My passion for the environment began at the age of 6 on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. As part of that great event, my first grade class crossed the street from Spring Harbor Elementary in Madison, Wisconsin, to take a “nature walk” in a small wooded area. During this welcome escape from the classroom, wearing the green and white ecology button passed out by my teacher, I learned to look at the world around me with heightened appreciation. I was hooked.
After graduating from Vanderbilt University, I attended Tulane Law School where I joined the Environmental Law Clinic representing clients from Greenpeace to the Audubon Society. I graduated from law school with honors in 1990 and moved to Los Angeles to prosecute environmental and other crimes in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. In 1997, I was recruited to be Heal the Bay’s Director of Law and Policy.
In 2005, I became a member of Heal the Bay’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. For seven years, I served as Co-Chair for Heal the Bay’s largest annual fundraising event, raising over 5 million dollars during that time period. In 2006, Heal the Bay honored me with its highest volunteer award, the Super Healer Award.
I am a Founding Board Member of The 5 Gyres Institute, Founding Board Member of The George Greenstein Foundation, and I have served on the Board of Heal the Bay since 2005. In 2012 I produced two panels at The United Nations: one on plastic pollution moderated by Kyra Sedgwick, and the other on using social media for environmental causes. Also in 2012, I was invited to speak at The Rio Earth Summit on plastic pollution.
In 2009, I co-founded Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals and the environment.