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A Force for the Future: Inside NRDC's Fight to Save the Planet and Its People

A Force for the Future: Inside NRDC's Fight to Save the Planet and Its People

by John H. Adams, George Black


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An illustrated celebration of NRDC’s 50-year battle to safeguard the planet, from the Clean Air Act to the Clean Power Plan

In 1970, a group of young lawyers launched a new kind of organization and helped secure the country’s bedrock environmental laws. Ever since, the Natural Resources Defense Council has harnessed its legal and scientific expertise to become one of the fiercest protectors of public health and the environment. In this recounting of NRDC’s 50-year history, cofounder John Adams tells the ongoing story about fighting the world’s most powerful polluters—and winning.

Alongside archival photography and insider accounts, Adams celebrates a half century of victories, everything from saving whales to getting lead pipes out of Flint, Michigan, to protecting treasured landscapes, like Alaska’s Katmai National Park & Preserve (pictured). But the book is also a road map for the future, offering hard-won lessons on how to tackle problems that lie at the intersection of science and society. Today, as humanity faces the climate crisis, the stakes have never been higher nor the solutions more complex—which is why NRDC remains uniquely positioned as the earth’s best defense.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789213723
Publisher: Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/11/2020
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 1,149,706
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 12.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John H. Adams cofounded NRDC—the nation’s first environmental advocacy group—in 1970, serving as the organization’s first executive director and later as its president until 2006. Throughout his career, Adams has received various awards, including the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Adams is currently the chair of the board of the Open Space Institute and sits on the boards of numerous environmental organizations, including NRDC.

George Black is a writer specializing in the environment and international affairs. In his 35-year career as a journalist, Black has contributed to a wide range of publications and television news, including The New Yorker, The Nation, BBC, and PBS. He also served as the executive editor of NRDC’s onEarth magazine from 2004 to 2014. Black is the author of several books, the latest of which, Empire of the Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone, was a finalist for the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Letter from Robert Redford

Preface by Alan Horn

Foreword by Frances Beinecke



Part I: A Message From a Wounded Planet

  • Hold the Salt Save the Whales
  • The Battles for the Boreal
  • Sound Science Speaks Volumes
  • Solutions Spotlight: Taking One’s Medicine
  • Poison Control
  • Solutions Spotlight: A Growing Concern
  • Defending Our Shores
  • Sea of Intranquility
  • The Right to Clean Water
  • A Confluence of Expertise
  • A Global Reach
  • Solutions Spotlight: Sustainable With Style

Part II: The Law of the Land (and Sea)

  • American Revolutionaries
  • Playing Defense
  • Solutions Spotlight: The Extinction Trade
  • Cap-and-Invest
  • Solutions Spotlight: On Higher Ground
  • Energy Efficiency, an Unsung Hero
  • Solutions Spotlight: The Power Playing Field
  • Pole Position
  • The Battle for the North
  • The Land Manages Us
  • Victories that Run Deep
  • All Eyes on Paris

Part III: Standing Together

  • Lifting the Curtain
  • Solutions Spotlight: The Political Shop
  • When the Past Presents an Imminent Danger
  • Going Against the Flow
  • Follow the Petcoke
  • In for the Long Hauls
  • Solutions Spotlight: Trimming the Waste
  • When Music Saves a Mountain—and Beer Saves the Water
  • Rocky Times for Pebble Mine
  • U.S. Cities Take On the Climate Crisis
  • Solutions Spotlight: Shining a Light on Equity

Epilogue by Gina McCarthy

NRDC Trustees 1970–2020


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