RFK Jr. to praise Earth, bash Bush

With the presidential election seven days away, one environmental activist is taking his message to college campuses nationwide.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will speak about his new book, "Crimes Against Nature," in a free event at the Varsity Theatre Thursday. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 appearance. Limited seating is available.

Kennedy's Marquette visit is part of his book tour and environmental activism efforts.

Although Kennedy speaks to a variety of audiences each day, he targeted college students as part of his tour.

"The students are important because, number one, they vote and, number two, they have more at stake than anybody else in the election," he said.

Kennedy's visit was made financially possible by an outside environmentalist group called the Environmental Accountability Fund, according to Marquette Student Government Communications Vice President Nicole Garland, a College of Business Administration senior.

Even though MUSG could never afford Kennedy's appearance, they did help with advertising the event, Garland said.

"We jumped at the chance," she said. "We really think it's an important issue. Being a voter also means being an educated voter."

Kennedy will speak about the current government's treatment of environmental issues.

"This administration is the most anti-environmentalist in the history of the United States," he said.

In his book, Kennedy explained that the Bush administration installed the most CEOs in Cabinet positions in the country's history.

Kennedy said such decisions harm the environment and, consequently, the American people.

"There's nothing wrong with corporations, but corporations should not be running our government," he said.

One Marquette professor agreed.

"It's absolutely appalling how they have reversed decades of careful efforts to try and protect the environment," said Alan Madry, a law school professor.

Madry added that Bush's administration has "completely withdrawn from the Kyoto process," an international effort to limit the release of pollutants worldwide.

Kennedy echoed Madry's claim that Bush alienates most of the United States' allies in his environmental strategies.

He explained how foreign countries' "reservoirs of love and respect" for America have disappeared under Bush's leadership after 9/11.

Kennedy said environmental issues are important in the upcoming presidential election, but he was "sad" about how few questions were asked about the environment during the presidential debates.

Kennedy criticized the media for its lack of sufficient coverage of environmental issues.

"The press in our country has been negligent," he said. "They're bombarding us with entertainment rather than giving us news."

Kennedy will bring his message to several other campuses before he comes to Marquette, including Ohio State University and Northwestern University, according to a spokeswoman from Engaging Communication, a public relations firm.

He was set to make a stop at Michigan State University but had to cancel because he will give the eulogy at Christopher Reeve's funeral the same day.

Kennedy is the president of Waterkeeper Alliance, a grassroots organization to protect water against pollutants. According to his book's jacket, he also serves as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper and a clinical professor and supervising attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law.