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About Us

We are a diverse group of ecologists committed to promoting and facilitating the involvement of all ecologists in advancing Environmental Justice (EJ) through education, research and public engagement.  Our vision of EJ is a world in which all people enjoy a healthy environment, as well as opportunities for meaningful participation in environmental stewardship actions and policy decision-making processes.

Our current officers

Cesar O. Estien (he/they)
PhD Student at University of California, Berkeley 

Cesar O. Estien is currently a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. Cesar is broadly interested in understanding how humans and cities influence organismal biology (e.g., behavior, health) and, subsequently, population ecology/community dynamics (e.g., coexistence, competition). In their current research, they center environmental (in)justice to fully understand the social and ecological impacts cities have on wildlife and how they interact with humans. Cesar plans on using this work, along with the work we do here in the Environmental Justice section, to conceptualize how we can build more just and equitable cities that work for people and wildlife.

Brandon Quintana (he/him)
MS Student at California State University, Fullerton

Brandon Quintana is currently a master’s student in the Biological Science department at California State University, Fullerton. Brandon graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in Environmental Studies and a Ronald E. McNair Alumni. He aims to bring light to environmental justice issues faced by historically excluded communities and make academia a more welcoming and inclusive environment. For his thesis, he is currently studying how biomass and condition index of filter feeders are responding to different factors such as sedimentation and eelgrass in a living shoreline setting. The goal of his research is to use the results of the study to inform restoration management and better protect coastal communities while increasing habitat and biodiversity. Overall, he plans to use an interdisciplinary perspective that combines coastal restoration, education, and policy to advocate for low-income communities on environmental injustice issues they are facing while concurrently preserving natural and human landscapes.

Leeza-Marie Rodriguez (she/her)
PhD Student at University of California, Santa Barbara

Leeza-Marie Rodriguez is a 1st year Ph.D. student at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where she is investigating the effects of Marine Heatwaves (MHWs) on marine invertebrate physiology. The main objective of her study is to understand how important ecosystem engineers, like sea urchins, respond to stress in their environments and what traits allow them to persist in place. Leeza is also interweaving this research with environmental justice, so as to address and inform marginalized communities about the issues associated with climate change to harbor a welcoming and inclusive environment. Leeza is also a recent 2021 SEEDS alumni, and is eager to become more aware while also educating others about environmental justice.

Crystal Ramirez (she/her)
MS Student at California State University, Los Angeles

Crystal Ramirez is currently a 2nd year MS student at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Her research focuses on whether facilitation via microclimate amelioration is a mechanism influencing an increase in productivity in polyculture food systems in an urban garden. She uses theoretical ecology and biodiversity-ecosystem functioning principles to study this, and aims to also incorporate environmental justice and indigenous knowledge into her research. With this interdisciplinary approach, she aims to address food sovereignty in low-income communities.

Our Goal

Our goal is that all ESA members should understand the relationship between ecology and EJ and should work to address EJ issues.  Through publications and annual meeting events, members of the Environmental Justice Section educate ESA members in EJ principles, identify ESA members with expertise and interest relevant to EJ, and assist ecologists in identifying EJ-relevant dimensions of their field.   We also partner with community- and faith-based organizations to address pressing local and global environmental issues, and to learn how ecologists can better support community efforts toward environmental justice.

Learn more about our work