WANJIKU "WAWA" GATHERU
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2023
Bishop Dunne Catholic School Auditorium
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Bishop Dunne welcomes Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru Environmental Justice Warrior, Rhodes Scholar & Founder of Black Girl Environmentalist to GeoTech 2023.
For Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru, caring about the environment started early. While farming with her mom and grandmother as a child, the conversations would often turn to saving the earth. The first-generation American of Kenyan descent became even more invested when taking an environmental science class in high school when she learned that social justice and climate issues were deeply intertwined. Everything suddenly became personal. “It was in this call I learned that the environment had everything to do with me,” she says. Her passion soon turned into activism.
Today, Wawa is a climate justice storyteller motivated to uplift the voices of those most adversely impacted by the climate crisis. She has become a prominent voice of her generation, using the power of social media to share how communities of color and women have been adversely affected by climate change and the racist roots of the environmental movement.
Harnessing her academic background as a Rhodes Scholar and her work as a youth climate activist, Wawa’s life goal is to help create a climate movement made in the image of all of us. Online, Wawa combats climate nihilism and highlights the legacies of those traditionally sidelined from mainstream environmentalism to her audience of over 80,000-plus across platforms. In-person, Wawa is the founder and executive director of Black Girl Environmentalist, a Public Voices Fellow on the Climate Crisis at Yale University and a recent Revolutionary Power Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy, where she worked under the first-ever Deputy for Energy Justice to integrate energy justice in the federal landscape.
Passionate about bringing climate conversations into untraditional spaces, Wawa works collaboratively alongside other creatives, musicians and culture shapers to bring climate justice to the mainstream. In January 2023, Billie Eilish personally invited Wawa to join her on the first-ever digital cover of Vogue, alongside seven other climate activists.
Wawa sits on boards and advisory councils for the Environmental Media Association, Earthjustice, Climate Power, the National Parks Conservation Association, Good Energy and Sound Future.
Wawa has been recognized as a Young Futurist by The Root, a Grist 50 FIXER, a Glamour College Woman of the Year and a Victoria’s Secret PINK Purpose Project Winner. She was also named a Climate Creator to Watch by Pique Action and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and has spoken about her work across the country.
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