Chevron Conservation Award letter from Judy Kunofsky honoring Dr. John H. Tanton

Chevron Conservation Award

Members of the Chevron Conservation Awards Committee:

This latter is to support the nomination of John Tanton for Chevron's "Conservationist of the Year" aware.

I have known John since the early 1970s when both of us, as well as many other Americans, realized that population growth was a major threat to the environment. We were part of the first great wave of public concern about population growth and both of us served on the Board of Directors of Zero Population Growth for many years. I succeeded John in 1977 as volunteer president for that organization.

In addition, John had become the first chair of a new committee established by the Sierra Club to oversee its work in support of population stabilization. I was hired to staff that effort and worked closely with John for several years, at which time he had groomed a successor as committee cair.

Since then we have met and spoken periodically in further analysis of the environmental aspects of human population growth and public policy changes needed to address this issue.

John has impressed me in many respects. including the following:

(1) His extraordinary personal commitment to the betterment of his environment. John has volunteered many years of his life for environmental causes, and given his many private interests, resisting what must have been many temptations to return to the quiet private life.

(2) His ability to combine concern about broad public issues with particular attention to grooming and training individuals to become leaders in their own right. During the transition from John to me as ZPG's president. we had several long conversations, during which he imparted to me some of his wisdom about the personal side of leadership, including ways to keep one's own energies fresh, and techniques for involving and influencing others. I was struck by his interest in my personal well-being as well as my effectiveness, and to this day am implementing his recommendations in the many leadership positions I've held.

(3) His continued affability and good humor, even when confronted with serious challenges and setbacks. In the more than 15 years I have known him, John has never lost enthusiasm, optimism or patience about protection of the environment.

(4) His ability to think beyond the cliches of the time. John has always been a master of clear thinking, even on difficult subjects that can, in less capable hands, lend themselves to posturing and obfuscation. My views, and that of many others, on environmental issues have been shaped by his ideas and his writings.

John would be a deserving recipient of Chevron's Conservationist of the Year and I wholeheartedly support him.


Judith Kunofsky

Copyright 2006-2022 Dr. John H. Tanton estate