by Craig Layne and Christine Baksi
Dickinson will host a lecture on climate change, biodiversity loss and the importance of advocacy and legal action by Natural Resources Defense Council Western Director & Senior Attorney Joel Reynolds. The talk, “Crisis: Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and the Pebble Mine,” will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium.
Reynolds will be on campus for a brief residency as part of the Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism, which was awarded to NRDC in May 2019. The $100,000 prize is given annually to an individual or organization that makes a defining difference and advances responsible action on behalf of the planet, its resources and its people. Earlier this year, at Commencement, Reynolds accepted the prize on NRDC’s behalf along with actor, environmentalist and longtime NRDC supporter Pierce Brosnan.
In addition to his public lecture, Reynolds’ residency will include meetings with Dickinson’s many student environmental leadership groups and faculty and participation in class discussions. He will also participate in a special workshop focusing on the unique challenges of environmental advocacy at the international level, including an in-depth analysis of the strategic elements NRDC has used successfully in its campaigns.
Reynolds joined NRDC as a senior attorney in 1990, after a decade with the Center for Law in the Public Interest and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, both in Los Angeles. Since 1980, he has specialized in complex law-reform litigation, arguing cases on behalf of environmental and community groups at all levels of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Reynolds has led successful campaigns to reduce ocean noise pollution, to protect the popular California State Park at San Onofre and, most recently, to oppose the Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska, which he will detail during his lecture. Reynolds and NRDC also partnered with Brosnan and his wife, Keely Shaye Brosnan, to block construction of the world’s largest industrial salt factory at Laguna San Ignacio on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, in the heart of the last pristine breeding ground for the Pacific gray whale.
The Rose-Walters Prize honors NRDC’s work defending America’s wildlands, including the Arctic National Refuge, Bristol Bay in Alaska and the monuments of the West. Founded in 1970, NRDC works every day to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends. At the core of its mission is a simple idea: A healthy environment should be a basic right. NRDC creates solutions for lasting environmental change by combining the power of more than 3 million members and online activists with the expertise of over 600 scientists, lawyers and policy advocates. In recent years, NRDC has been at the forefront of advancing clean energy and climate resilience policies in cities across the globe, fighting for safe drinking water—including for the residents of Flint, Michigan—and defending endangered wildlife and wild spaces.
As longtime supporters of NRDC, Rose and Walters endowed their prize to honor NRDC co-founder John H. Adams and his years of dedication and service to environmental causes. In 2011, Adams was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. In 2012, Dickinson presented Adams with a doctor of public service honorary degree.
Previous recipients of the Rose-Walters Prize are Our Children’s Trust, the advocacy organization supporting the plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States, a landmark climate-change lawsuit; Brett Jenks, CEO of conservation nonprofit Rare; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert; award-winning actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo; author and environmental activist Bill McKibben; Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson; and award-winning nature photographer James Balog.
Published October 22, 2019