Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

John Adams is a Force for Nature

John Adams












President Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to John Adams on February 15, 2011

John Adam's Editorial from Politico, "Nature isn't Red or Blue. Its Green," - 2/15/2011

New York, NY - November 17, 2010 - President Obama announced on November 17, 2010 that John Adams, the founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and chairman of the board of the Open Space Institute, is to receive the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. In announcing his selection of Adams, the President cited a tenure "unparalleled by the leader of any other environmental organization," and cited a Rolling Stone magazine quotation: "If the planet has a lawyer, it's John Adams."

Following is a statement from John H. Adams, NRDC Founder and author of A Force for Nature, published last month:

"For forty years I've been privileged to live out my passion, standing up for the natural inheritance that belongs to us all. In receiving this great honor today, I stand on the shoulders of a remarkable NRDC team, and of Americans everywhere, who love this country and believe we share a common duty to safeguard the waters that nourish us, the wildlife that inspires us, the air that sustains us and the land we call home. This is our country. It is ours to cherish; it is ours to protect. That is how we keep faith with future generations. And I thank the President for recognizing this high calling and the contribution I've been privileged to make."

Link to NRDC Press Release


In John and Patricia Adams’ new book, A Force for Nature: The Story of NRDC and The Fight to Save Our Planet, the OSI Board Chair tells the inspiring story of founding the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 40 years ago.

Searching for fulfillment in his work and a cleaner planet for his children, John and a mismatched group of students and law colleagues embraced the do-it-yourself ethic and started what would become one of the most successful environmental organizations in the world.

The upstart NRDC took the environment on as its client and successfully litigated—in landmark case after landmark case during the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s—for cleaner water and air and a more sustainable way of living.

John is also one of OSI’s founders and has served as its chairman since 1973, overseeing OSI’s growth as it has conserved more than 100,000 acres throughout New York State.

He helped launch OSI’s Citizen Action Program, a fiscal sponsorship program that, in the spirit of the early days of NRDC, assists dozens of grassroots organizations working to make a difference in their own communities. John was at OSI’s helm as our Conservation Finance and Research initiatives transformed the organization from a successful regional land trust into a multi-tooled, nationally recognized conservation agency.

Below are several excerpts from the book as featured in a special section in NRDC's Fall 2010 issue of OnEarth magazine:




John Adams Force for Nature


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