The Meaning of Grassroots
H O M E P A G E
The Environmental Relief Center remembers those whose lifetime achievements have led to increased
awareness of earth's limited resources and fragile ecology.
Many environmental scientists, leaders and innovators have received well deserved recognition for
their special genius and unique contributions to resource preservation.. Others, who have dedicated
their lives to the difficult challenges and uncertainties within the environmental movement, often
come to public attention only after their demise, perhaps through family eulogies, local obituaries, or
Here, we will acknowledge men and women whose tireless efforts have enriched environmental
science, as well as educators and gifted observers whose activism has left a visible heritage, and often a
legacy of discovery and debate on which others may build.
FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Charles David Keeling, 77;
Scientist Linked Humans to Increase in Greenhouse Gas
By Thomas H. Maugh II
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 24, 2005
Charles David Keeling, the climate scientist whose precise, meticulous measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
for nearly half a century warned humans that we are changing the composition of the global atmosphere, has died. He was
Keeling suffered a heart attack Monday while hiking with one of his sons near the family's summer home in Montana,
according to a spokesman for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he spent virtually his entire professional
Keeling's studies showed that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide — a so-called greenhouse gas that traps
energy from sunlight and prevents it from radiating back into space — has been rising steadily since the onset of the
Industrial Age, and he linked that growth conclusively to the increased consumption of fossil fuels, which release carbon
dioxide when they are burned.
The graph showing that increase, known as the Keeling curve, is one of the best-known anywhere. "During the early 1990s,
it was said that the only scientific data on display at the White House was [the Keeling curve]," said Ralph Cicerone,
president of the National Academy of Sciences.
Politicians and scientists may disagree over whether the increased carbon dioxide concentrations are causing the planet to
heat up, but no one questions the accuracy of Keeling's data and its link to human activities.
Even President George W. Bush, who has repeatedly discounted the possibility of global warming, recognized the
importance of Keeling's work by awarding him the National Medal of Science in 2002. In April, Keeling received the Tyler
Prize for Environmental Achievement, the most prestigious award for environmental research.
Keeling's records of carbon dioxide concentrations "are the single most important environmental data set taken in the 20th
century," said Charles F. Kennel, the director of Scripps. "Dave Keeling was living proof that a scientist could, by sticking
close to his laboratory bench, change the world."
Keeling began his career as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, where he conceived and built the first instrument to measure
the concentration of carbon dioxide in atmospheric samples. He was entering uncharted territory. Estimates of the amount of
the gas in the air ranged from 150 parts per million to 450 ppm. Most researchers, moreover, assumed that because the
atmosphere was well mixed, the concentration showed little variance, even from year to year.
Using his new device, Keeling camped at Big Sur State Park for three weeks, measuring carbon dioxide. He concluded that
the gas was present at about 310 ppm, significantly above the 280-ppm level measured in ice cores from the 19th century.
Roger Revelle, then-director of Scripps and one of the founders of the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, lured him
to Scripps and put him in charge of measuring carbon dioxide levels. In 1958, Keeling established a base 2 miles high on
Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, well above the world's pollution, which might have skewed the measurements, and began
measuring gas levels day by day.
What he found astonished scientists throughout the world.
By 1960, he had shown that carbon dioxide exhibited strong seasonal cycles, with a variation of as much as 3% over the
course of the year.
The highest levels are reached in late winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The onset of spring causes a sharp reduction as
plants begin growing, soaking up carbon dioxide to fuel their increased mass. The lowest concentration coincides with the
end of the growing season. As the plants begin decaying, releasing their stored carbon dioxide back into the air,
concentrations begin rising again until they reach a peak before the new growing season. The cycle coincides with seasons
in the Northern Hemisphere because that is where the bulk of the world's land surface is. Keeling measured "the breathing
of the world," said Jonathan Weiner in his book, "The Next One Hundred Years."
As the measurements continued at Mauna Loa and other, newer sites, Keeling observed an average growth in carbon
dioxide concentrations of about 1 ppm per year, reaching nearly 380 ppm now. Most scientists attribute that growth to
consumption of fossil fuels by industry and in automobiles.
Keeling's work required persistence. In the early 1960s, the National Science Foundation stopped supporting his studies,
calling them "routine" and unworthy of funding.
Later, other government agencies attempted to usurp his measurements. In 2004, Keeling explained the conflict in simple
terms: "You set up a dry-cleaning establishment, and somebody comes along and decides he wants a dry-cleaning
establishment, and the best way is to get rid of yours."
With help from his friends at Scripps and in Washington, Keeling prevailed. Today, his monitoring station on Mauna Loa sits
next to a similar installation operated by the National Weather Service.
