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Climate of Hope 2022

Community Visions for a Healthy future

Thursday, May 26th, 2022, 4-6 pm PST

Join us for our fourth Climate of Hope Forum and learn how we are leading the way for just climate solutions.

The Climate of Hope forum will shed light on how people in the Pajaro Valley and beyond are responding to the climate emergency by organizing for innovative and transformative solutions. In the forum, we will use an equity lens to cover intersecting topics such as transportation, building electrification, regenerative agriculture, public health, and more.


Speakers will explore how present and historical oppressions have led to the climate crisis and how we can use the climate crisis as a unique opportunity to rebuild resilient communities and work for social and environmental justice.


The audience will interact through polls, chat, resource-sharing, and organized watch parties

We invite you to support open access to this event as you register by making a secure donation.

Suggested gift range: $15-100.


Together we can begin to redistribute wealth and invest in the people and communities that are presently and historically impacted by social and economic oppression.


Major support provided by:

Additional Sponsors

Alain Descouches

Bob and Michele Kibrick

Donna Murphy and Mark Mesiti-Miller

Karen Groppi

Laura Solorio

Neumeier Taylor Foundation Fund

Peggy Flynn

The Ahisma Fund 

The Pachamama Alliance South Bay Facilitators

Thirty Petals Fund

Featured Speakers

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L. Vance Taylor

Chief, Officer of Access and Functional Needs

Luis “Vance” Taylor is the Chief of the Office of Access and Functional Needs at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Vance is responsible for ensuring the needs of individuals with disabilities and persons with access or functional needs are identified before, during and after disasters and integrated into the State’s emergency management systems.


Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vance was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child and uses a power wheelchair. He has worked in Washington, D.C. as an advisor for two different members of Congress, directed security policy at a national water association and been a principal at a top-ranked homeland security and emergency management consulting firm. Vance is a nationally recognized public speaker and advocate for individuals with disabilities.  


Vance has a Master’s degree in homeland security from the University of Connecticut and an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in communications. He is married to his sweetheart, Casey, and they have two wonderful daughters.


Vance and his family live in Rancho Cordova, CA.

Ana Rosa Sudden

Executive Director, One Step a La Vez

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Michelle Sevilla

Climate Justice Network manager

Nayeli Gallardo grew up in Greenfield, in the Salinas Valley. Her family emigrated from Mexico when she was in the first grade to pursue their dream of a better life through education. In middle school and high school, she joined Girls Inc. of the Central Coast and eventually worked as a Girls Inc. Youth Leader for the high school ECHO program. She moved from her farmworking town to go to college at Stanford University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on water and environment studies. Upon graduating, she worked with Girls Inc. programs again and then moved to Mexico City. There, she worked in the country’s electric power utility (CFE) for a few years and found a passion for the dynamic energy sector. To specialize in this, Nayeli moved to Europe with a scholarship to a dual master’s program on sustainable energy systems from InnoEnergy. She studied at UPC in Barcelona, Spain and KTH in Stockholm, Sweden and wrote a thesis on energy storage technologies. She recently returned to the U.S. and is seeking opportunities to contribute to energy sustainability on this side of the world with her international background in engineering and business. Nayeli believes firmly in the power of the individual, the family, and the community to enact change.

Irene O'Connell

Co-Director, Food What?!

Natasha is an emerging landscape designer at VITA Planning and Landscape Architecture in the Bay Area. She is motivated to combat climate change through policy, planning and physical design. Natasha received her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia with a Certificate in Environmental Ethics. She got her start in the field working for Park Pride - a nonprofit that designs, advocates, and fundraises for parks and greenspaces in under-served communities in Atlanta. Her experience spans from barrier island sustainable development plans to large-scale green infrastructure park designs and site specific solutions. She is an Associate Advisory Committee Member for the American Society of Landscape Architects and in her spare time, she makes pottery, bread, and friends with stranger's dogs. 


Iwalani Faulkner

Director, Equity Transit

My name is Mireya Gomez-Contreras and I stand for dignity, courage and interconnection for myself and all others. I'm a daughter of farmworkers who came to the US to work in the 70's. My parents taught my sister's and I a deep love for family, our Mexican roots and education. I am a graduate of UC Santa Cruz but the most insightful education is the one I've gained as a community organizer. I've established roots in Watsonville and it's an honor to work with Esperanza Community Farms as Co-Leader alongside our Lead Farmer. At Esperanza we practice and are constantly learning about the power of local community-driven processes for social change.  Join us! 

Hermelinda Vasquez

Esperanza Community Farms

My name is Hermelinda Vasquez. I'm originally from San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico. I came to the US in 2006. I have three grown children, 2 sons and a daughter. My daughter lives in Oaxaca and has three children. I live in Live Oak with my sons and my beautiful grandson, Isaac. I enjoy participating in the Esperanza Community Farms community because as a little girl in Oaxaca I grew up cultivating the soil. It's an important memory with my father.


Ashley Gauer

Program Manager, Special Projects

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership

Raised to embody concepts of ohana, laulima and ha'aha'a, Ashley learned the value of community, collaboration and humility early on. She was born into a multi-racial, multi-ethnic family in one of the most multicultural, geographically isolated population hubs on earth, the former Kingdom of Hawai'i. She deepened her sense of community in San Francisco, where she earned a BA in Bio-Psychology, Minors in Public Service and Philosophy, and broadened her worldview having studied and volunteered abroad for several years post graduation. After earning her Masters degrees in international education and public administration in Monterey, Ashley began her journey with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), where she is the Program Manager for Special Projects. She leads MBEP's Climate Change and Student Ambassador (Internship) Initiatives including special projects on the intersectionalities of diverse industries, and innovations in public/private partnerships in the green economy. As a member of CA Forward, MBEP works with state and local policy, business and community leaders across diverse regions and interests to increase capacity for creating inclusive, sustainable growth for everyone. A former international educator and business owner, Ashley continues to build schools and programs in under-served communities around the world with a focus on girls education, sustainable closed-loop systems, community-led, owned and operated development, and inclusive economic mobility. Ashley values conversations and experiences that deepen our connection to ourselves, one another and our planet; and is looking forward to a rich panel discussion with such fearless and compassionate women leaders. 


Monica Urias

CSUMB Student & UROC Researcher

My name is Monica Urias and I go by the pronouns she/her/hers. I am currently in my second year at CSU Monterey Bay majoring in Environmental Science, Technology, & Policy. I enjoy the great outdoors and find great pleasure learning about the interactions between animal species, climate change, and people. I am almost 20 years old now and have been thinking about having children in the near future. I developed a curiosity around what women think in regards to this and was surprised to find that there is a lack of coverage on the challenges they face when deciding whether to have children or remain childless. This led me to form a research project of my own which aims to explore women's thoughts, feelings, and concerns about having/raising a child, while taking into consideration the widespread effects of climate change and concerns for global sustainability. I am honored to announce that with the support of UROC and the Koret Scholars Program, I am partnering with Regeneración throughout the development of my research project. 

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