Adam Kolton, Executive Director of the Alaska Wilderness League, passed away on the morning of April 26, 2021. He was one of the most open-minded, passionate and intelligent people I knew in the environmental movement.
While we had not talked in some time, he played a significant role in R Street’s early years. Then serving as the vice president for National Advocacy of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), he was one of the first allies to check in with me and offer support when a group of us decided to separate from the Heartland Institute over their communications related to climate change policy. While at NWF, he was always solicitous and helpful, and he assisted us in securing a major funder that supports us to this day. He also played a role in helping to establish the smartersafer.org  coalition, one of the most successful left-right environmental efforts  of the past decade. I have very fond memories of several lunches we had together at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana in downtown D.C.—during the first one, we ended up talking late until waiters started giving us dirty looks.
I particularly admired his passion for trying to broaden the environmental movement’s base and challenge his own beliefs. While his views were not the same as mine on many important issues, he was always open-minded with me and deeply respectful. More than once he helped me bring together right-of-center people who care about the environment to discuss issues and find common ground with more left-of-center people who shared concerns but disagreed on policy. I’m shocked by his passing. May his memory be a blessing.
- “smartersafer.org”: https://www.smartersafer.org/
- “one of the most successful left-right environmental efforts”: https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1249&context=delpf