Melina SelverstonBoard Chair
Melina was founding director of the Amazon Alliance for Indigenous Peoples and Their Environment in WDC, a coalition of 80 organizations – including International Rivers. Recently she was a program officer at the Goldman Environmental Prize. She has consulted with dozens of organizations in the areas of strategic program development and indigenous rights. She has a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University and teaches Latin American politics. Widely published, Melina is the author of Ethnopolitics in Ecuador: Indigenous Rights and the Strengthening of Democracy. Board member since 2019.
Astrid PuentesVice Chair
Astrid Puentes Riaño works to achieve climate justice at the global level, with a feminist perspective from the Global South. An expert in climate change, international human rights law and international environmental law, she is now an independent consultant, after directing the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) for 18 years. At AIDA, which is the only regional non-governmental organization in Latin America using international law to achieve environmental justice, climate justice and environmental governance, she led strategic litigation and advocacy for the protection of rivers and essential ecosystems affected by dams, helping to prevent several projects in Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico, and to improve government and financial institutions accountability in Latin America and globally. She has published several articles and given workshops and seminars to communities, organizations and universities in Latin America. Board member since 2021.
Chance CutranoBoard Secretary
Chance Cutrano is the Director of Programs at the Marin-based Resource Renewal Institute (RRI). Chance’s work centers around large landscape conservation—from the preservation of wildlife in National Parks to the restoration of biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems. Most recently, Chance has been developing Fish in the Fields, a regenerative aquaculture program, reintroducing native fish to rice fields in the United States. Prior to his time at RRI, Chance researched food, water, and energy policy in Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia. For his various environmental pursuits, Chance has been honored with the Sierra Club California’s 2018 Emerging Leader award and Acterra’s 2021 Champion of Promise award in food sustainability. In addition to his work at RRI, Chance serves as Vice-Chair of the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter and holds elected office on the Town Council in Fairfax, California. Chance received a Bachelors in Political Science and Philosophy from Saint Xavier University and a Masters of Public Administration in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. Board member since 2021.
Sharon KhanBoard Treasurer
Sharon Khan is a senior director and multilingual economist with over 20 years of global experience in water resource protection. She is currently the Recruiting Director at Waterkeeper Alliance, responsible for expanding its global network of grassroots leaders protecting everyone’s right to clean water. Sharon has lived and worked around the world. In Switzerland, she consulted with the United Nations Environment Programme, authoring publications on the costs and benefits of environmental protection and spearheading global leaders into action. In India, Sharon lived under U.S. diplomatic status and worked with high-level officials in the energy sector. She was born in Guyana, grew up in Canada, and currently lives in New York with two sons off to college. When she can, Sharon loves to spend her time in pristine waters around the world. Board member since 2021.
Scott SpannBoard Member
Scott’s work is inspired by his experience with business leaders – trying to do the right thing in complex, competitive situations; his work with Social leaders in NGO’s and government – seeking to satisfy diverse stakeholders in ways that benefit the whole; and his career as a Rolfer and trauma psychotherapist – witnessing people recover from the injuries that life and humanity too often deal us. Scott has applied his unique strategic methodologies successfully with social issues like Climate Change, Affordable Housing, and Social Justice with foundations and NGOs; and on complex projects for HPE, the U.S. Navy and the White House. And he continues to learn by working with Business and Social leaders today via his company, Innate Strategies. Board member since March 2012.
Brent BlackwelderBoard Member
Brent is President Emeritus of Friends of the Earth. An environmental advocate for over 40 years, he served as president from 1994 to 2009. He founded and served as the Board Chair of American Rivers, and founded the Environmental Policy Institute. As a leader in the effort to save rivers, he helped expand the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers System from 8 rivers in 1973 to over 250 today. He has also worked to eliminate over 200 dams and stream channelization projects that endangered rivers, wetlands, wildlife and areas of special scientific value. He initiated campaigns to reform the World Bank and succeeded in getting the U.S. Congress to enact significant reforms to the Bank and other multilateral lending institutions. Board member since 2009.