Department of Political Science, Queens College

Judith Kimerling
J.D., Yale University

Phone: (718) 997-5475
Office: 200U Powdermaker Hall
Office Hours: M, 5:00pm-5:30pm; W, 5:00pm-6:25pm

Judith Kimerling is a Professor of Environmental Law and Policy in the Political Science Department and Environmental Studies Program at The City University of New York, Queens College.  She also taught law at CUNY School of Law for more than a decade. 

After graduating from University of Michigan and Yale Law School, she worked for seven years as an environmental litigator, including five years as an Assistant Attorney General for New York State, where she worked on the Love Canal litigation and other hazardous waste cleanup litigation and negotiations.  In 1989, she moved to Ecuador and worked with indigenous organizations in the Amazon Rainforest to document the environmental and social impacts of oil development there.  Her findings and photographs first placed concerns about the impact of oil production on indigenous peoples and the environment in tropical forests on the international environmental and human rights policy agendas.  Her book Amazon Crude was called “the Silent Spring of Ecuador” by The New York Times.  In the U.S., it prompted a historic class action lawsuit, Aguinda v. Texaco, Inc., which led to related proceedings in Ecuador and other fora that raise many issues of importance to legal scholars and practitioners around the world.

Professor Kimerling currently serves as international counsel for Ome Gompote Kiwigimoni Huaorani (Ome Yasuni), an alliance of indigenous Huaorani (Waorani) communities who came together to protect a 758,051-hectare area of rainforest known as “The Intangible Zone.”  Located in ancestral Huaorani territory and the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, The Intangible Zone is also home to the last known group of people still living in voluntary isolation in Ecuador’s Amazon region.  Professor Kimerling also serves on the Technical Advisory Committee of REDOIL, a network of Alaska Natives who work to promote sustainable development. 

Professor Kimerling received The Field Museum’s 2007 Parker/Gentry Award for Excellence and Innovation in Conservation/Environmental Biology for “her courageous and relentless work on behalf of indigenous peoples, riverine communities, and vast, intact forests in the headwaters of the Amazon.”  In 2011, she was awarded the Albertson Medal in Sustainable Development for “her defense of the Amazon rainforest and the human communities that depend on it for their culture and survival.”  She has been a Visiting Scholar at Yale Law School, and received a Special Achievement Award from Rainforest Action Network and a Feliks Gross Endowment Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement from CUNY Academy for Humanities and Sciences.

Areas of Interest:
Environmental law and politics, law and implementation, international development and human rights, the politics of Amazon rain forest development, energy law and politics.