The RIVERKEEPERS: Two Activists Fight to
Environment as a Basic Human Right by
Robert Kennedy, Al
story of the people of New York's forty year fight to take back THEIR
blessed Hudson River.
In the 1960s the Hudson River,
threat from polluters and energy concerns but beloved by its shoreline
residents and local fishermen, became one of the United States' first
major environmental battlegrounds. Out of those early legal wrangles
emerged some important environmental legislation, and also the
Soundkeeper organization, with a mandate to fight for the health of
this historic New York river.
This book reveals something about the
organization, and even more about the history of the Hudson and
environmentalism in America, from John Winthrop to Newt Gingrich, and
quite a bit, too, about the upbringings--glamorous (who'd have thought
keeping a pet seal in your swimming pool would lead to activism?) and
not-so-unusual of its authors.
Promising early chapters sketch out
exploitation of the river by industry and describe some of its colorful
champions. (One of the most interesting here is Robert H. Boyle, the
writer of a seminal account of the Hudson, The Hudson River:
Natural and Unnatural History, who comes off as a hero.) A
final section explains in accessible terms the basis for environmental
law in the founding of our country. In between, this book sometimes
falters under the weight of too much information. You can't fault these
writers for the work they've done, or for the scattered gems of
thoughtful information on the modern environmental movement, which make
this book worth reading.