Mariel Nanasi

Mariel Nanasi – Executive Director:

Mariel Nanasi is the Executive Director and President of New Energy Economy. Mariel is New Energy Economy's chief strategist - she develops NEE's campaigns and leads its legal interventions before the PRC and NM Supreme Court. A civil rights and criminal defense attorney, she is licensed to practice in both the state and federal courts. Legal cases she has won and settled have been featured in the major media, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe New Mexican, and on many television stations, including a documentary, “End of the Nightstick,” on PBS. When Mariel realized the urgency of climate change, she came to work for New Energy Economy as the senior policy advisor. Two years later, she was asked to serve as executive director. A zealous organizer, Mariel’s can-do spirit is infectious. As comfortable with complex policy and legal challenges as on-the-ground organizing, she easily connects with the public, including young Hispanic artists, firefighters on the front lines, acequia caretakers, grassroots Native leaders, funders, and legislators. Mariel lectures on climate change and environmental justice at conferences and college classrooms and her essay, A Future Without Coal: In New Mexico Supreme Court, Again, can be read at She is also a rhythmic skier and enjoys having friends over for delicious meals and lively discussions.

Bianca Sopoci-Belknap, program director

Bianca Sopoci-Belknap – Associate Director

Bianca Sopoci-Belknap has been with New Energy Economy since 2013 when she decided to shift her work to focus on climate justice. As the Associate Director, she co-creates and co-directs NEE's strategy, develops its communications and campaign infrastructure, writes its grants, and manages NEE's staff. Originally from Santa Fe, Bianca has been involved in community development and organizing efforts in her hometown for over a decade. She brings years of nonprofit management and program development experience through her role as the Founding Director of Earth Care’s Youth Allies and Food Cadre Programs as well as her work for community & educational organizations throughout the country, including Antioch College, Global Exchange, Destiny Arts Center, the Border Network for Human Rights, Del Pueblo Inc., OffCenter Community Arts, and Local Energy. In addition to her work with New Energy Economy, Bianca is the Executive Director of Earth Care where she mentors an amazing staff to run youth empowerment, social justice, and environmental stewardship programs and projects in the community. With a background in global justice and youth organizing, she brings a passion for community empowerment and radical grassroots-led change. She has served as an advisor and consultant for a number of youth development and empowerment programs throughout the country.  She is the former Chair of the City's Sustainable Santa Fe Commission and served on the Santa Fe Food Policy Council for 3 years. She holds a B.A. from Antioch College in Social and Global Studies with a focus in Sustainable Economic Development and is the mother of two little ones.

IMG_6168.JPGJavier Benavidez – Senior Public Policy Advocate

Javier Benavidez has joined New Energy Economy's team in order to guide the organization's public policy and movement building work under the 100% renewable energy campaign. He leads its outreach efforts with decision-makers and coordinates its statewide network. He  brings his experience as a visionary leader of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), where he had long been a powerful influence as the organization's director. Javier is a proud Native New Mexican son of a public school teacher from Albuquerque’s South Valley and a civil rights attorney from the Acequia Madre community in Santa Fe. Javier and his wife Ann Marie have five children: Annalysa, Mario, Elias, Felix and Eva. Before SWOP, Javier was with the Center for Civic Policy where he was the Communications and Leadership Development Director. He also worked as Speechwriter for then-Congressman Martin Heinrich and as Outreach Director for Conservation Voters New Mexico. Javier has served on the boards of many New Mexico non-profits and has two master’s degrees from the University of New Mexico (urban planning and public administration). He earned his bachelor degree in political science from Santa Clara University, a Jesuit university in California.


Megan Keller – Operations Manager

Megan has joined New Energy Economy to bring her skills and expertise to the Operations Manager position. Megan is responsible for NEE's day-to-day operations, coordinating the logistics of its campaign work, coordinating volunteers, running the office 5 days/week, and supporting NEE's business management. She has lived in New Mexico for 22 years and has more than 12 years experience in high-level administrative support, most of which has been in the non-profit realm where she has gained an in-depth knowledge in all aspects of operations. Highly skilled in multi-tasking, Megan strives to bring organization to each aspect of her position creating a harmonious foundation from which the organization can thrive. Megan is a passionate environmentalist, animal lover, mother, wife, artist, and athlete and loves to get out and enjoy the people and landscape of New Mexico. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, is a licensed massage therapist, and an established silver jeweler.    

12646640_10153414670717776_5681128150270219338_o-1.jpgLyla June Johnston – Communications Specialist

Lyla June Johnston brings her creative genius to New Energy Economy's communications campaigns by designing provocative, inspiring, and educational visual, video, print media, and performance productions. She was raised in Taos, New Mexico and is a descendent of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages. Her personal mission in life is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper. This prayer has taken her on many journeys and materializes in diverse ways. She is a student of global cycles of violence that eventually gave rise to The Native American Holocaust and the destruction of many cyclic relationships between human beings and nature. This exploration birthed her passion for revitalizing spiritual relationships with Mother Earth and cultivating spaces for forgiveness and reconciliation to occur between cultural groups. She is a co-founder of The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which works to heal intergenerational trauma and ethnic division in the northern New Mexico. She is a walker within the Nihigaal Bee Iiná Movement, a 1,000-mile prayer walk through Diné Tah (the Navajo homeland) that is exposing the exploitation of Diné land and people by uranium, coal, oil and gas industries. She is the lead organizer of the Black Hill Unity Concert which gathers native and nonnative musicians to pray for the return of guardianship of the Black Hills to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota nations. She is the also the founder of Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration of children that occurs in 13 countries around the world every September. In 2012, she graduated with honors from Stanford University with a degree in Environmental Anthropology. She is a musician, published writer, public speaker and internationally recognized performance poet.


Betsy Taylor, young climate leaders director.jpg

Betsy Taylor – Young Climate Leaders Director

Betsy Taylor leads the Young Climate Leaders Action Network, an informal yet highly dynamic network of predominantly young social entrepreneurs working for climate solutions and a sustainable economy. She is President of Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions, a small consulting firm offering strategic services to philanthropic, business, and nonprofit clients. Her consulting practice focuses on high-impact, catalytic initiatives to address climate change and promote a sustainable culture and economy. Betsy is former president of the Center for a New American Dream and board member of Garrison Institute. She is the author of three books, including More Fun, Less StuffWhat Kids Really Want that Money Can’t Buy; and Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the 21st Century

Screen_Shot_2015-10-28_at_2.13.16_PM.jpgGibrán Rivera 

Gibrán Rivera is an internationally renowned master facilitator who has devoted his life to the development of leaders and organizational transformation. Gibran's graduate studies were in diplomacy, mediation, and negotiation. He brings special expertise in helping organizations create a new paradigm of communication, leading to inclusive, democratic and results-oriented practices. Gibrán is a Senior Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change, a consulting practice that works with organizations, communities and networks to build their capacity for more effective, equitable, and inclusive social change.  Through IISC Gibran helps design and facilitate the Barr Fellowship, a program dedicated to building connections between Boston’s most prominent non-profit and public school leaders to drive positive change in our community. As a facilitator, organizational consultant, leadership trainer and speaker Gibrán has partnered with several organizations, including The Lambent Foundation, Web of Change, Social Change Institute, Creative Change, OPEN-US, Creative Leadership Lab, Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions, The Rauschenberg Foundation and many more.




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