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Michael has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to personal and global sustainability.
His efforts in the fields of social services,education, environment, economics, and planning reflect his holistic and creative capacity and his passion for creating positive change in the world.
After 10 years as a client, Michael joined Natural Investments as its third advisor in 2000. Since 2004, Michael has maintained the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation, the credential reflecting a very high professional standard of investment management in the nation. He has been a partner in the firm since 2007. He is known within the SRI community as a proponent of higher standards for the SRI industry, he maintains the firm’s NI Social Rating of sustainable and responsible mutual funds, and he coordinates the firm’s shareholder activism initiatives. He is a board member and serves on the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee of the US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing and serves on the steering committee of the American Sustainable Business Council, engaging corporate management and elected officials and federal agencies in adopting important practices, policies, laws, and regulations.
Michael is also very active at home, where he created the Hawai`i Alliance for a Local Economy, the local chapter of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and serves on the board of the Sustainability Association of Hawai`i, the voice of green business in Hawai`i. Michael helped pass legislation to establish a new corporate structure in Hawai`i, the Sustainable Business Corporation. He is the Treasurer of Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School. In 2005, Michael founded the Kuleana Green Business Program of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce. He served a term as Vice-Chair of the Hawai`i County Energy Advisory Commission, was a co-founder of the Kona Earth Festival, founded the West Hawai`i Fatherhood Initiative, and was a Governor-appointed commissioner at the Hawai`i State Commission of Fatherhood. He is the former Executive Director of Permaculture Drylands Institute and has taught permaculture (sustainable design) for over 20 years.
Michael earned a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University in 1990, and his life purpose since then has been to educate people locally and nationally about the importance of regenerative consciousness and lifestyle. Initially, interest in child development and education led to positions in public school teaching and social service program management.
Michael founded Youth Ecology Corps, a program dedicated to youth leadership, service, and sustainability,and helped spawn two others, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps Leadership Program. He has taught sustainable design, via permaculture, to youth and adults for over 20 years through schools, colleges and institutes, and is now recognized as a leading U.S. permaculture teacher trainer, having often collaborated with long-time friend and fellow NI advisor Christopher Peck.
He has also been a proponent of service learning in education, having published national research in this field, taught the pedagogical approach to over 1200 educators, and coordinated several initiatives in this area.
Michael has founded several non-profit organizations and coalitions, and has been an Executive, Development, and Program Director, as well as a consultant to dozens of organizations and government agencies. He has effective leadership and strategic planning skills, has created many new projects and initiatives, and has raised millions of dollars for the numerous causes he supports.
A strong social change advocate, Michael has organized political parties and state and national conferences, served as a prestigious National Service Fellow during the Clinton Administration, developed and advocated for youth and fatherhood legislation, and served on numerous commissions and boards that promote youth leadership, community service, and sustainability.
Michael writes extensively on natural investing and sustainability issues in state and national publications, including a column at GreenBiz.com. When not enjoying time with his sons Ezra and Zakai, Michael enjoys hiking, gardening, piano, yoga, and enjoying the outdoor lifestyle of Hawai`i.