• Listen to the Oceans: Uruguay hosts first ocean conference

Meet the Team

We’re a small team based largely in the UK but working globally. We explore progressive ways of working and living to promote wellbeing in these challenging times, so many of our team members work from home, wherever they are in the world.

Liz Hosken – Director

Liz Hosken – Director

Liz Hosken was born in South Africa and was active from a young age in both environmental issues and the anti-apartheid movement. In the mid 80’s Liz co-founded The Gaia Foundation, based in the UK. During the first decade of Gaia’s work Liz spent many years in the Amazon, where she was “initiated” into indigenous ways of seeing the world, which resonated with her own. Together with partners and indigenous communities, they developed a methodology for accompanying communities to revive their indigenous knowledge and practices. When Liz returned to her continent she was inspired to share these lessons and search for ways to restore Africa’s rich cultural, spiritual and ecological heritage. Liz now teaches the philosophy and practice of this approach, which is rooted in experiential learning and Earth Jurisprudence. She has a BSc in Environmental Sciences and a Masters in Philosophy and Education for Social Change.

To understand Gaia’s theory of change, Liz recommends Margaret Wheatley’s work Using Emergence to take Social Innovation to Scale. Having been mentored by the late Thomas Berry, the founding father of Earth Jurisprudence (EJ), Liz would suggest that anyone looking to understand EJ principles and our great challenge ahead should read Berry’s The Great Work.

Rowan Phillimore – Deputy Director

Rowan Phillimore – Deputy Director

Originally from Northumberland, Rowan joined the team in 2009 coordinating Gaia’s communications alongside events programming for the Learning Centre, based in north London. She is now Deputy Director, helping to raise awareness of both Gaia, our international partners and the grassroots communities we walk alongside through a range of films, campaigns, media and events. Rowan has worked with a number of rural communities across Africa using Participatory Video techniques to create short advocacy films and continues to support community-led communications initiatives through global campaigns such as We Feed the World’s grassroots exhibition series. Rowan works closely on Gaia’s Seed Sovereignty UK & Ireland Programme, which supports small-scale seed producers to increase diversity and production of organic and open-pollinated seed here on home soil. Rowan originally studied Social Anthropology & English Literature at The University of Manchester, and after several years in London is now based in the Somerset town of Frome.

Rowan recommends: Feral by George Monbiot, because it presents the hopeful approach of ‘Rewilding’ our landscapes, and The Century of the Self, by Adam Curtis, a documentary series exploring the roots of consumer culture.

Fiona Wilton – Sacred Lands & Wilderness

Fiona Wilton – Sacred Lands & Wilderness

Fiona grew up in Cornwall with a passion for the sea, sailing and big storms. She first joined Gaia in 1992 but moved to South America soon after – working in Cuenca, Ecuador, before settling in Colombia in 1998 to join the Gaia Amazonas team. A fluent Spanish speaker, with an MSc in Protected Landscape Management, she has a mixed bag of lived and working experience – from indigenous-led projects in Colombia’s Amazon and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, to international consultancies. Fiona has pioneered the concept of ”distance-working” for Gaia, happy to pick-up any role including self-taught, in-house graphic designer. She lives in Uruguay, from where she oversees Gaia’s work on Sacred Lands and Wilderness, carries out impromptu animal rescues, supports local partner OCC-Uruguay protecting marine life and healthy oceans.

Fiona admits she gets most enjoyment from Calvin and Hobbes, by legendary cartoonist Bill Watterson – but if pushed to be erudite she recommends The Hidden Life of Trees.

Dijana Malidza – Finance & Grants

Dijana Malidza – Finance & Grants

Dijana is originally from Croatia and came to England with her family in 1999. She worked at the Woman’s Trust, before joining the Gaia team in October 2010. She is now Finance Manager and looks after a number of grant relationships with our global partners, working particularly closely with our South African partners Usiko and Earthlore. Dijana holds a Diploma with the Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) and has a Charity Accounting Diploma. Whenever possible, Dijana escapes the bustle of London and returns to her small village in Croatia.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini made a huge impact on Dijana, and her favourite saying is “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet”, Thich Nhat Hanh.