Over the last decade, Keeling and his colleagues observed that the yearly cycle of carbon dioxide concentrations is showing
greater amplitude. He and others have attributed this change to a longer growing season produced by global warming.
Keeling worked to the end, continuing his monitoring of carbon dioxide concentrations and exploring other frontiers of
climate research, such as tidal effects. Recently, he has been working with his son Ralph, who devised the first way to
measure atmospheric concentrations of oxygen. Ralph Keeling is expected by many to continue his father's research.
Keeling was born in Scranton, Pa., on April 20, 1928. He studied chemistry at the University of Illinois and continued with
the discipline as a graduate student at Northwestern University.
He was an accomplished pianist who nearly chose a career in music, was a founding director of the UC San Diego Madrigal
Singers and enjoyed playing chamber music.
In addition, he was an avid outdoorsman and a champion of the wilderness. He particularly enjoyed hiking and camping in
the mountains of California, Montana, Canada and Switzerland.
He was also a civic leader and the primary author of the California city of Del Mar's General Plan.
Keeling is survived by Louise Barthold Keeling, his wife of 50 years; sons Andrew of Zurich, Switzerland; Ralph of La Jolla;
Eric of Missoula, Mont.; and Paul of Vancouver, Canada; daughter Emily of Boulder, Colo; and six grandchildren.
from "Czeslaw Milosz:
New and Collected Poems (1931-2001)"
--When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
--And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on a branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
--Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the
And calls out, protests, screams.
(From the Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2004]
MARLENE BRAUN -- 1959 - 2005
FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Suicide Casts a Shadow on Conservation Battle
National monument official was distraught at shift she said favored
grazing over grasslands.
By Julie Cart and Maria L. La Ganga
Times Staff Writers
August 20, 2005
CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT, Calif. — First she killed her dogs, shot them in the head with a .38-caliber
revolver and covered the two bodies with a quilt. Then Marlene Braun leveled the blue steel muzzle three inches above
her right ear and pulled the trigger.
"I can't face what appears to be required to continue to live in my world," the meticulous 46-year-old wrote in May in a
suicide note. "Most of all, I cannot leave Carrizo, a place where I finally found a home and a place I love dearly."
Braun had come to the Carrizo Plain three years earlier, after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management placed her in
charge of the new national monument — 250,000 acres of native grasses and Native American sacred sites, embraced
by low mountains, traversed by the San Andreas Fault and home to more threatened and endangered animals than any
other spot in California.
About 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Carrizo Plain National Monument is largely unknown to the outside world.
But in Braun's short tenure as monument manager, the plain had become a battleground between conservationists and
the Bush administration over the fate of Western public lands.
What began as a policy dispute — to graze or not to graze livestock on the fragile Carrizo grasslands — became a
morass of environmental politics and office feuding that Braun was convinced threatened both her future and the
landscape she loved.
A 13-year veteran of the BLM, Braun was torn between the demands of a new boss who she felt favored the region's
ranchers, and conservation policies adopted nearly a decade ago to protect the austere swath of prairie she shared
with pronghorn antelope and peregrine falcons, the California condor and the California jewelflower.
Braun had worked in Alaska and Nevada and had long been committed to preserving the land that was placed in her
care. But nothing in her background seemed to foreshadow her fate.
"Marlene was never troubled, as far as I knew," recalled Sutton Edlich, a friend from graduate school who said he was
"absolutely" shocked that Braun killed herself. "She wasn't a happy-go-lucky person, but was a realist…. She was a
In the months leading up to her death in May, Braun lost weight and had trouble sleeping. Doctors prescribed
antidepressants and tranquilizers. Friends worried that stress and isolation were taking a toll, but none interpreted her
behavior as a sign of despair.
But Braun left behind clues. In her suicide notes, as well as a long chronology of her final year, she laid out her fears
for the Carrizo and told how her life had become "utterly unbearable."
"It's a big step from feeling bad to wanting to die," said Dr. Thomas A. Hicklin, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry
at USC's Keck School of Medicine. But he said certain underlying factors can make some people more likely to take
their own lives — among them depression and feeling trapped and without options.
Emotionally, Braun was "in a negative environment, with her own passions frustrated, and she's also depressed," said
Hicklin, who did not treat her. "It's a bad combination."
Braun's suicide is the latest chapter in a century of conflict between cowboys and conservationists in the drought-
plagued Southwest, where livestock compete with wildlife for sparse vegetation, and hungry animals can turn grassland
"It's important for me to control my destiny in this final act, and I am not afraid to die," she wrote. "But I am very weary
of working, moving and of dealing with conflict over environmental decisions that mean a lot to me."
