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Executive Director

Megan (last name pronounced sEYE-bert!) is a systems thinker who started REALgnd in response to the overwhelmingly short-sighted rhetoric about energy and sustainability, filling a need for sober analysis and bold truth-telling.


Raised in Michigan and now residing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Megan’s gypsy life has been defined by the transformative tension of opposites. She was raised in a conservative military family yet was deeply influenced by her environmentally oriented relatives and scholarly German heritage.


Her eclectic professional path includes horse packing in the wildernesses of Montana and Wyoming, running a small business, and working in the environmental and defense sectors. She has an M.S. in Systems Science/Environmental Management from Portland State University and an international studies B.S. with core STEM from the U.S. Air Force Academy.


Megan is a bridger of opposites, holding together the rational and intuitive, analytical and creative, and the likelihood of a dark future with the faith that it need not be so if only we commit ourselves. After a 15-year yoga practice and being exposed to Eastern philosophies in graduate school, she began exploring shamanism, animism, astrology, and teacher plants.


These diverse experiences and sensibilities have led quite naturally to REALgnd. As a Myers-Briggs INFJ, she is deeply fulfilled by being involved in this meaningful work.

Contact at

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Dr. Rees is a human ecologist, ecological economist, and Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in Vancouver, Canada, where his research and teaching focused on the biophysical prerequisites for sustainability in an era of accelerating ecological change. He has a special interest in ecologically relevant metrics of sustainability and their interpretation in terms of complexity theory and behavioral ecology.


Dr. Rees is perhaps best known as the originator and co-developer of the ecological footprint analysis. Widely adopted for sustainability assessments by governments, NGOs, and academics, it has arguably become world’s best-known sustainability indicator.


He has authored or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. He has also authored numerous popular articles on humanity’s unsustainability conundrum, focusing on cognitive and cultural barriers to sustainability.


Dr. Rees is a long-term member of the Global Ecological Integrity Group, a Fellow at Post Carbon Institute, a founding member and past President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics, and a founding Director of the OneEarth Initiative. He has lectured by invitation throughout North America and 25 other countries around the world. In 2006, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and in 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Trudeau Foundation Fellowship. He is the recipient of the 2012 Boulding Prize in Ecological Economics and a 2012 Blue Planet Prize (jointly with Dr. Wackernagel).

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Alice, the granddaughter of two scientists, is not a professor! She is, however, genetically predisposed to extensive research and exhaustive reading, much of which is accomplished on the 10-mile roundtrip walk between her home and office.


With a B.S. in Biology and a Chemistry/Physics Minor from the University of Illinois, Alice was a systems architect and engineer for over 25 years. She retired from Dilbert Land to devote more time to science writing on energy, ecology, climate change, whole grains, agriculture, infrastructure, environmental pollution, and too many other topics to list (see her website Over the past few years, she has come to see that the larger framework of her research is the fall of fossil-fueled western civilization from dozens of factors, primarily oil – the master resource that makes all others possible.


Some of Alice's published work in print includes:


She’s appeared on numerous podcasts and has published articles online at,, and other sites.  

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Dr. McCormick, an ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management, is a classically trained field naturalist who came to embrace the ecology of complex systems in his late thirties and has never looked back.


With an educational background in soil science, forestry, hydrology, and botany, Ron’s early work experiences ranged from the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the hills of southeastern Oklahoma to nearly all of Florida. It was in Florida where he first referred to himself as an ecologist and formed a deep and lasting land ethic. It was also there that he got his feet wet with ecological assessments in the consulting world and had the opportunity to work with some of ecology's finest minds at the University of Florida in Gainesville. 


After graduating from Oklahoma State University, Ron vowed to never again enroll in any college, anywhere. Yet, his experiences in Florida had shown him there were still things to learn about ecology. In 1994, he moved to Madison to start a ‘piled higher and deeper’ degree. One year later, he was deeply disillusioned with the dark side of academia and considered returning to Florida to live out his days as a consultant. But his office mate suggested he sit down with Dr. Timothy F.H. Allen – the godfather of hierarchy theory, possibly the most underrated contribution to systems science and ecology alike. Seeing no downside, Ron walked into Tim’s office. Thirty minutes later, he was officially one of Tim’s new graduate students, and the rest, as they say, is history.


His decades of thinking about and applying systems theory to social-ecological problems has led him to REALgnd – what society desperately needs at this critical juncture.