Charles F Wurster

Professor Emeritus Charles F Wurster

Charlie earned a doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University in 1957 but has been an ardent environmentalist and ornithologist for most of his life. The study of birds has taken him to all continents, where he has identified one third of the world's 10,000 avian species.

In the 1960's these interests and expertise led to a concern about the environmental effects of DDT, Aldrin, and Dieldrin. He and colleagues challenged their use through the courts and by the Federal Government, and by 1974 all three of these destructive pesticides were banned in the USA. This success became the cornerstone of environmental law as we know it today.

In 1967 Charlie became one of the founders of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on which EDS was modelled. EDF is now an international organization of scientists, attorneys, and economists seeking creative and practical solutions to a wide variety of environmental problems. Charlie remains an active member of the Board of Trustees.

For 30 years he was a professor of environmental sciences at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Several years ago he became emeritus to pursue eco-tourism and environmental protection projects. He has a long-standing interest in energy policy, and has lectured around the world and written scientific papers on a wide variety of subjects. He recently authored a book: DDT Wars: Rescuing Our National Bird, Preventing Cancer, and Creating the Environmental Defense Fund (Oxford University Press, 2015). The book describes the struggle that led to the ban on DDT in 1972 and the many benefits that followed the ban in later decades.

Last updated at 9:58AM on May 16, 2016