Sparkplug Award, 2009 Recipient: Michael Belliveau

Michael Belliveau is the Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a nonprofit public health organization that promotes human health, safer chemicals and a sustainable economy based in Maine and working nationwide.

Mike is a public policy expert and social entrepreneur who’s recognized nationally for promoting environmental public health and green chemistry. For 30 years, he has advanced innovative policies and strategic organizing to prevent harm and develop a sustainable economy. Through Mike’s leadership of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the State of Maine has set the national pace for protecting human health from unnecessary dangerous chemicals. He co-founded the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, which led the campaign that passed a landmark state law that requires safer chemicals in everyday products. Mike is also a co-founder and policy coordinator of SAFER, the State Alliance for Federal Reform, a multistate coalition working to overhaul chemicals policy throughout the United States.

At the Strategy Center, Mike co-launched a model regional economic development strategy through the Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine. This innovative business-university-nonprofit consortium works to research, develop and commercialize production of bio-based plastics made from Maine potatoes. The manufacturing of this non-toxic, petroleum-free and bio-compostable material will create good green jobs and boost Maine’s rural economy.

Previously, he led the most comprehensive mercury reduction campaign in the nation for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. In California, Mike directed Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), which he built into a powerful voice for urban environmental health and justice, and industrial pollution prevention. He was named by California Magazine as one of the people most likely to have a major impact on that state. He was appointed by then-Governor Jerry Brown to the California Hazardous Waste Management Council.

Mike grew up in New England and graduated from MIT with an environmental science degree. He lives with his family on Pushaw Lake in Maine on the edge of l’Acadie, the homeland to ten generations of his Acadian ancestors. When he’s not on the road, Mike loves to paddle or ski from his back door, or wander round the garden.