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Frances Beinecke, President of NRDC, New York City

Frances Beinecke
I am the president of NRDC. I started here in 1973, just a few years after John Adams and a handful of other wildly dedicated people founded this organization. Back then, there were about a dozen people in the country practicing environmental law, and most of them worked at NRDC. The whole concept of writing laws and public policy to protect the Earth was brand new, and it was thrilling to be a part of it at that early point.

I came to NRDC with a background in environmental studies and a strong desire to help protect the Northeastern forests and wild Western landscapes I loved so much. I started as an intern working to preserve forests through careful land use planning. But when the 1970s oil crisis unleashed a drive to open the Atlantic Ocean to oil and gas drilling, I advocated for stronger safeguards for marine life. I left NRDC for a few years when my three daughters were young, and I came back as the group’s first executive director. In 2006, I became president, and I remain honored and awed to lead this remarkable institution.

And I love my job. First of all, I get to work with some of the best minds in the business. And second, I love that NRDC is all about finding solutions. I am a pragmatic person and an optimist, and I believe that most of the challenges facing the Earth can be solved with the right combination of passion, policy, and technology. With this job, I get to see many of those solutions firsthand--from wind farms off the coast of Denmark to marine reserves around California’s Channel Islands to green buildings in China--and work to bring them to more landscapes and more people.

Recent Posts

Yellowstone in the Backyard: Time to Declare LA's San Gabriel Mountains a National Monument

Posted August 26, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Health and the Environment, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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As we head into the final days of August, most Americans are looking for one last summer escape. Many people have to travel hundreds of miles to find a refuge from the crush of everyday life. But the 17 million...continued

"No Blue, No Green" -- New Sylvia Earle Film Shows Power of Protecting Our Oceans

Posted August 15, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Reviving the World's Oceans, The Media and the Environment

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In a beautiful new film released this Friday on Netflix, oceanographer and explorer Sylvia Earle describes her underwater adventures. She also explains why she is driven to protect wild oceans the way we now protect wild lands. Her goal,...continued

Keep the Arctic Ocean and Other Special Waters off the Auction Block for Drilling

Posted August 14, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Moving Beyond Oil, Reviving the World's Oceans

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Friday marks the deadline for comment on which ocean waters should be considered for oil and gas leasing. The Obama Administration is creating the next five-year leasing program, but don’t let the name fool you. This is not a short-term matter....continued

Time to Call for the Full Expansion of the National Monument in the Pacific Ocean

Posted August 5, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Reviving the World's Oceans, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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In the heat of the summer, millions of Americans are heading to the ocean for cool relief. Playing in the waves, collecting seashells, and spotting dolphins will become the stuff of countless family memories. I still remember spending hours at...continued

From the Heart: Americans Speak Out for EPA's Work to Safeguard Health and Curb Climate Change

Posted August 1, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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In four key cities this week, the Environmental Protection Agency held successful public hearings on its proposal to curb climate change pollution. Hundreds of people marched into the marathon sessions to share why taking this giant step to curb climate...continued

Big Polluters Cry Wolf over EPA Plan to Protect Health and Fight Climate Change

Posted July 25, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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Next week the Environmental Protection Agency will host four public hearings on its plan to reduce climate change pollution from power plants.  The speakers list is already filling up. Physicians will outline the health hazards linked to climate change. Farmers...continued

Let's Honor an American Tradition: Create the Greater Canyonlands National Monument

Posted July 23, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Forty years ago this summer, I traveled through the Greater Canyonlands for the first time. I had just finished graduate school and decided to hit the road with friends. We had plenty of adventures along the way, but nothing prepared...continued

National Conversation on Climate Change Has Shifted; Just Look at Latest Calls for Action

Posted July 21, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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Matt Russell recently declared that “we are already experiencing the effects of climate change.” Russell isn’t a pundit or scientist or government official. He is a fifth-generation farmer from Lacona, Iowa, and he is trying to raise crops in...continued

Obama Plan Helps Communities Prepare for Extreme Weather Brought on by Climate Change

Posted July 17, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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New Yorkers remember all too well the alarm we felt as Superstorm Sandy pounded our city. Apartment buildings and hospitals were swamped, and entire neighborhoods went without power for days. People who lost their homes or businesses spent months trying...continued

Time to Protect the Arctic Refuge from Drilling Once and For All

Posted July 10, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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I will never forget the sensation of flying over the Brooks Range in a tiny Cessna. The ride was bumpy, and the light of an endless Alaskan summer day poured through the windows. Snow-covered peaks and slate-gray ridges filled the...continued

GOP Leaders Threaten Government Shutdown, This Time Over Clean Water and Climate Action

Posted June 20, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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Republican leaders in the Senate took America one step closer to another government shutdown this week, foreshadowing a possible replay at the end of September. Instead of voting on straightforward bills to fund government operations, GOP lawmakers held the appropriation...continued

Obama Takes Bold Action to Protect Marine Life in the Pacific Ocean

Posted June 17, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Reviving the World's Oceans

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This is great day for anyone who has ever marveled at wide-open seas and rich ocean life. President Obama announced plans to protect a vast stretch of the central Pacific Ocean home to coral gardens and underwater mountain ranges. This...continued

Carbon Standards Should Reduce Our Dependence on All Fossil Fuels

Posted June 6, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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Leaders from across the nation have welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed limits on carbon pollution from power plants. It’s been inspiring to see the outpouring of support from lawmakers, public health experts, more than 170 American business executives, and...continued

EPA Announces New Limits on Carbon Pollution that Will Protect Health and Tackle Climate Change

Posted June 2, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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The Obama Administration announced a major breakthrough today that will safeguard our health and protect future generations from unchecked climate change. For the first time, the United States will set a national limit on how much carbon pollution can be...continued

The Elephant in the Graduation Tent: Climate Change and an Uncertain Future

Posted May 30, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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Commencement season is in full swing, and graduation speakers are offering advice from podiums across the country. Some use humor, some share hard-won truths, and all urge graduates to embrace the future that lies ahead. That is good advice, but...continued

About

Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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