Welcome to ConserveFewell
We hope that you enjoy our site, interspersed with the beautiful and awe-inspiring work of various wildlife artists, and engage with us for a rich and diverse dialogue on environmental stewardship. Please share with us your ideas, conservation success stories, and conservation heroes, so we can highlight them here for the world to see.
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, the stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ― Aldo Leopold
By Brent Fewell
I love this video by the British writer George Monbiot documenting how the wolves in Yellowstone have helped to restore ecosystems degraded by years of ecological imbalance. As a young wildlife biologist, I had the good fortune – not to mention fun – of participating in a predator-prey study in Yellowstone in the late 1980s that supported the reintroduction. Admittedly, the restoration story is a bit more complex than just the success of the wolves, which we should expect due to the complexity of ecosystems and trophic cascades. However, it serves as a great reminder of the possibilities of protecting our environment and co-inhabitants.
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An Interview with EDF’s Fred Krupp – A Leading Voice in Today’s Environmental Wilderness
Thank you, Fred, for taking the time for this interview. I was a young intern at the National Wildlife Federation in 1989 when I began following your work at EDF, and have appreciated over the year’s EDF’s perspective and capacity to look at environmental problems and solutions differently than others. As a conservative who cares about environmental matters, I have grown increasingly concerned about the divisive political discourse and polarization of environmental stewardship. I was hoping to spend a few minutes exploring with you the topic of the environment in today’s hyper-partisan environment. Just a few weeks ago, you were awarded the prestigious William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award, along with Ben Grumbles. I had a chance to join you in that celebration and it was a wonderful event. Congratulations, again.
You are viewed as leader and prominent voice within the environmental community. What does leadership mean to you?
A few weeks ago I had the honor of receiving a 2015 William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership from American University’s Center for Environmental Policy, and it was particularly meaningful to me that the award was named for Bill, who was and continues to be a model.
It was 1986 and I’d been at EDF barely two years when Bill, then at the Conservation Foundation, and I were featured in the media about a “third wave” of environmental advocacy. We were beginning to embrace partnerships with the business community, and during a radio interview someone from EarthFirst! called into say we shouldn’t compromise, that we needed to save the planet, not be reasonable.
But my work with Bill over the years has reinforced for me that being reasonable is exactly the way to save the planet. We worked together on the acid rain program and ultimately won huge bipartisan support in Congress — 89 to 11 in the Senate and 401 to 21 in the House. Fast forward 20 years, and we worked again together to dedicate 80 percent of BP’s Clean Water Act penalties to coastal restoration in the Gulf.
Being reasonable is becoming increasingly difficult in the hyper-partisan world we live in now, which to me means that constantly striving to find consensus in the seams between the left and the right is the leadership we need most today.
By all measures, EDF has been very successful under your leadership, growing from a three million dollar operating budget in 1984 to over one-hundred and thirty million and going from a relatively small organization of 50 to over 450 full-time staff. In 2002, The Economist referred to EDF as the greatest green success story of the past decade. What do you attribute your success to?
Thank you, Fred, for taking the time for this interview. I was a young intern at the National Wildlife Federation in 1989 when I began following your work at EDF, and have appreciated over the year's EDF's perspective and capacity to look at environmental problems and solutions differently than others. As a conservative who cares about environmental matters, I have grown increasingly concerned about the divisive political discourse and polarization of environmental stewardship. I was hoping to spend a few minutes exploring with you the topic of the environment in today's hyper-partisan environment. Just a few weeks ago, you were awarded the prestigious William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award, along with Ben Grumbles. I had a chance to read more
Sixty years ago, kids swimming in the Great Lakes could be up to their necks in water, look down, and see their toes. Thirty years ago, they could do the same thing, but couldn’t even see their shoulders. Now they can see their toes again. This spectacular achievement was made possible by the Clean Water Act (CWA). From 1972 till 1987, the CWA contained a generous construction grant program for sewer systems. In 1987, this was converted to a low-cost loan program that has provided over $100 billion of additional financial assistance. But things have changed….. Sewage treatment plants are no longer the #1 source of water pollution. In the Chesapeake Bay, about 60% of the pollution today comes from agricultural runoff. What’s read more
Looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day—grill up a nice, juicy Wild Sky steak. When you buy Wild Sky you are getting more than the steak on your plate. Proceeds from the sale of Wild Sky support conservation in two ways: profit goes toward the American Prairie Reserve and toward local ranchers who implement wildlife-friendly ranching practices. Think Newman’s Own “all profits to charity,” only beef instead of salad dressing and conservation instead of charity. What type of conservation? The innovative kind of course! American Prairie Reserve is compiling the largest wildlife reserve in the lower 48 states. Once complete, this 3.5-million-acre Reserve will be 1.5 times the size of Yellowstone National Park (or about the size of Connecticut). National Geographic read more
An intriguing debate was rekindled this past week involving the age-old philosophical argument regarding the role of humans in nature. This one was sparked by the publication of the so-called The Ecomodernist Manifesto, a 30-page entreaty that fundamentally changes the way in which we think about and approach the environment, technology, and human ingenuity. Eco-modernists are also affectionately known as Eco-pragmatists. While many within the established, left-leaning environmental community, such as Carl Pope of the Sierra Club, remain skeptical and even hostile to the movement, others are beginning to awaken to the real possibilities for sustainable environmental protection. Steve Hayward over at PowerLine likens it to the Protestant Reformation for environmentalism, which according to Hayward is in need of a "Martin Luther figure read more
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee met to mark up the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations Act. This bill funds the Army Corps of Engineers civil works program, among other things, including the Corps’ regulatory program enforcing Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. (The subcommittee draft is available here) Section 105 of the subcommittee draft provides that none of the funds made available in this or any other Act making available funds for Energy and Water Development in any fiscal year may be "used by the Corps of Engineers to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the regulations and guidance in effect on October 1, 2012, pertaining to the definition of read more
Kudos to Rare Environmental Leadership Congratulations to Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of Environment, and Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund, for being honored with this year's William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award. Both are extraordinary leaders in uncommon times. Their hallmark is to work across political divides to reach common sense solutions for the environment and the public. Fred, who has led EDF for over three decades, decided early on in his career against tilting at windmills and, rather than litigate every environmental grievance, he would work with Corporate America and show them why greening their business made good economic and environmental sense. Under his leadership, EDF has become the world's largest and most influential environmental organization with an annual operating budget read more
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of their employers or their clients.