Announcing the Environmental Justice Advisory Board for California’s Coast and Ocean

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is thrilled to announce the members of the inaugural Environmental Justice Advisory Board (EJ Advisory Board) for California’s Coast and Ocean, who will help advise the State by providing valuable equity-focused insights and perspectives to better address the ocean and coastal needs of California communities. The EJ Advisory Board members are community leaders and advocates who represent California’s diverse regions and communities. Collaborating with the new EJ Advisory Board is part of OPC’s ongoing commitment to engaging community partners in ocean and coastal conservation and policy to ensure actions are equitably informed by California communities and provide meaningful benefits to communities statewide. 

The Board is convened by OPC’s partner, Better World Group. Alongside OPC staff, Better World Group will facilitate focused quarterly meetings with Advisory Board members to share their expertise and perspectives on key Equity Plan and Strategic Plan priorities to advance equity and environmental justice goals and outcomes. The EJ Advisory Board will convene for the first time on May 29, 2024. 

Meet the inaugural EJ Advisory Board members and read about the incredible work they do!

Environmental Justice Advisory Board

Frank Buncom IV (he/him), San Diego

Frank Buncom IV is a lover on a mission to nurture Earth’s soul by tending local land and effecting scaled ecological regeneration. He steps toward that mission through his work leading Ola Farms, an ocean restoration company, spearheading a nonprofit at S&S Friendly Ranch, and implementing reforestation projects with New Leaf Climate. Frank currently serves as a Board Member for Literacy for Environmental Justice and was an advisor to both the and Clever Carbon Project.

Patricia J. Flores Yrarrázaval (she/they), Los Angeles

Patricia Jovel Flores is a Cuyuteca/Nahua trans femme from Santa Ana, California who currently serves as Orange County Environmental Justice (OCEJ)’s Executive Director, utilizing her 13 years of experience as an organizer to advance OCEJ’s campaigns to end soil, air, and water contamination in low-income communities of color and to restore Indigenous environmental custodianship and sovereignty. Patricia began organizing as a student at UC Berkeley, where she worked to bring student power to bear in support of campus labor organizing and the local prison abolition movement; after graduating, she returned to Santa Ana, where she organized with Colectivo Tonantzin to fight wage theft and defend the rights of day laborers and domestic workers in Orange County, in addition to organizing alongside Acjachemen and Tongva activists to Protect Puvungna and other sacred sites across the region. In all her work, Patricia is dedicated to building bridges between local Indigenous communities and communities of color in defense of the water, land, and air that we all call home.

Sonya Hammons (she/they), San Francisco Bay Area

Sonya Hammons works at the intersection of ecology and public health with a focus on equity in grantmaking. Her lived experience includes being raised on a boat and continuing to live in a community of maritime professionals. She looks forward to supporting thriving communities where ecology, access to the outdoors, healthy food and affordable housing are in balance.

Hannah Lent (she/her), Central Coast

Hannah Lent is Mono Lake Paiute and Sʰamala Chumash. Currently she is the Culture Department Programs Coordinator for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians where she implements programs and events based in traditional knowledge. Hannah focuses her work on tribal stewardship of traditional lands through working with private and federal agencies. She is passionate about her cultures and will continue to carry her traditions with her in all that she does.

Carlos Moran (he/him/él), Los Angeles

Carlos Moran’s experience includes designing and implementing high impact strategies that intersect mental health, public health and environmental justice. His passion is bringing people together to think big and multi-benefit. His work has resulted in large scale investments in Los Angeles’ most economically, environmentally and health stressed communities. Carlos also serves as adjunct faculty in the USC School of Social Work where he teaches graduate courses in policy, organizational management, research & program evaluation.

Luis Neuner (he/him), North Coast

Luis focuses on supporting indigenous-led climate resilience efforts for Humboldt Area Foundations’ CORE Hub. His background includes environmental policy and good governance advocacy on a national, state, and local level. In his private and professional life, Luis is guided by the Karuk notion of “pikyav,” which loosely translates to ‘fix it’. He is a US, German, and Karuk Citizen and a Shasta and Yurok descendant.

Mario Ordoñez (he/him), San Diego

Mario’s work resides at the convergence of coastlines, humanity, and cultural landscapes, where he critically assesses the possibilities for coastal resilience through environmental equity. With a foundation in Social Sciences, Navy Veteran experience, and a deep connection to my Yucatec Maya Indigenous heritage, Mario integrates environmental efforts to ensure the sustainability of both our planet and its people.

Categories: Equity and Environmental Justice, Strategic Goal 2: Equity