Pioneering environmental activist, attorney and educator
Marc McGinnes has been an innovative pioneer in the fields of public interest environmental advocacy, law and education since 1969, when he helped to organize the first Earth Day observances held in 1970, after the disastrous Santa Barbara Oil Spill that killed wildlife and fouled beaches for years.
He was a leading founder of the Community Environmental Council and the Environmental Defense Center, two Santa Barbara-based nonprofit organizations widely respected for their work on local, state and national issues for over 40 years, and he was a founding member of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he developed and taught ten courses, including the nation’s longest-running undergraduate course in environmental law and policy. The winner of numerous teaching awards, he incorporated into the curriculum lessons learned from his experience as one of the country’s earliest practitioners of public interest environmental law.
At present, he's semi-retired from teaching and law practice and is engaged in a number of projects, including a book about gratitude and stilting, Rise Up: A Stilter's Adventures in Higher Consciousness, and a documentary on the beginnings of the modern environmental movement and the first Earth Day. He teaches an Environmental Science class at UCSB on Hope in Times of Change.
Marc lives in Santa Barbara, as he has since 1969. He loves kayaking, surfing and swimming, and still likes to get up on stilts. His sons carry on that tradition.