Youth Activism, Then and Now: Student Activists from Several Generations on Youth Activism and Environmental Justice

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:15pm

DANA Room 1040, 440 Church St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Wednesday, March 11th at 4:00 pm

*This panel will be live-streamed instead of being an in-person event, which can be accessed here. Tonight’s panel, Environmental Action for Survival: The History and Legacies of U-M's 1970 Teach-In on the Environment, will also be live-streamed starting at 5:15 p.m. at*

An informal dialogue with student activists from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.  Panelists will discuss strategies used to change institutions, the centrality of environmental justice in organizing, and how things have changed through the years. 



George Coling -

Occupational health and environmental justice advocate, Former Executive Director, National Fuel Funds Network.  George enrolled in the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the fall of 1969 after obtaining a Biology degree from the University of Rochester. He soon became involved in ENACT, the campus student group organizing events for the March 1970 Environmental Teach-In. After the Teach-In, he was one of the founders of the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor and then moved to Washington to work for Environmental Resources, the affiliate of Environmental Action, which organized Earth Day nationally. George worked in Washington until 2015, when he and his wife, Marcia Coling, moved to Western Massachusetts. George and Marcia have two sons and two grandchildren. In those years in Washington, George worked for the national organization of ecology centers, the American Public Health Association; the Urban Environment Conference, Inc.; Rural Coalition; Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club. Much of his work focused on the issues of occupational health and of environmental justice and on building grassroots networks to address these issues. He also did consulting for numerous environmental, community and labor organizations. From 1997 until his 2012 retirement, George was Executive Director of the National Fuel Funds Network, an organization of privately-funded energy assistance programs and an advocate for increased federal funding home energy assistance for people with low incomes.


Kathryn Savoie, PhD - Detroit Community Health Director, Ecology Center

Kathryn joined the Ecology Center in April 2012 to expand programming in Detroit under the Healthy Food, Healthier Future Project. Kathryn is a veteran community organizer and has led a number of major health, human rights and environmental justice campaigns in the Detroit area over the past 20 years. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Michigan after receiving her bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech.

 She is active in the community gardening movement in Detroit, and is an authorized presenter of the Climate Reality Project, trained directly by former vice president Al Gore.


Student Activists

Dhruv Tatke - Current University of Michigan student and activist on climate and environmental justice

Dim Mang -  Current University of Michigan student and activist on climate and environmental justice

Leela Grimsby - High school climate activist


Michael Dorsey, PhD (invited).

Dr. Dorsey is a recognized expert on global energy, environment, finance and sustainability matters. In 1997, in Glasgow, Scotland, Dorsey was bestowed Rotary International’s highest honor, The Paul Harris Medal for Distinguished Service to Humanity. Dr. Dorsey is a “Full member” of the Club of Rome and in 2013 the National Journal named him one of 200 US “energy and environment expert insiders”. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Yale and the Johns Hopkins University, presently Dr. Dorsey is a limited partner in the Spanish-Japanese solar concern Univergy-CCC. He was aVisiting Fellow for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies at the University of Michigan and a founding member of the Center for Environmental Health.