Novasutras Founder & Community Organizer

Dr. Michelle Merrill began her career as an evolutionary anthropologist. She studied the social behavior of wild bonobos in the rainforests of Africa and orangutans in Indonesia in the late 1990s.

Seeing the effects of deforestation in the tropics, Michelle started looking for the underlying causes of that crisis. She began to study systems thinking and work on global Education for Sustainability – especially on transforming teaching in colleges and universities. (learn more)

While she has been involved in environmental activism since she was a teenager, it was only recently that Michelle has shifted her primary focus to community organizing. She took courses in Theory U from the MIT Presencing Institute, completed facilitator training for the Work That Reconnects and En-ROADS climate simulation workshops. She also facilitates Pachamama Alliance programs, and completed their Game Changer Intensive course.

Michelle has been developing the Novasutras movement’s core ideas and online presence, recording guided meditations, and leading online and local events near her home in Santa Cruz, California. She was actively involved in organizing the recent Global Climate Strike Coalition in Santa Cruz. In addition to her commitment to Novasutras, Michelle is part of an emerging organization called Within Reach that focuses on effective public engagement and activism.

Michelle and friends marching in the September 2019 Climate Strike in Santa Cruz, California. Photo from Santa Cruz Climate Action Network - scruzclimate.org
Michelle and friends marching in the September 2019 Climate Strike in Santa Cruz, California.