The North American Earth Holder Community is guided by a steering group, known as the Care Taking Council, and a Coordinator. Together, they are advancing policies and addressing organizational needs to fulfill Earth Holders’ founding document. You can learn more about the Earth Holder Community Structure here.
Who We Are
John Bell (he/him/his) is a Plum Village Buddhist Dharma Teacher who lives near Boston, MA, USA. He is a founding staff and former vice president of YouthBuild USA, an international non-profit that provides learning, earning, and leadership opportunities to young people from low-income backgrounds. He is an author, lifelong social justice activist, international trainer facilitator, father and grandfather. His blog is www.beginwithin.info and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
John lives in New England where consciousness of climate justice issues is on the rise–a strong regional center for 350.org, the Green Justice Coalition, Sunrise, Poor People’s Campaign, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, and more. He lives on the traditional lands of the Wampanoag people.
Andrew Deckert (he/him/his) received the Five Mindfulness Trainings from Thich Nhat Hanh in 1995, ordained in the Order of Interbeing in 2001, and has been active with Earth Holder Community Care Taking Council since 2015. He is a retired local public health worker, partner, father of three, and an ex Mindful Peacebuilding board member. Andrew enjoys jogging, yoga, gardening, inner work, and building community. He facilitates a mindful reading group, ecosattva half-days of mindfulness, and strives to bring mindfulness to local activism in support of the living world and each other.
Living in the lands of the Wintu and Pit River peoples (aka Northern California), Andrew has experienced deadly wildfires, heat waves and drought worsened by climate change.
Chaya Ocampo Go (she/her/hers) ordained as True Radiant Cloud at Blue Cliff Monastery in 2019. She is a Filipina social worker, scholar and activist committed to well-being and survival in marginalized communities across the Philippines. She served as an emergency relief worker post super typhoon Haiyan (2013). Great love and hope inspires her continued work among front liners. Her doctoral research features three short films on women leading grassroots disaster response efforts in the country: “Barangay Magiting (Village Heroes)”(2019).
As a migrant/settler on unceded territories in Canada, Chaya practices being in alliance with First Nations land and water protectors.
Nomi Green (she/her/hers) ordained as True Source of Virtue, is a co-founder of Earth Holder Community. She has been on this path for a long time, majoring in eco-feminism during her college years, graduating in 1980. She is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist who specializes in trauma and is deeply looking with others on how to bring these necessary skills to support the changes occurring. She finds hiking, community and the practice as her go to ways to be at home in this rapidly changing world.
Nomi lives in the White Shell Water Place (Santa Fe, NM) on the sacred homeland of the Tewa people where drought is ever present and the Oglala Aquifer is declining.
Stephanie Knox Steiner (she/her/hers)
ordained as True Earth Dwelling in 2017, also joined the Earth Holder Care Taking Council in 2017. She is a mother, peace educator and scholar, currently working towards her doctorate with a specialization in Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco-Psychologies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She writes about these topics, as well as mindfulness and motherhood, at stephanieknoxsteiner.com.
Stephanie recently moved to Colorado, on the traditional land of the Ute nation, where climate disruption takes the form of a combination of warmer winters, drought, wildfires, and increased intensity of winter storms such as “snowicanes” and “bomb cyclones.”
Heather Lyn Mann (she/her/hers) ordained in 2006 as Chân Liên An, True Lotus Peace. Heather is a co-founder of the Earth Holder Community and served as the group’s first chairperson from 2015-2017. Previously, Heather founded and directed Wisconsin’s Center for Resilient Cities, then she sailed the Atlantic for six years on a small sloop with her husband and cat. Her adventure memoir—Ocean of Insight: A Sailor’s Voyage from Despair to Hope (Parallax Press)—chronicles the journey’s disasters and discoveries along with her spiritual reckoning of the global climate crisis (http://bit.ly/OceanOfInsight).
Heather lives in Charleston, SC where racial injustice exists in the unequal impacts of climate change, specifically: low-lying apartment buildings in predominantly black neighborhoods contain mold (caused by the chronic flooding of sea level rise) and residents experience greater property loss and homelessness due to worsening hurricanes.
Michele Tae (she/her/hers) is the current Chair of the Care Taking Council, for the Earth Holder Community. She practices with Beginners Mind Sangha in Boise, Idaho, and has practiced in the Buddhist tradition since 1991. Michele, some times called M’Tae, was ordained as a Dharmacharya in the Plum Village Tradition in 2018 and is also an ordained Buddhist Chaplain.
Michele lives in Boise, Idaho, the native home of the Shoshone-Bannock people, where climate change brings the threat of more intense wildfires, worsening snowpacks, and rising temperatures.
Simona Coayla-Duba (she/her/hers) is an Andean-European Indigenous-environmental rights activist. She considers the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Andes of South America home. Simona is an alumna of Naropa University’s Environmental Studies department where she participated in an international academic research program at the Royal University of Bhutan’s College of Natural Resources. She is excited about relational healing, creative and collaborative solutions, and climbing up mountains!
Simona has witnessed and felt the impacts of extractivist culture, such as mining and environmental racism, in her homes of the high Rockies in Colorado (land to the Arapahoe, Ute and Cheyenne) and Andean peaks (land of the Tiwanaku and Incan peoples).