Meet the International Team

Trudie Styler

Founder and Ambassador

Trudie Styler

Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer, director, human rights activist, environmentalist, organic farmer and Unicef Ambassador.

In 1989, along with her husband Sting, Styler started the Rainforest Foundation (now Rainforest Fund), an organization devoted to protecting rainforests and their indigenous peoples. Her efforts over the years have aided in expanding the project over three continents: South America, Africa and Asia. Since 1991 she has produced the charity’s regular benefit concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall, working with some of the world’s most exciting and talented artists across the range of musical fields, and has raised more than $30 million for its work.

In 2007, after a visit to Ecuador’s northern Amazon, where Styler witnessed the suffering of thousands of people as a result of oil contamination, she immediately galvanized UNICEF Ecuador to join with the Rainforest Fund and the Amazon Defense Fund in a project to install rainwater collection and filter systems and tanks in schools, medical centers and homes. Her early support for clean water in Ecuador inspired the creation of – and continues to build – ClearWater, a movement for clean water, cultural survival and rainforest protection in Ecuador’s northern Amazon.

Styler’s charitable works for human rights and the environment have been recognized by many award-giving bodies. She was the Keynote Speaker at the Reebok Human Rights Awards in 1994, and her numerous honours include: the 1994 Rainforest Hero Award by the Rainforest Action Network for her efforts in protecting the Xingu Park in Brazil; Outstanding Woman Environmentalist by the Center for Environmental Education; The Humanitarian Award (1995) from the Hospitality Committee for the United Nations delegations; the Ermenegildo Zegna International Environmental Award (1998) from GQ magazine; the Human Rights Champion Award (2000) from Amnesty International; a Forces for Nature Award (2002) from the Natural Resources Defense Council; the Liz Tilberis Humanitarian Award (2004); an Oceana award for her outstanding contribution to protecting and conserving our environment, alongside husband Sting and Former US President Bill Clinton (2008); Riverkeeper’s Big Fish award (2011); a Clinton Global Initiative award (2011); the Artists for Peace award (2012); and We Are Family Foundation’s award (2013). She has also spoken publicly many times on environmental issues, including at the United Nations General Assembly on Climate Change in 2009 and the Sustainable Operations Summit in New York in 2012.

As an Ambassador for UNICEF, Styler has been responsible for raising $5million for their programmes, and remains committed to working to improve the lives of impoverished and exploited children all over the world. In 2004, Styler first visited Ecuador for Unicef’s End Child Exploitation campaign, visiting some of the country’s dumpsites where 3000 children lived and worked. Deeply moved by the conditions in which their families were living and working, she raised £1million for Unicef to build schools for the children of the dumpsites, providing them with regular meals, education, and a more hopeful future for their whole families. Ecuador’s President has announced that since July 2012 there has been no child labour on Ecuador’s dumps.

In 2007, Styler returned to Ecuador while participating in Joe Berlinger’s documentary CRUDE. Styler visited an area of disastrous environmental damage in the Ecuadorean rainforest – land that had been completely devastated by decades of oil production and the irresponsible dumping of toxic waste – where she met many families who were suffering and dying because their land and their water source had been poisoned by carcinogenic chemicals. Their once pristine rainforest home had become the world’s most contaminated site, with tens of thousands of indigenous people in the Orellana and Sucumbios regions of Ecuador living for decades without any safe, clean water for themselves, their children, their livestock or their crops.

Styler immediately galvanised UNICEF Ecuador to join with the Rainforest Fund and the Amazon Defense Fund in a project to install rainwater collection and filter systems and tanks in schools, medical centers and homes.

So far, hundreds of indigenous and farmer families have benefitted from the installation of these rainwater collection systems, with the support of numerous organizations internationally. The project’s ultimate goal is to provide the thousands of families affected by oil contamination with access to clean safe water.

Raymond Garvey

Founder and Ambassador

Raymond Garvey

Rea Garvey is a singer songwriter whose roots are planted firmly in Irish soil. Like many of his landsmen he went abroad to seek his fortune. After his first breakthrough in 2000 with the single “Supergirl” he toured Europe and started what has been over a decade of success having sold millions of CD’s and played before as many people.

Rea himself would claim that his greatest success has not been in music but in the achievements of his foundation “Saving an Angel”. The Foundation was established shortly after his first success and has raised substantial funds for children’s organizations throughout the world.

After a brief encounter with Mitch Anderson in Berlin in 2011 Rea became aware of the struggles of the indigenous people in Ecuador and soon after travelled with his wife Josephine to the country where they met with many indigenous leaders, whose people have been affected by decades of oil pollution. After this visit Saving an Angel made a commitment to support the work of Clearwater.

In his own words describing the project which he co-founded “Clearwater is a project which umbrellas the work of those trying to provide the affected people of Oil Pollution in Ecuador with clean drinkable water. I was amazed by the unjust treatment of some of the world’s greatest people and how unaware I had been of their call for help in the past. When you see injustice it is difficult to know what to do at first but after meeting with the many Chiefs of the tribes and talking to them in some length I knew that I wanted to become involved and so my Clearwater journey began and I am proud of all that we have achieved together so far.”

