Melanie Gárate, a Senior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute, designs and facilitates public participation and multi-stakeholder engagement processes to address socio-environmental conflicts in the U.S. and Latin America. Through her early-career marine ecology research, Melanie was struck by the disproportionate environmental impacts to low-income, Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities, which sparked her passion for environmental justice work. Her work now focuses on increasing the resilience of people affected by climate change. She is a 2022 Public Voices Fellow on the Climate Crisis with the OpEd Project in partnership with Yale University.
Prior to CBI, Melanie worked at the Stone Living Lab & Boston Harbor Now, focusing on nature-based approaches to climate resilience. She has also been the Climate Resiliency Manager at the Mystic River Watershed Association, and she has worked at Mass Audubon and the New England Aquarium. Melanie holds an M.S. in Marine Ecology and Climate Change from the University of Rhode Island, where she obtained an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to study mangrove ecology and perform community outreach in Puerto Rico.
BOEM Offshore Wind Energy Task Forces, Gulf of Maine, 2023 – present. Co-facilitator of state task forces on wind energy development for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the Gulf of Maine. Facilitated meetings, prepared logistics, communicated with multi-stakeholder groups, and developed meeting summaries.
Paris Agreement, Article 6, Climate Action Teams, Chile, 2023. Facilitated multi-sector meeting to build a shared vision of how Chile might augment its climate ambition via Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement, including considering CAT as an enabling instrument for doing so. This work included discussing and agreeing upon aspects such as overarching process objectives and outputs; identification of priority stakeholders; and key aspects of process design and methodology.
Title VI, North Brooklyn Pipeline & Liquified Natural Gas Facility, Brooklyn, NY, 2023 – present. Co-facilitator of meetings with complainants and recipients in the Title VI case in Brooklyn, New York, amongst New York Department of Environmental Conservation, New York Department of Public Service, and National Grid. Complainants claim recipients discriminated against the predominately African-American and Latinx communities of Brooklyn, New York, on the basis of race and national origin in violation of Title VI. The purpose of the meetings are to provide a space for the complainants to express their concerns and findings to recipients.
GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River Cleanup – Environmental Protection Agency, Pittsfield, MA, 2023 – present. Plans and conducts public outreach and stakeholder engagement in several municipalities related to the EPA’s efforts to remediate river sediment and soil sites in and along the Housatonic River from PCBs from the operations of General Electric manufacturing facilities.
Northrop Grumman Bethpage Facility and Naval Weapons IRP Community Participation Work Group, Bethpage, NY, 2023 – present. Established members of the CPWG, facilitated member meetings, including agenda design, coordination, and implementation. The Navy Grumman groundwater plume originates from the former Navy and Northrop Grumman sites located in the Town of Oyster Bay.
Pisces NOAA Northeast Collaboration Design, Northeast US, 2023 – present. Facilitated collaborative groups to build relationships and provide information and guidance to the Pisces Foundation’s Environmental Education program (Pisces), NOAA’s B-WET Program and NOAA’s Office of Education’s Environmental Literacy Program (NOAA) about what types of collaborative or network support would be helpful in the Northeastern United States.
Resilient Mystic Collaborative Social Resilience Working Group, Greater Boston Area, 2019 – present. Facilitated the working group, which was composed of municipal leaders, community-based organizations, and public health officials for the purpose of co-creating projects focused on both social and climate resilience. Led bi-monthly meetings, created agendas, performed stakeholder outreach, and wrote three proposals based on group consensus.