Mother Earth News Fair

Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.

Add to My MSN

NRDC’s Richard Schrader: Don’t Kill All the Lawyers

9/27/2010 12:10:42 PM

Tags: 2010 FAIR, NRDC, David Schimke, David Schimke

While complaints (and countless jokes) about our increasingly litigious society are commonplace, and often understandable, there’s reason for environmentalists across the political spectrum to hug a lawyer.

So says Richard Schrader, legislative director for the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in New York and New England. During a keynote address delivered on the second day of the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, entitled How We Can Win after Climate Change Defeat, he convincingly argued that global climate change has reached a boiling point, and then spoke passionately about what can be done to change its trajectory.

The first step step? Take a page from the past and haul polluters and energy wasters into court. “Most major federal legislation comes after there’s been a series of successful litigations,” said Schrader, the former director for the New York State Trial Lawyers association.

For instance, Schrader argues, President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act in 1970 after citizens waged a series of successful court battles against industrial polluters and put pressure on the nation’s politicians. The Clean Water Act, signed into law two years later, was born out of a similar scenario. This is especially noteworthy given the current political environment, Schrader points out, because the oil, gas, and coal industries have so much money to throw around on Capitol Hill. Since the environmental movement cannot keep pace financially, high-profile suits are an effective way to shape public opinion and force local representatives to address environmental issues, along with corporate malfeasance.

Along with pursuing civil suits directed at specific offenders, Schrader also believes environmentalists should from alliances with anti-trust lawyers, since they could get in the way of further consolidation in the gas and oil industries.

“The energy industry’s lobby is so powerful,” Schrader says. “They spend $20 million a year on lobbing fees; every couple of weeks the API (American Petroleum Institute) alone takes15 to 20 Congressman golfing.” Which is why, “twinning our successful environmental movement with an anti-trust movement could be effective.”

Related Content

Broad Section of America Attends the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

I noticed, as I walked the FAIR yesterday, a broad section of America.

Fairness as a Way of Life

I realize that if I provide an example for the pursuit of fairness in the world I will be inviting d...

Celebrate World Fair Trade Day

How you spend your money matters more than ever these days. Here’s an easy way to connect with your ...

Love Up Mom With a Fair Trade Gift

Give Mom a gift that offers fair wages and opportunity to people and communities in developing count...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.