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On the Ground: The Albright Lecture

Nearly 60 years of conservation leadership

Horace Marden Albright, a 1912 UC Berkeley graduate, was one of America’s leading conservationists. After he served as the second director of the National Park Service, he was named the 1952 Alumnus of the Year by the California Alumni Association. An endowment was created seven years later to establish the Horace M. Albright Lecture in Conservation, a lectureship made possible by gifts from alumni and friends. When he delivered the first lecture in the series in 1961, Albright noted key figures in the American conservation movement, including John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Gifford Pinchot. In 1980, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest award to a civilian, by President Jimmy Carter.

Here, Breakthroughs highlights the notable and quotable from decades past and present of the Albright Lecture.

Albright, the man himself


“In terms of conservation and resources, we are in the process of conquering ‘outer’ space but we are neglecting ‘inner’ space, the space that is our home.”

Stewart Udall, 37th secretary of the interior and a three-term Arizona congressman


“Man always adds something to nature, and thereby transforms it, but his interventions are successful only to the extent that he respects the genius of the place.”

— Pulitzer Prize–winning microbiologist René Jules Dubos


“The artist and the photographer, especially among the young people of our time, seek the mysteries and the adventures of experience in nature.”

Ansel Adams, photographer


“The conservation challenge of the ’80s is reshaping our attitudes and values and our practical approaches in such a way that we can live in an era of scarcity without ruining the life systems on which we depend.”

— public servant Robert Cahn, a founding member of the Council on Environmental Quality


“The most compelling reason for preserving natural ecosystems and the organisms that comprise them is also the least understood by the public: They provide a series of indispensable free services to civilization.” 

Anne H. Ehrlich and Paul R. Ehrlich, conservation biologists and co-authors, most recently of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment


“The challenge of environmental protection in the new millennium is no longer scientific, or economic, or even political—it is moral.” 

Carl Pope, former executive director of the Sierra Club


“If you are only focused on business and capitalism in its traditional sense and you’re not looking at your broader impact on the world, you might wake up to discover that your business is gone.” 

Sally Jewell, 51st secretary of the interior and former CEO of REI


“Climate change is no longer an abstract thing at all; it is very real and very powerful.”

— journalist and environmental activist Bill McKibben

Van Jones

Watch a video of CNN political commentator and Dream Corps founder Van Jones delivering the fall 2018 Albright Lecture.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Van Jones


“Creating an enduring place within the natural systems that keep us alive—that’s the biggest challenge of our time.” 

— marine biologist and National Geographic explorer-in-residence Sylvia Earle


“The earth’s waters are not owned by the polluters or the government—they’re owned by the people.” 

— Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environmental attorney and board president of Waterkeeper Alliance


“Nature doesn’t need people, but people really need nature.”

— Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan