Why do you volunteer with Coastkeeper? I volunteer with San Diego Coastkeeper because San Diego is my home. It is where my family fishes, swims, and drinks clean water. It is where I have incredible and precious childhood memories like swimming in Mission Bay, building sandcastles at Ocean Beach, learning to snorkel at La Jolla cove, and learning to scuba dive at La Jolla Shores. Clean water is my life and my passion; it is what I happily dedicate my career and my volunteer time to.
Fun fact: the first and only internship I applied for when I was a 2L at California Western School of Law was with San Diego Coastkeeper. Being a part of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, I learned about San Diego water issues first-hand and got a feel for the work culture at Coastkeeper. After moving on to a new internship, I continued as a water quality monitoring volunteer for Coastkeeper.
What do you wish everyone knew about Coastkeeper? Coastkeeper plays an integral role in advocating for the health of San Diego waterways and the communities that surround them. It is crucial to have an organization like Coastkeeper working to strengthen regulations and practices around clean water while enforcing the current regulations. We cannot afford to backslide on environmental rules and regulations in our political climate. Coastkeeper also engages the public around its mission. Coastkeeper understands that the more people we engage, the more successful we will be in fighting for environmental protection. Coastkeeper is also taking steps to engage diverse communities. Until we become inclusive of all communities in environmental work, we will not be successful, and Coastkeeper is trending in the right direction.
I want to see a world where everyone, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or zip code, can enjoy fishable, swimmable, drinkable waterways in San Diego and beyond.
Chanté Coleman serves as the Vice President of Equity and Justice at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). She leads the effort to fully operationalize equitable policies and practices and actively challenges systemic racism organizationally. She drives culture change by reframing how NWF thinks about power and encouraging others to develop their own expertise on equity and justice in their work.
Coleman is an expert in large-scale ecosystem restoration and coalition-building. She previously served as Director of the Choose Clean Water Coalition, a 230-member advocacy organization focused on protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. At the Coalition, she led regional-scale strategies to evolve an intentional focus on equity and justice for the Coalition and its member organizations. Chanté is a member of the Green Leadership Trust, was named a “rising star” by Green 2.0, is a 2017 Environmental Leadership Program Fellow, and is a 2020 Better Selves Fellow. She frequently appears as a speaker, trainer, and facilitator at conferences across the country.
Coleman is a graduate of Princeton University and California Western School of Law. She resides in San Diego, and is a firm believer in self-care, regularly practicing yoga and meditation.