Reflections on HEFN’s 2019 Annual Meeting & 20th Anniversary Celebration

December 18, 2019
Ansje Miller

It's not about climate change.

It's about how we bend the curve toward love,

justice, and the sacredness of nature.


- Gopal Dayaneni, Movement Generation

Nov. 18 Evening Salon Talk at the 2019 HEFN Annual Meeting


I’m listening. Tell me more.

It was my first annual meeting as HEFN’s Executive Director, and I was truly blown away. The meeting opened with this strong invocation from Gopal Dayaneni from the Movement Generation for us to think beyond any single issue area we work on (e.g., climate change), and instead to explore our fundamental relationship to each other and our planet. I had to pause for a moment to really let that sink in.

To take a breath…

and reflect.

I was prepared to participate in conversations about toxic chemicals and their effects on our health and the quest for safer alternatives, how communities are responding to the climate crisis, and solutions to the build out of petrochemical infrastructure across areas that deeply need jobs and economic development. And all of those things are important. We need a place to strategize about how we tackle these challenges together. But first we need to build community – to recognize that first we need a foundation of love, justice, and the sacredness of nature.

The beautiful thing about this HEFN meeting is that it provided a place to engage both the heart and the mind: a place of community, love, and justice and a place of strategy, tactics, and building connections with people who can help us advance our individual issue areas together.

As HEFN rounds out its 20th year, it’s a great time to pause and reflect and take stock of our community and where we want to go. HEFN has evolved tremendously over the last twenty years and we are at another pivot point. That’s where you come in.

Because I’m listening.

In 2020, I’ll be embarking on a listening tour to find out what excites you about environmental health and justice philanthropy, what would help you be better both personally and professionally in advancing these goals, and to really dream big about how HEFN can continue to evolve as a place that engages your heart and your mind in achieving environmental health and justice goals.

And save the date! We’ll be gathering again November 9-11, 2020, where I hope to share a bit about what I’ve learned. And in the meantime, please reach out to me with your ideas, hopes, and dreams at

                                                                                                                                                               Photos by Samuel Contreras Cinematography

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