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Articles by Lois DeBacker

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Lois DeBacker, Managing Director of Kresge’s Environment Program, is featured in this photo from 1973 with members of the Groves High School Ecology Club loading donated newspapers for a recycling drive.
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I don’t recall where I was on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day. I was only 12 years old, and demonstrations and teach-ins apparently weren’t on my parents’ list of activities for me.

Three years later, however, I was a card-carrying environmentalist and the co-organizer of a daylong Environmental Teach-In at my high school. My activism began when I joined the school’s Ecology Club. We held monthly paper drives to recycle tons of newspaper and cardboard, and we donated the revenues to environmental causes, including saving one of the last old-growth white pine stands in Michigan. I learned about an array of environmental issues and came to appreciate how critical public policy was to environmental protection. That realization led to my decision to major in political science in college and pursue careers in environmental policy and, ultimately, environmental philanthropy.

During our April 1973 teach-in, my high school suspended regular classes for the day, and students instead attended their choice of nearly 40 lectures and movies on topics like “The Electric Car — Is it Feasible?,” “The Effects of Air... Read more