Braun wrote those words in an eight-page suicide note that she sent by express mail to her oldest friend, Kathy
Hermes, a college history professor in Connecticut.
The note listed Braun's bank account numbers, information about her life insurance policy and the name of a Realtor
who could help Hermes sell property that Braun owned.
She sent a second note to the BLM office in Bakersfield, and authorities found a third near her body, placed on a
bench in her rustic front yard at the Goodwin Ranch. "I have committed suicide," it said. "This is not a homicide." On
top of the note was Braun's driver's license. In her pocket, her organ donor card.
In some ways, the plain is an unlikely battleground. Low-slung and largely treeless, it is a natural resource unlike most
others in California — hard to reach, harder to photograph, its beauty less accessible than that of Yosemite or Big Sur.
Far from pristine, the Carrizo's narrow flatlands have been farmed and grazed for 150 years, the cattle moving
alongside giant kangaroo rats, San Joaquin kit foxes and blunt-nosed leopard lizards.
Harsh and elegant, it is a landscape that first evokes respect, then admiration, and finally love. That, at least, is how it
was for Braun. "It's been over 100F here at the Carrizo for the past few days, and I just filled up a big claw-foot tub
in my front yard, am going to grab a beer and a new book, and start soaking," she wrote to childhood friend Deb
Schmitt last year. "Kingbirds fight and carry on in the tree above the tub, and if I wait until dark, bats and barn owls
come out and fly around above me."
In winter, sandhill cranes swoop along Soda Lake. In spring, the Carrizo hillsides become a riot of wildflowers, their
vibrant reds, oranges and purples visible from passing jets. Summers bleach the monument of color, the harsh sunlight
scorching grasses to shades of celadon and taupe.
"She told me that sometimes she looked out on the landscape at Carrizo," recalled Braun's friend Sharmon Stambaugh,
"and if the sun was coming down a certain way — the shadows — the beauty of it hurt her." The plain was designated a
national monument in the last three days of the Clinton administration, one of several "midnight monuments" slipped in
before President Bush took office.
But even before the Carrizo acquired that status, the nonprofit Nature Conservancy and the BLM had been working to
preserve the sweeping plain, which contained the remaining 1% of the grasslands that had once blanketed Central
California. In the late 1980s, they began cobbling together a public preserve, the Carrizo Plain Natural Area.
By 1996, a partnership consisting of the conservancy, the BLM and the state Department of Fish and Game had
completed a management plan to balance ranching and conservation.
The conservancy had transferred most of its holdings to the BLM and agreed to relinquish grazing rights on the
condition that the needs of native species take precedence over cattle. A Sept. 25, 1996, agreement states that "if
BLM is no longer able to administer the livestock grazing for the objectives and in the manner described above, the
grazing leases will revert" to either Fish and Game or the Nature Conservancy. In a written response, the BLM agreed.
In the years since, the Carrizo Plain's managers have sought to repair damage from intensive grazing without putting
the land off limits to ranchers who depend on it. And that, as Braun found out, is a perilous balancing act.
She was responsible for enforcing the cattle management policy formulated by the three partners. It was also her job to
develop a comprehensive plan to guide land-use decisions for the next 20 years.
Braun did not advocate banning cattle from the plain — a patchwork of mostly public land with some areas of private
property. But she did believe that more regulation was necessary. Her preference was to survey the condition of the
grass each spring before deciding how many cows could forage.
Depending on rainfall the previous winter, Braun let anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand cattle a year
graze in the monument, and she stopped some ranchers from grazing any livestock on the valley floor.
Some local ranchers complained that Braun's management threatened to put them out of business. They said they
couldn't operate if they didn't know until each spring how many cattle they'd be allowed to put out to pasture. Carl
Twisselman, who used to graze cattle in the monument and now represents ranching interests on one Carrizo advisory
group, said Braun's approach did not afford ranchers any certainty in making decisions critical to their business.
Like many ranchers, he didn't think grazing was bad for the environment. "I come from the standpoint that grazing's
good for the plants," he added.
But not all ranchers shared that view. Irv McMillan, a longtime cattleman and friend of Braun, said that every time he
saw her he congratulated her for the improvements she was making.
"She was able to keep the grazing off the bottom land for the last four years," said McMillan, who did not graze cattle
on the plain. "It was an amazing achievement compared to what had happened before it was a monument."
But Ron Huntsinger, who became Braun's boss in March 2004, took issue with her approach. After his transfer to the
Bakersfield BLM office from New Mexico, he made it clear that ranchers should be allowed to graze under all but the
most exceptional circumstances, according to memos, e-mails and interviews with people involved with the Carrizo Plain.
