Environmental Activist Gus Speth Reflects On The Movement

Oct 16, 2014

James Gustave “Gus” Speth grew up in South Carolina blissfully unaware of the racial tension that was roiling around him.

It wasn’t until he went to college “up north” that he saw some of the injustice that he was shielded from as a child.

Though he did do a little work organizing in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, Gus Speth has long felt that he didn’t do enough.

He hasn’t made the same mistake when it comes to the environmental movement. Now a professor at Vermont Law School, Speth cofounded the Natural Resources Defense Council. He founded World Resources Institute. And he worked on environmental issues for the Carter and Clinton administrations.

In his new memoir, Angels by the River, Speth draws a connection between the civil rights era of the 1960s and the environmental movement today.