Catherine Coleman Flowers

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.

Flowers sits on the Board of Directors for the Climate Reality Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Geophysical Union. She also serves as a Practitioner in Residence at the Nicholas School of the Environment 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. In 2023, she was recognized as one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was featured on Forbes’ “50 Over 50” list.

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. In the book, she discusses sanitation and its correlation with systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that affects people across the United States. She and her work have been profiled by CBS’s 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, PBS Newshour, and more.