Allen Hershkowitz, Ph.D. | MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council

Dr. Allen Hershkowitz is a Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council and a leader in the movement to make environmental responsibility understandable and achievable for every individual and institution — an accomplishment that earned him the name “The Godfather of Greening” by Yoga + Joyful Living Magazine in 2009. Dr. Hershkowitz joined NRDC’s senior staff in 1988 and has been the force behind some of the organization’s most effective and visible initiatives. Through the years, he has championed systemic change on critical issues ranging from recycling to forestry, paper industry impacts, mountaintop coal mining, waste incineration and medical wastes. 

Melding ecological expertise with a positive approach, Dr. Hershkowitz has directed the greening of American icons including pro sports leagues and major record labels. He was the architect of the greening of the 2007 to 2010 Academy Awards, and the 50th and 51st GRAMMY Awards.  His leadership in helping Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) go green earned him the EPA’s 2008 Environmental Merit Award. Dr. Hershkowitz helped drive the greening of the Warner Music Group and he helped establish and serves on the Steering Committee of Broadway Greening Alliance. 

Dr. Hershkowitz is among the nation’s progressive pioneers in environmental responsibility. His work in the field of industrial ecology has ranged from advising corporations such as DuPont, Hugo Neu and the Sims Group in their sustainability efforts, to protect ecologically compromised areas in Belize, fragile Appalachian ecosystems threatened by mountaintop removal coal mining, the boreal forests and other ecologically irreplaceable areas. Dr. Hershkowitz was a lead negotiator in NRDC’s historic 2006 forestry protection settlement with Bowater Paper Company, which led to breakthrough protections of the Cumberland Plateau region. His was an originator of Testing the Waters, NRDC’s influential annual documentation of beach closures. 

His affiliations with the nation’s most prominent leaders and agencies run deep. Dr. Hershkowitz helped author President Clinton’s “Greening the Government” executive order in 1993, and has served on the DuPont Corporation’s Bio-Based Fuels Life Cycle Assessment Advisory Board. He has served on the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council Committee on the Health Effects of Waste Incineration.  Previously he has served as the Chairman of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner’s Advisory Board on Operating Requirements for Municipal Solid Waste Incinerators. He has also served on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board Subcommittee on Sludge Incineration, as well as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Peer Review Panel for its Report to Congress on the Health Implications of Medical Waste. Dr. Hershkowitz was the Principal Contractor for the United States Congressional Office of Technology Assessment’s Report to Congress on Municipal Solid Waste Management. He was a member of the U.S. EPA’s Regulatory Negotiations on Fugitive Emissions from Equipment Leaks at Synthetic and Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industries. Dr. Hershkowitz served on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Committee on Worker Training and Waste-to-Energy plants, he has been invited to serve as a discussant at international gatherings of environmental officials by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and has been invited to present his research findings on sustainable industrial development before the United Nations Environment Program in Paris. Dr. Hershkowitz has received top honors from Scenic Hudson for working to protect the Hudson River and was honored by the American Institute of Architects for spearheading a massive Bronx recycling and sustainability initiative. Outside the U.S., Dr. Hershkowitz has a long history of consistent involvement in some of the world’s foremost environmental initiatives, from Japan and Europe to Central America.

Dr. Hershkowitz served on the editorial board of OnEarth magazine from 2006 to 2008, and is the author of Bronx Ecology: A Blueprint for a New Environmentalism (Island Press, 2002). He served on the National Research Council committee that wrote Waste Incineration & Public Health (National Academy Press: Washington, Dec. 2000), and his other publications include Too Good To Throw Away: Recycling’s Proven Record (New York: NRDC, 1997), Garbage Management in Japan (New York: INFORM, 1987), Garbage Burning: Lessons from Europe (New York: INFORM, 1986), and Garbage: Practices, Problems and Remedies (New York: INFORM, 1988). He has also published many articles in Technology Review, Environmental Impact Assessment Review (MIT); TheNew York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Social Research, Newsday, The Nation, the American Book Review and other outlets.

Dr. Hershkowitz appears regularly on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and NPR news, including a November 2008 feature on CBS news show “60 Minutes.” He has appeared in television and radio shows in more than fifty countries including “20/20,” “Larry King Live,” Crossfire,” “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” “ABC Evening News,” “CNN Business News,” “CNN Evening News,” CNBC and National Public Radio.  He is regularly quoted in newspapers and journals, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, BusinessWeek, Forbes and Fortune, as well as the trade press. 

Dr. Hershkowitz’s work has been the subject of numerous profiles and feature articles: The December 2008 issue of “Sustainability” Magazine featured him on its cover. He was the subject of a 10-page feature in The New Yorker (July 1995). His work was featured in Audubon Magazine and Yoga + Joyful Living Magazine. He is the principal subject of Tilting at Mills: Green Dreams, Dirty Dealings and the Corporate Squeeze by Lis Harris, a book on sustainable industrial development, published by Houghton Mifflin in March 2003. He has received awards from the U.S. EPA, the American Institute of Architects, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

A native of New York, Dr. Hershkowitz received his Ph.D. in political economics, specializing in energy resources economics, from the City University of New York Graduate School in 1986. He earned a M. Phil. In political economics in 1982, a B.A. (cum laude) from the City College of New York in 1978 and a Certificat D’assiduite from the University of Grenoble in 1975. He resides in New York State and is the father of three children.

Photo © 2010 J Henry Fair

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