Inspiring youth to engage in activating democracy and emerge as game changers

Riki Ott

Riki Ott | Bio

Dr. Riki Ott is a marine toxicologist and former Alaska commercial fisher ma’am who experienced the traumatic effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill firsthand. This became a vehicle for personal growth. In the mid-1990s, Ott began working with frontline communities to increase scientific literacy of the socio-economic costs of using fossil fuels and civics literacy. Ott taught civics at The Thacher School (2007–2008) and the Hawaii Preparatory Academy (2014). She collaborated with educators, youth, and others to develop the Activating My Democracy curriculum. In 2015, she received the Grace Lee Boggs Award from the Make It Safe Coalition for her work empowering people to have a voice in energy choices in their own backyard. She is an itinerant educator in classrooms and communities across the nation. Ott appears in social documentaries, has authored three books, and directs two projects through Earth Island Institute: Ultimate Civics towards an authentic democracy and ALERT towards a healthy energy future.

Academic Training

  • Doctorate of Philosophy (1985)
    University of Washington, WA, School of Fisheries with emphasis on effects of heavy metals on benthic invertebrates
  • Masters of Science (1980)
    University of South Carolina, SC, Baruch Institute in marine biology with emphasis on effects of oil on zooplankton
  • Bachelor of Science (1976)
    Colby College, Waterville, Maine
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