NRDC Founding Director John Adams to Be Awarded the Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON (November 17th, 2010) -- President Obama today announced that John Adams, the founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, is to receive the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. In announcing his selection of Adams, the President cited a tenure "unparalleled by the leader of any other environmental organization," and cited a Rolling Stone quotation: "If the planet has a lawyer, it's John Adams."

Following is a statement from John H. Adams, NRDC Founder and author of A Force for Nature, published last month:

"For forty years I've been privileged to live out my passion, standing up for the natural inheritance that belongs to us all. In receiving this great honor today, I stand on the shoulders of a remarkable NRDC team, and of Americans everywhere, who love this country and believe we share a common duty to safeguard the waters that nourish us, the wildlife that inspires us, the air that sustains us and the land we call home. This is our country. It is ours to cherish; it is ours to protect. That is how we keep faith with future generations. And I thank the President for recognizing this high calling and the contribution I've been privileged to make."

Following is a statement from NRDC President Frances G. Beinecke, who assumed NRDC’s leadership from Adams in 2006:

"Four decades ago, when there was no such thing as environmental law in our country, when pollution was so severe and commonplace that rivers caught on fire, it took extraordinary vision to even imagine the modern day environmental movement and its place in our society.

"President Obama today recognized NRDC Founding Director John Adams as the man who had the vision and fortitude to launch and build one of the world’s most prominent and effective environmental advocacy organization.

"John’s vision has guided and sustained NRDC for four decades now; today's extraordinary honor recognizes all that he and the NRDC team have achieved and sets the bar for what we must achieve in the future.

"For John knows that to prevail in this vital mission, we must stay with it, not only from one decade to the next, but, indeed, from one generation to another. As John shows us, standing up for the planet is more than just a job; it’s the calling of a lifetime.

"On behalf of NRDC's Board, our staff and the more than 1.3 million members and activists, I offer our most sincere congratulations to John for a lifetime of service to the planet. Thank you to a man who truly is a force for nature."