Thinks like a politician, talks like a poet. ~ Time Magazine
John Cronin is an acclaimed environmental innovator and advocate, named a “Hero for the Planet” by Time Magazine in 1999. He is executive director of the Center for Technology, Policy and the Environment at the Seidenberg School for Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University in New York, where he directs the Blue CoLab.
John’s environmental career began with the urging of folksinger Pete Seeger, whom he met on a dock restoration project in Beacon, NY. First as a volunteer and then as environmental action coordinator for Clearwater, Pete’s Hudson River organization, his investigations led to the first enforcement actions in New York State under the two-year old 1972 Federal Clean Water Act.
John’s later, 17-year stint as the pollution-fighting Hudson Riverkeeper included a landmark victory over the Exxon Company which he caught sending oil tankers up the Hudson to rinse their holds. Riverkeeper investigations led to more than $25 million in river restoration, the founding of 360 water keepers on six continents, and creation of the global Waterkeeper Alliance. John was chief author and lobbyist for three major Hudson River laws, including the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, considered a model for ecological management. He was also chief environmental negotiator for, and a signatory to, the historic New York City Watershed Agreement.
John served as a district aide to Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr. and as legislative aide for the New York State Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation, under its chairperson, state Assemblyman Maurice Hinchey. There he advanced legislation and policies on coastal and river protection and closure of toxic sites, and served on a special staff investigating U.S. Army involvement in Love Canal. He left his legislative job to work as a Hudson River commercial fisherman for three seasons, after which the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association hired him as Riverkeeper.
John’s writings include The Riverkeepers, co-authored with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and published by Scribners with an introduction by Vice President Al Gore; many popular and academic articles; and numerous Op Eds on environmental policy, including for The New York Times, USA Today, The Hill, HuffPost, Times Union, LoHud, and the Earthdesk blog, where he was editor. He wrote and co-produced the documentary film The Last Rivermen, a short-listed runner-up in 1992 Academy Award voting.
In addition to Time Magazine, his honors include: Honorary J.D., Pace University School of Law; Jefferson Gold Award for Public Service; Thomas Berry Environmental Award; American Fisheries Society William E. Ricker Award; EPA Region I Environmental Merit Award; EPA Region II Environmental Quality Award; Top 100 Irish-Americans; and Vanity Fair Hall of Fame.
John has been profiled by numerous broadcast outlets, including: Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers Reports, History Channel, Outdoor Channel and more. He has been the subject of three books and scores of articles, including::
~ The Wall St. Journal: “A unique presence on America’s major waterways.”
~ People Magazine: “Equal parts detective, scientist and public advocate.”
~ The New Yorker: “Professional responsibility and personal obsession meet on the river in John Cronin.”
~ Knight Ridder Newspapers: “A hero in one of the great success stories of the modern environmental movement.”
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Honors and Awards
Honorary Juris Doctor, Pace University School of Law
Time Magazine Hero for the Planet
Jefferson Gold Award for Public Service
Thomas Berry Environmental Award
American Fisheries Society Wiilam E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award
EPA Region I Environmental Merit Award
EPA Region II Environmental Quality Award
Founders Award, Santa Monica Baykeeper
Peconic Baykeeper Environmental Award
Outstanding Documentary Short of 1991, Motion Picture Academy Foundation (The Last Rivermen)
EarthWatch Documentary Film Award (The Last Rivermen)
Governor’s Parks and Open Space Award (New York)
Vanity Fair Hall of Fame
Westchester Magazine Top 8 Leaders
Top 100 Irish-Americans of 1999
Cronin, John, Kennedy, Robert F., Jr. The Riverkeepers, Scribner, 1997. Touchstone Paperback, 1999.
Cronin, John. Estuaries: Where Human and Nature Meet. In Bowermaster, John (Ed.). Oceans: The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do About It (pp 117 – 130). Participant Media, 2010.
Cronin, John. Duty Bound: A Conversation with Henry Gourdine. In Land, Michelle D. and Rogers, Susan Fox (Eds.). A River’s Pleasure. (pp 37 – 48). Pace University Press, 2009.
