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Catherine Coleman Flowers (she/her)

Founder, The Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice; White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Vice Chair; Duke University Practitioner in Residence; Board Member, The Climate Reality Project


Catherine Coleman Flowers is the rural development manager for the Equal Justice Initiative, and the founder of CREEJ (The Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice), which seeks to reduce health and economic disparities and improve access to clean air, water, and soil in marginalized rural communities by influencing policy, inspiring innovation, catalyzing relevant research, and amplifying the voices of community leaders, all within the context of a changing climate.  In addition, she is Duke University’s Franklin Humanities Institute Practitioner in Residence. Her goal is to address the lack of sanitation in many parts of America that rival conditions found in the developing world. She has characterized this as “America’s dirty secret.” Flowers hopes to shepherd a paradigm shift toward sustainability and resiliency in rural communities by inspiring the development of climate-friendly onsite wastewater technology using renewable energy. She was the co-author of a study that found tropical parasites, including hookworm, in participants in Lowndes County, Alabama. She represented the Center for Earth Ethics in Paris as an official observer at COP 21. In 2017, Flowers invited UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty Philip Alston to Alabama. Alston characterized what he saw as “uncommon in the first world.” Later, Flowers and her work were featured on PBS NewsHour. Her book, titled Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret, will be released this year. Flowers’ goal is to create a sustainable world that will benefit seven generations to come.
Catherine Coleman Flowers