Our Board

Current Trustees

Vita de Waal

Widely travelled from a very early age, Vita had contact with a wide variety of  cultures. A prolific networker, she is actively engaged in humanitarian and environmental strategies with a focus on sustainability, water management, biodiversity and human rights. She is currently Executive Trustee of the Foundation for Gaia (UK), Co-Chair of the NGO Alliance on Global Concerns, Co-Chair of the of the NGO Forum  on Spirituality and Values (FSV) ;   a former Board member (but still active) on the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas’ Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA).

For over a decade she was a member of the Findhorn Foundation, one of the first NGOs to create the eco-village concept and that at one point was found to have the lowest ecological footprint ever measured in the industrialised world. She created the Foundation for GAIA after co-convening the successful conference at the Findhorn Foundation entitled ‘A New Economic Agenda’.   A workshop leader and international conference coordinator, she lectured at conferences and universities in Europe, the USA and India and spoke on numerous occasions at events organised at the United Nations in Geneva.

Vita was Vice-President of the World Teacher Trust and President of the Institute for Planetary Synthesis (IPS). Vita also represented a number of NGOs at the United Nations, e g. the Planetary Association for Clean Energy (PACE, Canada) and the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN). She was awarded the  Accademia dei Georgofili Medal for salvage of rare agricultural texts as a “Mud Angel” during the 1966 Florence floods.

Franco Zunino

Franco is an Italian conservationist, former Ranger in the Gran Paradiso National Park, former staff member of the Abruzzo National Park, biologist and specialist of the Abruzzo Brown Bear. he is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission – Bear Specialist Group.

A prolific writer, photographer and eminent commentator on wilderness philosophy, he is an associate editor of the “International Journal of Wilderness” published by the WILD Foundation (US) and on the International Board of Senior Advisers of the Listening Point Foundation (US) which promotes Sigurd F Olson’s philosophy and builds upon his legacy in the field of wilderness education.

The main points of his wilderness approach • man as an harmonic, inseparable part of the natural world • the need to preserve iwilderness not only for scientific or economic purposes, but for a spiritual need too. Franco is a pioneer of the Italian wilderness movement. Co-founder and General Secretary of Associazione Italiana Wilderness (AIW), it has worked extensively to create  working relationships with municipalities and regional governments which have led to proclamations of 58 new wilderness areas throughout Italy.

AIW adopted two key words as a concept in dealing with the public, the first was: self-resolution where local people, not higher authority, took responsibility for the preservation of their own “environmental treasure” and the second was: rational use of renewable resources where rational hunting, rational woodcutting, and rational pasturage are proposed and accepted for wilderness areas. With rational read sustainable, as overpopulation of species also impacts the environment, as the big predators have been dislodged from their natural habitats long ago . AIW is working on rational recreation use inspired by the principle of carrying capacity. Thus they have enjoyed the cooperation of the resource users without which it is almost impossible to obtain local acceptance for environmental preservation in Italy.

He was proclaimed one of the Wilderness Pioneers at Wild9. He joined the Board in 1985.

 

Gloria Montgomery

After graduating in Development Studies and Social Anthropology followed by a Masters in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, she decided to undertake a L.LM at Essex University in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

After an internship at the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination branch at the UNOHCHR in Geneva, Gloria worked for the next years at Amnesty International as Research and Campaign Assistant for the Middle East and North Africa Programme. She then travelled extensively before taking up as Executive Director after having been Head of Advocacy and campaigns at Tibet Society UK.

Having spent a few years investigating and reporting international human rights and humanitarian law violations in the Middle East and Asia, Gloria realised the importance of data visualisation in creating compelling stories, educating audiences and spotting and tracking patterns of violations to promote justice and accountability. She decided therefore to do a six-months training as a Tableau and Alteryx Consulting Analyst.

 

Former Trustees

Jonathon Porritt

An eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development. His most recent book is Capitalism, as if the World matters (Earthscan, 2005). Co-Founder and Programme Director of Forum for the Future. Established in 1996, Forum for the Future is now the UK’s leading sustainable development charity, with 70 staff and over 100 partner organisations, including some of the world’s leading companies. It offers a solutions-oriented approach to today’s environmental and social problems, developing strategic partnerships across different sectors.

Jonathon is also a senior advisor to the UK Prime Minister on environmental issues. He was appointed Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission – the Government’s principal source of independent advice across the whole sustainable development agenda. In addition, he is Co-Director of The Prince of Wales’s Business and Environment Programme which runs Senior Executives’ Seminars in Cambridge, Salzburg, South Africa and the USA.

Jonathon is a Trustee of WWF UK, a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency, a Vice-President of the Socialist Environment Resources Association (SERA). He was formerly co-chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member, Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90); chairman of UNED-UK (1993-96); chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West Round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001). He received a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection. He also is a Columnist for BBC Wildlife & NFU Countryside. Joined the Board in 1988. till 2018

Eileen Noakes

Counsellor, Mediator, Founder Member of the Scientific and Medical Network, Vice-Chair Friends of Dartington, Hon. Secretary Friends of Nzega, providing aid to Tanzania. Formerly: Religious Advisor to Television SW, Co-ordinator and Training officer Victim Support South Hams, three year’s freelance mediation work for Kingsbridge Police, prior to setting up South Hams Mediation Scheme, and training volunteers. Chair of Kingsbridge Empowering Youth, Member of Steering Committee of Magna Housing Association to set up a Foyer, Scheme for homeless young people in Kingsbridge, Assessor Rent Guarantee Scheme for homeless people in Kingsbridge. Made one Mediation Study trip to the former Yugoslavia during the war, and one as a Mediator to a Conference attended by representatives of every Balkan Country. Three working trips to Nzega. Attended the Women’s Conference in Sarajevo during the Balkan war. Has spoken at conferences in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, India, America and Canada. She joined the Board in 1988. till her passing in 2018.

