Boreal forest in Canada — safe from chainsaws for now.Photo: ForestEthicsMy first job in the social change movement was working for Ralph Nader. I was a lawyer, one of Nader’s Raiders. Not in the ’70s when it was cool and people actually knew what that was, but in the ’90s, when it was decidedly not cool and my mother was sure I had lost my mind. I left my high-paying K Street law firm to make less than half as much, traded my fancy office for a dingy cubical with walls made from boxes of books and stacks of old newspapers. What other evidence of my insanity did my mother, who grew up poor in upstate New York, need?
Like many Americans, I am not fond of large concentrations of unaccountable power. And in my work as a young lawyer, I was out to get The Man. For me, that meant big companies. They exert far too much control over our government, gamble our money (the “free market”), expect our tax dollars to bail them out (“too big to fail”), deceive us about the effects their products have on our health (are cell phones the new tobacco?), and mislead us with greenwash. I could go on ... Read more