Patrick J. Lynch is an American attorney, filmmaker, kayaker and environmental advocate. He is best known in the U.S. for his work on education reform, as Co-Founder (along with Kyle McEntee) of the legal education nonprofit Law School Transparency. In Chile he is most well known for his part in stopping three large dams in Patagonia while at the helm of Futaleufu Riverkeeper, a Chilean nonprofit and member of the global Waterkeeper Alliance. Lynch is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law, and writes about water use, community resiliency and climate policy.
Lynch is an avid kayaker, having participated in several kayaking expeditions in South America through the Chilean collective Bestias del Sur Salvaje, founded by friends and collaborators Jens Benohr and Paulo Urrutia. One of their expeditions received funding from National Geographic and Outdoor Research, and became the subject of the 2019 short documentary Río Sagrado, which Lynch co-produced along with Benohr, directors Nic Ellena and Erick Vigouroux, Urrutia as photographer, and editor and principal photographer Carlos Lastra Barros. The documentary explores the heart of Mapuche territory and introduces key people working to protect the San Pedro watershed from a dam proposal, including Mapuche leaders. The film premiered in four countries on National Geographic's channel in March 2019 (Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Peru), and at film festivals in the U.S. (Maine Outdoor Film Festival) and Italy (Adventure Outdoor Festival).
Lynch's career shift into using filmmaking as an advocacy tool began when he attended Telluride Mountainfilm festival in 2016. He decided more needed to be done to leverage filmmaking to address real-world issues like climate change and water conservation. In 2019, after completing his Master's thesis by directing a short film at Harvard Kennedy School, Lynch joined docutribe, inc. as a Social Impact Producer and Fellow. Since then, he has produced short films in Maine, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania and Alaska. His ongoing project is Story of Place, a series of short films profiling small communities as they address themes including community identity, climate resiliency and Native sovereignty. Story of Igiugig, which Lynch co-directed and co-produced with his wife, Erica Wood (Village of White Mountain, Iñupiaq), was funded by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to support Native Nation Building efforts across North America. It was Executive Produced by Professor Eric Henson (Chickasaw), professor of the Nation Building II course at Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
Outside of filmmaking, Lynch works on rural development, water infrastructure financing and climate resiliency projects at Syracuse University's Center for Sustainable Community Solutions. He also advises nonprofits, renewable energy start-ups and other social impact-focused organizations on climate policy, fundraising, communications, and using the power of storytelling to advance their goals of building more resilient communities.