Alumni Award

Liz Barratt-Brown ’74 Named 2013 Alumni Award Winner

Environmental attorney Liz Barratt-Brown '74 was named the New Canaan Country School 2013 Alumni Award winner.

As an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the nation’s largest and most effective environmental organizations, Ms. Barratt-Brown has advocated for critical national and global environmental problems.  

Ms. Barratt-Brown started her career with NRDC in 1981 after graduating from Brown University in the first class of Environmental Studies majors. After half a decade in Washington, D.C. working for NRDC and for Senator Lautenberg on Capitol Hill, Ms. Barratt-Brown returned to Connecticut to get her law degree from Yale Law School. She will quickly say that her love for nature began early, in the woods around NCCS and at New Canaan’s nature center where she loved to catch frogs.
Most recently,Ms. Barratt-Brown has worked to raise the profile of Canada’s Boreal forest and against the strip mining and drilling for oil from the “tar sands” region of Alberta’s Boreal forest. She was central to the launch of and continues to work on the campaign against the high profile and controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that would cross the Great Plains on its way to deepwater ports in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ms. Barratt-Brown is no stranger to Canadian- U.S. environmental issues. In the 1980s, she worked to stem acid rain in both Canada and the eastern U.S. In 1990, the Clean Air Act was revised and included a provision that has resulted in halving acid rain pollution. In the 90s, she led a successful campaign to stop the clearcut logging of some of the last temperate rain forests in the world. Together with groups from around the world, she crafted a “markets” campaign to enlist buyers of old growth forest products, most notably retail giant Home Depot, to help protect 5 million acres of forest in B.C.’s “Great Bear Rainforest.” This work stemmed from an earlier campaign to conserve a million acres in Vancouver Island’s Clayoquot Sound. She later worked in Manitoba to protect millions of acres of forest threatened by hydropower development. All of her work was done working closely with native leaders and local environmental groups.
Ms. Barratt-Brown has also worked on critical global environmental problems. In 1992, she represented NRDC at the Rio Earth Summit and in negotiations leading up to the adoption of “Agenda 21” and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio. She continued to work to strengthen the climate change treaty for many years after the Summit.
One of her proudest achievements was crafting, while working with Senator Lautenberg, the nation’s first community right-to-know act on toxic chemicals, called the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI required facilities handling chemicals to disclose their release to the air, water and land. It has been a critical tool in assessing and protecting communities, first responders and workers near these facilities.
Ms. Barratt-Brown serves on the board of the Center for a New American Dream and was a co-founder and board member of ForestEthics. She resides in Washington D.C. with her husband Bos Dewey and their two children Barratt and Eliza. They also run an olive and sheep farm in Mallorca, Spain, where they produce an organic and slow food registered extra-virgin olive oil and host weddings, retreats and family gatherings.