The connection between healthy and thriving people and a healthy and thriving planet is clear. From exposure to contaminants in the water, air, land, and household items to the extreme weather caused by a changing climate, our public health and personal well-being are increasingly at risk. NRDC is working to ensure that everyone—not just some—benefits from a clean and healthy environment, which is fundamental to what matters most to people: opportunity and a good quality of life for themselves and future generations.
We put people at the center of our environmental work by taking a holistic approach. We fight for the right to clean air and water, healthy homes and food, green space and infrastructure, and efficient buildings and transportation. We foster the development of vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities—especially working with those who have suffered from disinvestment and inequitable distribution of resources. We use policy, science, law, finance, and public engagement to change systems—at the neighborhood, city, state, and national levels—so that everyone can thrive.
NRDC helped win passage of our nation’s bedrock water pollution laws. We continue our fight for a clean, safe, and sufficient water supply by holding local, state, and federal governments accountable through litigation and advocacy, building awareness, and creating new models for transformative and lasting change.
Meanwhile, communities nationwide are increasingly faced with climate-related challenges such as unprecedented storms, flooding, and drought. We work to reform outdated federal policies and work hand in hand with communities to change systems and increase investment in strengthening resilience to the impact of climate change, such as by pushing for flood insurance reform, promoting green infrastructure, and advocating for water conservation and efficiency.
Health & Food
NRDC has worked for more than three decades to protect families and communities from toxic chemicals, ensure safe drinking water, and fight for a food system that protects our environment and health. We’ve seen substantial progress in public health over the past generation, but we must continue to tackle environmentally linked diseases—from asthma to autism to certain types of cancer—that are on the rise. Through our scientific and legal expertise, policy and marketplace advocacy, and work with coalitions, we help people who are threatened by dangerous chemicals in food and household products, contaminated drinking water, and harmful industrial pollutants.
We also work to strengthen our food and agriculture system so that more Americans can enjoy healthy and sustainable food. We push policymakers, producers, and larger purchasers to stop the use of dangerous pesticides and end the routine use of antibiotics in livestock. We work with food service providers to encourage low-carbon food choices and with policymakers and industry to reduce wasted food while helping to feed the millions of Americans who don’t have enough to eat.
Many of the things that make our communities safer, healthier, and more economically vibrant can also help curb climate change. That’s why we work with local and national partners to support communities in addressing climate change, boost investment in clean energy and sustainable infrastructure, and carry forward the goals and principles adopted in the Paris climate agreement.
While virtually every community is affected by climate change, not all are affected equally. We prioritize health and well-being—especially for the most vulnerable—and strive to ensure that our work in communities, cities, and beyond is inclusive and just. By promoting energy efficiency in large buildings and multifamily housing, we help people save money and live healthier while curbing pollution. Our support for neighborhoods to have safe, walkable streets, public transportation and shared-mobility options, open space, and access to healthy food and economic opportunity not only helps reduce climate-changing pollution, but helps us and our children lead healthier, more prosperous lives.
Across America, low-income communities and people of color are forced to shoulder pollution’s heaviest burdens, and often they don’t have a fair share of basic environmental amenities, such as access to open space, healthy foods, and public transit. For more than two decades, NRDC has stood shoulder to shoulder with grassroots allies in the fight for environmental justice. We look to communities to define their own battles; then we provide the legal tools and expertise to create the change they seek. We stay the course until justice is delivered and work with residents to create the healthy, vibrant neighborhoods they deserve.
New York Region
We work in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to protect the region’s environment, advance our top priorities through local action, and use our advocacy successes as models for sustainability that can be replicated in other communities across the country. Based in New York City, NRDC has tackled some of the region’s biggest environmental issues, including safeguarding the Hudson River, leading the way on clean energy, working with frontline communities to fight fracking, and bringing successful environmental justice lawsuits to protect vulnerable neighborhoods.
Defining what "everyday environmentalists" do to fight for a just, sustainable, and socially equitable world in which people have a meaningful voice in their health and well-being.
Environmental justice is an important part of the struggle to improve and maintain a clean and healthful environment, especially for those who have traditionally lived, worked and played closest to the sources of pollution.
Any plan to improve U.S. infrastructure must not just meet environmental standards but also enhance our efforts to clean the air, improve water quality, boost health, and improve opportunity for all Americans.
The Empire State has adopted an innovative strategy to ward off an invasion of fracked-gas pipelines—and it’s working.
Sales of medically important antibiotics for pigs rival those sold for use to treat sick people, not only posing a threat to public health.
Over the past quarter century, standards for plumbing fixtures and appliances such as shower heads, washing machines, and toilets, have saved taxpayers billions of dollars while protecting water resources across the country—and they’re still working today.
The EPA is taking dangerous, unlawful, and alarming steps to dismantle the long-standing TSCA program for reviewing the safety of new chemicals before they are allowed on the market.
Three major U.S. retailers have moved to get rid of a deadly chemical. Will the EPA do the same?
The Food Recovery and Recycling Act has the potential to feed hungry New Yorkers and fight climate change at the same time.