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Natural Resources Defense Council


Dave Hawkins's Blog



I’ve only had a couple of jobs in my lifetime. First, I was a schoolteacher in New York City. Then, after law school in the late 1960s, the first thing I did was apply for a job with a new group that would be a law firm for the environment. They told me to come back in a year and see if they were still around and whether they had any money to pay me.

So, after one year at a small public interest firm, I joined the nascent NRDC, and I’ve been here ever since, except from 1977 to 1981 when President Carter appointed me assistant administrator for Air, Noise and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency. Don’t ask me about the noise part.

I came back to NRDC after Carter left office, and worked throughout the next decade primarily on reauthorizing the Clean Air Act.

In 2001, NRDC made a bold step in creating our Climate Center, and I am its founding director. Our goal: a comprehensive limit on heat-trapping greenhouse gases to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. I hope to use this blog to explain some of my ideas on how to make that happen.

Roots in:
I grew up in Connecticut and have lived in the Washington, DC area since 1970 where my wife Betsy and I have raised our three children.
Favorite place:
The ocean beach at Wellfleet on Cape Cod; a playground for thousands on hot summer days and at other times a quiet stretch of sand, sky and water that is almost unchanged from when Thoreau walked it.
Why "environmentalism" matters:
On one level I want to protect the environment because the beauty of clear skies and vibrant ecosystems makes me feel blessed to be alive. On a deeper level I believe that caring for the environment is a big part of being a responsible human being. Humans are the one species that have the capacity to destroy thousands of other species and as far as we know, the one species with the capicity to reflect on what we do. This gives us the means and the duty to care for the place we call home.

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