The agreement signed by the BLM obligated both Braun and Huntsinger to manage the plain in the best interests of
native species — a responsibility they viewed in very different ways. When it came to the Carrizo Plain, they agreed on
only one thing: a deep belief that the other one was wrong.
Braun arrived at the Carrizo at a time when the partnership among the BLM, the conservancy and Fish and Game was
beginning to fray. Despite the 1996 agreement, "there is controversy about levels of grazing use … and the
perception that the BLM is reluctant and defensive about altering 'its' grazing program on the Carrizo," Ron Fellows,
who preceded Huntsinger in the BLM's Bakersfield office, wrote in a lengthy memo laying out the situation to Braun
when she arrived. "This whole issue is beginning to sour our relationship with [Fish and Game] and is reinforcing our
defensive posture on the subject," he continued. "The issue needs to be resolved."
Fellows said he hired Braun for the Carrizo job in part because of her reputation as a workaholic — a necessary attribute
for someone required to live in one of California's remotest regions.
As her new boss had anticipated, Braun came into the job charging hard, tearing into a long list of tasks to complete.
Early on, in particular, her zeal bowled over her own employees and others in the Bakersfield office. Compromise was
an alien term, especially if Braun thought she was right. Which was almost always.
"She was the right person for the job at the time," Fellows said. But "she was an angel one day and a devil one
day." "She left quite a wake," said Carol Bustos, an administrative officer in the BLM's Bakersfield office. "With
Marlene, it was 'my way or the highway.'" Soon after her arrival, Braun began working on a resource management
plan that would revise the approach to grazing first set out in 1996.
The plan advocated that ranchers' traditional 10-year grazing permits be phased out, replaced by "free use" permits,
with the BLM deciding year to year if the Plain's native plant species were healthy enough to withstand livestock. By
early 2003, Braun had a version of the plan ready for review. The managing partners signed on, three advisory groups
endorsed the plan and the BLM's state office approved a draft late that year.
Around the same time, Braun received a cautionary letter from Bob Benneweis, the former superintendent of Yosemite
and a longtime member of a Carrizo advisory committee. Beware, he wrote, of the political heft of the area's longtime
cattlemen. "I do not envy any member of the BLM staff who may act to significantly reduce grazing on the Carrizo,
only to feel the wrath of ranchers and their allies," he wrote.
There was another reason for Braun to be cautious. Officials
of the Bush administration had openly sympathized with
critics of Clinton's last-minute monuments. Many of those
critics were ranchers, angry at policies that restricted their
grazing access to more than 1 million acres in Utah, Arizona,
In March 2001, Interior Secretary Gale Norton sent letters to
the governors of Utah and Arizona asking what their objec-
tions were regarding these policies.
Under Norton, the BLM began crafting a grazing policy that
lifted protections for wildlife and habitat across 161 million
acres of public lands in the West, including the Carrizo.
Just as the BLM was embracing its new approach, Fellows
Huntsinger, who was then 57, took the job as manager of
the Bakersfield field office.
Huntsinger has worked for the BLM for 27 years, moving from Alaska to Washington, D.C., Nevada and Taos, N.M.
Although he could be gruff, he had a long record of working collaboratively, according to interviews with people who
have known him throughout his career.
But he came to the Carrizo with marching orders that were almost guaranteed to bring him into conflict with Braun. "I
was brought in," he told members of the partnership team, "to fix this plan." Within three months of his arrival,
Huntsinger announced at a public meeting that the grazing section of the resource management plan was being
retooled, giving it what Braun would describe as a more "pro-grazing slant."
Bob Stafford, a Fish and Game wildlife biologist, said neither Huntsinger nor anyone else in the agency ever gave the
partners a reason for what they viewed as such a drastic change. "Other than citing regulations, we don't know" why
the new direction was taken, Stafford said. "We haven't been given any information." Neither Huntsinger nor other
BLM officials would discuss the policy dispute or any of the circumstances surrounding Braun's death.
Braun and Huntsinger feuded almost from the moment he became her boss. He accused her of being insubordinate.
She didn't think he was all that bright. He believed she broadcast private BLM information to people outside the
agency with no need to know; she believed he didn't want to keep the agency's partners properly informed.
She undercut his authority; he humiliated her in public. She bombarded him with communication. In her view, he either
responded with silence or blew up at her.
"Every time I tried to speak, he seemed to view it as talking back to him and responded by yelling at me to not ever do
it again," Braun wrote in a 35-page chronology of their deteriorating relationship.
