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New Street Signs Book by Influential Environmental Activist John Cronin
Jefferson Gold Award winner to author book considering Richard Nixon's highly-charged and environmentally-aware 1970 State of the Union Address, delivered three months before the first Earth Day.
Provocative, probing and incisive, Cronin's book challenges the status quo of current enironmentalism from the distance of 44 years. Cronin makes a case that the goals and philosophy laid out in Nixon's remarks reflect the intent of the founders of contemporary American environmentalism, and show where this movement should be headed today.
"By 21st century standards," comments Cronin, Nixon's remarks still stand "as a blueprint for American environmental policy, embodying economics and innovation, driven by solutions rather than a rehashing of problems."
"We must," said Nixon, "turn toward ending congestion and eliminating smog the same inventive genius that created them in the first place." As Cronin cogently argues, this call to American innovators, and the marketplace, constitutes the central missing piece in current environmental activism.
In the course of his absorbing study, Cronin employs key primary source materials from the Nixon Library, and vital information gleaned from interveiws with Nixon intimates involved with the crafting of the president's remarks, to reveal the process that was followed in developing the environmental portion of the speech and show what iterations occurred before Nixon's astute policy ideas were finally harmonized into the final draft.
Throughout, Cronin provides an incisive analysis of the writing and language of the speech, the central policy issues involved, the Washington politics of the environment in 1970, and - most importantly - why the model of action articulated by Nixon so long ago should be aggressively followed in efforts to meet today's even more daunting environmental challenges.
About the Author:
John Cronin is a Senior Fellow for Environmental Affairs at the Pace University Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. John previously gained international attention for his work as Hudson Riverkeeper from 1983 to 2000. Prior to that, his work with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater led to the first successful prosecution in New York State under the Federal Clean Water Act.
Referencing John's work as Riverkeeper, People Magazine described him as "equal parts detective, scientist and public advocate." John took up the cause of fishermen beleaguered by pollution with his documentary "The Last Rivermen," which he wrote and co-produced, and which was recognized as an outstanding documentary of 1991 by the Motion Picture Academy Foundation. John also co-authored The Riverkeepers with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a volume recognized as a leading handbook on environmental activism, and has contributed numerous op-eds on environmental policy to The New York Times.
In 1985, with Professors Richard Ottinger, Nicholas Robinson and Robert Kennedy Jr. he co-founded the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace School of Law. John is also the founding director and CEO of the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries where, among other accomplishments, he created a unique partnership with IBM to combine its streaming analytical capability with real-time monitoring techniques develoed by the Beacon Institute and Clarkson University.
John's many honors include being named a Time Magazine Hero for the Planet and receiving the Jefferson Gold Award, established by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the "Nobel Prize for Public Service."
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