Phil Clapp 1953-2008

phil clapp

A beloved friend and colleague, Phil Clapp, died this week at the age of 54, from pneumonia while travelling abroad. I am grateful that just last month we shared breakfast together and talked for a couple of hours near his home in Washington, D.C..

Since 1994, Phil served as president and chief executive of the National Environmental Trust, a non-profit, non-partisan organization working on behalf of environmental legistlation and informing citizens about environmental problems and how they affect our health and quality of life. Last year his organization merged with The Pew Charitable Trusts and Phil became deputy managing director of the Pew Environment Group. The New York Times and The Washington Post both ran obituaries.

Jonathan Lash, president of World Resources Institute, said it well: "For his entire career, Phil was a tireless campaigner for the biggest environmental and human health issues of our time. 

He was an early voice on global warming, and provided essential leadership as one of the NGO community’s strongest voices in international negotiations. But Phil was also instrumental in creating solutions and consensus on issues such as smog, acid rain and hazardous waste....Phil was a brave, smart and passionate advocate. He had an enormous impact on the people around him and the world he lived in....The environmental movement owes a debt of gratitude to one of its earliest and most dedicated champions. He is a dear friend, and we will miss him."

I recommend listening to a four minute audio tribute that was aired this week on Living on Earth. It brought me to tears. David Sassoon's blog post: "In Memoriam: Phil Clapp, Environmental Champion and Climate Leader" also speaks my heart.  

Goodbye, Phil. Thank you for all your tireless work on behalf of all of us. Thank you for everything you did in service of our collective evolution. And thank you for your friendship.

I love you, and will forever cherish your memory.