September 2014: Message from the President

Greetings to all from Camden, NJ on this amazingly beautiful day here in the Delaware Valley!

46 years ago Senator Robert F. Kennedy visited Camden as part of his primary race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination.  While here he challenged us all to consider that there is only one purpose to human living, and that is to make the world a better place.  Each of us much do our “bit” in creating a more just and peaceful world.  On that day, the story goes, a young man was listening to Senator Kennedy, and he was inspired to shift his own career focus, and become involved in public service.  That young man went on to become Governor James Florio, governor of New Jersey.  He has certainly done his part to respond to Senator Kennedy’s challenge.  On October 4, 2014 46 young people from area universities and colleges will gather with another Kennedy in Camden, NJ, to be inspired and to inspire, to launch lives aimed at making the world a bit better.

CFET holds an annual fundraiser in honor of Thomas Berry, at which we bring distinguished leaders in the environmental justice world to inform and inspire audiences.  This year we are excited to welcome Mr. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to Camden to speak on Saturday, October 4, 2014, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, at 3PM at Sacred Heart Church on the corner of Ferry Ave. & S. Broadway. He will be surrounded by 46 young college and university students who are committed to environmental justice.  The “46” honors his late father’s 1968 visit to Camden and it reminds us that the change that we need to be in this world involves all of us, the young and the not so young.  Just as Governor Florio’s life was impacted by the inspirational words of a passionate and committed leader in 1968, so we hope the young, indeed, all of us will experience the inspiration and challenge of facing the difficult challenges of our generation. Mr. Kennedy will certainly deliver on the inspiration, and his topic is full of difficult challenges for this generation.  The title of his talk is “Our Environmental Destiny.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Kennedy was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet” for his success in helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn more than 160 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.

Kennedy serves as president of Waterkeeper Alliance, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper. He is a partner on the CleanTech investment team of Silicon Valley’s VantagePoint Capital Ventures, and is the environmental advisor to Napo Pharmaceuticals and co-host of radio show Ring of Fire. He is also a professor of environmental law at Pace University School of Law and serves as co- director of the school’s Environmental Litigation Clinic. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant district attorney in New York City.

Kennedy was also featured in the acclaimed environmental documentary The Last Mountain, the Sundance 2011 official selection. The film examines the struggle to save Coal River Mountain in Coal River Valley, West Virginia — the last mountain in the area untouched by the mining practice of mountain top removal.

Among his published books are the New York Times best-seller Crimes Against Nature (2004); The Riverkeepers (1997); Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr: A Biography (1977) and a children’s book, Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy (2005). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside magazine, the Village Voice, and many other publications. Kennedy’s award-winning articles have been included in anthologies of America’s best crime writing, best political writing and best science writing.

In short, Mr. Kennedy will inspire and challenge.  Join us for this wonderful occasion. This is a fundraiser to support all of CFET’s programming. Tickets are $50, with student tickets at $20. You can go to this website to purchase tickets online or you can contact me at  A reception follows at the Michael J. Doyle Fieldhouse at 1840 S. Broadway.  Mr. Kennedy will sign copies of his books and the film mentioned above.  There will also be tables of various environmental advocacy groups so that inspiration can quickly turn into action!

In the face of the environmental challenges that face us, we need inspiration, we need to be reminded, as was that young man 46 years ago, that the real purpose in life is to make our world a better place.

Join us on October 4th  You will not regret it.


Mark Doorley, Ph.D.

President, Board of Trustees

The Center for Environmental Transformation