That's me in 1992 (standing third from the right) at ELAW's first Annual Meeting.

I just passed a personal milestone: I started work at ELAW 20 years ago!

When I started as ELAW’s first Staff Attorney in June, 1991, ELAW was a small, start-up organization built on big ideas: We planned to use new, emerging technology to link grassroots environmental advocates around the world, so they could more effectively protect the environment through law.

The 20 years have flown by. Looking back, three things stand out:

1. It’s all about the people. ELAW links people across borders. These people come from different countries, speak different languages, practice different religions, and live in different ecosystems. Despite these differences, they are brought together because they share a determination to protect our planet and build a sustainable future. Working with such people—who believe they can make the world a better place—is a constant thrill. Our common interest in building a sustainable future is stronger than our differences.

2. In all corners of the planet, people want clean air, clean water, healthy ecosystems, and a sustainable future. Everywhere I travel for ELAW, I encounter people who see that we need to take better care of our planet; people who see beyond short term profits; and people who see there must be better, cleaner ways to do things. Meeting these people in all corners of the globe and seeing their courage and determination to build a better, greener future, is an inspiration.

3. I have been extraordinarily lucky–I get to work with great people all over the world to build a sustainable future. That has been more fun, challenging, and rewarding than I could have imagined 20 years ago! I look forward to many more good years!

Bern Johnson
ELAW Executive Director