I’m an attorney in private practice at Meakins Law, as well as a writer and activist on climate change-related issues. Since 2010, I have focused on reporting on and advocating for island nations threatened by global warming caused by sea level rise. I have conducted fact-finding missions to Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Grenada, the Maldives, and the Marshall Islands, which are the countries hardest hit by climate change, as well as islands and coastal communities all over the world. I believe in the power of story as an advocacy tool. Anyone who doesn’t have compassion for low-lying islanders simply hasn’t heard the right story yet.
I received my law degree from the University of Oregon, which has one of the preeminent environmental law programs in the US. I have provided research and litigation support as part of pro bono humanitarian-focused representation to countries severely impacted by climate change. In addition, I have organized and participated in a number of environmental law conferences and observed the intricate UN Climate Change Negotiation process. As an attorney, I have a unique understanding of the legal complexities that these island populations will face if they are forced to relocate. The present legal infrastructure is inadequate to address the issues that will confront them, and lawyers, governments, and activists must begin to build the legal framework to support these populations. We must do so with the help and understanding of the public, which is why I write from a human-interest perspective.
My goal in my work for Drowning Islands is to alert the world to the plight of these island nations. It is my hope that the stories of islanders who are facing the loss of their physical homes and, potentially, their centuries-old culture will inspire greater discussion and personal action. While these populations hold scant responsibility for global warming, its impact on them is great. Although I include reader-friendly science and statistics to clarify the cause and effect of the rising sea levels, I believe that the stories of these nations and their people will inspire readers in a way that facts and figures cannot.
I live in the Bay Area with my husband, Andy, and I travel to climate-impacted countries eight to ten times a year. I speak at climate change and island related conferences and forums on a regular basis, and provide consulting services on human impacts and climate change-related topics.