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The Forces of Nature:
Environmental Elders Speak

The Forces of Nature is a Council of Elders project that is comprised of retired and active resource managers, scientists, citizen activists, and environmentalists.


The knowledge and experience of those who defined the modern environmental movement offer vital lessons to future generations, but this wisdom is being lost with the passage of time.


Resource Renewal Institute’s online video library contains exceptional fi rst-person accounts of men and women who dedicated themselves to defending and protecting our nation’s natural heritage and human health. In digitally recorded interviews, activists and policymakers discuss the strategies, tactics, and insights behind key decisions that have shaped the environmental movement for more than fifty years.

RRI’s small research team identifi es environmental elders for the project and digitally records and edits each interview. The videos are available at no cost through an open source website: theforcesofnature.com. The intended audience includes environmental and political leaders, natural resource managers, students, teachers, researchers, activists, and nature lovers.

There are many ways to view and interact with the transcripts, biographies, photographs, and links related to each interview, which are searchable by name, subject, theme, geography, date, and lessons learned. Visitors can create a “playlist” of videos of interest, post videos through links to social media sites, and share them via email. RRI also provides DVDs on request.

Next Steps

The Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak connects the lessons of the past with the
demands of the future. RRI’s goal is to inspire and empower environmental professionals, educators,
and citizens to better manage and protect natural resources. The online library contains more than
one hundred interviews and ultimately will expand to at least 250 interviews. Promoting the website
to universities, schools, libraries, grassroots groups, and professional associations will ensure the project’s continued growth and success.

RRI is seeking funding to support all phases of the project: research, interviewing, production, and outreach. Please contact us if you would like to make a contribution, recommend an interview subject, host a screening, or have questions or comments.


Columbia River Salmon Recovery Program
These recommendations were prepared by the Council of Elders, a panel of former government resource managers and scientists with extensive senior policymaking and regulatory experience.

Recommendations to the Obama Administration for an Improved Columbia River Salmon Recovery Program
PDF / 872KB
The report describes the politically-driven mismanagement and manipulation of programs to recover endangered salmonid populations and subversion of the Endangered Species Act, with a list of actions requested of the Administration. The report notes that the fish face looming extinction despite federal laws giving salmon survival equal status to the generation of hydropower and numerous court orders to protect the species. Funds generated by the sale of hydroelectricity have been misspent in undermining fish recovery programs amid a quagmire of federal agencies with divided authority. More information and additional copies of the report are available by emailing ebaker@rri.org.
Public Lands and Resources:
Read the current Council of Elders Project statement about an opportunity for several hundred billion dollars in uncollected revenue from U.S. public trust lands.
Recovering $600 Billion by Collecting the Rent on our Pubic Lands
PDF / 418KB

Breaking News: St Louis Post Dispatch features RRI Fellow Bernard Shanks


Huey Speaks for the Trees

“In 2001, Huey Johnson received the United Nations Environmental Programme’s prestigious Sasakawa Prize. When he got the letter, he read it, then tossed it on his desk with the other hundreds of papers requesting his attention. It took a full two days until someone in the office called the U.N. and confirmed that, yes, he was the year’s sole recipient of the $200,000 prize and would be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C….”┬áRead the 10-20-14 Bohemian profile here








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