The Thirteenth Annual Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Lecture, Pace Law School, January 29, 2013


Gubernatorial leadership is the single most important indicator of how sustainable New York will be when it comes to issues of environmental protection and conservation. In preparing for the Kerlin Lecture, one of the things that struck me is that New York governors for at least the last thirty years have consistently identified the critical economic, social, and environmental challenges facing this state. Is it simply political rhetoric to decry that the state is in terrible fiscal shape, that programs need to be funded to help those is need, and that we must pay attention to stewarding the environment today to secure tomorrow? The fact remains that these are the three major legs of the sustainability stool and the measure of gubernatorial leadership is not in the lofty goals that were set forth, but rather in what was actually accomplished. This Kerlin Lecture focuses on the broader theme of gubernatorial leadership and sustainability rather than perhaps the narrower reference to the environment, to reflect what in my opinion has enabled the global community to address core environmental challenges by forming alliances with other interest groups that might not have necessarily believed there was a logical affinity to strengthening environmental protections.