Having raised much awareness and funding for the Clearwater Project in Garvey’s second home, Germany, he continues the campaign for Clearwater with the following goals!
“The journey is not at an end but our primary goal to provide all of the approximately 2000 indigenous families with Clearwater is in sight! The remaining battle to provide all families affected by oil pollution in Ecuador is still before us and for that we need continued support through out the world. I feel a personal responsibility for these people they have become my friends and I am a very Loyal friend. Our wish is to provide a Clearwater unit for every affected family in order to eradicate the sickness and death caused by the use of polluted water. The hope is with this newfound health these great people will be able to defend their human rights and be strong enough to continue the fight against the injustice that has befallen them. One of the best ways to put yourself in their shoes is to start the sentence with “How would I feel if someone poisoned my family, destroyed my home and stole my right to life?” I’m sure your answer is the same that motivates all of us at Clearwater! God Bless!”

In Recognition of his work with Clearwater Rea Garvey was awarded the GreenTech Award 2013.

The Work Continues!

Mitch Anderson

Founder and International Director

Mitch Anderson

Mitch grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Philosophy and Political Economy.

He has spent the last decade working across Central and South America as a writer, photographer, and activist in support of indigenous movements for autonomy and self-determination. He lived for two years in the highlands of southern Mexico working closely with Mayan communities to document and expose human rights violations of the Mexican Military. From 2007 – 2011 he worked as the Campaigns Director for Amazon Watch, supporting indigenous peoples across the western Amazon in international campaigns against encroaching extractive industries. Since early 2012 he has been living in Ecuador’s northern Amazon, working with the Cofan, Siona, Secoya, Kichwa and Waorani peoples to build a movement for clean water and cultural survival.

He is fluent in Spanish, and knows how to make people laugh in the native languages of the region.

Alex Goff

International Field Coordinator

Alex Goff

Alex grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated with a BA in Latin American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, which included a year of study at the University of Chile in Santiago.

He has spent extensive periods of time in Latin America, including travel to almost every South American country and development work in Honduras and Chile. Alex began working at Amazon Watch in 2011, first in San Francisco and then based out of Quito, Ecuador. He is fluent in Spanish and has worked alongside indigenous groups in the Amazon and with the Mapuche people of Chile.

As field coordinator for ClearWater, Alex feels blessed to work directly in communities, drink chicha, fish and swim in the rivers, and share many laughs with the people of the Amazon.

Ginger Cassady

International Project Coordinator

Ginger Cassady

Ginger has 15 years of experience campaigning on national and international human rights and environmental issues, and is currently Program Director at Rainforest Action Network. She has worked with indigenous communities in the Amazon for the past 4 years seeking to enforce one of the largest environmental lawsuits ever won against an oil company, Chevron.

Before moving to Rainforest Action Network, she was campaign director at Forest Ethics, where she focused on limiting pulp and paper expansion in the North American Boreal. Prior to Forest Ethics she was a senior campaigner at Greenpeace, where she worked to stop illegal logging in the Amazon.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Han Shan

International Campaign Coordinator

Han Shan

As a trainer, campaigner, and strategist, Han Shan has served for 20 years on the front lines and behind the scenes of movements for social, environmental, and economic justice.

With organizations such as EarthRights International, Rainforest Action Network, and Amazon Watch, Han has worked in solidarity with numerous indigenous communities, and advocated for corporate accountability. Over several visits to Ecuador’s northern Amazon, he has enjoyed the hospitality and humor of local friends.

Based in New York City, Han is also a producer for the award-winning independent production company Rikshaw Films, and likes to convene creative conspiracies over cocktails.

Bart Skorupa

Financial Director

Bart Skorupa

Bartlomiej holds a BA in Finance from the University of Illinois and has 7 years working experience in management and IT consulting, having worked for both Accenture and Slalom Consulting. Working in various industries, Bartlomiej held numerous management positions in 10+ Fortune 500 companies implementing efficient business practices in the USA and Europe.

After a medical emergency that literally changed his vision on life, Bartlomiej has spent the past 6 years dedicating himself to ending extreme poverty around the world by investing in groundbreaking ideas from local community leaders through Groundwork Opportunities.

When not working directly with tomorrow’s change-makers, Bartlomiej finds inspiration by simply reflecting on the glory of just being alive, right here, right now.

Gregor MacLennan

Map Specialist

Gregor MacLennan

Gregor has worked with indigenous communities in the Amazon Rainforest for over 13 years, helping communities map and document their territory use, setting up community-run monitoring of impacts from oil drilling on indigenous lands, and supporting indigenous peoples in campaigns to keep oil companies from drilling in their territory.

He lived in Peru for 7 years and founded a grass-roots indigenous rights organization, Shinai. Afterwards, Gregor spent 4 years with Amazon Watch, leading a successful campaign with the Achuar people of Peru to stop Calgary-based Talisman Energy from drilling from oil in their sacred headwaters in the heart of critical hunting and fishing grounds.

Gregor is now leading a new project with Digital Democracy to develop tools and training to make mapping and documenting environmental impacts and human rights impacts simpler and more accessible for remote communities affected by extractive industries and infrastructure development.

Michael Zap

Website Developer

Michael Zap

In the 1990′s, Michael Zap quit his day job making video games to build potable water systems in the remote communities of Chiapas, Mexico. There he learned to speak Spanish and dig ditches, and he confirmed his previously-held belief there are many things more important than video games. He loves a theoretical debate, but what he mostly strives for in life is practical, applied activism that makes a difference in real people’s lives.

Over the last decade, Michael has gradually left the jungle and started hacking on the computer again. He loves that the internet can level the informational playing field and allow people who would ordinarily be silenced to speak out and be heard and that it can bring like-minded folks together to pool their efforts, imaginations, and resources. Now he spends far too much time in front of a computer, and he frequently wonders if he’s too old to go back to digging ditches.

He does not like to have his photo taken.