Environmental Justice: The Next Frontier of Social Justice
Catherine Coleman Flowers unearths America’s dirty secret in her talks about environmental justice, touching on one of the least discussed forms of inequality – equal access to water and sanitation. As Catherine shares, these issues are often “out of sight, out of mind” for most of the United States, but they need our attention. Flowers draws audiences in with her in-depth knowledge at the intersection of environmental issues and systemic race, class, and geographic prejudice.
History’s Effect on Today’s Environmental Challenges
We are dealing with a number of environmental challenges today, from sanitation inequality to climate change. Catherine Coleman Flowers explains the timeline of historic challenges that have created the environmental disparities and issues that continue today, and what we can do individually and as country to change these inequities.
Climate Change: Where do we go from here?
A member of the Board of Directors for the Climate Reality Project, Catherine Coleman Flowers takes audiences beyond the broader implications of the climate crisis, discussing concrete examples of how environmental issues are already impacting communities across the country. Flowers leaves listeners with modern-day tangible solutions as well as ways to take action to address today’s current environmental challenges.
Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret
Flowers shares her inspiring story of advocacy, from childhood to environmental justice champion. She discusses sanitation and its correlation with systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that affects people across the United States.
HWA is proud to represent three TIME 100 Most Influential People Honorees Padma Lakshmi, Michael B. Jordan, and Catherine Coleman Flowers
Each year TIME honors 100 public figures for its iconic list, celebrating individuals who wield their influence to drive positive action toward a better world. Three HWA speakers are present on the 2023 list: acclaimed actor and director MICHAEL B. JORDAN, globally recognized environmental activist CATHERINE COLEMAN FLOWERS and Emmy Award-winning television host PADMA LAKSHMI.
“Padma is an incredible writer, and that really shines through when she speaks. She’s articulate and has a strong point of view […] I’m always in awe of Padma because, yes, she really is that beautiful, talented, and charismatic. She’s iconic.” Writes comedian Ali Wong about Lakshmi.
Director Ryan Coolger recalls the hard work Michael B. Jordan put into his 2023 directorial debut, Creed III: “It’s like climbing a mountain summit through enemy territory with your heart exposed. But I knew Mike had it in him. Because over that quarter-century of work, nothing was given to him. Everything was earned. And I strongly believe that his best work is still to come.”
Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan Stevenson muses about Coleman Flowers’s work to gain environmental justice for her Alabama hometown and beyond: “In August 2022, in part because of Catherine’s work, the Biden Administration chose Lowndes [county] as the place to announce the EPA would devote $50 billion to wastewater issues with a focus on underserved communities. She has compelled leaders to address a crisis aggravated by bigotry and poverty, all while keeping her feet firmly planted in the soil of her homeland.”
Jordan, Flowers, and Lakshmi continue to inspire people around the world and are highly sought after for their insightful talks, moderated Q&A’s and engaging keynotes for audiences of all kinds.
View the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2023 > >
Catherine Coleman Flowers receives acclaim for her leadership in the work for environmental justice
Revered environmental activist and author CATHERINE COLEMAN FLOWERS has dedicated her life’s work to environmental justice, and through her writing, advocacy, and powerful talks she inspires others to get involved. Recently named Duke University’s Practitioner in Residence, Flowers’ impassioned expertise has been sought after from her appointment as Vice Chair of the inaugural White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to her work with Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, and beyond. A MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, Flowers is the author of the acclaimed and award-winning book Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret, in which she shares her inspiring story of advocacy, from childhood to environmental justice champion. Whether addressing equal access to water, the effects of climate change on different communities, or the effect of history on today's inequities, Flowers' lens of leadership in environmental justice and climate change engages and inspires attendees with tangible solutions and ways to take action.
Thought-provoking and informative, Flowers’ talks have left lasting impressions at the American Institute of Architects, the Triple Bottom Line Americas Conference, the Bloomberg Green Festival, the Global Philanthropy Forum, Georgetown University, Wheaton University, and more. She regularly receives rave reviews, such as: “WOW - Catherine was phenomenal! I have received many emails from folks asking for a recording of the program. The feedback I have been receiving is truly wonderful - everyone is feeling inspired!” (Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate) and "I want to personally thank you for your time with us today. We continue to collect praise for your remarks and responses to Q&A, and this all catalyzed a very thought-provoking panel discussion following. I think that by the end, there was a convergence, or agreement, on the importance of understanding the role of community as we work toward solutions." (Washington State University-Pullman)
Watch Catherine Coleman Flowers at The Aspen Institute >>
Catherine Coleman Flowers advocates for equal water and sanitation access across communities
Internationally recognized advocate for equal water and sanitation access CATHERINE COLEMAN FLOWERS offers informative, engaging talks on environmental justice and climate change.
Flowers founded CREEJ, the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, serves as the Rural Development Manager for the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), is a Senior Fellow for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Climate Reality Project and the Natural Resources Defense Council. She is a 2020 MacArthur Fellow in Environmental Health and served on the Biden-Sanders Unity Climate Task Force to inform policy making discussions in preparation for the 2020 presidential election. From these roles, she brings a lens of leadership and authority on environmental justice and climate change to her talks.
Her book Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret, was added to the New York Times "16 New Books To Watch For In November" list for its discussion on where sanitation meets systemic race, class, and geographic prejudice.
Sought out to speak this year for the American Institute of Architects, the Triple Bottom Line Americas Conference, the Bloomberg Green Festival, and the Global Philanthropy Forum, Flowers' thought-provoking talks leave audiences with modern-day tangible solutions, and ways to take action to address today's current environmental challenges, whether she is addressing equal access to water, the effects of climate change on different communities, or the effect of history on today's inequities.
Catherine Coleman Flowers is an internationally recognized environmental activist, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, and author. She has dedicated her life’s work to advocating for environmental justice, primarily equal access to clean water and functional sanitation for communities across the United States.
Founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice (CREEJ), Flowers has spent her career promoting equal access to clean water, air, sanitation, and soil to reduce health and economic disparities in marginalized, rural communities. In addition, Flowers serves as Rural Development Manager for Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), is a Board Member for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Climate Reality Project and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Flowers is also Co-Chair of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on Accelerating Climate Action and Practitioner in Residence at Duke University.
In 2021, her leadership and fervor in fighting for solutions to these issues led her to one of her most notable appointments yet — Vice Chair of the Biden Administration’s inaugural White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Flowers was also named Levenick Resident Scholar in Sustainable Leadership at the University of Illinois for the spring 2021 and was awarded an honorary PhD in science from Wesleyan University.
As the author of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret, Flowers shares her inspiring story of advocacy, from childhood to environmental justice champion. She discusses sanitation and its correlation with systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that affects people across the United States. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Guardian, and on PBS.