I'm not one to write about internal affairs very often, but there was a West Coast celebration last Thursday evening (March 6) you might enjoy hearing about.
The occasion was an event to honor Buck Parker, who served as the Executive Director here at Earthjustice for the past 10 years, as he passes the reins of leadership to Trip Van Noppen. The event was held in a beautiful old club at the Presidio of San Francisco, and there must have been 250 people attending, including representatives from the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, and many other fine non-profit organizations we've represented in court over the years.
Among the evening's highlights: San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom (whose father, incidentally, serves on the Earthjustice board) gave a fine tribute-cum-stemwinder about how the city by the bay is tackling global warming. Bill Meadows of The Wilderness Society gave a gentle, folksy talk about Buck's leadership within the environmental community.
What struck me most forcefully was how utterly bereft of jealousy everyone was. I don't think anyone else could command such respect and fondness precisely because Buck is so selfless, so unencumbered by an oversized ego. Most top dogs have at least a tinge of the prima donna; Buck doesn't. That may be part of the reason he was asked to chair the Green Group (a coalition of leaders from across the environmental spectrum) for two years, even as he was undergoing treatment for cancer (which, incidentally, was a success).
A grand time was had by all... even Buck, who was a most reluctant honoree. He's not leaving Earthjustice, by the way, just cutting back on his hours and his administrative responsibilities to devote his full attention (and his unbridled passion) towards protecting and preserving The Arctic, its native communities, magnificent wildlife, and pristine wilderness.