and works with the Center for Urban and Environmental Studies to produce large events on campus, several of whcih has been funded by the college's Global Citizenship Council. These include the 2013 "Food for a Peaceful World." a celebration of national Food Day, and SMC's first anual Honey Bee Festival on Earth Day, 2013. Grabler's linguistic research deals with the social and human rights implications of false confessions and wrongful convictions. She contributed chapters to the Routlege Handbook of Forensic Lingustics (Routledge, 2010) and to Exploring Courtroom Discourse: the Language of Power and Control (Ashgate, 2011) and has worked as a consultant and expert witness in a number of criminal cases where spoken language was at issue. Grebler is currently acting-President of SCAAN, the Southerne California Applied Anthropology Network, a AAA/NAPA "local practitioner organization," which serves practicing anthropologists throughout Southern California.

Rebecca Ruvalcaba

Rebecca Ruvalcaba is an energetic and inspired 15 years old teen reporter for GlobalGirl Media Los Angeles. Since joining GGM, Rebecca has reported extensively on issues pertaining to food justice and recently was honored with the opportunity to interview rising young stars on the Orange Carpet at the 2013 Teen Nick Halo Awards. Beyond GGM, Rebecca is also involved with other organizations related to the empowerment of girls, including Girl Up.

Only Option: Women and Food

Noon - 12:45 p.m., HSS 263

Mary Baldwin

Mary Baldwin heads up the Famers Market Recovery Program for Food Forward, and LA-based non-profit that seeks to reconnect Los Angeles with fresh local produce that would otherwise go to waste, connecting this abundance with people in need, and inspiring others todo the same. As the Farmers Market REcovery Director. Baldwin's job is simple: work with farmers and local volunteers at some of the city's most popular weekly markets to procure thousands of pounds of fresh produce for those in need, helping to transform the pantries of some of Los Angeles' most desperate social service agencies, while maintaining relationships with the famers markets that the city has come to rely on. Mary is a University of California Master Gardner, and member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council's Working Group on Urban Agriculture.

Francesca De La Rosa

Francesca de le Rosa serves as Director of Policy and Strategic Alliances for Women Organizing Resources, Knowlege & Services (WORKS), a non-profit affordable housing developer, and is the current Chair of the Urban Ag Working Group of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. Francesca has over fifteen years of community organizing, direct advocacy and campaign development experience. Francesca has worked on a variety of public policy issues in Los Angeles including economic justice, food security, affordable housing and homelessness.

Joann Lo

Joann Lo is Executive Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of workers organizations throughout the food system. For 20 years, Joann has been a social justice activist and organizer. She is currently serving as Vice Chair of the Leadership Board of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

Mary MacVean

Mary MacVean has been writing about food since the 1980s, and is currently the health and fitness editor at the Los Angeles Times. She has long been interested in how the food choices we make affect other people and the world.

Sarah Spitz (Moderator)

Sarah A. Spitz is currently a UC/Cooperative Extension certified Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver serving Los Angeles County, she was a founding member of Seed Library of Los Angeles and serves on the Advisory Board for Food Forward. She writes a weekly column, "Culture Watch," for Santa Monica Daily Press.


2:30 - 4 p.m., HSS 263

Global Citizenship Theme. This panel will examine how climate change and other environmental issues relate to global conflict, violence, security, etc., and how women specifically are affected.

Bert Maria Cueva, Ph.D

Dr. Bert Maria Cueva, with a MA and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, currently teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences at Santa Monica College. Her interdisciplinary feminist research includes: Feminist Theory Production, Indigenous Research and Qualitative Methods, as well as Transnational Feminism. Dr. Cueva encourages her students to move beyond mere theory and become actively involved in a social justice agenda that advocates for ethical and transformative measures from First World nations that produce environmental and political injustices to marginalized women residing within Developing Nations. Her research was presented at the International Women's Conference, University of Havana, Cuba. The title of her paper, "The Impacts of Globalization to Mexican and Indigenous Women along the Geopolitical Borders," it included a critical analysis of U.S. Imperialism, as it relates to the effects of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to women's health, bodies, and quality of life that live along the hostile and highly militarized U.S.-Mexico borders.

Amber L. Katherine, Ph.D. (Moderator)

Amber L. Katherine is a professor of philosophy and environmental ethics at Santa Monca College. She has served as chair of the Academic Senate's Environmental Affairs Committee and is a campus leader for Greening the Curriculum. Her introductory textbook is Greening Philosophy: A Fresh Introduction to the Field, (Kendall-Hung, 2011).

Lydia Ponce

Lydia Ponce won the City of Los Angles Human Relations Angel Award in 2011. She is currently employed at Venice High School as a Parent Community Representative - Resides at Venice Beach the last beach side community of color. She is passionate about the justice campaigns for food, education, youth issues, housing, sovereignty rights, and our environment. After all, water is life. She is also an admin for Idle No More Los Angeles and Venice for their newest project, "Unify."

Nita Rubio

Nita Rubio (Nisha Bhairavi) is a Yogini in Kuala Shakta Tantric tradition. She is a master teacher of the subtle body movement modality. The Tantric Dance of Feminine Power®. Embodiment, traditional tantric lineage practice, feminism, and ritual intersect in Nita's offerings. Joyfully teaching for over 17 years it is her great passion to weave these traditions without diluting their potency both in the classroom and personally into a continuous stream of Feminine Wisdom in Action.

Jill Stein

Jill Stein was the Green Party's 2012 candidate for President of the United States. She is an organizer, physician, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She has helped lead initiatives promoting healthy communities, local green economies and stronger democracy - including campaign finance reform, green jobs, racically-just redistricting, and the cleanup of incinerators, coal plants, and toxic-pesticides. She now helps organize the Global Climate Convergence for People, Planet, and Peace over Profit, an education and direct action campaign beginning Spring 2014 with an "Earth Day to May Day" wave of action, across the US and beyond. The Convergence provides collaboration across fronts of struggle and national borders to harness the transformative power we already possess as thousands of justice movements, rising up against the global assault on our economy, ecology, peace, and democracy.

Maryam Zar

Maryam is a former correspondent in Iran and current Founder of Womenfound. In 2010, Maryam founded Womenfound, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of women in underdeveloped parts of the world, as well as raising money for charities and foundations that help them. She has served as the Director of Communication and member of the Board for UN Women's LA Chapter, the development director for the fistula Foundation, Director of Women's Programs for Omid Iran Foundation, translator for Child Foundation and English Editor for Rahavard. Her writing is featured on the Huffington Post where she has a by-line, on the UN Foundation website, as well as other publications including More magazine, the Levantine Review, FP and in a soon to be released book published by the White Ribbon Alliance highlighting the plight of Mother's around the world. She is mother to 3 as well as a wife, daughter, sister and humanitarian.

Afternoon Keynote

4:15 - 5 p.m., HSS 165

Jollene Levid Keynote

Jollene Levid is the National Chairperson of AF3IRM, an anti-imperialist transnational feminist women's organization that combats trafficking, militarism, and fights for im/migrant women's rights. She has been a part of the organization for 12 years., previously serving as the Secretary-General, Organizing Director & coordinator of the Orange Country chapter. She received her BA in Political Science with a minor in Asian American Studies at UC Irvine and got her Masters in Social Work from USC. She is currently a union organizer and contract negotiator for public sector nurses in Los Angeles County. Jollene tries to live by AF3IRM's belief: A woman's place is at the head of the struggle for the liberation of all humanity!