When the posh architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill designed the Chemsunny World Trade Center in Beijing, it was more efficient than a typical glass-walled luxury building in China. The fifteen-story building, formed of three connected towers, boasted a 50,000-square-meter...continued→
Peter Lehner, Executive Director, New York City
I am the Executive Director of NRDC. The position is my second at NRDC. Beginning in 1994, I led the Clean Water Program for five years, before leaving in 1999 to serve as the head of the Environmental Protection Bureau for the Attorney General of the State of New York.
My first experience with NRDC dates back to 1980, when I worked on environmental issues in Washington, DC. President Reagan had just been elected and environmentalists needed to strengthen their efforts. After law school, I worked for the New York City Law Department. NRDC was working hard to protect the city's drinking water supply, so I joined forces with NRDC and, on behalf of the city, sued polluters. I also joined with NRDC in suing President Reagan's Department of Transportation for rolling back fuel economy standards. This was the very first lawsuit brought on the grounds of global warming. I knew then that NRDC was thinking big, and committed to solving complex problems over the long haul.
Cases like this underscore why I became an environmental lawyer in the first place: if you are right on the law, you can make tremendous progress. NRDC has distinguished itself by a history of groundbreaking environmental work. Through our lawyers, lobbyists, scientists and media experts, we're able not only to find solutions, but to do the hard work of putting them into place. This is part of why NRDC is, in my opinion, the leading environmental organization in the nation. And it's why I'm honored to be back.
Before I gained any of this professional experience, my dedication to protecting the environment began as I suspect it does for many people -- by spending a lot of time in the outdoors. I spent most of my youth mucking around in the woods near where I grew up, and then as I grew older I spent a lot of time hiking and climbing and canoeing and kayaking. I still try to get out every weekend and, when I do, I'm reminded of how quickly the planet is changing, and how much it needs our protection.
New Secretary of Energy Can Reduce Global Warming Pollution with Efficiency Standards and Continued Support for Clean, Renewable Energy
Posted May 16, 2013 by Peter Lehner
“A low-carbon economy is absolutely critical,” Ernest Moniz told senators at his nomination hearing. As widely anticipated, Moniz, a former top Department of Energy (DOE) official and head of MIT’s Energy Initiative, was confirmed today as the new Secretary of...continued→
“I bring my lunch to school every day because the school food is pretty disgusting,” Nick Hilliard, a senior at Apopka High School in Florida, told high school reporter Rachel Armstrong. “If you’re willing to spend some money, you can...continued→
In 2011, residents of sprawling, fast-growing, Charlotte became part of a case study on obesity. Just a few years earlier, Charlotte had been one of the most car-dependent cities in the nation. But in 2007, the city launched LYNX, its...continued→
Posted May 2, 2013 by Peter Lehner
It started as an empty lot on 41st and Alameda. It became, with care and patience and the hard labor of hundreds of families, 14 acres of productive farmland, a source of fresh food and pride for an underserved community....continued→
There are few places on Earth where the waters are warm enough, safe enough, clean, quiet, and abundant enough in food for gray whale mothers to raise their babies. Laguna San Ignacio, off the coast of Baja California, is one...continued→
NRDC’s annual Growing Green Awards ceremony last week kicked off with an indoor farmer’s market, where I got to taste about ten spectacular artisanal cheeses, organic strawberries from Swanton Berry Farm, and many other locally grown and locally produced foods....continued→
Last fall, employees at Jim Durst’s farm in Yolo County, California, harvested about 30 bins full of oddly-shaped organic butternut squash. These gourds would never see the inside of a grocery store--they had curvy necks or bulbous heads, making them...continued→
The apples were too small. Too small to meet the exacting standards of big grocery chains. Too small even for McDonald’s to use as Happy Meal snacks. They had a fighting chance to become caramel apples, but demand was low...continued→
Recently in Gray County, Kansas (population 6,005), schools bought iPads for their classrooms—a purchase previously unthinkable in this time of shrinking budgets--thanks to contributions made to the county by a local wind farm. In rural Cloud County, Kansas, three tiny...continued→
In my family we used to play a game called Journey to the Back of the Fridge. We would embark on a voyage of discovery into the depths of my parents’ refrigerator, seeking wildly colored forgotten leftovers, covered with fuzzy...continued→
I recently shared a stage with the White House pastry chef, the CEO of a $360 million company, and a woman who advocates eating weeds. We were all speaking at the TEDx-Manhattan conference, Changing the Way We Eat. Everyone I...continued→
In South Dakota, voters recently rejected a one-penny increase in sales tax. “I feel we’re taxed enough already,” explained Kristi Schnider, a 35-year-old assistant manager at Applebee’s, to the Argus Leader. The irony is that South Dakota residents are being...continued→
Posted March 11, 2013 by Peter Lehner
Don Lepard, a Chattanooga business executive, recently won a contract from his hometown to install 27,000 wireless, energy-efficient LED streetlights in the city. Lepard moved fast. In the space of a few months, his company, Global Green Lighting (GGL), acquired...continued→
In 2008, Ernest Moniz, director of MIT’s Energy Initiative (MITEI), wrote an open letter to the newly-elected President Barack Obama, offering his recommendations on energy policy. He discussed the urgent need to control global warming pollution, stating, “We must begin...continued→
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.