Joe Browder

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Joe Bartles Browder (April 10, 1938 – September 18, 2016) was an American environmental activist who spearheaded ongoing efforts to save the Florida Everglades. He is considered to be a global environmental expert. He is an advisor on energy, climate change, environmental policy to public-interest groups, foundations, auto and energy companies, other businesses, Native American tribes and government agencies.[1] He started out his career as a television news reporter, an active volunteer and later a paid representative for Audubon (the National Audubon Society).[2]


Browder’s place of birth is Amarillo, Texas. Browder worked for NBC (Miami, Florida) as a television news report and producer. He is married to Louise Dunlap. He has been active in saving the Everglades since 1961. He is recognized as being responsible in founding the Biscayne National Park (1968) and the Big Cypress National Preserve (1974), both in Florida. The Bob Graham Center for Public Service, (Florida Senator), states that Browder "emerged from the grassroots in the early 1960s to help save South Florida’s most precious natural wonders from unrestrained forces of growth."[3] Because of Browder's work in spearheading the creation of the Big Cypress National Preserve, The National Park Service eventually named Browder "Citizen Father of the Big Cypress Preserve".[2]:505 He died at the age of 78 on September 18, 2016 of cancer, in Maryland.[4][5]

Organizations, affiliations[edit]

  • National Audubon Society (Officer) – Miami, Florida chapter, Southeaster US Representative (1968–1970)
  • Coordinator of the Everglades Coalition (founder)
  • Managing Global Issues project – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Conservation Director of Friends of the Earth
  • League of Conservation Voters (Treasurer)
  • Advisory Council of the InterAmerican Water Resources Network
  • Mato Gross [Brazil] do Sul Environment Secretary Emiko Kawakmi de Resende (Co-Chairman).
  • Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management – Natural Resources section (Miami, 1993)
  • Everglades Coalition (National Chair, 1994, 1995)
  • Third Inter-American Dialogue on Water Resources (Host Committee member, Panama, 1999)
  • World Water Council’s Water Vision for the Western Hemisphere program – Water and Indigenous Peoples section. (Panama, 1999).
  • René Dubos Center for Human Environments (Board Member).
  • Boards of Friends of the everglades
  • Friends of the Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Dunlap & Browder – Environmental Consulting Firm

Further biography and environmental activism[edit]

As a young man, Browder had received a scholarship in ornithology from Cornell University, but dropped out to get married.[6] Browder had convinced journalist, feminist and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas who had written the influential book The Everglades: River of Grass in 1947, to start an environmental organization to save the Everglades.[2] That organization became known as Friends of the Everglades, which was created to protest the creation of the Miami International Airport in the Big Cypress portion of the Everglades that Browder was so opposed to. The book An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century (Environmental History and the American South), quotes Marjory Douglas as one who admired the stamina of the activists, especially Joe Browder, the good soldier of nature who stood on the front lines of each successive battle.[2] Browder himself was inspired by Douglas' book The Everglades: River of Grass for its sobering history, "literary power" and "ethical voice".[2]:711 J. Brooks Flippen, in the book, Conservative Conservationist: Russell E. Train And the Emergence of American Environmentalism, refers to the 1968 Joe Browder as a "young, long-haired environmentalist...typical of the new generation of activists," and states that "most of the established conservation groups hardly welcomed him."[7]

Previously, the chapter of the Audubon Society in Miami, with which Browder was affiliated, had become embroiled in a battle with a developer named Ludwig, who attempted to put an oil refinery in Lower Biscayne Bay. Browder is described by Douglas as the "hardest working" activist in the crusade against Ludwig's refinery. This small victory by conservationists soon led to the more difficult battle previously described and more widely noted, against the International Airport.[8]

Browder secured a federal mandate to prevent water from being diverted from the then-dying Everglades National Park. Browder conferred with the Nixon administration, and finally with President Richard Nixon, in a successful effort to save the Everglades from encroachment through development of an already commenced project to build a new Miami International Airport, in what is now part of the National Park system in the Everglades.[9] Life magazine, July 4, 1970, states that Browder, along with Miami attorney Daniel Paul, led the battle against the 39 square mile airport, which it refers to as a "great victory" for the conservation effort.[10] As a result of meeting with Browder, Nixon sent his daughter, Julie Nixon to Miami and the Everglades and to personally report back to him on the situation. Nixon concurred that the loss of this portion of the Everglades would be a "loss for the nation" and supported Browder and Marjory Douglas.[11]

Joe Browder was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to coordinate environmental planning for the Carter Mondale Campaign. He was appointed advisor by Secretary of the Interior during the Carter administration on energy, natural resources and environment and had a major role in Carter administration environmental policies.

Browder is referred to in the book The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and The Politics of Paradise by Michael Grunwald, as Audubon's "abrasive but effective southeastern representative" who possessed "ferocious intensity". He was known for criticizing fellow environmentalists, which made him something of a pariah among them. He "blasted" presidential candidate, then Vice-President Al Gore over for dragging his feet on the Everglades airport issue. Gore ended up losing the election for presidency over a handful of votes in that state.[6]

In 1997, Browder was appointed professor at the Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Environmental Sciences, teaching Markets, Competition and the Environment (graduate course).[12]

Present activities[edit]

Browder continues to be active in efforts to preserve the Florida Everglades. He is a principal in Dunlap & Browder, Inc. an environmental consulting firm in Washington, DC.[12] He resides in Fairhaven, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


  1. ^ "Joe Browder". 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Jack E. Davis (2011). An Everglades providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 9780820330716. 
  3. ^ "Environmentalist Joe Browder discussed the past and future of the Everglades". Bob Graham Center for Public Service. University of Florida. 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Joe Bartles Browder]
  6. ^ a b Michael Grunwald (2007). The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise. Simon & Schuster. 
  7. ^ J. Brooks Flippen (2006). Conservative Conservationist: Russell E. Train And the Emergence of American Environmentalism. Louisiana State Univ Pr; First Edition. p. 55. ISBN 9780807132036. 
  8. ^ Marjory Stoneman Douglas, John Rothchild (1990). Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Voice of the River. Pineapple Press. ISBN 9780910923941. 
  9. ^ Judith Bauer Stamper (1993). Save the Everglades. Steck-Vaughn. 
  10. ^ Inc, Time (July 4, 1970). "Battles Won". Life. 
  11. ^ Lynda G. Adamson (1997). Literature Connections to American History K6: Resources to Enhance and Entice. Libraries Unlimited. p. 413. ISBN 9781563085024. 
  12. ^ a b "Joe Browder". Dunlap & Browder, Inc. 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

The Environmental Destruction of South Florida: A Handbook for Citizens. Ross McCluney. University of Miami Press, 1971.