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.
In what ways does nature inspire or inform your work?
I grew up loving nature in rural Lowndes County. Trees, pasturelands and wild fruit were a big part of my surroundings. I regularly saw why it was so important to take care of the environment—not only for the sake of preserving the beauty of nature, but because climate change devastates communities. The lessons I learned in my youth still inform and inspire my work to this day, driving me on my path to become an environmentalist.
What does it mean to you to be part of a thriving ecosystem?
A thriving ecosystem is the result of a thriving community—everyone working together at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure equitable access to viable resources like clean air, drinkable water, and effective sanitation systems for all. This is especially important for those who live in rural communities, which have been systematically ignored for generations.