Early in his tenure, Huntsinger stripped Braun of "almost all my influence on the Plain," she wrote, handing over
authority for the crucial resource management plan to two others who were more "pro-grazing." Five months after
Huntsinger arrived, she fretted in an e-mail to colleagues, "I … can't keep fighting indefinitely, I don't think." But she
added: "Maybe fighting is better than capitulating…. The Carrizo could lose a lot if I give up…. But hell, you only live,
and die, once!!!!"
Late last summer, Braun sent an e-mail to the partners in which she tried to set the record straight about several public
misstatements she believed Huntsinger had made about federal grazing law. The note ended any hope of a
"I have factual info on the traditional leases that differs considerably from Rons [sic]. He was wrong," she wrote of
Huntsinger in the e-mail, " … and he is wrong on several technical issues…. I was right." She sent the e-mail to her
counterparts at Fish and Game and the Nature Conservancy, but somehow Huntsinger got a copy also. He suspended
her for five days without pay. He said that Braun's e-mail tended to "degrade" him and that it would damage both his
and the BLM's reputations.
Braun's conduct, Huntsinger wrote in the notice of suspension, "has diminished my confidence in your ability to properly
represent the agency's position on controversial issues, particularly the issue of grazing management."
Braun appealed the suspension, which she felt was unduly harsh punishment for a first offense by someone with an
exemplary record. She got word Feb. 14 that her appeal had been denied. In retrospect, many of her friends and co-
workers point to that day as the moment suicide became a real possibility to her. The stress took a toll on her health.
She was anxious and sleeping poorly. Old friends were shocked to see that Braun, always tall and slender, had lost 40
pounds. One friend who visited her arrived to find no food in the house; the monument manager had been subsisting
The situation was made worse by the medications prescribed by two different doctors who her friends said were not in
communication with each other. Hermes, her oldest friend, said Braun was prescribed Klonopin and Ativan, which are
generally given for anxiety, and Lexapro and trazodone, both antidepressants. Not only did the drugs provide little
relief, they often made Braun insensible and drowsy. Alarmed at her reaction to the medications, Braun eventually
scaled back, Hermes said, although her autopsy report showed that Klonopin and trazodone were found in her
bloodstream after her death. "I think the last few months of Marlene's life, when she was going through this and she
saw all of her work beginning to slip away, be eroded and be compromised, she became frantic," said Anne McMahon,
who represented the Nature Conservancy on the Carrizo.
Braun spent the first Sunday in March driving and hiking across the plain, checking out pastures that a large group —
including the partners, Huntsinger and a clutch of ranchers — would be visiting later in the week to decide where cattle
would be allowed to graze. The day before the pasture tour, Braun sent a memo to the partners outlining her views.
The memo began with a plea — "please do not share this" — then gave a detailed review of the health of plant life on
the plain. It ended with a warning: that Huntsinger wanted to weaken protections and "accommodate livestock grazing
for its own sake." "Don't let him get away with this without a fight," she said.
By this time, the Carrizo partners had begun to worry out loud about their own relationship with the BLM — especially
since Braun had been dropping hints that she was planning to leave the plain. In an angry e-mail, McMahon reminded
the group how hard it was for them to work with Huntsinger and challenged them to do something about Braun's
pending departure. "The question is, do you want to fight really hard now to keep Marlene, at the risk of really
pissing off Ron and damaging the partnership with BLM (a partnership that I would argue is already in serious trouble),"
she wrote. "What's it gonna be?"
What McMahon described as her "Carrizo epiphany" set off an anguished round of communication among the partners.
But ultimately they did nothing — even though McMahon urged them in a later missive to take action: "Ron will continue
to beat you up every chance he gets until someone acknowledges what the real problem is."
By April, Braun was giving things away, saying she wouldn't need them. Documents went to people she thought could
use them, books to friends who would actually finish them. At a party that Braun organized in the middle of the month,
she was giddy, said Sarah Christie, the Sierra Club's representative for the Carrizo at the time. "I was commenting on
this rototiller she had," Christie recounted.
"She said, 'Here, take it.' I said, 'What?' She said, 'No, take it. I'll never use it again. Take the gas can too.' "
Still, Braun remained in touch with the partners, discussing the plan's progress. This was galling to Huntsinger. In a curt
e-mail on Friday, April 22, he warned her again. "You are to immediately desist from sending e-mail outside the
organization on issues related to management of the Carrizo … " he wrote. "I will discuss this with you on Monday."
That day, April 25, Huntsinger delivered two more written reprimands that excoriated Braun for communicating with the
partners. She told her friends she believed these additional black marks would lead to her firing from the BLM and
cause her to be banished from the Carrizo Plain.
