Photo Credit Lucy Marcus

Photo Credit Lucy Marcus


What We Do

We nurture and embolden communities and youth to solve their own social, environmental, and natural resource problems.

The secret to our success is being and invigorating committed citizens. Our work primes the pump. Our alchemy transforms a few dollars into free-flowing social capital creating self-sustaining solutions – by the people, with their resources and know-how, and on their terms.

With expert credentials and local experience, we harness the power of creative educational strategies, effective local planning processes, and change-making media.

Director and Lead Scientist

Photo credit: Elisa Galley

Photo credit: Elisa Galley

Britt Basel, MSc.

Director and Lead Scientist of Ecothropic. Britt is a socio-environmental applied scientist, educator, and visual storyteller. She empowers people to make their communities stronger against the challenges of climate and global change.  Her work helps people to help themselves according to the cultural identity, knowledge, needs, and resources of the community itself.  

With experience in 43 countries (specializing in Melanesia, Cuba, and Mexico), she has worked with a range of organizations from the United Nations Development Program to local farmer cooperatives to international non-profits. She has been interviewed by the BBC, featured on podcasts, and spoken to diverse audiences.

As an applied scientist, her work is focused on community-driven processes incorporating capacity building, ecosystem-based solutions, sustainable livelihoods, social cohesion, and appropriate technologies that empower communities to address the challenges they face. Britt’s experience includes research, project design, team management, community consultation, vulnerability assessments, facilitating community planning processes, project management, and M&E. 

As an educator, Britt believes in hands-on education that allows students to critically and holistically engage with people and places, including different cultural perspectives/priorities and a whole-systems perspective. She encourages students to use critical analysis, science, and empathy to develop culturally appropriate and sustainable solutions to the issues we confront as a global community. Britt believes that self-awareness, self-reflection, curiosity, and determination are the foundation of becoming a global citizen. She has directly worked with hundreds of students over two decades in addition to creating university-level syllabi and curricula.

As a visual storyteller, Britt is a videographer, photographer, and writer and has taught visual storytelling for National Geographic Student Expeditions for 13 years. Her publications include the National Geographic Traveller India, the Washington Post, the New Zealand Herald, and the Outdoor Journal India.

Britt is fluent in English and Spanish.

Associated Scientists


Johanna Johnson, PhD.

Over 25 years' experience in marine management and conservation in the Asia-Pacific region, including 10 years at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and 5 years researching benthic reef communities at the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Currently a Partner and Senior Scientist at C2O Consulting working for organisations such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, AusAID, UNEP, WorldFish and SPREP with widespread experience in countries including: PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Australia. Specialising in climate change vulnerability and adaptation, community-based natural resource management, capacity building particularly for women, resilience assessments and translating science for management and conservation.


Margarita Fernandez, PhD.

Margarita is a consultant bringing 20 years of experience working on transdisciplinary research and the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of international cooperation projects in the Global South including Cuba, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Currently she is the Executive Director of the Vermont Caribbean Institute (VCI). She specializes in agroecology and food systems, sustainable livelihoods, certification systems, food security/sovereignty, participatory action and community-based approaches, climate change and biodiversity conservation. She has worked for a wide variety of international organizations including the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Hivos-Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries, United Nations Development Program/Global Environment Facility, Oxfam, Food First, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), the Global Plant Clinic, and Helvetas, as well as local farms, cooperatives and organizations such as Tierra Farms, Green Guerillas, Just Food, and Campesinos Ecológicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas. Margarita has over a dozen articles published in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and grey literature. She holds a PhD in Agroecology from the University of Vermont, a Master’s in Social Ecology from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a Bachelor’s in Biology from Tufts University.


Juliette Deal, MSc. Candidate

Juliette Deal has been an active participant in waste mitigation, resource diversion and educational programming in the South Eastern USA and Caribbean for the past ten years. She is the co-founder and director of a GEF United Nations Zero Waste Program on Hope Town, Bahamas and is currently completing a Master of Environmental Studies at Queens University in Kingston, specializing in Integrated Solid Waste Management.

A few of our partners...

C2O Consulting

C2O Consulting has experienced senior scientists, specialist affiliated scientists and networks within regional organizations, environmental agencies, research and government in Australia, the Pacific and the United States. We specialise in tropical marine and coastal environments and our skills include: climate change vulnerability and adaptation, water quality assessments, community-based natural resource management, marine monitoring, land and sea interactions, fisheries assessments, pollution risk assessments, environmental impacts assessments, and science synthesis. C2O also has field capabilities, with access to specialist equipment and personnel including commercial divers.


Teams of experts and skilled volunteers assist communities in small island developing nations with marine and terrestrial ecosystem management including the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable livelihood projects, environmental education and to build their capacity to handle the changes associated with climate change. OceansWatch also assists with disaster preparedness and recovery, including medical outreach. Work is accomplished by use of sailing yachts, allowing the teams to access remote and highly vulnerable regions.

Vermont Caribbean Institute

The Vermont Caribbean Institute (VCI) creates sustainable solutions to strengthen communities in the Caribbean and United States by designing people-to-people and educational travel opportunities and implementing collaborative projects to address today’s most pressing social and ecological challenges.

La Mano del Mono

Based in Chiapas, Mexico, La Mano del Mono unites local hands to make global changes. Projects generate local employment and conserve forests, while supporting ecotourism, environmental education and experiential learning.

Carpe Diem Education

Carpe Diem Education offers gap-year and accredited-semester programs experiential education programs around the globe with a focus on offering programs that are accessible to the greatest diversity of students aged 18-22. Through service, travel, community and cultural exchange – students receive a unique and personal insight into themselves and the cultures they live within.


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