A graduate of Duke and Yale, Eileen Flanagan is the award-winning author of three books and scores of articles. In addition to helping people to make their activism more effective through her online courses, she speaks to international audiences on topics ranging from personal empowerment and spirituality to climate justice. She is the board chair of Earth Quaker Action Team, which uses nonviolent direct action to work for a just and sustainable economy.
Now, the more personal version
I grew up in a one-bedroom apartment just outside Philadelphia. Through the Girl Scouts and then my high school Outing Club, I fell in love with forests, which is where I have always felt closest to the Divine. For twenty-five years, I have found spiritual community among Quakers. (Visit my Quakerism in a Nutshell page if you are wondering if Quakers are like the Amish.) Much of my writing has explored how spiritual principles apply to real life concerns, from marriage and parenting, to racial justice and climate change.
My concern for justice was sparked by two and a half years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, where I woke up to global inequality. I loved living in a mud hut and came home to the United States wanting to live simply. Then came marriage and two children. At age forty-nine, I looked around my three-story house filled with electronics and wondered how my life had moved so far away from the simplicity and activism of my youth. The story of how I reoriented her life, traveled back to Africa, and became a leader in environmental justice work is the subject of Renewable: One Woman’s Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope.
In the last few years, I have served as board chair of Earth Quaker Action Team as it won its campaign to get PNC Bank to pull out of financing mountaintop removal coal mining and as it built a new campaign to Power Local Green Jobs by pushing the utility PECO to make a major shift to local solar. Since the 2016 presidential election, I have been sharing what I have learned about effective activism through my online teaching. To keep up to date with my offerings, please sign up for my newsletter.