The addition of a keynote speaker at the Whole Earth and Watershed Festival gives residents of the North State the chance to hear firsthand about new ideas, projects, and collaborations from visionaries and experts. The addition of a Keynote Speaker began in 2016 and has enriched the Festival in new ways. The Festival’s Executive Committee is committed to bringing a keynote speaker to the Festival each year in order to continue to facilitate collaboration, expand understanding, and build partnerships within our community, across the north state region and beyond.  

The 2019 Keynote Speaker will be announced in January 2019


2018 Keynote Speaker 

C. Mike Lindsey is a Co-Founder of NexLoop an international team of innovators (US, Germany, Croatia) who came together to design a water management system for urban food producers. They submitted their design, called the AquaWeb, to the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge and won the 2017 Ray of Hope Prize presented at the 2017 Bioneers National Conference in San Rafael in October. This award helps budding biomimetic entrepreneurs bring their radically sustainable, nature-inspired solutions to market.

NexLoop designed their system to make it locally attuned, adaptable, and self-sufficient. It allows urban local food producers collect, filter, store, and distribute atmospheric moisture with a modular, all-in-one water sourcing and management system. AquaWeb harnesses freely available rain and fog and uses passive strategies to distribute this water so that urban farms, including greenhouses, indoor vertical farms, and container farms, can save energy and become more resilient to disturbances. Each aspect of AquaWeb’s design was inspired by living systems. These include how cribellate orb weaver spider webs collect fog from the air, how drought-tolerant plants like the crystalline ice plant store water, and how mycorrhizal fungi like the Jersey cow mushroom distribute water. The team also looked to the dwarf honey bee’s hexagonal nest structure for AquaWeb’s efficient and modular design.

C. Mike Lindsey shared his work with our local community through an exciting keynote speech at the festival on his innovative design and its potential applications to our unique climate characteristics. 

2017 Keynote Speaker – Samuel Diaz
Samuel Diaz, born and raised in Redding, CA, graduated from Colgate University, where he studied Geography, Sociology and Anthropology. He went on to receive a Juris Doctor with a specialty in environmental, energy and natural resources law from Lewis and Clark. Before becoming a Fellow, Sam was a community organizer and policy advocate on transportation, housing and land-use policies for a statewide nonprofit in Oregon. As a Fellow, Sam was placed at the Natural Resources Agency, where he worked on the state’s climate adaptation strategy. Sam is now a Senior Intergovernmental Program Analyst for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, where he is working on achieving the Governor’s climate change goals through renewable energy and land use planning policies. In his new role, he is excited about working with California’s environmental justice, social equity and public health leaders to help inform and advance the State’s climate change efforts.
In 2017, Mr. Diaz did a presentation on Innovative Ideas for City Trees and Urban Greening. This presentation was beneficial to our community in many ways as the city works to put together our own urban greening program.


2016 Keynote Speaker – T.H. Culhane
T.H. Culhane is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer with a Ph.D. in Urban Planning. He has worked around the world in many developing countries, building home scale biogas systems and solar tanks, empowering people to have their on source of power to do the daily tasks we take for granted. He is the cofounder of the nongovernmental organization, Solar C.³I.T.I.E.S., works with residents of some of the  poorest neighborhoods in the world, from the slums of Cairo and Nairobi to the favelas of Brazil,  to build and install rooftop solar water heaters and food-waste-to-fuel-and-fertilizer biodigesters.   “The DIY solar panels  generate 200 liters of hot water and 200 liters of cold water for each household every day,” Culhane explains. “The biodigesters turn kitchen scraps and other organic garbage — including toilet wastes —  into 2 hours of cooking gas every day, for life!”
In 2016, in partnership with Mr. Culhane, a biodigester was built at the Whole Earth and Watershed Festival. It was then donated to a local organization, Providence International.
Mr. Culhane also led a workshop for teen volunteers at Turtle Bay, demonstrating how to create a small scale biodigester with a 5-gallon bucket and some plumbing supplies.
Click on the link below to view a complete list of 2018 Exhibitors: