Della Duncan

Founder, Upstream Podcast
Nationality: American
Living in: San Francisco, California, US
Fields of work: education, environment and sustainable development, media and journalism, economics, spirituality

“I try to effect economic systems change by operating in the realm of mindsets or paradigms. Knowing that our systems were made by the human mind and can, therefore, be unmade or remade by the human mind gives me hope for our just transition to a more equitable world. I stay curious about my beliefs and thoughts and how they relate to my actions and livelihood path. I also bring curiosity to my interactions with other people, to refrain from ‘othering’ and separating myself from others. Curiosity helps me to stay open, listen, and change my beliefs and mindset to support connection and collaboration.”
— Della Duncan

Della Duncan is a renegade economist based in San Francisco. She is interested in questioning and challenging mainstream economic ideology and contributing to systems change for a more equitable, sustainable and enlivened world. Her approach draws from heterodox movements including ecological economics, feminist economics, Buddhist economics, new economics and eco-socialism. 

After graduating summa cum laude from the University of California, Davis, with a BA in international relations and sociology, Della worked in the fields of sexual violence prevention and intervention, higher education and international development. 

Concerned about widening inequality in the San Francisco Bay Area and aware of more equal and solidaristic economies from her travels and studies, she set off on a livelihood path to try to understand economic challenges at their root causes and identify their systemic solutions.  

This led her to pursue an MA in economics for transition from Schumacher College, where she graduated with distinction. Since then, her work has taken many forms. She hosts and produces the Upstream Podcast, telling stories of alternative economic thought and practice through radio documentaries and interviews. She supports individuals, organisations and governments as a Right Livelihood coach, a Gross National Happiness trainer and an alternative economics consultant.

Della also facilitates courses around the world in the areas of alternative economics, Buddhist economics, the Work that Reconnects and financial permaculture. Her professional affiliations include Schumacher College, the Eurasia Learning Institute for Happiness and Wellbeing, Santa Cruz Permaculture, the Gross National Happiness Centre and the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition.

Twitter: @dellazduncan @upstreampodcast

“What gives me hope? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote: ‘The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.’ This concept reminds me that no matter how often I witness or experience the human capacity for harm and violence, I know that we also have the capacity for kindness and altruism. This understanding helps me view instances of violence and harm as opportunities to invite people instead into moments of reconciliation, kindness and love.”
— Della Duncan