Greening The Earth

Our People

Coming together to solve global challenges.

Our People

Dr John White – Founder & Chairman of RAF, Executive Chairman of Birdon Group

Dr John White is Executive Chairman of the Birdon Group, which was announced by the US government in October this year, as the successful tenderer for a $1.82 billion contract to build US Coast Guard logistic vessels tasked with security for inland US shipping lanes.

Chairman elect of both Greening the Earth and its partner – Regenerative Australian Farmers, John is the former
Chairman of Global Renewables formed in 2000 to pursue greenhouse gas reduction measures by providing solutions for waste reduction.

Global Renewables s has integrated technologies that developed the UR-3R (Urban Resources – Recovery, Reuse and Recycling) process successfully installed at Eastern Creek in Sydney. In September 2005; selected to design, build, own and operate the Lancashire Waste Partnership PFI project in the United Kingdom, with annual revenues of 1~$6 billion from processing 765,000 tpa. of municipal solid waste over 25 years – the largest waste recycling project in the world.

John had extensive involvement with Woodside’s Northwest Shelf Offshore LNG Development and is an advisor to the Australian Government for the instigation of Australian Defence Force’s RAN submarine project tenders.

John headed the teams that successfully tendered for the purchase of Williamstown Naval Dockyard from the Australian Government; the completion of the Australian Frigate Project (2 FFGs) and the $5 billion ANZAC Frigate Project (10 ANZACs) as well as being the director of major private and listed companies and serving as Chairman of the Australian Government’s Uranium Industry Framework and a member of the Australian Government’s Defence Procurement Board.

Mr. Robert Larking – Head of Aboriginal Projects – Scotdesco Aboriginal Community

Robert is Chief Executive Officer of Scotdesco Aboriginal Corporation and successfully conducted the day-to-day operations and management for almost two decades, pictured here explaining the Scotdesco Project to former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull) in 2018 when hosting Mr. Turnbull, RAF Chairman and other dignitaries and cabinet members at the Bunyuru project.

Robert has financial services and Community Services Management qualifications as a former member of the National CDEP and a Justice of the Peace, leading the management of Scotdesco projects and promoting the marketing, business and commercial interests and opportunities for community development programs, planning and strategy.

Gabriel Haros – Company Founder & Director

Gabriel is a former member of the Parliament of Tasmania, with responsibilities in many fields including environment as well as serving as Chairman of Committees and the Chairman of the Standing Committee for Subordinate Legislation. Gabriel co-founded the successful Hobart law firm, Haros Wallace and Meade, in 1976. A member of a prominent Tasmanian manufacturing family, Gabriel served as Secretary to the Vice-Consul for Greece for Tasmania and during the 1990s formed the business case for GTE.

Dr David Brockway FTSE – Head of Energy Research

Dr David Brockway. formerly Chief, Division of Energy Technology, CSIRO, was responsible for five CSIRO laboratories engaged in R&D on fossil fuels, renewables, energy storage, intelligent energy management, distributed generation, environmental emissions from energy production and energy scenario modelling.

For the previous decade, David was the Chief Executive Officer for the Cooperative Research Centre for Clean Power from Lignite working closely with industry, governments, universities and CSIRO on new low-emissions power generation technologies for low-rank coal. Previously, David headed the Research and Development Department of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria for Scientific Investigations; Principal, Materials Scientist and Head of Coal Science.

David is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Australian Institute of Energy; a board member of many companies where he participated in energy R & D for over three decades. David advises GTE is on dispatchable renewables energy production, particularly from biomass, coupled with improved technology for measuring and accrediting carbon accumulation in the soils. 

Dr Nicholas Charles Hope AM – Director (elect)

Dr Nicholas Charles Hope is the former Director of the Stanford Centre for International Development (SCID) its China Program at Stanford University, San Francisco, California, USA.

An internationally renowned global economist, Nick was a senior executive with the World Bank for 24 years as President, Europe and Central Asia and Country Director, China and Mongolia, and also Director, World Bank Resident Staff in Indonesia, and chief of multiple finance, industry and energy divisions.

Nick received an economics PhD from Princeton University and degrees from the University of Tasmania and Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar) and is director of the University of Tasmania Foundation, USA; an external board member of the China Institute of Public Finance, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

He is a Member of the International Advisory Committee of Renmin University, School of Business; a member of the academic council of the International Finance Forum, Beijing; a member of the Order of Australia (2012) for services to global economics and a member of the Rhodes Scholar selection panel at Stanford University. 

Associate Professor Dr John Leake – Head of Agriculture

Founder and Director of the Institute for International Development, John has 30 years’ experience as an international development specialist gained in over 30 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

John has undertaken over 100 consulting assignments – more than 50 as an inter-disciplinary team leader in areas related to rural development and natural resource management and rehabilitation.

