WASHINGTON Art Cooley has died. He was a long-standing activist who co-founded Environmental Defense Fund over 50 years ago. Cooley, who was 87, helped to launch the group, which is one of the largest environmental groups in the world, from his Long Island, New York home in 1967.
EDF now boasts more than 2.5million members and nearly 1000 employees, from New York to London all the way to Beijing.
According to Jonathan, his son, Mr. Cooley, Mr. Cooley passed away in Colorado from natural causes Sunday.
Cooley, a high school teacher in the 1960s, was one of many local activists who opposed the use of DDT, a pesticide that threatened the survival of birds such as the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. The legal battle resulted in DDT being banned in the United States and EDF being formed.
Cooley was involved for many years with the board of the organization, serving as its chairperson and secretary. He was born and raised on Long Island. Later, he moved to La Jolla, California.
Fred Krupp, EDFs longtime president, said Art had a warmth that radiated through EDF board meetings. It helped bring people together for a common cause. All of us who carry the EDF torch will remember Art as one of our greatest joys.
EDF stated that Mr. Cooley, along with his associates, used science to challenge the industry groups in court. This helped establish the right of ordinary citizens for the government to protect human and environmental health.
Charles Wurster, the last remaining cofounder of the group, has been left by Mr. Cooley’s passing. Dennis Puleston, another co-founder, also died in 2001.