Naseeb Dajani

A human and social development specialist. Former Project Director at UNESCO and Director of Technical Assistance of the Vivamos Mejor Foundation in Switzerland. Founder and Director of the Global Harmony Foundation in Switzerland. On the Board from 1985 to 2001.

Teddy Goldsmith

Publisher, editor, author, lecturer and campaigner. Founder (1969) of The Ecologist; President of the Climate Initiatives Fund, Richmond, UK; Board Member of the International Forum on Globalization, San Francisco, USA; presented a series of talks “World Business Report” on the BBC World Service (2003); taught courses on ecology at various universities in the USA.

Awards: Honorary Right Livelihood Award (1991 (Stockholm) – Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, 1991 – Best Book of the Year” award for “Ecological and Transformational Politics” from the American Political Science Association, for “The Case Against the Global Economy: and for a turn towards the local”, co-edited with Jerry Mander, 1997. Joined the Board in 1988 till 2009

Willis Harman

We have been honoured to have had the presence,  active participating and precious advise of Willis who was on our Board of Trustees till the end of his life. Prolific writer and lecturer, he was President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences; Co-founder, Fellow and Trustee of the World Business Academy; former consultant to the White House’s National Goals Research Staff; on Board of Directors of the Albert Hoffman Foundation; Director of the Center for the Study of Social Policy at SRI International; former Director of the Educational Policy Research Center at SRI; vice president of the International Foundation for Advanced Studies; Regent of the University of California. He was Emeritus Professor of Engineering-Economic Systems at Stanford University and for sixteen years was Senior Social Scientist at SRI International in Menlo Park, California.He was President on the Board of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. On the Board from 1985 till 1997.

Sandra Kramer

Former editor and director of Findhorn Press, editorial staff member of “One Earth” magazine and independent member of the Findhorn Foundation. Co-founder and editor of Altea Publishing, Sandra is currently Director of Wild Goose Publications, the publishing house of the Iona Community. Secretary General and Treasurer of the Foundation for Gaia since joining in 1985.

José Lutzenberger

A former chemical engineer with BASF, a multinational company, he changed sides to become Brazil’s foremost environmental campaigner and was one of the pioneers of Brazil’s environmental movement. In 1971 he helped to found Agapan, Brazil’s first green non-governmental organisation, and became its president. Lutzenberger was also one of the first to denounce the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. In 1987 he left Agapan to become president of Fundação Gaia in Brazil. He received the Right Livelihood Award in 1988, one of the 85 awards he won for his work.

In 1989 the election was won by Fernando Collor who appointed Jose Lutzenberger as the Minister of the Environment whom he mandated to stop the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest. Lutz played a major role in opposing the Polonoroeste Project, the financing by the World Bank of a mayor road through the Amazon forest. He took his fight to the US Congress as this project was detrimental to the biodiversity of the rainforests, the rubber tappers and the indigenous populations, their knowledge and culture. The Project was stopped but hundreds of thousands of square miles of forest were destroyed. He was also instrumental in the recognition and protection of the land of the Yanomami Indians by the Brazilian government. After a visit to Highgrove, Prince Charles visited the Amazon in 1991 hosting an environmental gathering aboard the Royal Yacht.

Lutzenberger resigned from government disgusted by the corruption he encountered. In 1992 Rio hosted the biggest UN conference on the environment and development, the first Earth Summit. He visited instead and gave a talk at the parallel alternative summit. He dedicated the remainder of his life to his beloved Gaia Corner /  ção Gaia , his writings and his precious daughters, both biologists. On the Board from 1985 till his passing in 2002.

Azad Shivdasani

Chairman of the multinational Inlaks Group of Companies, a diverse organization with business interests in India, the maldives, West Africa and the United Kingdom. For over twenty five years he has been a trustee of the Inlaks Foundation, one of the leading educational charities offereing scholarships for Indian students to further their higher education at leading academic institutions in Europe and North America. Director (1985-1995) and Treasurer (1988-1993) of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). He was on the Board from 1985 to 1993.

Jakob von Uexkull

Founder (1980) of the The Right Livelihood Award, co-founder (1984) of The Other Economic Summit (TOES) A writer, lecturer, professional philatelist and past Member of the European Parliament. As an MEP he served on the Political Affairs Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. He was also a member of the Delegation for Relations with the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the Baltic Intergroup (1987-89). In 1993 he founded The Estonian Renaissance Award and in 2004 the World Future Council (WFC) He is a former trustee of the New Economics Foundation (London), a patron of Friends of the Earth International and a member of the Global Commission to Fund the United Nations. He has served on the Board of Greenpeace, Germany, and is currently on the Council of Governance of Transparency International. He also lectures and consults widely and has recently proposed a World Future Council of planetary elders, pioneers and youth leaders, acting as a global conscience, speaking up for our ethical values as global citizens and in the interests of future generations. He joined the Foundation for Gaia Board in 1988 and resigned in the summer of 2004.

Elrie de Waal-Bruning

Founder of The Foundation for Gaia (UK) Major donor of the Foundation for Gaia. Elrie travelled extensively in Europe, Peru, Central America, China and Afghanistan, a country that she visited on various occasions. Towards the latter part of her life she became concerned about the environment and became an active member of various organizations, e.g. the Cousteau Society, Earth Life, Survival International and the Business Network Switzerland, which was promoting social responsibilities and ethics in the business environment. On the Board in from 1985 till 1992†