Lynton Keith Caldwell: An Environmental Visionary and the National Environmental Policy Act

Lynton Keith Caldwell: An Environmental Visionary and the National Environmental Policy Act

Lynton Keith Caldwell: An Environmental Visionary and the National Environmental Policy Act

Lynton Keith Caldwell: An Environmental Visionary and the National Environmental Policy Act

Synopsis

This is the story of a visionary leader, Lynton Keith Caldwell, who in the early 1960s introduced the study of the environment and environmental policy at a time when such areas of expertise did not exist. Caldwellwas a principal architect of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 andis recognized as the "inventor" of the Act's important environmental impact statement provisions, now emulated around the world. For the next three decades, Caldwell played a leading role in establishing ethics-based environmental policy and administration as major areas of inquiry in the United States and around the world. Through his tireless global travels, writing, and lectures, and his work with the US Senate, the IUCN, UN, and UNESCO, Caldwell became recognized for his contributions to environmental ethics and the development of strong environmental planning and policy. This engrossing biography is based on interviews the author conducted with Caldwell and on unrestricted access to his memorabilia, photos, and records.

Excerpt

In the introduction to her biography of Aldo Leopold, A Fierce Green Fire, Marybeth Lorbiecki wrote, “How many Americans have ever heard of Leopold? Relatively few. Perhaps he was involved in too many aspects of the conservation movement to be pigeonholed into an easily remembered historical slot…. Whatever the reason, the majority of Americans have not yet been introduced to this person who has been so influential in their lives…. This is a shame; it is a life well worth knowing.” These words could just as well be applied to Lynton Keith Caldwell, whose contributions, like Leopold’s, are difficult to categorize neatly. This is because they, too, were wide-ranging and because they covered a period of some forty years, during which significant evolution occurred in attitudes toward conservation and sustainability, in the growth and structure of environmental organizations, and in environmental policy, management, and legislation.

The young Caldwell held Leopold in high esteem and once, in 1946, spent a memorable evening in his company. in Leopold’s midlife, as his daughter Nina Leopold Bradley explains, “through his … intellectual evolution, [he] advanced the development of ecological science.” in his own midlife, Caldwell’s particular intellectual evolution led him to change the course of his career in public administration to become a visionary developer of environmental policy, in which science and the ecological concepts and values so important to Leopold’s thinking played a large part. Leopold’s writings on the need for a more ethicsbased approach to interactions between humans and their environment influenced Caldwell’s groundbreaking 1963 article, “Environment: A

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