“Pod” members include: 

Kriss Kevorkian, PhD, MSW, and Founder of LRSS

Kriss is a Thanatologist, specializing in Biocentric Thanatology. She holds a doctoral degree in thanatology, the study/science of death, dying and grief. Her experience includes working as a deputy coroner assisting with autopsies and documenting evidence, and as a hospice medical social worker offering emotional support and counseling to terminally ill patients, from young children to elders, and their families. In that role, she received Certificates of Recognition for her Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Social Work from local politicians. Dr. Kevorkian was Co-Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Bioethics Committee, Chair of their Death and Dying Subcommittee, and Co-Chair of the San Fernando Valley End-of-Life Coalition. She combined her passion for thanatology with her love of whales and the environment through her research on environmental grief and ecological grief. Hailed as a true visionary, Dr. Kevorkian coined these terms years before many in the field considered these particular forms of grief. She is founder, and CEO, of A Grieving World, intuitively and compassionately supporting clients through all forms of grief including ecological and environmental grief, and those facing the end-of-life. She is a Climate Reality Leader/Mentor with the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, is a member of the Steering Committee of the Meaningful Movies Project and hosts/facilitates a Death Café in her community.

Twila Slind, Community Organizer Extraordinaire for LRSS

Twila is a grandma and a nature lover. She has worked as an early learning teacher and union organizer. She is now retired and volunteers in her church and with LRSS. Twila regards Earth and all life as sacred. The Southern Resident Orcas are majestic sentient beings with the right to thrive in their native habitat. She joins with others in speaking for them since they cannot speak for themselves.

Susan Woodward 

Susan is a writer and journalist with strong ties to Australia and the West Coast. She resists the corporate destruction of nature and is a passionate defender of our more-than-human animal kin. She is the host and founder of the Sentient Planet podcast, which dedicated its first episodes to the plight of the Southern Residents. You can often find her hiking in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Mark Leiren-Young

Mark is a writer, filmmaker, playwright, podcaster and orca activist. His book The Killer Whale Who Changed the World won the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada general audience book award. He wrote, directed and produced an award-winning documentary called The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, and his documentary about the past, present and future of the southern resident orcas is currently in post-production. Mark hosts the Skaana podcast where he covers issues relating to orcas, ocean issues and eco-ethics. His book Sharks Forever is being released by Orca Book Publishing this Fall. Mark consulted on and wrote the Royal B.C. Museum’s exhibit – Orcas: Our Shared Future – which is set to tour the world for the next decade. Mark also wrote  and starred in Greenpieces: The World’s First Eco-Comedy. He also occasionally writes books, plays, movies and TV shows that aren’t about the environment including Never Shoot a Stampede Queen – which won Canada’s Prestigious Leacock Medal for Humour. For more on Mark visit his website. 

Rayne Benu

Rayne is cinematographer and editor of the upcoming documentary, The Killer Whale Who Changed the World. She’s cinematographer of the award-wining  documentary, The Hundred-Year-Old Whale and producer of Skaana – a podcast about orcas, oceans and the environment. A nationally published festival and theatre photographer, Rayne has a rich history creating digital and multimedia artworks, corporate design, interactive media and storytelling using metaphor, myths and symbolic languages, abstract/meditative painting and filmmaking (directing, editing, sound and video). She now lives on Vancouver Island, in the place where art, tech and spirit meet, and where she spends her free time filming local celebrities from J-Pod with her partner Mark. She also edits videos to support her kitten overlords Freja and Saga, who hitched a ride from Norway and have decided Vancouver Island is warmer. For more information about Rayne, please visit her website

Rosalind Warner

Rosalind’s background includes graduate work in Political Science at York University’s former Centre for International and Security Studies, a one-year travel-study tour around the world focused on issues of peace and conflict resolution, and almost 30 years of teaching subjects from Global Environmental Politics to International Development to Canadian government. She has researched and published on topics like ecological modernization, global environmental governance issues, protected areas governance in North America, environmental discourses, and environment and trade in Canadian foreign policy. One of her research lenses is that of transformation, as her past work has touched on the theoretical basis of ecopolitical change in relation to ecological modernization theory. One key purpose of her work is to identify and analyze patterns in law, policy, and civil society practice that have moved international actors toward recognition of non-human entities as part of the human ethical community, particularly the role of indigenous knowledge. She is continuing to build on some of her previous work produced in the context of the formation and establishments of parks in North American and colonial Africa. She has had a long interest in the theoretical and practical implications of environmental discourses, ethical values, and the history of environmental politics and policies, globally and locally. Rosalind also plans to develop work on the effectiveness of the Sustainable Development Goals as mechanisms for environmental communication, as well as continue work on Canadian ecopolitics. You can learn more about Rosalind on her website.   

More bios to come…