Transition US is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as the official national hub for the Transition Movement here in the United States. Founded with great help from Post Carbon Institute in 2009 and governed by a Memorandum of Understanding with the international Transition Network, the mission of Transition US is to catalyze a network of communities working to cultivate a just, caring, resilient, and regenerative world through training, support, and collaboration. Our Board of Directors oversees the financial health and strategic development of the organization, while four part-time staff members run operations.
Don Hall has had the good fortune to participate in the international Transition Towns Movement in a variety of capacities over the past 12 years. Initially serving for two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Transition Colorado, he went on to found and direct Transition Sarasota (Florida) from 2010 to 2016. A certified Transition Trainer and experienced facilitator, Don was named Co-Director of Transition US in 2017 and became its Interim Executive Director in 2020. Don holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University, a certification in Permaculture Design from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, and currently lives in a multigenerational housing cooperative in Boulder, Colorado. In 2019, he edited and published 10 Stories of Transition in the US: Inspiring Examples of Community Resilience-Building.
National Network Organizer
Marissa Mommaerts is an activist, organizer, grower, maker, entrepreneur & mother. After a brief career in international sustainable development policy, Marissa left Washington DC and began searching for systemic approaches to healing our ecological, economic, social and political systems – and that’s when she found Transition. She joined the Transition US team in 2013 and has served in various roles supporting all aspects of the organization. Currently she serves as National Network Organizer and focuses on strengthening relationships and organizing systems at all levels of the US Transition Movement. Marissa lives in rural Western Colorado, where she and her partner co-founded Cultivating Botanical Dreams, a regenerative family farm business specializing in handcrafted hemp and herbal wellness products. Marissa has a Master’s degree in International Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jess Alvarez Parfrey
With a background in community organizing, nonprofit fundraising, and environmental activism (formerly with Greenpeace USA), Jessica Alvarez Parfrey finds joy in seeking transformative opportunities for radical collaboration and community co-creation. Having worked on food, housing, community health and wellness, and other issues; Jess is a life-long learner of all things that would allow us to reimagine our relationship to the earth and to one another. Jess is a nepantlera, mother, creative, caretaker of 44 acres of land, and a JEDI consultant working in service to the project of collective liberation. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara , and is driven to nurture opportunities for joy, healing, community-based strategy, and design informed by decolonized practice and methodologies.
Communications and Outreach Lead
Elvia Cruz-Garcia is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies program. Through her time at UCSB, she has been inspired to reimagine how our communities can work together and build resilience in the face of climate change. Her work with Making Adventure Possible for All Students, a student organization that is committed to making the outdoors much more accessible, inspired her to look forward to a future we can collectively co-create. Her time serving as UCSB Environmental Justice Alliance’s co-chair taught her more about emergent strategy and spheres of influence. Through her work with Eco Vista, a Transition US initiative, she works with amazing folks on reenvisioning how a just transition can take place through various projects such as food forest, circular economy, and developing a community action plan. She looks forward to intergenerational community organizing that is possible and essential for our communities to thrive in late-stage capitalism.
Fundraiser and development lead
Bret has spent more than twelve years supporting NGOs and grassroots movements across the US and abroad including GRID Alternatives, Re-Food, Ashoka, Holistic Impact Foundation, and more. Through his work, he’s helped bring renewable energy to underserved communities in the Bay Area, lead a global movement of youth social entrepreneurs, and was at the forefront of research to remove invasive fish species from the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. He has a passion for creating collaborative solutions to pressing problems, developing harmonious partnerships, and finding joy in challenging situations. Bret is also an entrepreneur in the health & wellness space, empowering people from all backgrounds to find their personal pathways to well-being through yoga, breathwork, meditation, and giving back to their communities. He has a B.S. in Zoology and a minor in French language and culture from Southern Illinois University.
Gabriela Silva Hernandez
Gabi (they/she) is deeply rooted in community, self-love, and practicing holistic sustainability. Growing up in alternative economy structures, they realized how pivotal community is in addressing and meeting the needs of one another through non-extractive exchanges. They have three years of experience in working with unions, founded a local community pantry in Isla Vista, and facilitated healing spaces for LGBTQ and misogyny-affected people. Through their work, they have brought attention to issues of gender-based violence that exists internationally, held space for mutual exchange of support, and fought the greediness of large corporations and institutions.
They believe that the first step in creating a more equitable and regenerative future is imagination, because “para soñar es vivir”(in order to live, one must dream first). Having collaborated with people from all walks of life in political, healing, and creative spaces, they realize how vital storytelling is in understanding one another as well as envisioning transformative change.
They aim to create intentional space that uplifts stories and ideas as to what a liberated future will be.
In doing this work, they ground themselves through meditative practices such as yoga, meditation, and nourishing their body with what Earth graciously offers.
With a B.A in Black Studies from UCSB, they have devoted themselves to a life-long commitment in dismantling oppressive systems and institutions whilst incorporating healing and joy going forward.
