|courtesy Veronica Eady|
being so dedicated to a cause that you’d consider a 3,000-mile commute.
For the past five years, Veronica Eady has done just that.
Several times a year, Eady treks from the East Coast to the West to attend EII board meetings. Originally from the San Francisco Bay area (home of Earth Island’s main office), Eady moved in 1998 to Massachusetts, where she is a faculty member in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. Her continued enthusiasm and affection for EII make her a vital contributor to the organization’s policies and direction. Perhaps her continued connection is due to the close bonds she had established with the organization even prior to officially joining it. Eady had been a member of the board at The Sierra Club along with Earth Island’s founder David Brower, and Earth Island project director Russell Long.
“I joined Earth Island’s board in 1998 because I was excited about the opportunity to work with David Brower and to have a close involvement with an organization he had started and still had an affiliation with,” says Eady. “He was the last living major environmental icon of our time. He continued to be an idealist to his dying day. He never lost energy or became discouraged. I found that kind of energy to be enormously inspiring.”
EII’s board of 17 members is responsible for ensuring that a wide range of environmental issues is well represented in the organization’s mission. Eady has a particular interest and many years of experience in environmental litigation and social justice, bringing a unique perspective on those issues to the board. By giving voice to those concerns, Eady ensures that EII’s various global projects demonstrate commitment to improving conditions in those fields throughout the world.
“Veronica has made very valuable contributions to our board,” says John Knox, executive director of EII. “Her combination of dedication and knowledge is difficult to find, and we’re extremely fortunate to have someone so well versed in environmental law on our side,” he says.
Through her many contributions to the organization, Eady believes she has personally benefited from her involvement. She credits Earth Island with sharpening her focus on global environment issues by introducing her to project leaders and the issues they work on passionately.
“I have learned a lot from Earth Island. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more than I’ve given!” says Eady. “Earth Island has really opened my eyes to individual struggles, both globally and locally. My involvement with the organization has led me to meet people who are going through struggles and learn a lot about what can be done to help them.”
Eady’s vision of Earth Island’s future includes using her connections in the East coast environmental movement to increase public awareness of EII far beyond its San Francisco headquarters. One of her strategies is to involve young activists, inspiring the next generation to continue the efforts to which Brower dedicated his life.
“People need to be exposed to the energy and ideals of Dave Brower. Because I work in a university, I am very well positioned to make Earth Island’s name known to undergrad and grad students. There is a great opportunity for bright, visionary students who are coming out of college to start doing work on a project they really care about with Earth Island.”
An avid rock climber and kayaker, Eady’s interest in the environment is more than purely academic. She has worked with such groups as the Earth Day Summit, the National Advisory Council on Environmental Technology and Policy, and the Center for Environmentally Responsible Economies. Despite her busy schedule as a presenter and author, Eady continues to put her heart into her commitment to Earth Island.
“I’m so happy to be part of the Earth Island family,” says Eady. “It’s thrilling to be involved with people who have been with the organization since its beginning. I couldn’t imagine not being a part of the lives of the people who are part of the board. I love their energy and I think that’s what helps make great things happen. David Brower’s spirit and inspiration continue to carry us into the future.”
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