"Those memos are the bullets in her brain," said her friend and executor, Hermes. The day before her death, Braun
forwarded the disciplinary memos to the partners along with a brief, bitter e-mail: "I will no longer be participating in
this mess…. I will not take being treated like a whipping girl…. "
Braun e-mailed the BLM's Bakersfield office at 9:10 a.m. the day she shot herself. She wrote that she would not be
coming to the office that day or any other, because she could not bear to. She listed the people she wanted to
thank. Near the bottom of the note she said she wanted to be an organ donor. It was the only indication that she
intended to take her life.
Managers in the Bakersfield office dispatched two agency staffers to make the 90-minute drive to check on Braun. But
it was nearly an hour before the BLM alerted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department to a possible suicide at
the Goodwin Ranch.
Although Braun was still breathing when the BLM staff members drove up, said Sheriff's Det. Steve Harris, she would
not have lived even if help had arrived earlier, "not with that injury."
After Braun was flown by helicopter to a Santa Maria emergency room and sheriff's deputies had left, the BLM staffers
took Braun's agency-issued desktop and laptop computers without telling law enforcement authorities, Harris said. "I
think it was improper," he said, adding that his office wrote a letter of complaint to the BLM.
Braun's family also responded angrily to the BLM's actions. "The fact that everything wasn't done to help Marlene is a
real burr in my butt," said her sister, Phyllis. "If somebody had told me it was my employee … I wouldn't have wasted my
time sending two employees on a two-hour drive."
Huntsinger repeatedly declined to be interviewed for this article beyond reading a brief statement over the phone.
Braun's death, he said, "is a tragedy in all its aspects." While its details are "of interest," he continued, "I think it
would be inappropriate for me to discuss them, out of respect for her privacy as well as that of all those affected."
In her suicide note, Braun blamed Huntsinger for making her life "utterly unbearable." But some of Huntsinger's
colleagues find it improbable that his actions would have pushed her to take her life. "If somebody were to say he
was responsible for somebody's death," said Richard Dworsky, who worked with Huntsinger in the BLM's Anchorage
office, "I would go, 'Whoa, this is not the human being I know.' I would have thought that, if he had any opportunity to
resolve a problem like that, he would have done anything in his power."
The BLM's state office refused to comment for this story beyond issuing a brief statement calling Braun's death
"tragic." Three months after Braun's suicide, the 20-year plan for the Carrizo is still being refined, according to officials
in the BLM's state office in Sacramento, who declined to offer any details. Representatives of the California
Department of Fish and Game met with BLM officials in June to smooth out misunderstandings regarding the plan.
Meanwhile, Hermes said she was haunted by her friend's death. After going through Braun's belongings, she at first
got angry. Then she acted. She wrote to her Connecticut congressman, John Larson, who requested that Norton
investigate the events that led up to Braun's suicide. A whistle-blowers' group, Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility, did the same.
The California office of the BLM has undertaken its own management review. The Department of the Interior said it was
awaiting the findings of the state's review before deciding whether to conduct its own investigation.
Braun's two sisters and her brother have also written to legislators, asking that BLM state officials and Huntsinger be
held accountable for her death. I know the flaws of my friend. She wasn't perfect," said Hermes, eyes brimming. She
said that most of all, Braun would have wanted her friends to continue to fight for the Carrizo. That's on Anne
McMahon's mind too.
"My biggest concern is the Carrizo needs a champion who will make it their life's work," said McMahon. "One person
who will devote every waking hour making sure the right decisions are made…. That's what Marlene was willing to do."
MARLENE BRAUN 1959 - 2005
FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Judith Wilkenfeld, 64; lawyer challenged tobacco industry
By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post staff writer
June 25, 2007
Judith D. Wilkenfeld, an attorney who became one of the world's experts on legal issues related to tobacco policy, has
died. She was 64.
Wilkenfeld died May 24 of pancreatic cancer at her home in Washington, D.C.
At the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,
Wilkenfeld sued tobacco companies, helped enforce federal policies and played a major role in the negotiation of the
international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
She was the FTC's lead attorney in the case against Brown & Williamson Tobacco in 1985, the lawsuit that was a
catalyst for the first major expose about ways tobacco companies manipulate their products to deceive the public.
She was also the lead attorney in the 1990 case brought by the federal government against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
Co. that challenged tobacco industry advertising that disputed the health risks of smoking. She was instrumental in the
FRC decision to sue R.J. Reynolds over the tobacco company's use of the cartoon character Joe Camel in its
advertising and in crafting regulations governing health warnings on smokeless tobacco products.
In 1994, Wilkenfeld joined the FDA as a special advisor for tobacco policy.
