Anne Petermann is the Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, which she co-founded in 2003. She is also the International Coordinator of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees, which she co-founded in 2014, and a founding Board Member of the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series.
Petermann worked alongside Will Miller on numerous campaigns including a 5 day-long series of direct actions that helped successfully convince Pennsylvania Governor Ridge to stop the execution of former Black Panther Mumia Abu Jamal during the National Governor's Conference in Burlington, VT
She has been involved in movements for forest protection and Indigenous rights since 1990, and the international and national climate justice movements since 2004, and has co-led the global effort to stop the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment since 2000. To date, the only country in the world that has commercially released GE trees is China.
In 2006 and 2008 she led a campaign demanding a global ban on GE trees that won an historic decision on GE trees from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity warning countries of the dangers of GE trees and urging them to use a precautionary approach.
Climate Justice Organizing
Petermann participated in the founding of the Durban Group for Climate Justice in 2004 in Durban, South Africa, and Climate Justice Now! in 2007 at the Bali, Indonesia UN Climate Conference (COP) and Climate Justice Action! Prior to the Copenhagen Climate COP.
She was the keynote speaker at The Climate Convergence, on the night before the New York City Climate March in September 2014.
Anne was adopted as an honorary member of the Saint Francis-Sokoki band of the Abenaki in 1992 for her work in support of their struggle for state recognition.
In 2000, Anne received the national Wild Nature award for environmental activist of the year.
Associate Professor of English, University of Vermont
United Academics: AFT/AAUP
Even before I started working at the University of Vermont in 1999, I had heard about Willard Miller’s principled opposition to imperialist war: I read about his participation in a sit-in against the bombing of Yugoslavia, and I heard many anecdotes from anti-war activists about the radical professor and veteran for peace who taught philosophy at UVM. So I was eager to meet him, and sure enough, during my first semester I found myself sitting next to him at a union-organizing meeting. When I introduced myself as a long time revolutionary socialist, Will expressed delight to have another revolutionary on campus. So began a friendship and alliance that touched me deeply.
As a new, untenured faculty member I was frequently confounded by the fact that many of the union activists were the most vulnerable on campus, particularly adjunct faculty, while often those with more seniority and security stayed quiet. Will was one of the exceptions, and it was so important to us all to have a senior colleague who was always willing to stand up front and speak out. When I learned that his refusal to bow to administrative pressures during his long career at UVM had cost him promotion and pay raises, it made my blood boil. Even more so when students repeatedly told me that he was the best teacher they’d had at UVM, that he had changed their life, that they admired his encyclopedic knowledge and democratic pedagogy, and that they looked to him for ethical as well as intellectual guidance.
In addition to our work on the union, Will and I frequently stood together at local anti-war rallies and other left political events. In September 2001 we spoke together on a panel called “Don’t turn tragedy
into war.” At that time of frenzied propaganda for the “war on terror”, it was deeply reassuring to stand next to Will and to hear his historical overview of US imperialism and resistance to it. I remember at the end of his talk he said something to the effect of “Why can’t we all just get along?” And I thought, as long as there are Will Millers in the world, there is hope for humanity.
I really only started to get to know Will and Ann socially in the last few months of his life. I helped to organize a performance of Howard Zinn’s play Marx in Soho as a tribute to him, and one of my fondest memories is the prolonged standing ovation that Will received from the packed audience that night. When Ann asked me to be on the board of the Will Miller Lecture Series, I was touched and honored. It is a pleasure to work with Ann, Anne, Mike, and Fred in order to continue Will’s lifelong struggle against war and for social justice.
Ron Jacobs is a writer, library worker and longtime anti-racist, anti-imperialist and labor activist. His books include The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground, Daydream Sunset: 60s Counterculture in the 70s, and three novels. He has also been a regular contributor to Counterpunch magazine for twenty years. His friendship with Will began when both were working at the University of Vermont in the 1990s. Both were among the organizers of two successful union organizing campaigns at the university during that time. Other activities with Will included organizing actions opposing the 1999 bombing of the former Yugoslavia and the US attacks on/occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
More board member bios coming soon.