Hannibal Rhoades – Head of Communications

Hannibal Rhoades – Head of Communications

Hannibal joined Gaia in 2013 and is currently Head of Communications. He works with Gaia’s partners from the Amazon to Africa to protect land, water and life from unwanted mining projects. As Coordinator for Northern Europe for the Yes to Life, No to Mining Global Solidarity Network, Hannibal is working with allies around the world to advance the case for going beyond extractivism. He is also a member of the London Mining Network’s advisory committee. Hannibal’s academic background is in anthropology. He is a participatory video facilitator and has written stories about and alongside indigenous and local communities working for environmental and social justice on every continent. These have featured in publications including The Ecologist, Intercontinental Cry, Truth Out, Ecological Citizen, Resilience, Red Pepper, Eco-instigator, Kosmos Journal and others.

Hal recommends: Maps and Dreams, by Hugh Brody and River, by Ted Hughes – “An upside down, buried heaven/Snarls, moon-mouthed, and shivers”.

Georgie Styles – Seed, Food & Climate Programme

Georgie Styles – Seed, Food & Climate Programme

Georgie joined the Gaia team in 2017 as an intern supporting the We Feed the World photographic initiative and leading on the events programming across a ten day period. She now works across the Food, Seed and Climate Resilience programme areas. With a background in food anthropology and marketing, Georgie explores creative ways to tell the intricate stories of food from both a social and ecological perspective. She continues to promote We Feed the World and works across Gaia’s UK and African seed work, supporting small-scale farmers to enhance their knowledge and seed diversity. An avid fermenter, she spends most of her free time outside foraging and growing ingredients or in the kitchen experimenting with ancient ferments.

Georgie is a big fan of poetry and philosophical reads, so she recommends the powerful poetry collection, She Is Fierce by Ana Sampson and The Eye of the Crocodile by Val Plumwood, and for anyone wanting to start their own fermentation journey, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

 

Thomas Takezoe – Seed, Food & Climate Programme

Thomas Takezoe – Seed, Food & Climate Programme

Tom joined Gaia in 2016, helping to coordinate the We Feed the World photographic project by liaising with grassroots farmers’ movements, smallholder farmers and ngo’s around the world to tell their stories and the critical issues about the food system. Today Tom continues to liaise with the grassroots networks featured in We Feed the World, supporting their local advocacy efforts through small-scale exhibitions. He also assists Gaia’s UK and Ireland Seed Sovereignty Programme by researching, writing and curating materials and manuals for seed savers and producers. Tom began his food journey in Dorset, where he grew up working on farms to produce healthy, accessible and organic food. He continues to work on farms linked to the South West Seed Savers Cooperative and the Landworkers’ Alliance. Tom speaks fluent French and Spanish because of close links to Mexico, Chile and France where he has lived and worked for several years. He holds a BA in International Relations and Geography from the University of Sussex and likes to spend his free time cycle-touring, climbing and foraging.

Tom recommends The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka and the playful poems of Dorset poet William Barnes (The Blackbird and Humstrum).

Julia Marques – Administration

Julia Marques – Administration

Born in the UK and brought up in various African countries, Julia moved to London for an MA in Climate Change: History, Culture, Society and then joined Gaia in 2018. Julia is based in the London office and assists on all things admin, as well as helping on the various Gaia projects that need admin support. Julia has previously worked as a teacher and an office manager in Kenya, Spain and the UK, and has a passion for languages and theatre (her first degree being Drama and Spanish). She can usually be found in a play rehearsal outside of work, and has a particular interest in climate change art (including theatre).

Julia recommends the BBC podcast Costing the Earth, Mike Hulme’s Why we disagree about climate change and – for those intrigued by the notion of environmental art – the blogs ClimateCultures and Artists & Climate Change are good reads!

Sara Davies – Grants & Fundraising

Sara Davies – Grants & Fundraising

Working for us part-time from Zimbabwe, Sara returned to Gaia in July 2017 to help with fundraising. Sara lived and worked in London for 13 years and it was during this time, after the completion of her Masters in Human Rights, that she worked with us, on fundraising and holding the grants for the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and Usiko in South Africa. She has a passion for community food growing, having run her own food growing training project and being head grower on London’s then only certified organic market garden. Back home in Zimbabwe, she set up a community newspaper and continued links with permaculture projects in the country. She has a beautiful vegetable garden, keeps chickens and is delighted by the joy her two small children get from picking their own food.