She left the government in 1999 to become vice president of an international program at the Campaign for Tobacco-
Free Kids. For the next four years, she was a leader in negotiations of the worlds first treaty devoted exclusively to a
health issue. The Tobacco Treaty has been ratified by 147 nations, but not the United States.
"Too often in the past, our government has sided with the tobacco companies
when they challenged other nations' tobacco control measures as violations of
trade agreements," she said in 2005. "U.S. ratification of the treaty would sends
a strong message to the rest of the world that we will not support these efforts
and instead put protection of public health ahead of tobacco industry interests."
Judith Plotkin was born in Washington and graduated from Pembroke College at
Brown University and then from Indiana University School of Law in 1967.
In 1969, after two years on the Indiana University law faculty, she joined the
National Labor Relations Board as a staff attorney in the appellate division,
where she tried cases in most of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. She left
NLRB in 1977 and moved with her family to Israel, where she taught in the
comparative law program at Hebrew University until the family's return to
Washington two years later.
In 1980, WIlkenfeld joined the FTC, where for 14 years she was in charge of
all tobacco-related matters for the agency and assistant director for advertising
practices in the Bureau of Consumer Production.
She is survived by her husband of 43 years, Jonathan Wilkenfeld of Washington;
three children; three grandchildren; and a brother. Judith D. Wilkenfeld
JUDITH D. WILKENFELD 1943 - 2007
FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES
Peter Berle, 69; led Audubon Society into wider environmental advocacy
By Elaine Woo
Times Staff Writer
Peter A.A. Berle, a former president of the National Audubon Society who sought to broaden the environmental agenda
of the venerable group and show that it was "no longer just for the birds" died November 1 in Pittsfield,
Massachusetts. He was 69.
Berle died of injuries from an accident in August, when the roof of a barn on his Stockbridge, Massachusetts farm
collapsed as he was dismantling it, his family said.
A pioneering environmental lawyer and former New York state conservation commissioner, Berle (pronounced Burley)
led the National Audubon Society from 1985 to 1995, when financial problems underscored a need for the group to
reexamine its goals and public identity.
Convinced that Audubon should expand its base beyond bird watchers, he launched a reorganization that was at times
painful, particularly when he attempted to remove the great egret as Audubon's symbol and replace it with a flag.
The hue and cry from the rank and file subsided only when Berle acknowledged he had made a mistake, but he did not
retreat from his larger objective: to help Audubon grow in its role as an advocate for the environment, as concerned
with the habitat of humans as of birds.
"He had an early vision for the sustainability and livability of cities," said Glenn Olson, executive director of Audubon
California, who knew Berle for 20 years. "Most of the areas Audubon was trying to protect were outside of cities. Peter
brought it back into cities."
An early champion of "green" architecture, Berle spearheaded the renovation of a century-old Manhattan brownstone
into an eco-friendly showcase to house Audubon's staff. Called Audubon House, it was ahead of its time when it
opened in 1992, featuring nontoxic building materials, sensors that automatically turned off lights, desk-side recycling
chutes and compost heaps on the rooftop garden.
To Berle and the 10,000 Audubon members who helped underwrite its $24-million cost, the building made a statement
that Audubon had widened its scope.
"Today we can't protect birds by building bird feeders and acquiring sanctuaries alone," Berle said in 1992. "They are
threatened by larger-scale dilemmas related tot eh way we use land and resources on a global basis."
Described as a charismatic and vigorous man with a crushing handshake, Berle channeled resources into fighting global
warming and lobbied for efforts to toughen the Endangered Species Act. He fought for the preservation of wetlands in
California, promoted educational jaunts in the Florida Everglades for inner-city children and opposed oil drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
A fearless out-doors man despite late-onset diabetes, he awed much younger colleagues with his physical prowess. In
the late 1980s he undertook an arduous, 80-mile trek across mountains and tundra in the Arctic plain to gain a firsthand
appreciation of the natural beauty at stake in the oil drilling. Much earlier, he had paddled 300 miles from Buffalo to
Albany, N.Y., on the Erie Canal and collected water samples along the way.
"Nobody could keep up with him," said John Flicker, who succeeded Berle as Audubon president. "Whether out hiking
or bird-watching, he would start earlier, do it faster and do it longer than anybody, always with great enthusiasm."
