About Us

Our vision is a closely aligned global network of social and environmental leaders who work at their highest capacity to create a sustainable world for all.

Our mission is to inspire, train and support sustainability champions in an approach that integrates vision, systems thinking, reflection and climate solutions.

red barn with HOPE written on the side
Photo by Lisa Brawley, 2020

“The future can’t be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. … We can’t impose our will upon a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone. We can’t control systems or figure them out. But we can dance with them.”
– Donella Meadows, Dancing with Systems

Who We Are

Sustainability Leaders Network (SLN) is a multi-sector collaboration of professionals who draw on a core set of shared leadership practices — systems thinking, organizational learning, visioning and reflection — to build capacity and accelerate the spread and adoption of inspiring solutions for social, climate and environmental challenges. Our global Fellows Network of sustainability champions actively and strategically address pressing environmental and social challenges locally, regionally and globally. Their expertise ranges from agriculture to social justice, from energy efficiency to oceans, from reforestation to carbon sequestration, from carbon offsets to climate solutions, and much more.

 

Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows

butterfly on yellow flowers, view from above
Photo by Sandro Oramas, 2020

A primary motivation for our work and leadership practice is the late Donella (Dana) Meadows who challenged us through her example and writing to contribute our full selves to the quest for a sustainable world. After Donella’s untimely death in 2001, Edie Farwell co-founded the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program at the then Sustainability Institute, (now Academy for Systems Change), to further Donella’s legacy of tackling intractable sustainability, climate, social and economic challenges from a systems thinking approach. The Fellows Program taught transformative leadership skills for sustainability professionals in non-governmental organizations, business, military, tribes, philanthropy, and government. Each Fellow participated in a two-year cohort between 2002-2010 through monthly conference calls and by attending a series of four multi-day workshops at the Cobb Hill Cohousing ecovillage Donella co-created, where they learned and practiced the skills of systems thinking, reflective conversation, climate science, vision, personal mastery, peer coaching and creative expression. Fellows share tightly woven collegial and personal relationships with one another; draw on one another for professional coaching and collaboration on projects; and have the passion and capacity to serve as life-long leaders to address ever-changing sustainability challenges. Fellows continue to convene in global, regional and virtual gatherings to deepen their individual and collective impacts as sustainability leaders, and to bring along the youth they mentor.

I call the transformed world toward which we can move “sustainable,” by which I mean a great deal more than a world that merely sustains itself unchanged. I mean a world that evolves, as life on earth has evolved for three billion years, toward ever-greater diversity, elegance, beauty, self-awareness, interrelationship, and spiritual realization.
— Donella Meadows

Deliberately diverse and closely-knit, our Donella Meadows Fellows Network consists of 80+ Fellows, colleagues and key partners from 16 countries around the world and 22+ states in the USA. They work across sectors and issues areas, bringing as much representation of the full system as possible. The network represents an array of fields, including renewable energy, climate, water, sustainable agriculture and land management, forestry, marine ecology, poverty eradication, social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, media for social change, philanthropy, indigenous rights, youth, and gender equity. By design, 80% of the Fellows are women.

 

headshot of Edie Farwell
Photo by Sandro Oramas, 2019

Edie Farwell, Founder and Director
Senior Program Director of Climate Solutions, Confluence Philanthropy

Edie’s vision for the Sustainability Leaders Network (SLN), founded in 2010, is that each individual has the opportunity to unfurl their innate talents and passions, and to contribute these gifts in service of global sustainability. Previously, she promoted this message of leadership for sustainability by serving as founding director of the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program where she co-designed the curriculum’s focus on systems thinking, reflective conversation, the discipline of vision, and creative expression, and served as a leadership coach for each of the four cohorts of the Fellows Program. Through SLN she continues to work with alumni Fellows and key partners to further their impact as strategic sustainability and climate solutions thought leaders, instigators, and actors.

Early in her career Edie served as executive director of the Association for Progressive Communications where she helped build the early adoption of information and communication technology by a network of global civil society organizations. This included managing international communications teams at United Nations world conferences: the Earth Summit in Brazil; the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna; and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Edie has an MA in Cultural and Social Anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies and a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College. She raised her two sons at the Cobb Hill Cohousing experiment in sustainable living that Donella Meadows co-founded in Hartland, Vermont. She now lives with her family in Norwich, Vermont.

 

headshot of Kryn DykemaKryn Dykema, Program Associate

Kryn is a recent graduate from Emory University where he studied Sustainability and Urban Development as a focus area of his Interdisciplinary Studies. Sustainability sits at the crux of almost every discipline, both academic and situational, and Kryn works to integrate a broad platform of theory to pursue a sustainable future.

With a focus mainly on greenhouse gas accounting and abatement strategies, Kryn is active in efficiency promotion, energy analysis, and the facilitation of renewable energies. He works to advise and promote organizational sustainability and imagines a world with a clean, reliable electrical grid. Past work has included emission accounting and reduction advising for Emory University and pollutant collection and destruction for use in the carbon. He looks to draw upon a wide range of experience to create innovative and novel approaches to sustainability in practice.

Kryn’s most recent work has been with Big Sky Resort in Montana where he is helping to launch a comprehensive sustainability mission for the ski area. His love for the mountains, and dedication to the preservation of Montana wilderness helps to re-imagine the environmental work of Big Sky Resort, and promote a sustainable future for the ski industry as a whole.

 

headshot of Johanna Bozuwa

Johanna Bozuwa, Researcher and Writer

Johanna is the Co-Manager of the Climate and Energy Program at the Democracy Collaborative, alongside her colleague, Carla Santos Skandier. Her research focuses on transitioning from the extractive, fossil fuel economy and building towards resilient and equitable communities based on energy democracy.

Johanna received her M.Sc. in sustainable innovation from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She also has a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Barnard College, where she was an Athena Scholar for Women’s Leadership. She has organized around climate justice both in the United States and the Netherlands. She was previously an Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Fellow, working to bridge the gap between scientists and society.

See Johanna’s recent articles here.

 

headshot of Olivia Heitz, InternOlivia Heitz, Global Communications & Network Intern

Clean energy enthusiast, world traveler, former Division I soccer player & professional whitewater/backcountry guide. Working on building bridges between our 9 programs around the world and external communications for New Energy Nexus. Collaborating with clean energy startups on projects to add value to the global clean energy economy. Learning from and connecting with clean energy startups, accelerators, and investors from all over the world is the best way to learn. I want to continue to help increase access to clean energy & finance for 100% of the population by accelerating people-driven clean energy solutions.

At Sustainability Leaders Network, we draw inspiration, teachings and strategy from numerous practitioners, scholars and experts who employ a whole systems approach towards sustainability. Those we have most drawn from include Donella Meadows, Joanna Macy, Buckminster Fuller, Peter Senge, John Sterman, Janine Benyus, Paul Hawken, Aldo Leopold, Robert and Judith Gass, and many others.

Buckminster Fuller Institute logo

Buckminster Fuller Institute, located in San Francisco, serves as our fiscal sponsor, and is a strategic partner in promoting systems thinking and network building among sustainability practitioners to address contemporary challenges. Buckminster Fuller and Donella Meadows were two of the world’s leading systems thinkers who devoted their careers to designing a more sustainable future. Their example, designs, strategies and writings continue to inspire us.