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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

This Is How America Will Cut Dangerous Pollution and Stamp Out Our Carbon Footprint

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

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Millions of people in Southern California were under an excessive heat warning a few weeks ago. The Los Angeles Unified School District cancelled outdoor sporting events and more than 100 San Diego schools sent children home early to shield them...continued

The World We Create: My New Book and a Message of Hope for the Planet

Posted October 14, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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My work at NRDC has brought me to the front lines of the climate crisis. I have flown over the massive tar sands strip mines in the boreal forest. I have visited the homes of people coping with frack pads...continued

Obama Preserves San Gabriel Mountains in LA's Backyard

Posted October 10, 2014 by Frances Beinecke

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America grew richer in natural heritage today. President Obama is declaring Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains a national monument, ensuring this beautiful landscape will remain wild for generations to come. Now the 17 million people living in Greater Los Angeles—and...continued

Climate Action Happening at Every Level, from the Streets to the UN

Posted September 23, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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Something extraordinary happened at the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday. One world leader after another took to the podium and described what his or her nation is already doing to reduce climate change pollution. Many also announced new measures...continued

We Made History: 400,000 March for Climate Action

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

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Today I joined the People’s Climate March—the biggest rally for climate action on record.  It was exhilarating to be part of this historic event.  I will never forget the moment I turned the corner at Columbus Circle and saw a...continued

UN Climate Summit Will Be a Time of Reckoning

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

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Next week President Obama will attend the United Nations Climate Summit in New York. Over 125 heads of government will gather for the event, more than the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen. This summit is not designed to generate a...continued

An Unprecedented Opportunity to Protect Two-Thirds of the World's Oceans

Posted September 16, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Reviving the World's Oceans

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I started working to protect the oceans soon after I joined NRDC four decades ago. Over the years, I have witnessed devastating setbacks like the Exxon Valdez and BP oil spills. I have also welcomed promising developments, such as the...continued

Come Make History at the People's Climate March on September 21

Posted September 11, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Solving Global Warming

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In less than two weeks, I will join hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens at the People’s Climate March in New York City. We will take to the streets just as world leaders arrive for the UN Climate Summit....continued

Court Ruling Could Require BP to Pay Billions in Fines for Gulf Oil Spill Restoration

Posted September 5, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Moving Beyond Oil, Reviving the World's Oceans

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A federal judge ruled on Thursday that BP acted with “gross negligence” in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This decision could result in the company paying an estimated $18 billion in fines. And the vast majority of that...continued

A 50th Birthday Present for Wilderness Act: Keep Arctic Coastal Plain Wild

Posted September 3, 2014 by Frances Beinecke in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Fifty years ago today, my conservation hero and mentor Mardy Murie stood next to President Lyndon Johnson as he signed the Wilderness Act. Mardy had worked tirelessly to help pass the law, traveling across Alaska, testifying at hearings on Capitol...continued

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

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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