Open Collective
Open Collective

Guest Lectures, Keynotes, and Workshops

Book Vanessa to speak in your class or event!


My name is Vanessa, and I am an educator, facilitator, and organizer available for public speaking at the intersections of ecological justice, LGBTQ rights, arts & media, and community health. I have six years experience teaching in higher education,  a year of full-time teaching and mentoring with Transition-Age-Youth in a homeless services organization, and many more short-term education roles in community gardens, health centers, citizen science projects, and ecojustice youth programming. I am eager to work with organizations empowering and supporting community movements for healing, ecology, and justice!

Reach out to [email protected] with information about your course or event, and we can set-up the lecture, keynote, or workshop that fits what your group needs. You can read more about me below and in my academic bio at the University of Georgia.

I look forward to connecting with you and feeling out possible collaborations!

In community,

Vanessa is a queer biocultural geographer, educator, and storyteller, dedicated to community healing, opening access to land and resources, and fostering a thriving local economy based on ecological resilience. Vanessa is a chronic academic: They are currently a PhD student at University of Georgia after completing a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences from University of California, Berkeley. Along with Desi, Vanessa was a founding member of the Queer Ecojustice Project in Spring 2016, educating and organizing at the intersection of ecological justice and queer liberation. In 2018, they co-organized the Queers4ClimateJustice contingent to the RISE March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice and continue to engage communities through the Instagram #Queers4ClimateJustice.  In 2021, they joined the board for Out 4 Sustainability to support the Qready initiative promote resilience preparedness for LGBTQ+ communities. They love gardening, singing songs, growing interspecies community, and making magic.
Vanessa is now the director of “Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the era of Climate Change” a documentary about queer resilience to climate change rooted in their lived experience of the 2017 Tubbs Fire and in collaboration with other queer and trans organizers in Northern California and Puerto Rico.

Teaching Philosophy:
As an educator, I am committed to creating accessible, affirming, and anti-oppressive spaces that allow for critical and transformative discussion and reflection. I prioritize engaged scholarship connecting students to community knowledge, and encourage active participation in movements for justice and liberation.

Research Interests:
My research explores the cultural geographies of queer ecojustice movements. Using collaborative documentary film and other critical visual methodologies, I address the contextual vulnerability of multiply-marginalized queer, trans, and two-spirit communities to climate change disasters, as well as the lessons for the climate justice movement that come from our communities' resilience and histories of struggle for liberation.

I am inspired by decolonial and abolitionist theories that center the healing and reweaving of mind, body, spirit, land, community, place, and home in the collective liberation of people and the planet. Using queer as both verb and noun, I seek to understand the ontology, epistemology and praxis of the queer ecojustice movement: what are the worldviews, ways of knowing, theories, and strategies for the transformation of the world that emerge from queer ecojustice organizers whose embodiments and actions disrupt normative status-quo ways of knowing and being?

I believe this work must be done in collaboration and accompaniment with other queer, trans, and two-spirit people on the frontline of disaster and the forefronts of change. I prioritize questions that emerge from my relationships in community and I seek collaborative methods that engage a climate justice praxis through the research. 

  • Human Geography (University of Georgia)
  • World Geography (University of Georgia)
  • Environment, Health, and Development (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Environmental Ethics and Philosophy (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Environmental Justice (University of California, Berkeley)



Guest Lectures & Invited Talks
  • “Representational Justice in Climate Change Narratives” | April 2, 2022 | Guest Lecture | Introduction to Sustainability | Harvard Extension
  • “Intersectional Climate Vulnerability & Justice” | Oct 27, 2021 | Guest Lecture | Introduction to Human Geography | University of Georgia
  • “Queer Resilience in the era of Climate Change”  |  Mar  9, 2021 | Invited Lecture | Pandemic as Portal Series | University of Oregon
  • "Justice at the Roots: Climate Justice 101”. | Nov 5, 2020 | Guest Lecture | Intro Env Studies | LIU Global College          
  • “Visibilizing queer and trans people in climate disasters.” | Jan 31, 2020 | Invited Lecture | Institute for Women’s Studies | University of Georgia 
  •  “Queer Resilience in the Time of Climate Change.” | Feb 1, 2018 | Invited Workshop | Gender and Equity Center | University of California, Berkeley 

Conference Papers & Workshops
  • Queer Ancestral Futures. Dimensions of Political Ecology. U of Kentucky, March 2022
  • Roundtable: Ecological Crisis in the age of Ecological Crisis. Dimensions of Political Ecology. U of Kentucky, March 2022
  • Visibilizing Queer Resilience. American Association of Geographers. April 2021.
  • Representational Justice as Scholar-Activism. Dimensions of Political Ecology. U of Kentucky, Feb 27, 2020.
  • Visibilizing queer and trans people in climate disasters. Social Justice Symposium. UGA School of Social Work Jan 31, 2020.


Guest Lectures & Invited Talks
  • Forthcoming: Pride panel, Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
  • Forthcoming: Social vulnerability to extreme heat webinar series. National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS).
  • Queer and Present Danger: Disparate Disaster Impacts. Community panel including FEMA’s Office of External Affairs. December 2, 2022.
  • La Intersección de Cambio Climático y Derechos LGBTQ+ (The intersection of Climate Change and LGBTQ+ Rights). “SREescucha” series. Subsecretary of Human Rights, Office of External Relations, Mexico. June, 2020.
  • A Safer Response: Including LGBTQ Communities in Disaster Planning and Resilience. California Department of Public Health, California Building Resilience Against Climate Change Effects (CalBRACE). August 16th, 2018.
  • Building Bridges, Creating Connections, Increasing Resilience. Panel Discussant. Northern California Building Resilient Communities Permaculture Convergence. Hopland, CA. September 16, 2016.

Core Organizing Roles: 
  • “Earth Gay! Gay de la Tierra: Un evento bilingue”, Athens, GA, April 22, 2022
  • Queer Ecologies! An LGBTQ Mixer. Bioneers Conference. San Rafael, CA. 2018 and 2019
  • Out in the Open Summit for Rural and Small town LGBTQ community. Brattleboro, VT.  2018.
  • Queer Magic Center. Building Resilient Communities Permaculture Convergence. Hopland, CA. 2017 and 2018
  • Queers4ClimateJustice Contingent to the RISE March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice. San Francisco, CA 2018.

Workshops and Panels:
  • Crafting a Rural Queer Femifesto. Out in the Open Summit. Brattleboro, VT. Nov 10th, 2018.
  • Dreaming the Queer Ecological Future. Bioneers Conference, Youth Unity Tent. San Rafael, CA. October 20, 2018.
  • Queer Ecologies 101: The Biological Exuberance of Living Beings. Permaculture Convergence. Hopland, CA. Sept 20, 2018.
  • Honoring LGBTQ Ancestors. Burlington County Library System. Bordentown, NJ. June, 2018.
  • Queer Resilience in the Time of Climate Change. Creating Change Conference. Washington, DC. January 20th, 2018.
  • Community Town-Hall: Produce Safety after Urban Wildfire. Santa Rosa, CA. Nov 17th, 2017.
  • Just Transition and Resilience-Based Organizing. Out in the Open Summit. Brattleboro, VT. October, 29th, 2017.
  • Queering Climate Change & Organizing for a Just Transition. Creating Change Conference. Philadelphia, PA. Jan 18, 2017.
  • Queer Ecojustice for Collective Liberation. Powershift West Conference. Berkeley, CA. November 12, 2016.
  • Resilience-Based Organizing for a Just Transition. West Coast Communities Conference. Guernesville, CA. October 2, 2016.
Read full CV at academic bio with University of Georgia


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