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Environmentalist to discuss Tu B’Shevat link

Lori Ann Burd

In honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Secular Humanist Jewish Circle will host Lori Ann Burd, environmental health program director and staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson-based national conservation group focused on endangered species protection. Her talk will take place Saturday, Jan. 26, at 1:30 p.m. at the Murphy-Wilmot Library, 530 N. Wilmot Road.

Burd is the daughter of refuseniks who made it out of the Soviet Union in the 1970s, putting down roots and flourishing in Chicago. She will share thoughts on how the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants.

Tu B’Shevat is the Jewish new year of the trees. In modern times, it has become a celebration of trees, fruit and the environment. Recognizing that the health of humans and all other species are inextricably intertwined, Burd focuses her work on combatting toxins such as pesticides, factory farm emissions, and air pollutants, and protecting imperiled pollinators. She’ll be speaking about our moral obligation to protect the environment, new threats to fruit trees, and actions we can take. 

“Tu B’Shevat is an opportunity to reflect on what we’re doing to protect our environment, and what more we can do,” says Burd. “When we allow our soils, waters and foods to be poisoned, we imperil all life. We can, and we must, do better.”

Burd earned her bachelor’s degree at Colorado College and her law degree at Lewis and Clark. Before joining the Center for Biological Diversity, she worked as a staff attorney and campaign manager for Bark, defenders of Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon, for the National Wildlife Federation, focusing on mountaintop-removal coal mining and tar sands pipelines, and at the Center for Food Safety, focusing on pesticides and industrial agriculture.

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