John J. Berger helped launch the environmental restoration movement in 1985 with his book Restoring the Earth: How Americans Are Working to Renew Our Damaged Environment. He also founded and directed the nonprofit Restoring the Earth, Inc., which worked to advance the cause of environmental restoration via public education and environmental policy development. Through Restoring the Earth, Berger and his staff initiated a seminal environmental restoration conference that prominently brought restoration to media and public attention.
Dr. Berger has authored and edited eleven books on energy and environmental issues and is a long-time supporter of alternative energy solutions to global environmental problems. For many years he has repeatedly called attention to the nation’s excessive dependence on foreign oil and the huge attendant economic and environmental costs, and risks. He has outlined strategies for a clean, renewable energy economy in books such as Charging Ahead: The Business of Renewable Energy and What It Means for America, and Beating the Heat: How and Why We Must Combat Global Warming, and Climate Change Policy (Schneider et al, eds.).
Consulting & Other Professional Work
Berger wrote one of the first books critical of nuclear power, Nuclear Power: The Unviable Option, which forewarned in 1976 of core-melt accident possibilities, such as the one that later occurred at Three Mile Island. In the same book, he highlighted the nuclear industry’s grave economic problems, which have since brought its expansion to a virtual standstill in the U.S. Later he co-founded and directed the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Inc. of Washington, D.C., which has provided critical information on nuclear power issues to millions of people and assisted safe energy organizations throughout the country.
As an independent energy and environmental consultant, he has worked for the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences, Fortune 500 companies, such as Lockheed and Chevron, nonprofit groups, and governmental organizations. His work has included providing assistance to firms in the assessment of renewable energy technology. As noted above, he served for two and a half years as consultant to the NRC for its national study on scientific, technological, and policy aspects of aquatic restoration, and he has been a consultant on restoration ecology to the Office of Technology Assessment of the U. S. Congress.
As a scientific consultant to the National Research Council, he helped to design, write, and edit the Council’s highly acclaimed national study, The Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystem: Science, Technology, and Public Policy (1990) that put aquatic ecosystem restoration more prominently in the public eye and higher on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s agenda.
Prior to his work in natural science, climate, and energy, Berger was an innovator in journalism, co-founding Alternative Features Service, Inc. in 1970 to support the development of alternative and college newspapers and radio stations in the U.S. with syndicated press materials that especially highlighted the creation of alternative institutions, such as free clinics, people’s banks, free universities, and alternative housing.
A member of the American Association of Journalists and Authors, his magazine articles have appeared in: Audubon, Omni, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times Magazine,The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Examiner, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, in anthologies, book club selections, foreign editions, and via news service syndication. He has edited books for the University of California Press and for Straight Arrow Books and has been a scientific and technical editor at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the head of an editorial group at the Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development. He has also been a newspaper and press service editor and edited Environmental Restoration: Science and Strategies for Restoring the Earth (Island Press, 1990).
Berger served as visiting Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at the Graduate School of Public Affairs of the University of Maryland and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science at the University of San Francisco. He has a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, a M.A. in Energy and Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in political science from Stanford University.
Awards and Fellowships
He participated in a summer study program at the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory for Genetic Research; he was the recipient of a Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship for graduate study, he received a year-long fellowship for graduate study at the University of Tunis, Tunisia, and received a summer writing fellowship at the Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks.