Session Type(s): Keynote
Starts: Friday, Jul. 15 10:30 AM
Ends: Friday, Jul. 15 11:45 AM
Room: General Session - Hall 2
The topic of climate change often brings to mind images of melting glaciers and starving polar bears. For too long we’ve failed to connect the direct impact of environmental injustices, including climate change, on our lives, families, and communities. The effects of climate change are widespread: people die from exposure to toxins from coal fired power plants and are sickened from breathing toxic ask from mountain top removal. Drought and flooding impact the availability of nutritious food and increase the likelihood that those in flood-prone cities will lose their homes and livelihoods. And communities of color and low-income communities are usually hit the hardest.
Join us for a plenary session on the intersection of climate change and environmental justice and a look at what needs to happen to stem the effects of climate change for our most vulnerable communities. You’ll hear from Tom Steyer, president of NextGen Climate; Jacqui Patterson, director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program; Green for All Executive Director Vien Truong; and Anthony Rogers-Wright, Policy and Organizing Director for Environmental Action.
Check out the highlights, as told by Netroots Nation attendees.
Currently the NAACP Director of Environmental and Climate Justice, Jacqui Patterson, MSW, MPH, has served as a trainer, organizer, researcher,, and policy analyst on international and domestic issues including women’s rights, HIV&AIDS, violence against women, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson authored multiple articles including: “Jobs vs Health: An Unnecessary Dilemma”; “Energy Democracy, Black Lives Matter, and the NAACP Advocacy Agenda”, “Climate Change is a Civil Rights Issue”, “And the People Shall Lead: Centering Frontline Community Leadership” and more. She serves on the Boards of Directors for Center for Story Based Strategy, Institute of the Black World, GRID Alternatives, and US Climate Action Network, as well as on Steering Committees for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate and Advisory Board for Center for Earth Ethics.
Selected as one of the Grist 50 People You’ll Be Talking About in 2016, Anthony has over ten years of policy analysis, community organizing and outreach/advocacy experience. While serving as a policy analyst for various environmental consulting firms in California and Colorado, he specialized in land use, Clean Air Act and Environmental Justice compliance. He has used his organizing and outreach experience to advocate for a variety of social justice campaigns including affordable health care access, income inequality and civil rights for LGBT citizens. In 2012, Anthony led the effort to make Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative the first health insurance provider in the State’s history to remove transgender health exclusions from all of their policies. A veteran of political campaigns, Anthony served as a Field Organizer for the 2004 Howard Dean presidential campaign and the 2008/2012 OFA campaigns where he specialized in voter mobilization and campaign messaging. In 2009 he assisted with organizing a coalition of faith based organizations, community advocates, and concerned volunteers to address food deserts in Los Angeles. His efforts successfully lobbied the City Council to implement new policies that leveraged supermarket chains to construct grocery stores in identified food deserts. Currently, he is the US coordinator at The Leap (co-founded by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis). Anthony earned his bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science and Policy and Jazz Composition as well as his Master’s Degree in Community Development, Environmental Science and Public Policy from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He currently resides in New York City.
Michelle Romero is Deputy Director of Green For All, where she works to end environmental segregation in America by prioritizing communities of color in climate policy.
In March, Michelle coordinated a bus tour of Flint, MI with Van Jones, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Steyer, and Vien Truong, to expose the environmental racism that is the #FlintWaterCrisis and uplift community solutions to #FixFlint.
Michelle also coordinated national partners to co-create and publish a series of toolkits – the Clean Power for All Solutions Series – to give states needed policy guidance to ensure the Clean Power Plan’s benefits reach frontline communities.
Immediately prior, Michelle worked in issues management and policy analysis for the University of California system, and spent five years at Greenlining Institute, a California-based nonprofit, where she did extensive work to shape the state’s 2011 Citizen Redistricting Process and expand opportunities for people of color in the electoral process.
Tom Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate.
In 2010, Tom and his wife, Kat Taylor, pledged to contribute most of their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetimes. That same year, Tom worked to defeat Proposition 23, an attempt by the oil industry to roll back California’s historic plan to reduce pollution and address climate change.
In 2012, Tom led a campaign to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in California schools annually by closing a corporate tax loophole. To date, Proposition 39 has put nearly a billion dollars into California schools and clean energy projects, saving millions of dollars in annual energy costs.
Tom founded a successful California business, which he left to work full-time on non-profit and advocacy efforts. He now serves as President of NextGen America, an organization he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans. Tom also serves as co-chair of Save Lives California, the coalition to prevent teen smoking and fund cancer research.
Tom’s dedication to public service is greatly inspired by his wife, Kat, the co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank in Oakland. They founded this nonprofit community bank in 2007 to provide loans to people and small businesses shut out by the traditional banking system. Unlike most banks, by statute Beneficial State Bank invests any profits back into the community.
Tom and Kat live in San Francisco and have four children.