Alex Zubia, who goes by “Xef” is a Chef by trade. Born and raised in Fresno, CA (yokuts Land). Alex attended The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco (Ramaytush Ohlone land) in 2007. His passion for cooking came with his passion for eating. From 2008-2015 he worked at Community Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Room as a Patient Liaison. During that time he witnessed people from his community dying from diet related issues. That realization led him to opening his food truck, which focused on healthier, farm to fork versions of familiar foods. In 2015, Alex moved to Santa Barbara (Chumash Land) to further his skills as a chef. There, he discovered that so much of the beautiful produce he was cooking with came from Fresno. He wondered why he never saw all this produce available in Fresno. Alex moved back to his hometown in 2021 to fight for food justice as a Food Sovereignty Director at Fresno Barrios Unidos. Alex’s goal is to bring his community back to eating and cooking their indigenous foods which are so plentiful in the Central Valley.
Board of Directors
Ayako Nagano is Managing Attorney at Midori Law Group in Berkeley, CA. She serves on the Boards of Transition Berkeley and Common Vision, which installs school gardens. Aya sits on the steering committees of the Green Leadership Trust, a coalition of board members of color promoting equity within the Green movement, and the NorCal Resilience Network. Aya is also co-chair of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition in California, working to build widespread levels of psycho-social-spiritual resilience in the age of climate change; serves on the Social Justice Working Group for Transition US; and organizes the Plastic Reduction Working Group at the Ecology Center. She was also recently appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.
Audrey Ordenes began her environmental career as a Policy Representative for The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Chapter in Tallahassee working on legislative appropriations and land management policy. She served as the Executive Director for an environmental education organization in Miami that focused on leadership development and experiential learning for underserved populations in South Florida. She served on the Board of Directors for the Environmental Leadership Program and the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College. She launched a leadership coaching and change management consulting practice in 2020 in the Pacific Northwest. As a lifelong learner, Audrey is currently a doctoral student in human development with research interests in human-centered biases and the psychology of decision-making.
John Foran is a Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and teaches courses on climate change and climate justice, activism and movements for radical social change, and issues of development and globalization beyond capitalism. In addition to the founding of the Eco Vista Project, John also serves as a co-coordinator of the UC-CSU Climate Education Digital Platform and Knowledge Action Network, which is creating a website repository of materials for college-level educators to enhance their teaching repertoires in the areas of the climate crisis, climate justice, and critical sustainability studies.
Lisa Lin leads the Transportation Demand Management Department for Rice University in Houston, TX, where she implements sustainable and active transportation strategies and initiatives for the campus. Previously, Lisa was the Climate Program Manager for the City of San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability and managed the City’s first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Prior to that, she was the Sustainability Manager with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability at the City of Houston. She represented the City at international convenings through C40 Cities, helped Houston achieve a STAR Communities (now LEED for Cities) rating, and oversaw the annual Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reporting effort. She also has experience working for a global environmental NGO on climate mitigation and started her career at a commercial architecture firm where she led the company’s green building efforts. She is the board chair for the Bayou Land Conservancy and a regional council member for the USGBC-Texas Gulf Coast. She is currently a part-time postgraduate student focusing on sustainable urban development at the University of Oxford in the UK. In her spare time, Lisa performs with her string ensemble and teaches cello lessons. She and her husband, Sam, enjoy hiking, biking, and gardening.
Mark Juedeman grew up on a ranch in Montana where he acquired a love for the natural world. He retired from a 30+ year career as a geophysicist in 2010 so that he could devote his time to volunteer service. He and his family lived for many years in New Orleans where he was active in historic preservation, bicycle advocacy, education, the environmental non-profit The Green Project, and obtaining personal experience with renewable energy technologies such as small wind and PV. Mark obtained a Permaculture Design Certificate in 2009 after being displaced to Houston by Hurricane Katrina. In Houston he was a founding member of Transition Houston, executive committee member of the Houston Food Policy Workgroup, on the board of Urban Harvest, and taught with the Permaculture Guild of Houston. Mark became a certified US Transition Launch instructor in 2012, and joined the Transition US Board in 2013. In 2015 Mark returned to Montana where he is a part-time ranch hand, serves on the board of the sustainable ag, renewable energy, and community resilience non-profit AERO, the Helena Citizens Conservation Board (established by the City of Helena), and the founding leadership team for Resilient Helena, a mulling Transition Initiative.
Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino
Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino is the newest member of our Transition US board. She is the Executive Director for One Step A La Vez, an organization that helps youth take their first step toward a more positive future. Ana Rosa graduated from UC Santa Barbara and has worked locally, statewide and nationally on many social justice efforts such as language justice, educational access, governmental transparency, support for working families and environmental justice issues, like ensuring everyone has clean drinking water. Ana Rosa continues this work through her involvement in developing a Central Coast Grassroots Green New Deal, her position on The City of Santa Barbara Creeks Commission, her role as vice president of the Santa Barbara (SB) County Outreach and Equity Commission for the SB countywide climate action plan, her radio show called ¡Que Madre! on KZAA 96.5fm, her roles on several non-profit boards, such as SB CAN and La Casa de la Raza, as well as her involvement in the steering committee of the Central Coast Climate Justice Network. She also serves as the president of the Central Coast Environmental Voters (formerly CCLCV). Last, but definitely not least, she is the proud mami of two daughters: Adela Susana & Gloria Jin-Ni.
Ruah Swennerfelt, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, is a founding member of Sustainable Charlotte Vermont, (a Transition Initiative), where she serves as president. She is an active member of the Charlotte Grange, the Charlotte Community Partners, and the Middlebury Friends Meeting (Quakers).