John has enjoyed experience with several the Australian Government ministries, state governments, the Asian Development Bank; the World Bank; UN Agencies and private clients and as a director and principal of two of Australia's largest consulting firms involved in rural development and natural resource management.

Dr Professor Sergey Shabala – Head of Science, Technology and Research

Professor Shabala leads the vibrant Stress Physiology Research group. Land and Food Division at UTas that includes post-doctoral research fellows and students from eight different countries. The Australian’s Research Magazine named Sergey as the best botany researcher in The World based on the quality, volume and impact of his research work. 

His expertise is in stress physiology and membrane transport where the research focus is on plant adaptive responses to stressed environments (salinity, oxidative stress, extreme temperatures, soil acidity, drought, waterlogging, nutritional disorders, and biotic stress).

Sergey has been President of the ARC College of Experts since 2016 and the Australian Society of Plant Scientists; editor and advisory board member for the international journals (Journal of Experimental Botany; Functional Plant Biology; Plant and Soil; Frontiers in Plant Biophysics and Modelling; and Plant Signalling and Behaviour).

Associate Professor Victor Squires AM
–Carbon and Agriculture Advisor

Victor is an internationally renowned scholar in rangeland science and the writer or editor of 22 books and more than 100 scientific papers, having edited seven volumes of the UNESCO Encyclopaedia of Life Support Systems (over 1,400 pages involving 72 authors from 47 countries). He is currently guest Professor in the Institute of Desertification Studies, Beijing.

Victor has contributed his knowledge to rangeland science through academic and practical field work with peers and students in desert and degraded rangelands. He has conducted research in many prominent dry- and countries of the World including China, Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, USA, Australia and dry-land in Africa; Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Namibia. His Order of Australia was awarded in 2021 for significant service to the environment, notably to the ecology of rangelands.

Victor contributes to the work of the United Nation Convention for the Control of Deserts (UNCCD); the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). He contributor to the ‘World Atlas of Desertification’ and is engaged by the Asian Development Bank, through the “4+4 data sharing mechanism”; the World Bank and UNESCAP.

Formerly Dean of the Faculty of Natural Resources at Adelaide University and the Foundation Director of the National Key Centre for Dryland Agriculture and Land Use Systems at the then Roseworthy College, Victor was a Fellow of the East West Centre in Hawaii and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tucson in Arizona. 

Mr. Deane Belfield – Farm Management Advisor (carbon credits)

Deane spent his working life with blue chip companies such as Siemens, Telstra, Coopers and Lybrand and PWC prior to establishing ECO2Sys, a sustainable business consultancy.

Responsible for leading major projects integrating sustainable and low emissions strategies as a core business function at a national and global level, Deane has been involved with carbon emissions trading programs since 1998.

Dean’s farming background has made him aware of the gradual degradation of farmland arising from the pressure of industrialised agriculture – form of ‘resource extraction’ that is not sustainable – leading to increased GHG emissions, soil toxicity, and decreased soil biology and water retention.

An advocate of regenerative agriculture (soil carbon sequestration) as a key strategy for any community seeking to achieve zero emissions, Deane runs a biodynamic farm in central Victoria and has a 10year soil carbon contract under the ERF. Deane was awarded the Carbon Leadership Award at the 2019 National Carbon Farming Conference.

Ms Elisa de Wit – Company Solicitor

Elisa is an environment and planning, and climate change lawyer and heads the Australian/American law firm Norton Rose Fulbright’s global carbon markets practice. Her advice to various environmental permitting regimes, include waste management, pollution control and discharge consents. Elisa represents clients in connection with environmental offences or breaches of environmental legislation and undertaking substantial due diligence, having significant experience advising on land contamination – both for property and corporate clients and global liability issues.

Elisa authored publications that include “Implementing the Carbon Farming Initiative – A Guide for Business” on behalf of the Carbon Market Institute and is the author of the CFI chapter for the Lexis Nexis Clean Energy Law in Australia service. Elisa was an author of the CFI Legal and Contracts Guide prepared with funding from the Commonwealth Government’s CFI Extension and Outreach program, published in February 2014.

Donald (Don) William Hilton – Business strategy and corporate relations

Don is a Chartered Accountant and CPA who has held senior financial and executive roles with high-profile organizations including the Australian Wheat Board, Monsanto Chemicals, Ecogen Energy, Norwich Union and recently, the Spotlight Group of Companies.

Don is a sound commercial and financial strategist who has advised a diverse industry base in retail, technology, medicine, mining construction, wholesaling, manufacturing, government, stockbroking, finance/banking, insurance and private equity.

Don has directed companies – providing financial advice on diverse topics for finance and banking syndications, due diligence, mergers and acquisitions, capital raising and business divestment, managing offices for high- nett worth families by providing investment and compliance advice.

