Bruce Rich is an attorney who has served as senior counsel for major environmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council. He is the author of Mortgaging the Earth. This piece is adapted from his new book, To Uphold the World, with a foreword by Nobel Economics Laureate Amartya Sen and an afterword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. You can watch a video of Bruce Rich discussing universal health care in Ancient India here.
This April marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, and indeed we like to think that environmental protection is a relatively recent invention, and that in particular the United States has been a pioneer in this area. We often think that the U.S. established the first national forests and parks well over a century ago and promulgated the world's first endangered species protection act in 1973, three years after the first Earth Day.