Women and the Environment Symposium


by Richelle Kimble

Join the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) for a daylong symposium that explores the intersection between women and gender issues and environmental concerns. The event, which focuses on women in leadership, will comprise of highlight presentations concerning faith and environment and diversity and inclusion efforts in the Michigan environmental movement, two panel discussions, networking opportunities, and keynote speaker Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP’s environmental and climate justice director.

Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP’s environmental and climate justice director
Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP’s environmental and climate justice director

Patterson is deeply involved in national and international climate action and has traveled the country speaking, writing, and advocating for environmental justice in the U.S.

The Executive Director of WMEAC, Rachel Hood stated, “The Women and the Environment Symposium is an inspiring event that helps us understand how to protect our health and quality of life in the Great Lakes for our families and communities.”

The Women and the Environment Symposium meshes flawlessly with WMEAC’s mission to achieve and value diversity, inclusiveness, and equity for the betterment of our community. Environmental education and advocacy, protecting water resources and growing sustainable communities are WMEAC’s primary goals.

The event not only discusses longevity, solutions and objectives, but it also shares stories of why environmental-first organizations are critical to our communities. Get a deeper perspective, for example, on the Flint Water Crisis by listening to Lee Ann Walters, a mother and resident from Flint. Walters will deliver her story, her efforts to petition the EPA to take emergency measures, and inform others about the situation.

Additional guests with essential information on diversity, faith and the environment include Dr. Kyle Whyte, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at MSU; Johannah Jelks of local women empowerment campaign She Rides Her Own Way; Fred Stella, outreach minister for the West Michigan Hindu Temple; Margarita Solis-Deal from Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids; Nichea Ver Veer Guy, a ministry director at Trinity United Methodist Church; Suseon Kathryn Doran-Fisher, student in the Dharma Teacher Program at the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple & Zen Center; and more.

The symposium is the first large-scale meeting of local leaders and stakeholders in the academic, business and activism communities focused on gender and the environment.

  • What: WMEAC’s Fifth Annual Women and the Environment Symposium
  • Where: Loosemore Auditorium at the DeVos Center on Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus
  • When: February 24 from 2-8 p.m.
  • Why: To learn about environmental justice, diversify connections with women, and get empowered to take action!


When she’s not editing for WLM, Richelle enjoys exploring, traveling, writing, reading, cooking, learning and playing. Follow her for adventure inspiration: @thekleerlife





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