John H. Adams

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John H. Adams "is the Founding Director and former President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit organization of public interest lawyers focused on the formation and enforcement of emerging environmental laws. Since he co-founded the NRDC in 1970, it has become a national and international force, with more than 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide.[1] Adams left his position at NRDC in 2008 but remains on the boards of directors for several organizations.

Education and Career

Adams "co-founded NRDC in 1970, serving as Executive Director from 1970-1998 and as President since October 1998. Mr. Adams graduated from Michigan State University and attended law school at Duke University. He later worked as the Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and with the newly-formed Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C. In 1972, Mr. Adams joined the adjunct faculty of New York University’s School of Law where he taught Clinical Environmental Law for 26 years.

"In 1973, Mr. Adams reconstituted the defunct Open Space Institute and has served as the Chairman of the Board since that time. He is also on the boards of the League of Conservation Voters and the Woods Hole Research Center. In 1999, he completed his membership on the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and his participation in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Common Sense Initiative."[2]

Board Memberships

Adams serves on several boards of directors, including:

He is also on the board of advisors at Center for International Environmental Law.[8]

Former board memberships:

Awards and Honors

"Mr. Adams has received the Natural Resources Council of America’s Award of Honor; the Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership; the Judge Lumbard Cup for public service; the National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation; and the Francis K. Hutchinson Conservation Award from the Garden Club of America. In 1998, Mr. Adams was named one of the National Audubon’s 100 Champions of Conservation. In 1997, he received the Environmental Careers Organization’s 25th Anniversary Award. In 1991, he received Duke University’s Distinguished Alumni Award; and in 1992, Duke University Law School’s Charles J. Murphy Award. Mr. Adams was also the recipient of an honorary doctor of laws from Knox College and an honorary doctorate from Cedar Crest College.“[9]

"John has also served on the Pew Oceans Commission. Throughout his career, John has been recognized by various organizations for his work and has received several honors, including the Wilderness Society’s Robert Marshall Award; the Judge Lumbard Cup for public service from the United States Attorney’s Southern District of New York; the Frances K. Hutchinson Conservation Award from the Garden Club of America; Duke University’s Distinguished Alumni Award and Duke University Law School’s Charles J. Murphy Award."[10]

Adams Endorses Sewage Sludge Use in Agriculture

In the latter part of the 20th century, the wastewater treatment industry and the U.S. EPA began to advocate the use of sewage sludge (renamed "biosolids") as fertilizer. John H. Adams, while serving as Executive Director of NRDC, was quoted supporting this:

"EDF and NRDC have been steadfast proponents of reusing biosolids of appropriate quality as the best biosolids management alternative. Biosolids can be a valuable natural resource."
FRED KRUP, Executive Director - JOHN ADAMS Executive Director
Environmental Defense Fund - Natural Resources Defense Fund"[11]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. John Adams, Riverkeeper, accessed January 20, 2009.
  2. Meridian Institute, Accessed via Internet Wayback Machine on May 6, 2011.
  3. Board of Directors, Accessed May 6, 2011.
  4. OSI Board, Accessed May 6, 2011.
  5. John Adams, Accessed May 6, 2011.
  6. Directors, Accessed May 6, 2011.
  7. Board of Visitors, Accessed May 6, 2011.
  8. Board of Advisors, Accessed May 6, 2011.
  9. Meridian Institute, Accessed via Internet Wayback Machine on May 6, 2011.
  10. John Adams, Riverkeeper, Accessed May 6, 2011.
  11. Bio Solids - Notable Quotes, Accessed May 6, 2011.

External links