Cronin, John. Foreword. In Weigold, Marilyn. Peconic Bay: Four Centuries of History on Long Island’s North and South Forks (pp xi – xiii). Syracuse University Press, 2015.
Cronin, John. Foreword. In Heron, Jim. Denning’s Point, A Hudson River History (pp ix — xi). Black Dome Press, 2006.
Cronin, John. Introduction. In Van Zandt, Roland. Chronicles of the Hudson: Three Centuries of Travel & Adventure (pp ix – xi) Black Dome Press, 1992.
Cronin, J. (2019) The Cuyahoga Fire at Fifty: A False History Obscures the Real Water Crisis that Never Ceased. J Environ Stud Sci. DOI: 10.1007/s13412-019-00550-3. (Peer reviewed)
Birney, L., Cronin, J. (2019) Environmental habitat restoration and inquiry-based learning with New York City public schools—an urban model in STEM education. J Environ Stud Sci 9, 322–326 https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-018-0530-5. (Peer reviewed)
Cronin, J. (2015). Michel Jarraud: Presidente de ONU-Agua. Diplomacia, No. 129. https://issuu.com/apuntesinternacionales/docs/revista_diplomacia_agosto_2015
Kolar H., Cronin J., Hartswick P., Sanderson, A. C., Bonner, J. S., Hotaling, L. Ambrosio, R. F., Liu, Z., Passow, M. L. (2009) Complex real-time environmental monitoring of the Hudson River and estuary system. IBM Journal of Research and Development. https://doi.org/10.1147/JRD.2009.5429017 #dblp . (Peer reviewed)
Pfirman, S, Kenna, T, Cronin, J, Land, M. (2005) A “River Summer” on the Hudson. Transactions American Geophysical Union. 86(43):414-414.
The New York Times
Cronin, John. “Don’t Let the Hudson Be Despoiled Again.” The New York Times, 20 Dec 1999. https://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/20/opinion/dont-let-the-hudson-be-despoiled-again.html
Cronin, John. “It’s Time We Got Smart About Drought.” The New York Times, 5 Aug. 1999. https://www.nytimes.com/1999/08/05/opinion/its-time-we-got-smart-about-drought.html
Cronin John. “Power Plant Overload.” The New York Times, 20 May 1999. https://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/20/opinion/power-plant-overload.html
Cronin John, “The Hudson Still Waits for Help.” The New York Times, 12 Feb.1998. https://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/28/opinion/the-hudson-still-waits-for-help.html
Cronin, John and Kennedy, Robert F., Jr. “It’s Our River Let Us Get to It.” The New York Times, 26 Jul. 1997. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/07/26/opinion/it-s-our-river-let-us-get-to-it.html
Cronin John. “The Cost of Electricity Per Species.” The New York Times, 7 Sep.1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/07/opinion/the-cost-of-electricity-per-species.html
Cronin, John and Kennedy, Robert F., Jr., “Losing Our Day in Court.” The New York Times, 4 Apr. 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/04/opinion/losing-our-day-in-court.html
Cronin, John. “Water, Power and the Drought of 1995.” The New York Times, 30 Aug.1995. https://www.nytimes.com/1995/08/30/opinion/water-power-and-the-drought-of-1995.html
Cronin, John. “Save the Hudson’s Fishermen.” The New York Times, 9 May 1992. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/09/opinion/save-the-hudsons-fishermen.html
Cronin, John. “Legally Blind on the Hudson.” The New York Times, 1 Dec. 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/12/01/opinion/legally-blind-on-the-hudson.html
Cronin, John. “Who Cares About the Hudson?” The New York Times, 18 Apr. 1987. https://www.nytimes.com/1987/04/18/opinion/who-cares-about-the-hudson.html
Cronin, John J. “The Hudson’s Fishermen.” The New York Times, 18 Apr. 1981. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/04/18/opinion/the-hudsons-fishermen.html
Cronin, John. “Puerto Rico After Maria: When Resiliencia Humana is the Only Resilience That Remains.” HuffPost, 9 Oct. 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/puerto-rico-after-maria-when-resiliencia-humana-is_b_59da16e8e4b0cf2548b3380a
Cronin, John. “A Post-Election Prescription: Environmentalism Without Borders” HuffPost, 30 Nov. 2016. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/a-post-election-prescription-environmentalism-without_b_58324be5e4b0eaa5f14d4760
Cronin, John. “Local Waterways as Classrooms and Laboratories: A Conversation with Professor Joseph Rachlin.” HuffPost, 2 Nov. 2015. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/americas-waterways_b_8448150
Cronin, John. “S.T.E.M.+O = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Oysters.”
