UCSC’s Lindsey Dillon provides a model of meaningful activism in the Trump era





Occupation: Assistant professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz, and chair of the steering committee of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI). Her areas of academic interest are in urban environments and social justice. She has specifically concentrated on the policies of urban development and toxic clean-up in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood of San Francisco.

Originally from: Southern California. She was educated at Oberlin College in Ohio and earned her doctorate at UC Berkeley. She has a brother who is a graduate of UCSC.

Details: envirodatagov.org.

SANTA CRUZ >> On the morning after last November’s presidential election, many Americans, who were appalled and alarmed at the results, may have turned to the famous words of the late tennis great Arthur Ashe when faced with the daunting question “What now?”

It turns out that Ashe’s prescription to achieve greatness also applied to citizen activism:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

At the time of the election, Lindsey Dillon was a first-year sociology professor at UC Santa Cruz and a vivid example of the Ashe-ian impulse to take action. Eager to establish herself in a new position, she was not particularly expecting to get swept up into activism. But within a couple of days after Donald Trump’s election, she and a few colleagues in law, science and academics were already laying the groundwork for a new watchdog organization to be known as the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI).

The work of EDGI was to throw its focus upon the federal agencies charged with environmental protection and regulation and, in the face of a potentially hostile new president, to commit to three tasks: 1) the “rescue” of data, particularly when it came to climate change, stored on federal agency sites that might otherwise vanish down some black hole; 2) the monitoring of any…

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