Nationally renowned environmentalist Gus Speth has come full circle: from working inside the White House as a top environmental adviser to Pres. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, to getting arrested outside its gates. Speth co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council in 1970. Under President Jimmy Carter, he was chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, then went on to found World Resources Institute, and was a senior adviser to Pres. Bill Clinton on natural resources, energy and the environment. He served as director of the United Nations Development Program, and was Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He now teaches at Vermont Law School and lives in Strafford, Vermont. In 2011, Speth was arrested, along with 350.org founder Bill McKibben and others, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. He argues that the environmental movement has lost its way and now advocates for a new political economy to combat climate change.
Speth’s recently wrote a memoir, Angels by the River, published by Chelsea Green. He talks about his life growing up in the Deep South under Jim Crow laws, his awakening to issues of civil rights and the environmental, how we went from insider to radical, and what gives him hope.
Gus Speth, environmentalist and author