HuffPost, 26 Oct. 2015. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stemo-science-technology-_b_8373904
Cronin, John. “The Problem with Hillary’s Arctic Flip-Flop.” HuffPost, 16 Oct. 2015.https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-problem-with-hillarys-arctic-flip-flop_b_8307878
Cronin, John. “American Environmentalism Should Embrace the Cause of Homelessness.” HuffPost, 8 Oct. 2015. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/american-environmentalism-should-embrace-the-cause-of-homelessness_b_8260732
Cronin, John. “Pope Francis Pointed the World’s Attention to Its Largest Environmental Problem: Poverty.” HuffPost, 2 Oct. 2015. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/pope-francis-environment-poverty_b_8220566
Cronin, John. “Irene Dickinson: The woman who shut down Indian Point.” USA TODAY Network, 10 May, 2021. https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2021/05/10/irene-dickinson-woman-who-shut-down-indian-point/4971025001/
Cronin, John, Land, Michelle, D. “Coast Guard Must Fully Review on Hudson Anchorages.” The Journal News, 13 Aug. 2017. https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/08/06/coast-guard-must-do-full-public-review-hudson-anchorages-view/534101001/
Cronin, John. “Hudson River’s Abuse Continues.” The Journal News, 12 Sep. 2016. https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/09/08/hudson-river-abuse-continues/90004504/
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: A River’s Pleasure.” InsideOut, 14 Dec. 2010.
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: Crabbing with Bob.” InsideOut, 17 Aug. 2009.
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: The Power of Film: An Interview with Filmmaker Jim Brown.” InsideOut, 14 Jun. 2009.
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: The Future.” InsideOut, 27 Sep. 2008.
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: Why Care?” InsideOut, 31 Jul. 2008.
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: Hope Swims.” InsideOut, 9 Feb. 2008.
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: River Love.” InsideOut, 5 Dec. 2007.
Cronin, John. “Earth Diary: Sturgeon.” InsideOut, 8 Oct. 2007.
Cronin, John. “The Riverkeeper’s Creed.” Hudson Valley Magazine, Jan. 2000
Cronin John. “Make GE Pay for Hudson Clean-Up.” Poughkeepsie Journal, 29 Mar. 1998.
Invited Lectures and Presentations
American Fisheries Society
American Littoral Society
Bard College Environmental and Urban Studies Colloquium
Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change (Marion, MA)
Columbia University Business School
Earth and Religion: Seeking a Common Ground (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY)
Erie Hack 2.0: Rock the Lake (Cleveland, OH)
IBM Smarter Cities Conference (NY, NY)
International Thomas Merton Society General Meeting (Memphis, TN)
International Union for the Conservation of Nature Colloquium (White Plains, NY)
Lamont Dougherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University
Marist College Undergraduate Research Symposium
McHenry County College
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Mote Marine Laboratory
Mount St. Vincent College
National Association of College Stores
National Public Gardens Association (formerly AABGA)
New School University
New York Harbor School Commencement
New York State Bar Environmental Law Section
Northern Michigan University
NYSERDA Tidal Power Conference
Oklahoma State University
Pace University School of Law
Penn State Altoona Commencement
Princeton University Geosciences
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/Lally School of Management
Rollins College Winter Park Institute
Salisbury University Convocation
Steven’s Institute of Technology
SUNY Empire State College
SUNY New Paltz
Syracuse University Center of Excellence
Universidade Norte do Paraná (Brazil)
USEPA Citizen Volunteers in Environmental Monitoring (Narragansett, RI)
Water Cooperation and Conflict (Pace University NYC)
Water Matters! Global Water Conference (Pittsburgh, PA)
Westchester Community College