Ed Humes finds "eco barons" working to save earth

Wed Mar 4, 2009 6:03am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Belinda Goldsmith

CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Depressed by the constant deluge of dire news about the environment, writer Edward Humes saw a light when he came across a couple of stories about people taking action to conserve land and wildlife.

In "Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet," the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer highlights about a dozen of would-be planet savers.

Take Douglas Tompkins, who founded The North Face and Esprit clothing lines, and his wife Kristine McDivitt, former CEO of Patagonia outdoor clothing firm. The couple has acquired more than 2.2 million acres for conservation in Chile and Argentina.

Or Kieran Suckling and Peter Galvin, co-founders of Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, known for its work in protecting endangered species such as spotted owls.

Then there's Roxanne Quimby, who started out making candles from beeswax and built the U.S. cosmetics company Burt's Bees that describes itself as "earth friendly." Since selling the company, she's buying forestland in Maine for a national park.

Humes, who has previously written five books on crime and the criminal justice system, told Reuters that his "eco barons" shared a common vision:

Q: What got you into writing about environmental issues?

A: "It is something I have been interested in professionally and personally for some time. But what inspired me was the long spate of dire news we have been getting about climate change and the environment and it is so unrelentlessly grim. I became aware of Douglas Tompkins and how he cashed in and used his money in a very remarkable way, seeding environmental organizations around the world and buying up South American rainforest. I became interested in how and why he was doing this."   Continued...