Opening Keynote

Opening Keynote

Saturday, 8 Oct. 5–6 p.m.

Wanjiku 'Wawa' Gatheru

Everyone Can Be an Environmentalist

Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru, Environmental Justice Warrior, Rhodes Scholar, and Founder of Black Girl Environmentalist

Description: Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru has one main mission when it comes to her climate justice activism: to ensure the environmental movement is as inclusive as possible. She’s passionate about the interaction between climate justice, racial justice, antiracism and gender equality. And she continues to work on it every day. That’s why she created Black Girl Environmentalist, an online community for underrepresented voices in the environmental movement. “I founded my organization Black Girl Environmentalist because I’d like to see more people of color cultivate intentional communities around themselves,” she said in an interview with Green Matters. In this talk, Gatheru shares the story of how she created the Black Girl Environmentalist organization and why it matters, how she works with other environmental organizations and the opportunity we all have to help the earth—no matter how young or old—starting with our relationships and communities.


Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru is an environmental justice advocate, writer, and current graduate student at the University of Oxford. She is a first-generation American of Kenyan descent and the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall Scholarships.

The founder of the organization Black Girl Environmentalist, Gatheru is motivated to uplift the voices of those most adversely impacted by environmental inequities through changing conversations. For her work in collaboration with other activists and thought leaders, Gatheru has been recognized as a 2020 Young Futurist by The Root, a 2020 Grist 50 FIXER, a 2020 Glamour College Woman of the Year, and has spoken on her work across the country.