Justin Howden – Government and public relations and international development

Justin has worked in senior commercial roles across agriculture food and drink and health and life sciences with companies such as Kraft, Fonterra, Business Victoria and Swisse Wellness.
Joining Swisse in 2012, Justin developed the Government Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement program to achieve positive outcomes for the health and wellness industry from free trade agreements and policies for health, modern manufacturing and export.

Justin also created the groups’ sustainability and community engagement programs.

Justin championed the ‘local ingredients’ program from food and waste, as well as purpose grown Australian supplements for apple cider vinegar tablets from ‘ugly’ apples otherwise destined for destruction. 

Justin is on the Board of the European Australia Business Council, Food and Drink Victoria and United Nations Association of Australia. He was National President of the Australia Malaysia Business Council, the Australia Philippines Business Council and was a founding Board member of Swinburne Ventures – the university’s vehicle for spinning off research and innovation-based IP.

Mr Sash Nikolovski – Chief Financial Officer

Sash is responsible for overseeing fiscal management aspects of the business and addresses the numerous compliance requirements for the company. He is the Principal of a successful professional services firm and a professional practitioner for more than 20 years.

As a member of CPA Australia, Sash is a Certified Tax Advisor with the Taxation Institute of Australia, a Registered Tax Agent; and specialist in Australian Government requirements for Research and Development tax rebates.

Mr Nick Watson – Food Processing and Technology Advisor

Nick is an experienced executive with a unique breadth of skills across all elements of food technology from general management, sales, marketing, product development and processing set-up and management. His diverse business background has covered key multinational businesses and industry sectors where Nick has a proven record of meeting sales targets and developing profitable domestic and international business outcomes.

Formerly sales and marketing manager for Kialla Pure Foods and Managing Director of Fontelle, Nick’s passion for social impact causes is borne out by a wealth of pro bono action as a marketing consultant to the Celiac Research Fund, chaired by Dr Bob Anderson. Nick is instrumental in bringing the Alligrator brand into GTE as a purposeful processing component of the Tanzania Green program, inclusive of the skills and knowledge of Alligrator expert Mr Arthur Coert.

Mr Arthur Coert –- Chief Industrial Technologist and Engineer

Arthur has vast experience in machine shop, hydraulic, fuel injection, transmission and general heavy equipment repairs and overhauls; upgrading and modifications and applications for the design of milling systems.

Arthur has developed technologies for concentrated hemp/chia protein powders; biochar; fly ash pelletising/firing and cold cure ceramics; testing procedures on process and product R and D for high-temperature precious metals recovery and the design and manufacture of the Alligrator milling system for GTE purposes.

Experienced in hydraulics, welding, Caterpillar courses in transmissions and associated electronics, Arthur’s experience relates to Euclid, Terex and Komatsu equipment and extensive studies in ceramics and glazes, including firing methods and related technologies.

Dr Suresh Panta – Chief of farm research and data and information control

Suresh is responsible for planting management and scientific research; joining our team in 2010 from which role he has since been awarded three doctoral degrees in Agricultural Science.

Suresh is a member of Soil Science Australia and the Australian Society of Plant Scientists where his primary research is in Halophytes for high saline agriculture. Suresh obtained his doctorate and two masters degrees for research into the sustainable use of saline water for irrigated halophytic plant production in degraded land and for plant adaptive responses to extreme environment (soil and water salinity, drought, and waterlogging), soil health and rehabilitation of degraded land.

His texts have been cited by global researchers on more than 350 occasions and downloaded and on almost 4,000 occasions.

Mr. Alex Arbuthnot AM – Agriculture Advisor

Alex is a former partner in Arbuthnot Farms and chair of Agribusiness Gippsland. Alex has wide experience and is a respected Gippsland farming identity whose passion for sustainable farming enterprise is widely acknowledged throughout the state of Victoria and Australia, providing a lifetime of practical experience and firsthand knowledge for general farming with a special emphasis on ruminants from Gippsland districts.


A culture is not a collection of relics or ornaments, but a practical necessity, and its corruption invokes calamity.  A healthy culture is a communal order of memory, insight, value, work, conviviality, reverence, aspiration.  It reveals the human necessities and the human limits. It clarifies our inescapable bonds to the earth and to each other. It assures that the necessary restraints are observed, that the necessary work is done, and that it is done well.

A healthy farm culture can be based only upon familiarity and can grow only among a people soundly established upon the land; it nourishes and safe-guards a human intelligence of the earth that no amount of technology can satisfactorily replace.  The growth of such a culture was once a strong possibility in the farm communities of this country. We now have only the sad remnants of those communities.  If we allow another generation to pass without doing what is necessary to enhance and embolden the possibility now perishing with them, we will lose it all together.  And then we will not only invoke calamity–we will deserve it.

From The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture by Wendell Berry

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