by Alyssa Leavy & Bashira Muhammad | Zoom Out Mycology
20. Kari Fulton, inspired by a trip to the Ninth Ward following Hurricane Katrina, brought that sense of service back to D.C. with a grant for community projects. Kari’s greatest strength is her commitment to meeting people halfway on environmental issues; whether your interest is fashion, journalism or music, she will look for a way to weave eco-friendly practices into your life. Fulton was recently appointed as the Interim Director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change (EJCC) Initiative, a coalition of leading organizations and voices for climate justice.
Fun Fact: Kari follows the work of Robert Bullard, known as the father of environmental justice, and quotes his message that “if you breathe the air... you’re an environmentalist.”
21. Karen Washington is a community gardener and advocate for green spaces in the Bronx. Karen helped prevent urban gardens from being sold to developers in New York City, protecting the limited access to local gardens. She started Garden of Happiness and The Farm School: the New York School City School of Urban Agriculture. The Farm School teaches urban farming in outdoor gardens and reaches residents who otherwise wouldn’t have access to this kind of training.
Fun Fact: Washington also started the Black Urban Growers Conference, which draws hundreds of participants each year.
22. Felicia Davis is co-founder of the Green Fund, a fundraiser to help HBCU campuses adopt sustainable innovations. She is also the director of the building green initiative, which advances green building and other sustainability efforts at historically black, hispanic serving and tribal colleges and universities. Davis also serves as the sustainability coordinator for Clark Atlanta University which is part of the Atlanta University System, the largest consortium of HBCUs in the country.
Fun fact: Felicia was one of 3 metro area women named "Atlanta Power Women" by actor Mark Ruffalo's (The Incredible Hulk) in the ATL 100 Campaign.
23. Destiny Watford began her resistance to environmental injustice as a senior in high school. Through her organization She organized her Curtis Bay community in Baltimore, Maryland, a city with the highest rates of death from air pollution in the nation. Watford successfully stopped the construction of a proposed incinerator in Curtis Bay as a junior in college at Towson University.
Fun fact: Destiny’s greatness hasn’t stopped there. She is currently working on turning half of the previously mentioned proposed construction site into a community owned solar panel farm.
24. Carolyn Finney started her environmental journey as an actor but a backpacking trip around the world and living in Nepal changed the course of her career. Finney is a writer, performer, educator, and cultural geographer. She previously taught at UC Berkeley and is currently a professor at University of Kentucky. In class and in life she explores issues related to difference, creativity, identity and resilience.
Fun fact: Finney wrote her first book in 2014. It’s called Black Faces, White Spaces and studies why African Americans are so underrepresented when it comes to the great outdoors.
25. Bashira Muhammad, founder of Zoom Out Mycology, is a geographer, soil restoration project manager and proponent of natural solutions to environmental issues. She designs regenerative landscapes, like rain gardens, featured in an earlier post. Bashira’s unique approach focuses on incorporating mushrooms into every design as a vital keystone species and the heart of all her initiatives at Zoom Out Mycology. Through this venture, she teaches people how to build a more sustainable lifestyle by conserving ecosystems and resources from their homes.
Fun fact: Bashira hiked Rainbow Mountain in Peru, a mountain that peaks at 16,500ft and was only recently revealed due a a glacier melting in the Andes.
26. Kalila Barnett is the executive director of Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE) in Massachusetts. ACE’s mission is to help build “the power of communities of color and low-income communities to eradicate environmental racism and classism, create healthy, sustainable communities, and achieve environmental justice.” Kalila is also on the board at the Center for Environmental Health, which helps protect people from toxic chemicals.
Fun Fact: Barnett was a panelist at mini-symposium in Boston about protecting water resources called “Preventing the Next Flint.”
27. Dr. Robert Bullard is known as the father of environmental justice and broke ground with his book, Dumping in Dixie. Robert recognizes that to achieve equity, everyone must be given a seat at the table. His approach is one rooted in reason that considers the environment, economics and equity equally. Dr. Bullard recognizes that success will be realized when “we take the blinders off and allow every single American to rise and reach his or her potential without these artificial barriers.” His message of inclusion continues to strengthen the environmental justice movement and provide hope for those at the forefront.
Fun Fact: Dr. Bullard is currently the Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University.
28. Margie Eugene-Richard is from Norco, LA., also known as “Cancer Alley” for its high rates of respiratory illness, infections and other maladies. Her neighborhood, Old Diamond, is sandwiched between two Shell plants. To protect her family and neighbors, Margie used every resource at her disposal to convince Shell to reduce its toxic emissions by 30 percent, contribute $5 million to a community-development fund and relocate Old Diamond residents. Now she is an “activist-at-large” working with communities spanning from Texas to South Africa.
Fun Fact: In 2004 Margie won the Goldman Environmental Prize, one of the most distinguished awards given to grassroots environmentalists.
About the Author
Alyssa Leavy graduated from Lehigh University's bioengineering program with a concentration in pharmaceuticals in 2012. Since then she has pursued her passion for renewable fuels at a biodiesel plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. In her free time she enjoys gardening in her NYC apartment, acting as sous chef to her fiance, and speaking entirely in Simpsons quotes.
Zoom Out Mycology’s Environmental Awareness blog strives to explain and expose environmental topics and concerns to a wide audience. We hope that this knowledge will help all of our readers embrace a healthy and sustainable lifestyle! If you are interested in being a guest contributor, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org