Melissa Shapiro J.D.

  • Arctic Policy Lead
Melissa Shapiro
Expertise Contact

Melissa Shapiro is a lawyer and policy advocate who is dedicated to advancing holistic and innovative solutions to climate change. She works to ensure the latest science on permafrost thaw is reflected in equitable, science-based climate policies. She supports the development of science-policy briefs and outreach materials, participates in Arctic climate policy working groups, and helps develop a strategy for engaging policymakers and other stakeholders in national and international adaptation efforts.

For the past decade, Shapiro has been informing policymaking on the most pressing global environmental issues. She began her career with the US Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of General Counsel where she worked with scientists and policy experts on statutory interpretation and public-facing guidance to help close the gap between those affected by environmental harms and those making policy decisions.

She is a fierce defender of human rights and global food security, having worked with the United Nations to help countries guarantee universal access to food that is nutritionally adequate, culturally appropriate, and sustainably produced. She is an advocate for the centering of smallholder farmers, women, Indigenous populations and youth in decision making processes and fora. Shapiro also has a breadth of research and teaching experience relating to international food law and policy at leading academic institutions.

Shapiro believes that everyone has an obligation to leave the world in a better state than we found it. She hopes she can realize this vision by encouraging cooperation and facilitating collaboration between scientific and policy experts.


A severely eroding hillside sloughs land towards the water due to permafrost thaw

Permafrost Pathways

Connecting science, people, and policy for Arctic justice and global climate.