Catherine 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.