Catherine Coleman Flowers, an internationally recognized advocate for equal access to water and sanitation for all communities, engages and informs audiences on environmental justice and climate change.

A 2020 MacArthur Fellow in Environmental Health, Flowers founded CREEJ, the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, which focuses on reducing health and economic disparities among communities, as well as improving access to clean air, water, and soil in marginalized rural communities. In addition, she serves as 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. Flowers served on the Biden-Sanders Unity Climate Task Force to inform policy making discussions in preparation for the 2020 presidential election.

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 combination with systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that affects people across the United States.

Whether addressing equal access to water, the effects of climate change on different communities, or the effect of history on today's inequities, Flowers' lens of leadership in environmental justice and climate change inspires attendees with tangible solutions and ways to take action. Thought-provoking and informative, Flowers’ talks have left lasting impressions at Duke University, Georgetown University, Wheaton University, and more.


Event was held Tuesday, February 2, 2021. This recording of the session will be available for a limited time.

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The Ferguson Family Distinguished Lectureship is presented annually by the Nicholas School to bring to Duke major thought-leaders to speak on topics of significant social and environmental import. Past speakers have included EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, former Vice President Al Gore Jr., and energy visionary Amory Lovins.