In his new book Embattled River: The Hudson and Modern American Environmentalism, David Schuyler describes the efforts to reverse the pollution and bleak future of the Hudson River that became evident in the 1950s. Through his investigative narrative, Schuyler uncovers the critical role of this iconic American waterway in the emergence of modern environmentalism in the United States. He will be joined in discussion this evening by Paul Gallay, President of Hudson Riverkeeper.
FREE: RSVP Requested
Writing fifty-five years after Consolidated Edison announced plans to construct a pumped storage power plant at Storm King Mountain, Schuyler recounts how a loose coalition of activists took on corporate capitalism and defended the river. Led by Scenic Hudson, later joined by groups such as Riverkeeper, Clearwater, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the coalition won the first of many legal and publicity battles that would halt pollution of the river, slowly reverse the damage of years of discharge into the river, and protect hundreds of thousands of acres of undeveloped land in the river valley. As Schuyler shows, the environmental victories on the Hudson had broad impact. In the state at the heart of the story, the immediate result was the creation in 1970 of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor, investigate, and litigate cases of pollution.
David Schuyler is Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of the Humanities and American Studies, Franklin & Marshall College and author of numerous books, including the award-winning Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820–1909.
Paul Gallay and the Riverkeeper team work to protect the Hudson River and the drinking water supplies for nine million New Yorkers. An attorney and educator, Paul has dedicated himself to the environmental movement since 1987. In 1990, Paul began a ten-year stint at New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, where he brought hundreds of corporate and government polluters to justice. Paul subsequently spent a decade in the land conservation movement before becoming Riverkeeper’s President in 2010. Paul also teaches at the Earth Institute at Columbia University.