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May 2001

RFK, Jr. Talks of Future, West Marin Water Quality

By Louis Nuyens

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a successful environmental attorney, activist and author, was in Sausalito recently addressing environmental issues covering National, California and Marin County topics. The event was sponsored by Northern Trust, and hosted by the Marin Prologue Society, a charitable association that provides scholarships to local teens with an interest in history and literature.

In his speech, "A Contract With Our Future," Kennedy spoke of the practical, moral, and spiritual necessity of advocacy work, preserving people's trust, and protection of natural resources. "We can only withdraw the interest from the bank account, not the principal. To do anything more will deplete the bank account for the next generation," commented Mr. Kennedy. Also mentioned was the importance of preserving fisheries and endangered species habitat, specifically the Lagunitas creek and its critical role as one of the significant remaining coho salmon spawning grounds in California.

Kennedy pointed out two west Marin residents, both in attendance, as examples of dedication in protecting and preserving the environment. Kennedy lauded Ellen Straus, a resident of Marshall, for the organic practices of her Straus Family Creamery dairy, and her leadership in addressing agricultural issues in Tomales Bay. He also introduced Elena Belsky, of San Geronimo, recently appointed Tomales BayKeeper, and praised her for water quality advocacy and community involvement. Kennedy strongly encouraged both women to continue in their efforts.

Several times throughout his speech, Kennedy returned to Straus and Belsky as examples of environmental stewardship. He stressed the importance of supporting local people and groups in their efforts to address water quality issues and fight for the preservation of our natural resources.

(Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is a Pace University law professor who oversees Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains, NY. He is president of WaterKeeper Alliance, the Chief Prosecuting Attorney for Hudson RiverKeeper, and a senior attorney for National Resources Defense Council. Kennedy has co-written a book with John Cronin called "THE RIVERKEEPER-Two Activists Fight To Reclaim Our Environment As A Basic Right," published by Scribner.)

 

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