Huey D. Johnson : Winner 2001

Huey D. Johnson has passionately worked to protect the environment for more than four decades. His career has been dedicated to developing better ways of understanding how to manage and allocate natural resources. He has supported people and developed organizations that work to enhance environmental protection through better management of natural resources and the advancement of sustainable development worldwide.

Johnson began his career in the corporate sector, however, he quickly recognized that his passion lay elsewhere. For two and a half years, he travelled around the world studying cultures, religions, history and art. He attributes his conviction and vision to that period when he learned that, historically, conflicts between nations and cultures have been based on natural resource allocation.

In 1963, Johnson was appointed Western Regional Director of the Nature Conservancy – one of the most influential environmental organizations in the world. During his tenure, he was responsible for more than 50 projects, including the preservation of Hawaii’s Seven Sacred Pools. In 1972, he co-founded the Trust for Public Land (TPL) – a non-profit land acquisition corporation whose aim is to save open space for America’s urban centres – and served as its president until 1977. TPL is now the fifth largest environmental organization in the United States and continues to promote a vision of conserving land for recreation and spiritual nourishment and to improve the health and quality of life of American communities. To date, TPL has conserved more than 1.3 million acres of land in the United States.

From 1978 to 1982, he served as Secretary of Natural Resources in California. While in office, he developed policies and programmes that left a legacy of environmental protection and which have been studied and emulated internationally. More specifically, he instituted the Investing for Prosperity Programme. This 100-year programme channelled funds into investments to enhance long term productivity of California’s natural resources and comprised five initiatives that promoted the reinvestment of proceeds from the sale of public natural resources into programmes designed to fund the maintenance and improvement of the State’s natural resources. For his efforts in this area, Johnson received the President’s Award for Sustainable Development.

In 1985, Johnson founded the Resource Renewal Institute (RRI), an NGO whose mission is to catalyze the development of green plans nationally and internationally. A main component of RRI’s two-pronged strategy, which employs advocacy and education, is to link the three major sectors of society (business, government and NGOs) to international experts implementing green plans, and to catalyze similar success domestically. Currently, RRI has a working relationship with Mexico to promote the development of federal and state-level green plans.

Johnson also played an integral role in the creation of the Nairobi-based Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI) – an environmental watchdog organization that was created in response to the development of UNEP in 1972. He also developed Green Belt Movement International (GBMI) to promote citizen-based tree planting worldwide and to mobilize people to restore the environment and break the cycle of poverty and environmental degradation.

Contact Address:

Huey D. Johnson
Resources Renewal Institute
Ft. Mason Center
Pier One
San Francisco 94123
United States of America

Tel: (415) 928 3774
Fax: (415) 928 6529
E-mail: hdj@rri.org