Earth Island Speakers Bureau

Speakers on Pollution and Plastic

  • Gershon Cohen

    Executive Director, Alaska Clean Water Advocacy

    Gershon Cohen has been protecting public waters from the discharge of toxic pollutants for more than 30 years and is currently executive director of Alaska Clean Water Advocacy. He is also the co-founder of the Great Whale Conservancy and Ultimate Civics. In 2006, Gershon received River Network’s River Hero award and in 2013 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Clean Water Network. He has a master’s degree in Molecular Biology and a doctorate in Environmental Policy. Areas of expertise include water pollution, Clean Water Act, state water quality standards, discharge issues re: cruise ships, mining, etc.

    See also: Conservation, Ocean Conservation

  • Riki Ott

    Executive Director, ALERT: A Locally Empowered Response Team

    Riki Ott is a marine toxicologist and former Alaska commercial fisher-ma’am who shares her first-hand experience with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, oil-spill cleanup, including the use of toxic chemical dispersants and their health impacts on the public, and various regulatory programs, such as the Clean Water Act. Her work is featured in the documentary film The Cost of Silence.

    See also: Conservation, Environmental Education and Youth Leadership, Ocean Conservation

  • Dianna Cohen

    Co-Founder and CEO, Plastic Pollution Coalition

    Dianna Cohen is co-founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition and a passionate advocate against plastic pollution. A Los Angeles-based visual artist, Dianna has shown her work internationally at galleries, foundations, and museums. She uses plastic in her artwork to make a visual and social impact, as shared in her 2010 TED talk “Tough Truths About Plastic Pollution.” Dianna is a frequent speaker and media expert, and she has presented at the United Nations in addition to other international conferences and symposia. She is the recipient of the Global Green Environment Award, the Snow Angel Award, and the Environmentalist of the Year by SIMA, among others. Dianna studied Biology, Art, and Film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and holds a BA in Fine Arts.

    See also: Ocean Conservation, Women and Environment

  • Jackie Nuñez

    Program Manager, Plastic Pollution Coalition

    Jackie Nuñez is advocacy program manager for Plastic Pollution Coalition and founder of the Last Plastic Straw. The Last Plastic Straw has been a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition since 2016. Jackie is a part-time kayak guide and full-time activist who teaches people of all ages how to speak truth to plastic and be an agent for change in their communities. She has advised on more than 20 local ordinances limiting single-use foodware, including plastic straws. Jackie is a frequent speaker at international conferences and in the press, and she was featured in the award-winning documentary Straws (2017). Jackie has a BS in Health and an AS in Horticulture, and she has a passion for travel, ocean sports, design, gardening, the environment, and community service.

    See also: Environmental Education and Youth Leadership, Ocean Conservation, Women and Environment

  • Patricia Martin

    Executive Director, Save Our Soil

    Patricia (Patty) Martin is the executive director of Save Our Soil. Patty is a former mayor of Quincy, Washington, a low-income, minority agricultural community in Central Washington. She was integral in exposing the illegal use of hazardous and other industrial wastes in fertilizer, soil amendments, and animal feed. Her plight and that of local farmers standing against the agrichemical industry was first chronicled in a Seattle Times investigative series “Fear in the Fields: How Hazardous Waste Becomes Fertilizer” (1997) and then in Fateful Harvest: The True Story of a Small Town, a Global Industry, and a Toxic Secret (Harper Collins, 2001). Patty is also an expert on environmental justice issues, including federal agencies’ responsibility under Executive Order 12898 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the responsibilities of state or local government receiving federal funds under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, she can speak to solid waste and waste disposal requirements, air quality issues, and electrical usage of data centers (i.e., the cloud).

    See also: Environmental Justice, Food and Agriculture

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