Queens CollegeCuny

Judith Kimerling

JK crop.IMG_0904Judith Kimerling

Goals: to engage with academics in Brazil who have similar research interests; to learn about ways that universities are implementing campus sustainability activities, and to learn as much as I can about Brazil.

She is a Professor of Environmental Law and Policy in the Political Science Department and Environmental Studies Program at The City University of New York, Queens College. She also taught law at CUNY School of Law for more than a decade. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Yale Law School, she worked for seven years as an environmental litigator, including five years as an Assistant Attorney General for New York State, where she worked on the Love Canal litigation and other hazardous waste cleanup litigation and negotiations.

In 1989, she moved to Ecuador and worked with indigenous organizations in the Amazon Rainforest to document the environmental and social impacts of oil development there. Her book Amazon Crude was called “the Silent Spring of Ecuador” by The New York Times. In the U.S., it prompted a historic class action lawsuit, Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc., which led to related proceedings in Ecuador and other locales that raise many issues of importance to legal scholars and practitioners around the world. In 2012, Professor Kimerling was retained by a group of indigenous Huaorani representatives to help protect their interests in that litigation. She is also international counsel for Ome Gompote Kiwigimoni Huaorani (Ome Yasuni), an alliance of indigenous Huaorani (Waorani) communities who came together to defend their culture and territory in the area now known as Yasuni National Park and Biosphere Reserve, as well as protect the rainforest and defend the right of the Huaorani to continue to live freely and in accordance with their culture in what remains of their ancestral land. Professor Kimerling received The Field Museum’s 2007 Parker/Gentry Award for Excellence and Innovation in Conservation/Environmental Biology for “her courageous and relentless work on behalf of indigenous peoples, riverine communities, and vast, intact forests in the headwaters of the Amazon.” In 2011, she was awarded the Albertson Medal in Sustainable Development for “her defense of the Amazon rainforest and the human communities that depend on it for their culture and survival.”

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