Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Portrait

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

President, Waterkeeper Alliance

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his success in helping Riverkeeper, New York’s clean water advocate, lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn more than 160 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe. In 2009, he was named one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Agents of Change.”

Kennedy was also featured in the acclaimed environmental documentary The Last Mountain, the Sundance 2011 official selection. The film examines the struggle to save Coal River Mountain in Coal River Valley, West Virginia — the last mountain in the area untouched by the mining practice of mountain top removal.

Kennedy is a professor of environmental law at Pace University School of Law and serves as co-director of the school’s Environmental Litigation Clinic. He also serves as President of Waterkeeper Alliance, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and co-host of radio show Ring of Fire. He is a partner on the CleanTech investment team of Silicon Valley’s VantagePoint Capital Ventures, the environmental advisor to Napo Pharmaceuticals, and serves on numerous boards. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant district attorney in New York City.

He is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City’s water supply. The New York City watershed agreement, which he negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development. He also helped lead the fight to turn back the anti-environmental legislation during the 104th Congress. He has also worked on environmental issues across the Americas, and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.

Among his published books are the New York Times best-seller Crimes Against Nature (2004); The Riverkeepers (1997); and Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr: A Biography (1977). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside magazine, the Village Voice, and many other publications. Kennedy’s award-winning articles have also been included in anthologies of America’s best crime writing, best political writing and best science writing.

Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. Following graduation, he attended Pace University School of Law, where he earned a master’s degree in environmental law.