Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sat down with Video4Good at the 2012 COMMIT!Forum in New York.  In an extended interview, Kennedy discusses his career in the environmental movement and the impacts of business on the planet.  He explores the roots of environmental problems, analyzes the current situation and offers solutions for creating a healthy, prosperous future for society and the natural world.

In this video, Part One of the interview, he discusses why environmental protection is critical.


From when I started doing environmental advocacy, I understood that first of all they were not protecting the environment for the sake of the fishes and the birds so much as for our own sake.  Because we recognize the natures, the infrastructure of our communities and that if we want to meet our obligation as a generation, as a civilization, as a nation which is to create communities for our children that provide them with the same opportunities for dignity and enrichment and prosperity and good health as the communities that our parents gave us, we’ve got to start by protecting our environmental infrastructure, the air we breathe, the water we drink, wildlife, the fisheries, the public lands, those things that are the shared resource of our society what we called commons or the public trustee assets.

The rivers and landscapes that connects us to our past, to our history that provide context to our communities and that are the source ultimately of our values, our virtues and our characters, our people, now one of the mantras that you hear and that I’ve heard from the bit when I started out as an advocate, is that we have to choose between economic prosperity and environmental protection.  And you hear this from the polluters and from their toadies on FOX TV and their indentured servants and congress and it’s just false.  It’s a false choice.  In 100% of the cases good environmental policy is identical to good economic policy.