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50 years ago today Environmental Defense Fund came to exist

by sanmigueltimes
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50 years ago today, we were two of ten people, mostly scientists, who met in a borrowed conference room at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, NY, to sign the Certificate of Incorporation to form Environmental Defense Fund.

We had no legal, policy or political experience and even less money. We had to scrounge together the $37 to cover the incorporation fee.

But what we lacked in experience and resources, we made up for with determination. Our founding battle was over the use of the toxic insecticide DDT and the threat it posed to ospreys, eagles, and other wildlife.

As one of our first acts, we voted to file lawsuits against 52 cities in Michigan to block the spraying of DDT on elm trees. It was our first lawsuit, and it triggered a chain of events that led to the national ban on DDT five short years later.

If you had told us that from those humble beginnings, 50 years later EDF would be one of the most influential national environmental groups with a global staff of 600 and a community of members and activists two million strong and growing, we would never have believed it.

EDF three amigos

EDF three amigos

But thanks to you and the millions of supporters who’ve stood with us, we’ve taken on the big environmental battles of our time. And we can reflect back with warm hearts on the proud victories we’ve achieved together to restore endangered wildlife, clean our air and water, protect human health, and unleash clean energy innovation to slash climate pollution.

You can view a sample of these inspiring victories on our interactive 50th Anniversary website, which presents our stories with engaging videos and stunning photography. And you can share your own story of how you got involved in EDF and the environmental movement.

50 years of EDF

Here we are in 2017, stronger than ever—and we couldn’t be more proud and grateful.

So on behalf of the other eight EDF founders and the thousands of staff experts and volunteers, and the millions of concerned Americans who’ve supported our work over all these years, we thank you for being part of this amazing story and for helping us change history.


To the entire EDF community—Happy 50th Anniversary!

Sincerely yours,

Art Cooley and Charles Wurster
Founding Trustees

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