Ms. Polsky is an environmental attorney for the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Her current work focuses on protecting Californians from toxic chemicals in consumer products: providing legal advice to state agencies that regulate toxics; litigating enforcement cases to stop dangerous...Read more
Ms. Polsky is an environmental attorney for the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Her current work focuses on protecting Californians from toxic chemicals in consumer products: providing legal advice to state agencies that regulate toxics; litigating enforcement cases to stop dangerous chemical exposures; testifying in Congress and preparing others to testify on toxics-related matters; and working with scientists and product designers to accelerate the market entry of safer, greener products.
Ms. Polsky’s active engagement in environmental issues began with antinuclear organizing at age fourteen, in the wake of the 1979 Three Mile Island disaster. Since then, she has worked to promote environmental protection from every available angle: serving as trail crew member and interpretive ranger in national parks; measuring acid rain’s effects on New York State lakes; acting as land protection negotiator for The Nature Conservancy; writing freelance articles on environmental topics; training Jamaica’s first corps of national park rangers; representing environmental justice activists to defeat a polluting power plant proposed for the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco; guest lecturing in law schools and graduate science departments on environmental regulation; initiating State Bar sustainability efforts; and, through litigation, obtaining what is believed to be the largest public lands injunction in U.S. history (protecting 50 million acres of near-pristine National Forest land from roadbuilding and logging). From 2008-09, Ms. Polsky took a detour from DOJ to serve as Deputy Director for Pollution Prevention and Green Technology at the CA Department of Toxic Substances Control.
In her non-work time, Ms. Polsky is (with her husband) raising two daughters and two backyard hens. She is an active community volunteer, and has worked to sustain public school garden funding in the wake of federal funding cuts; to remedy neighborhood inequities in the availability of public swimming pools; and to assist the homeless. Ms. Polsky additionally serves as DOJ’s representative on a cross-agency Health in All Policies Task Force, which focuses on the non-medical determinants of public health. Task Force work combines Ms. Polsky’s vocation and avocations, by encompassing both physical-environment and social/economic justice issues.
Ms. Polsky has a B.A. in History and Science from Harvard University; a Masters of Applied Science in Natural Resource Management from Lincoln University in New Zealand, where she was a Fulbright Scholar; and a J.D. from Berkeley Law, where she was Editor in Chief of Ecology Law Quarterly.