Dr. Judith Johnsrud, a geographer who dedicated more than 50 years of her life to the opposition of nuclear power in all its phases and forms, has died. Judy passed away peacefully after a long illness and surrounded by family in the early hours of March 9th. With Pennsylvania the epicenter of many proposed nuclear projects — some of which Judy and her allies helped to defeat and some, like Three Mile Island, which they could not — Judy was at the forefront of multiple anti-nuclear campaigns. Judy was a founding member of the Beyond Nuclear board. She helped create and lead the Environmental Coalition on Nuclear Power whose members, friends and colleagues she described as "surely high among the world's finest people." To those of us who knew and worked with Judy, she belongs firmly in that category.
Judy was dedicated, quietly outspoken and quintissentially modest. Her activism was often carried out without resources and on her own dime; often by driving for hours in her document-laden car that sometimes served as office and sleeping quarters. Undeterred, Judy reminded us to the end that we must rid the world of nuclear energy, that, as she said “in a rational world would never have been developed.”
In 2012, Judy was recognized by the Sierra Club, of which she was a longtime member, for her lifetime's work. In true Judy style, she graciously accepted the honor with the words “but I don’t deserve it.”
Judy's longtime partner, Leon Glicenstein, along with her family, have composed an obituary to Judy which you can read here.
Mike Ewall of Energy Justice, writes: "One of my biggest heroes just passed away today. You may never have known her, but we all owe her so much. Her long lifetime of activism stopped numerous and massive nuclear threats, outlined below.
Dr. Judy Johnsrud... you've taught me so much. Together, we helped stop a multi-state nuclear waste dump. Your teachings have carried through 20 years of my work and will continue to be taught for as long as I'm able to teach. I love you, Judy. You are forever in my heart.
As I write this, it's bringing back so many memories... of meetings and speeches and road trips, of helping her with her computer, of my being shredded by her cat, Nora, of her tireless coffee-enabled nights driving to meetings several states away (sometimes reading NRC documents while driving), and of her talking about her decades of struggles with "the boys" in the nuclear industrial-academic-regulatory complex.
Thank you to Leon for being by her side all of these years and for this beautiful writeup of her life."
David Hughes of Citizen Power writes: "We have lost an irreplaceable giant in the fight for safe energy."
From Judi Friedman, People's Action for Clean Energy: "Judy Johnsrud was a very rare human being because she was very beautiful outside and very beautiful inside. She combined gentleness with power. I was privileged to know her."