Edward Humes is the author of 10 critically acclaimed nonfiction titles including Monkey Girl, Over Here, School of Dreams, the best-seller Mississippi Mud, Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet (Ecco), and most recently, Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart's Green Revolution (HarperBusiness). A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his journalism and numerous awards for his books, he is currently writer-at-large for Los Angeles Magazine and a contributor to Huffington Post.
A sought after speaker, Humes has given numerous talks based on his books about the environment, America's evolution wars, the veterans of World War II, education reform, and juvenile justice. He has spoken at Dole Center for Politics, the National Association of District Attorneys, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the National Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National High School Journalism Conference, the National College Newspaper Convention, the National Association of Teachers of English, the California Department of Corrections, the California Appellate Project, the American Psychology and Law Society, the Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Poynter Institute, the National Education Summit, the National Steinbeck Center, as well as at numerous schools and universities. Humes has taught workshops in literary journalism and narrative nonfiction at the high school, college, and post grad levels; and led School of Dreams workshops for both students and faculty.
In his Force of Nature talks, Humes reveals what happens when white-water expert turned sustainability consultant Jib Ellison teams up with former Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott -- the result is nothing less than a green business revolution. Wal-Mart -- long the target of local businesses, labor advocates, and environmentalists who deplore its outsourced, big-box methods -- has embraced an unprecedented green makeover, which is now spreading worldwide. Neither an act of charity nor an empty greenwash, Wal-Mart's green move reflects Ellison's simple, compelling philosophy: that the most sustainable, clean, energy-efficient, and waste-free company will beat its competitors every time. Humes charts the course of this unlikely second industrial revolution, in which corporate titans who once believed profit and planet must be at odds are learning that the best business just may be a force of nature.
Humes was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for specialized reporting for his coverage in the Orange County Register of the military in 1989. In addition to the Pulitzer, his newspaper awards include honors from the Investigative Reporters and Editors, Associated Press Managing Editors, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Association of Retarded Citizens, the Arizona Press Club, the Orange County Press Club, and the Overseas Press Club. His reporting team was a Pulitzer finalist in 1987 for their coverage of an air disaster in Southern California and their follow up investigation of safety flaws in America's air-traffic system. His magazine piece on life inside Los Angels's troubled center for abused and neglected children received the 2004 Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.
Humes is a graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, with dual concentrations in literature and journalism. He lives in Southern California with his wife and their two children.
Praise for Force of Nature:
"Walmart's revolution in turning waste and harm into wealth and health is one of the most important stories of corporate leadership in modern history. Force of Nature clearly and powerfully assembles many of the strands of that fascinating story. Every executive, and every citizen seeking to influence business, should read it."
-- Amory B. Lovins, cofounder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
"Force of Nature reveals in both detail and insight the relentless pursuit of an unattainable goal. Humes was privy to this story no one has yet told and he tells that story masterfully."
-- Jeffrey Hollender, co-Founder and former CEO, Seventh Generation
"The idea that 'going green' could actually be profitable, a notion put forth by economists as long as 20 years ago, remains a source of skepticism in some quarters. If you still need convincing, pick up Edward Humes's excellent new book, Force of Nature, the story of how the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, came to go green. I'll wager that you won't look at sustainability issues quite the same way again. It certainly opened my eyes . . . Mr. Humes does here what the very best business books do. He finds a good story to help illuminate an issue of surpassing importance . . . Mr. Humes's prose is almost flawless, lean and clear, egoless and spare. He doesn't deify or demonize Wal-Mart or any of the characters; in fact, he says Wal-Mart's very business model is probably unsustainable. This is first-rate work - both by the author and by Wal-Mart itself."
-- New York Times
"A meticulously researched and engrossing narrative . . . for those interested in the relationship between business and environment -- once wary, now warming -- Humes' book is a compelling case study."
-- Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
"It's the first book about the greening of Walmart, and a valuable one . . . Force of Nature gets the story right."
-- Marc Gunther, GreenBiz
Praise for Eco Barrons:
"As Edward Humes makes clear in his new book Eco-Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet a high-income tax bracket gives the rich another advantage: a platform on which they can advance the causes that matter to them... But Humes' ultimate point is well taken: at the very moment when the government began abdicating its responsibilities on the environment, the eco-barons stepped in."
"Eco Barons... offers encouraging, often inspirational, profiles of nearly a dozen would-be planet savers. . . .[Humes'] urgent message is clear: We must all strive to become 'eco barons' in our own right if we are to save Planet Earth."
-- New York Times
"Eco Barons reminds me of the best that journalism has to offer as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes has a knack for flowing the narrative in his tales as well as any fiction writer. . . Eco Barons will make you feel good about humanity as it describes those who could have used the money and abilities to live in luxury, but instead selflessly worked to benefit all who inhabit the Earth. Considering all of the bad news in the world of late, Eco Barons offers welcome tales of people making positive change."
"Humes' in-depth reporting makes the book stand as a solid portrait of the new face of American environmentalism."
-- Outside magazine
"The very title Eco Barons seems to suggest a dichotomy. We like to think of our environmental leaders as quirky, living-out-in-the-woods types, modern-day Thoreaus quick with an organic recipe, a do-it-yourself wind turbine plan or a handy recycling tip. What Edward Humes' book uncovers are folks who have taken their profitable businesses and turned them into seriously beneficial enterprises. . . These profiles are lessons in the lasting power of conservation, which, even more than corporate profits, remains an essential part of the great American identity."
-- E - The Environmental Magazine
"I know some of the heroes chronicled [in Eco Barons] - they are unlikely champions, but united by passion, hard work, and a willingness to think outside of conventional paths. Their stories will dramatically expand your sense of what you can do for the environment!"
-- Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy
"Humes is a master story teller, illuminating the compelling lives of an unlikely cast of characters who just may save us from ourselves, while inspiring us to save our planet."
-- Terry Tamminen, former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Chief Energy Policy Advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
"This is a fine little book: a collection of starry-eyed portraits of environmentalists who have devoted their lives and/or fortunes to saving the Earth."
-- Los Angeles Times
"Who exactly are the 'Eco Barons'? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes defines them as 'The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet' . . . Their stories are fascinating. . . Well written and compelling, Eco Barons gives the reader a first glimpse of the activists, philanthropists and gadflies who may well turn out to be the J.D. Rockefellers and Rachel Carsons of our time."
-- Cleveland Plain Dealer
" . . . offers a sobering but hopeful assessment of the rough road to an eco-minded future. . . . The book is also a way to break down the world's enormous environmental problems into understandable pieces."
-- Orange County Register
Praise for the Books of Edward Humes:
"Gripping... a talent for narrative and an eye for detail... As Edward Humes describes in this lively and thoughtful book, Dover -- like Dayton, Tenn., during the 1925 Scopes 'Monkey Trial' -- became a proving ground for clashing beliefs about the origins of life and constitutional questions about the separation of church and state."
-- Washington Post on Monkey Girl
"Vivid... Humes' rich tapestry captures the complexity and contradictions of American society in the midst of dramatic change (which) Humes retells with such warmth and enthusiasm in his inspiring book. Deeply moving, alive with the thrill of people from modest backgrounds discovering that the opportunities available to them were far greater than anything they had dreamed of."
-- Los Angeles Times on Over Here
"A masterly example of passionate yet even-handed reporting -- as enthralling as Richard Hofstatder's classic Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. It deserves an A+, even without grade inflation."
-- