Climate Policy Action Leadership (CPAL) Collaborative

Climate Policy Action Leadership (CPAL) Collaborative

Group photo of 11 participants and OSCAR staff in the Climate Policy Action Leadership Collaborative, standing in two rows indoors

The Climate Policy Action Leadership Collaborative, sponsored by Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resilience, works to advance environmental justice and inclusivity in Colorado’s climate policy. The Collaborative consists of Boulder County residents that participated in an open application process at the end of 2022. Members work with OSCAR equity and policy specialists to share community perspectives in the Colorado policymaking process.

Why is this work important?

Climate change impacts, including extreme heat, poor air quality, and damage from wildfires and floods, hurt some communities more than others. These communities are often referred to as disproportionately impacts communities, or DICs. DICs include many groups, including low-income families, people of color, people who are housing cost-burdened, and more. The most up-to-date information on the State of Colorado’s technical definition of DICs can be found here.

Throughout Colorado, governments are making new rules that aim to help DICs. These rules target air quality improvement, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, climate-friendly construction and transportation, and related job creation.

In order to ensure equitable and effective policy outcomes, impacted community members must be able to inform policy decisions and share their lived experiences with rule-makers. However, policy-making processes can often be challenging to access and understand. Through the Collaborative, Boulder County aims to support community members to overcome barriers to participation in public policy.

Meet the Collaborative

Portrait of Rynchen Indya Love, a woman with long brown hair wearing a black top and a grey jacket, standing outside with a view of Boulder and the Flatirons in the background

Rinchen Indya Love is the Program Coordinator for Foundations for Leaders Organizing for Water and Sustainability (FLOWS). Growing up in the foothills of the Himalayas in India had a large influence on her appreciation and love for nature. Her cultural background, which is Tibetan, Bhutanese, and Sikkimese, taught her about the sacredness of mother nature and ways to honor and be respectful of the interconnectivity between nature and all its inhabitants.

She is committed to FLOWS’s work with the community and has taken on several roles within the organization. FLOWS has opened up many doors for Rinchen to explore, learn, and gain a deeper understanding of social and climate injustices, especially for the BIPOC, immigrant, and low-income communities she belongs to. She continuously strives to fight for equity in the spaces and is an active advocate for social and environmental justice locally and globally.

Portrait of Robyn Griggs Lawrence, a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair wearing a grey button down shirt, standing outside in front of a blurred green and brown landscape

Robyn Griggs Lawrence introduced mainstream America to sustainable, healthy lifestyles as editor-in-chief of Natural Home magazine for 11 years and was one of the first Westerners to write about the Japanese art of imperfection with The Wabi-Sabi House and Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House. She wrote the bestselling Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook and an early academic title, Pot in Pans: A History of Eating Cannabis. Robyn has been an editor with Boulder Magazine, Sensi, Mother Earth News, Mountain Living, The Herb Companion, and Organic Spa and ran successful blogs on Huffington Post,, and

She raised two great kids in Boulder, then spent two years traveling up the West Coast in an Airstream before returning to settle down in Lafayette.

Portrait of Michal Duffy, a person with shoulder length brown wavy hair and glasses, wearing a blue button down top and metal-rimmed glasses, standing outside in front of some green and brown foliage

My name is Michal Duffy, I use they/them pronouns (elle en espanol), and I live in the mountains outside of Boulder. I have been lucky to grow up and live in the mountains my entire life and I credit that with influencing my sensibilities as an environmentalist. An appreciation for and dedication to our natural environment has been a central tenet of my entire life. I am from western North Carolina, where I acquired a Masters degree in Appropriate Technology and Environmental Design and worked within the local sustainable agriculture movement. I then spent 4 years in Vermont again participating in the local sustainable agriculture system, state-level compost and recycling, as well as working for a nonprofit that supported cooperative coffee growers in Latin America to diversify their income to better survive the impacts of climate change on their cash crop. When I relocated to Colorado, my professional focus shifted to equity and inclusion thanks to the opportunity to work for Out Boulder County; I still weave sustainability into my work whenever possible. While I am interested and motivated by all different fields and aspects of environmental sustainability, I am perhaps most excited by and most experienced in closed-looped systems at the connection of waste management through compost and recycling and local agriculture. My work in Boulder County over the past 6 years has also reinforced and enhanced my understanding of environmental justice and the importance of keeping equity and sustainability front and center, together.

Portrait of Kiran Herbert, a woman with wavy dark hair pulled into a low ponytail, wearing a yellow-orange top and red-orange jacket, sitting in front of a warm tan fabric background

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Kiran Herbert grew up all over the world and has settled in the foothills outside of Boulder, Colorado. For the past decade, she’s worked as a writer and editor covering the outdoors and culture — she currently manages content for PeopleForBikes and moonlights as an officiant. Kiran serves on the Executive Committee of the local Sierra Club chapter and is passionate about creating a more equitable, biodiverse, and livable future. In her free time, you’ll find Kiran at the farmer’s market, hiking, sitting in community, or listening to Tiny Desk Concerts.

Portrait of Dai Kato, a man with dark hair pulled away from his face, wearing a white and navy layered puffy jacket standing in front of a green paneled background

Dai Kato, MA is a mental health family therapist certified by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the founder of the Five Rings Program at SMART Therapy Center in Colorado.