Berle learned to relish the outdoors on camping trips with his father, Adolf Berle Jr., a lawyer and economist who was
a member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's original "brain trust". He followed in his father's footsteps to Harvard,
where he majored in economics and earned his law degree. But he was also influenced by his mother, Beatrice Bishop
Berle, a physician with a strong social conscience who ran a Harlem clinic for drug addicts. He spent his childhood in
New York City, where he was born, and Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
In 1960 Berle married Lila Sloane Wilde, whom he had known since childhood. She survives him along with two sons,
Dolf of Pasadena and Robert of Charleston, South Carolina; two daughters, Mary of Stockbridge, Massachusetts and
Beatrice of Hoosick, New York; a sister, Beatrice Meyerson of Washington, D.C.; and thirteen grand children.
During the Vietnam War, Berle served in the Air Force as an intelligence officer and parachutist. Afterward he joined
the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind and Garrison where he and another junior lawyer drew the unenviable assignment
of litigating against Consolidated Edison, which wanted to erect a pumping storage facility on a scenic mountain
overlooking the Hudson River Gorge. Their precedent-setting victory forced the utility to ameliorate any environmental
In 1971, not long after winning that case, he founded Berle, Butzel & Kass, one of the country's first environmental law
firms, where he waged a successful suit against Union Carbide Corporation for fouling underground water on Long
Island with pesticides. As a member of the New York state Legislature, he played an integral role in the expansion of
From 1976 to 1979, he served under Governor Hugh Carey as state commissioner of environmental conservation and
helped set in motion the cleanup of the Love Canal toxic waste dump at Niagara Falls.
He became Audubon's president in the middle of the Reagan era, a critical time for the environmental movement, when
a leveling off of support was causing many mainstream conservation groups to rethink strategy. Audubon was
struggling to wipe out a $1-million deficit.
Berle believed that Audubon's future depended on its ability to expand its appeal beyond bird enthusiasts. According to
Occidental College environmental historian Robert Gottlieb in his book "Forcing the Spring," Berle worried that
Audubon "had an image problem, a 'bird watchers' reputation that it had never fully shaken off."
His fears were confirmed by outside consultants, who found that the society was seen as "old-fashioned and exclusive"
with a narrow "bird-oriented" agenda. The consultants said Greenpeace, the radical environmentalist group that made
headlines by sailing into nuclear test zones to protect the destruction of wildlife, got much higher ratings, it also had 2
million members worldwide compared with Audubon's 500,000, and they were younger than the average Audubon
Greenpeace, however, was not Berle's model. "He wasn't a bomb thrower," said Donal C. O'Brien Jr., who was
Audubon's chairman during much of Berle's tenure. But neither was Berle interested in saving Audubon's featured
friends as an end in itself. "He was much more interested in the root causes of environmental problems," O'Brien
"He wasn't as worried about the canvasback duck as about acid rain."
A shake-up began in 1991. One remedy Berle backed was an overhaul of Audubon magazine form a somewhat musty,
though highly regarded, nature journal to one that was more politically attuned.
Then Berle fixed his sights on the egret, which had stood for decades as a symbol of the greatest achievement in
Audubon's early history: a campaign to stop the slaughter of birds for their plumage. Different versions of the egret
wereused by local chapters, a bad practice for an organization seeking a more corporate character but not as
problematic as the blatant birdness of the old logo.
So Berle banished the egret and hoisted the generic blue flag.
"The most unfortunate thing," recalled Geoff LeBaron, who joined Audubon two years after Berle and now directs its
annual Christmas bird count, "was that we didn't understand that when the blue flag was Xeroxed it turned into a black
flag" - which reminded some critics of a certain brand of roach killer. Some of Berle's public comments ( "We like the
birds. WE just don't think birds are the end of it," he told the Washington Post at one point ) contributed to fears that
Audubon was being blown off course.
A grass-roots rebellion bloomed. Local chapters refused to use the flag on their stationery and sent it back to Audubon
headquarters, along with other items bearing the offensive logo. According to one account, Audubon coffee mugs with
the flag imprint arrived at the society's offices in shards.
After months of turmoil, Berle reconsidered. "We hauled down the flag," he told The Times in 1992, "and fed it to the
Although never gung-ho on birding, Berle had demonstrated his allegiance to Audubon's heritage in his first year as
president, when a South Carolina member complained about a marching song sung by female Marine recruits at Parris
I saw a bird with a yellow bill
Sitting on my windowsill
I coaxed him in with a piece of bread
And then I crushed his little head.
Referring to his own military service, Berle wrote a letter to the Marine commandant, arguing that "advocacy of
unsportsmanlike hunting techniques was not necessary to instill pride or toughness in troops". The song was banned.
Peter A. A. Berle 1938 - 2007 Peter A. A. Berle and wife, Mrs. Lila Sloan Berle
PETER A. A. BERLE
1938 - 2007
The Environmental Relief Center
Studio City, CA 91604
C H A R L E S D A V I D K E E L I N G
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