We at Patagonia mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Julia “Judy” Bonds, the Goldman Prize winner and Executive Director of Coal River Mountain Watch. Bonds, 58, had battled advanced stage cancer over the past several months and passed away last Monday.
We got to know Judy, back in the early 2000s, first by our support of Coal River through our environmental grants program and then in 2005, when we invited Judy and Janice Nease (co-director of Coal River Mountain Watch) to lead a workshop at our biennial Tools for Grassroots Activist Conference. Naturally it was called “Building Momentum in Your Community.” It was a smashing success and she inspired everyone at the conference not only to work to end mountain top removal, but to go back and fight for justice in their own communities.
In a time when environmental activism is too often thought of as a luxury and peripheral issue, it is good to remember the activists, like Judy, who wage daily battles against overwhelming odds right at home. Judy Bonds was a hero to us all. There are many moving remembrances online with interviews of Judy and for those who haven't been exposed to Judy's wisdom, humor, and insight, here's a wonderful one – author Jeff Biggers has pulled together some of her quotes, articles, and videos in a tribute here.