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Journal News Education Outlook: Innovators - Q&A with John Cronin

07/29/2014 News Release Imgage

Journal News Education Outlook: Innovators - Q&A with John Cronin

A feature article on Pace's Senior Fellow for Environmental Affairs ran in print and online in Education Outlook, a supplement of The Journal News.

From The Journal News:

For almost 40 years, John Cronin has dedicated his career to environment and innovation. For his accomplishments, “Time” magazine named him a “Hero for the Planet” and “People” magazine described him as “equal parts detective, scientist and public advocate.” Cronin has worked as an advocate, legislative and congressional aide, commercial fisherman, professor, author and filmmaker. He served as Hudson Riverkeeper from 1983-2000, a position that has inspired a legacy of 200 Waterkeeper programs that fight pollution on six continents. Currently, Cronin is the Senior Fellow in Environmental Affairs at the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies at Pace University, where he is helping to create an interdisciplinary program of undergraduate and graduate studies in environmental innovation and policy.

What drew you to environmentalism?
I grew up a city kid in Yonkers. The most I knew about the Hudson River is that it separated New York from New Jersey, and we were not supposed to swim in it. And though I became politically active when I turned 18, I knew nothing about the environment. It took a chance meeting with Pete Seeger to convince me that the environmental cause was worth my time. I spent many days with him in 1973 as a volunteer working on an old river dock that needed repair in Beacon, NY. He worked on me as well and convinced me to volunteer for Clearwater. That turned into a paying job investigating polluters for the grand sum of $50 per week. I did not dream then it would become my life’s work.

Tell us about the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association and how that led you to be Hudson Riverkeeper in 1983.
By 1983, I had worked as a pollution investigator, lobbyist, congressional aide for Representative Hamilton Fish, Jr., a state legislative aide for Assemblyman Maurice Hinchey, and a Hudson River commercial fisherman– which is where I learned the most about the Hudson, including how to run a boat. During the 1983 fishing season, author Robert H. Boyle, president of the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association (HRFA), asked if I was interested in restarting the Hudson Riverkeeper position. I said yes in a second. When I started I was the nation’s only Riverkeeper. 

To read the full article, click here.