Robert Kennedy Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. on January 17, 1954 to Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator who was assassinated in 1968. He was the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963, and Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy Jr. received a bachelor’s degree in literature and American history from Harvard before going on to obtain a degree in law from the University of Virginia and a Master of Environmental Law degree from Pace University. He has devoted his career to working with various environmental groups to defend the need for clean water.
Kennedy has written numerous articles about the environment which have been published in many prolific magazines and newspapers, including Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times. He has also written two books with environmental themes titled Crimes Against Nature and The Riverkeepers. Other books he published include a biography about Judge Frank M. Johnson and several books for children.
Robert Kennedy Jr. used his legal talents to help New York’s Riverkeeper group successfully sue companies that were polluting the Hudson River. Many give him the credit for cleaning up that waterway. His efforts received attention from Time magazine, which named him one of the "Heroes for the Planet".
He has served as the chief prosecuting counsel for Riverkeeper and as president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that inspired other such organizations to form around the world. Robert Kennedy Jr. also worked as a professor and supervising counsel in the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University. His other accomplishments include being a co-host of the Air America radio program Ring of Fire and serving as a senior counsel for the National Resources Defense Council.
His work to defend and improve the environment is not solely concentrated on the United Stats. He has also helped tribes in Canada and Latin America negotiate treaties protecting the resources of their territories. Robert Kennedy Jr. expanded his environmental advocacy beyond protecting watersheds by promoting the construction of wind farms and other sources of sustainable development.
In addition to his work in the environmental movement, Robert Kennedy Jr. is a staunch advocate of free market capitalism. He claimed that companies that pollute are actually subsidized by the taxpayers via laws passed specifically to benefit those industries. His belief that free market capitalism would prevent this type of political cronyism sets him apart from the average environmentalist.