In 2007, before he became a family therapist, Dai managed one of the largest events in human history for climate change called “Live Earth 2007” as a member of vice president Al Gore’s Live Earth executive management team. Live Earth reached two billion people using all traditional and social media to raise awareness for climate change. Dai was solely in charge of branding and strategic activations of the venues in Japan. He was a negotiator with the Japanese government, and the Ministry of Environment in order to host a press conference of the event at the ministry. Dai moved to Colorado in 2006, he was the first Sustainability Specialist at Colorado Mountain College to create B.A. and B.S. degrees in Environmental Science and Sustainability Studies in 2008.

In 2010, he moved to Boulder to become a research fellow at CU-Boulder, Center for the study of Conflict, Collaboration, and Creative Governance under Dr. Stan Deetz. He initiated projects in community disaster resiliency and hosted the first Colorado Resilience Initiative at CU Boulder with centers at CU and local government officials.

As the result of four years of research at CU Boulder, he concluded that the most effective intervention for climate change could be intervention to change our root cause of dysfunctioning behaviors using awareness-based interventions. Then, he activated his clinical registration as a psychotherapist in Colorado. He integrated Japanese Eastern wisdom and Western Medicine to develop the Five Rings program. The Five Rings program is a whole-brain approach that can help to raise our awareness of our culture, perceptions, identities, emotions, and somatic body sensations in order to balance holistic intervention to this planet of Earth without separating us from our local community and environment. ​​

He is originally from a Japanese Samurai family and started his Zen meditation practice at the age of seven at Eiheiji Soto Zen Head Monastery. He still practices Zen and Zen Archery called Kyudo in Boulder. He also attended a Japanese Private Christian school for ten years. Dai is open to any faith and research domains from all over the world.

Portrait of Berenice Garcia Tellez, a woman with long, dark hair wearing a black jacket, standing outside in front of a brown grassy field with scattered evergreen trees

Berenice Garcia Tellez, a Mexican native and travel enthusiast, received her master’s degree in Environmental Engineering in Saudi Arabia. She has lived in Turkey, Italy, and Norway, where she worked researching climate change. Berenice currently works at City and County of Denver implementing equitable policies for the new Energize Denver Building Performance Ordinance. Before, she managed the Sustainable Business Program at the City of Longmont and worked with the business community on implementing sustainable and DEI practices that lead to the creation of the first equitable sustainable business program in the country. ​​
She also sat at the Latino Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 4 years. Through her work with the Chamber, Berenice has supported hundreds of Latino businesses through the COVID-19 crisis, coordinated community equity clinics and advocated for equitable financial resources distribution.
Some of Berenice’s favorite figures are Elon Musk and Batman. Though the two have very different origin stories, they both rose to make a great impact in their respective communities. While Batman may be fictional, both he and Elon Musk inspire Berenice to one day do something that influences the world.

Portrait of Audrey Thames, a woman with brown hair styled into bangs and a high ponytail, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and posing outside in front of an iron fence and some greenery

Hey there! My name is Audrey Thames and I am a fourth year at CU Boulder pursuing a major in environmental studies with a focus in public policy. I was born in Texas but have lived in the Boulder area since I have been 7 years old. I have never been a big outdoors sports girl but I have always had an appreciation for the outdoors. Going on afternoon strolls, coffee on the porch, or outdoor live music has been more of my speed. Because of this, my love of natural sciences and interest in policy, I found my path in environmental policy. It also doesn’t hurt that I was the kind of kid that was told I should be a lawyer. Which we all know is a nice way of saying I was stubborn. Alongside being a student I also work for the Environmental Center at CU where I have found a community of supportive driven young climate change leaders. I also do internship work for clean energy action, a grass-roots nonprofit that aims to inspire, train, and support activists. Outside of school and work you can typically find me getting a beer and playing pool, watching survivor, or going to a concert.

Portrait of Andrea Yoloteotl Nawage, a woman with long, dark, wavy hair, wearing pink dangly earrings and a black and white short-sleeved top, standing in front of a red and gold tapestry

Andrea Yoloteotl Nawage creates opportunities for reparations towards Indigenous and BIPOC communities. Andrea, currently graduated with an Environmental Studies degree at Naropa University, focused on environmental and social justice on behalf of our planet. Additionally, she graduated with a minor in Peace Studies, Food Justice along with a Permaculture Design Certificate. She is originally Indigenous from Mexico, and she has become passionate about creating social justice and equity for people. She is the Chief Executive Director, and Founder the non-profit Harvest of All First Nations (HAFN), an Indigenous-led collaborative empowering communities through projects and education, which is focused on Indigenous-led reparations, rematriation & Earth based Decolonization for the benefit of BIPOC peoples for cultural enrichment & health equity .HAFN was able to host the first annual Corn Festival in Boulder County, focused on Land Back, Indigenous leadership and regenerative agriculture. Her cultural, ceremonial and ongoing community background has helped to offer an opportunity for generation healing for the next generations including my children. HAFN’s focuses on reclaiming Indigenous ways of governance models within the non- profit world and societies so it could be adapted to help break patriarchal colonialistic systems.

Meeting Materials

Questions about the Collaborative?

Please reach out to Marina LaGrave, at 303-499-5881 or