Visiting Scholar Fred Tutman on Why Environmental Justice is Important

Fred Tutman is a grassroots community advocate for clean water in Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway and holds the title of Patuxent Riverkeeper, an organization that he founded in 2004. He also lives and works on an active farm located near the Patuxent that has been his family’s ancestral home for nearly a century. Prior to Riverkeeping, Fred spent over 25 years working as a media producer and consultant on telecommunications assignments all over the globe. Fred now teaches an adjunct course in Environmental Law and Policy at Historic St. Mary’s College of MD. An accomplished Blacksmith, farmer and outdoor adventurer, Fred is the recipient of numerous regional and state awards for his various environmental works.He is among the longest serving Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake region and the only African-American Waterkeeper in the nation.

Tutman writes:

A housing developer socked me in the jaw, and I finally got why environmental justice was important…When I became a Waterkeeper, I initially thought saving the environment was mostly about science and nature. I did not fully understand when I started out, how closely connected social injustice and environmental pollution actually are. But I also learned how tunnel focused non-profit movements are on attracting wealthy donors, and I feared that funding priorities blunted our environmental activism in terms of our inclination to work on environmental problems or serve communities that lacked wealth. Only then did I see the bigger picture of challenges for environmental groups that seek greater diversity and inclusion—but while doing the same work they have always done. When I refocused my watershed conservation work to serve the under-served, the local foundation funding dropped us, my Treasurer quit, and my organization became an outcast in the Chesapeake Bay movement (at least for a time). It’s quite a story.

Sponsored by the Goddard Graduate Institute.
This event is free and open to the public.
Contact Ruth Farmer: ruth.farmer@goddard.edu | (802) 322-1657