Today is International Women’s Day, a “global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” We recorded this episode with EEECHO Co-Founder Kathy Egland last year, but what better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to highlight one of the most iconic Southern women in the fight for environmental and climate justice? We hope you enjoy this conversation with the lady affectionately known to some* as “Mama Kat.”
Katherine T. “Kathy” Egland is the Program Director and Co-founder of EEECHO. She is a native of Gulfport and has been active in the local and global community in addressing climate change and environmental injustice. Kathy chairs the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee for the National Board of Directors of NAACP. Her committee is in charge of governance responsibility of raising awareness of environmental and climate issues from a civil rights, social justice and equity perspective. As a resident of Gulfport, Mississippi, she survived Hurricane Katrina and was instrumental in the restoration efforts in its aftermath. She endured the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill in 2010, which contaminated the Mississippi Gulf Coast waters located a few blocks of her home.
Kathy’s home is located less than four miles from Plant Jack Watson, a former coal fired plant which scored a failing D- on the NAACP’s ‘Coal Blooded’ Report. She organized community trainings and joined forces with The Sierra Club and other organizations, in efforts which led to the plant’s cessation of its coal burning operation in April 2015. This coalition has also led efforts promoting net-metering; commented on Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Proposed State Implementation Plan Amendments in Response to EPA’s Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction SIP Call, which led to revisions; and submitted testimony before the Public Service Commission opposing a rate increase to fund a portion of the cost of a failed carbon capture sequestration in Kemper County, Mississippi.
*Rev. Malcom, co-founder of Climate Justice, Y’all co-creater People’s Justice Council, insists he’s the only one allowed to refer to Ms. Egland as Mama Kat. We thought it’d be fun to let y’all see behind the curtain a little bit.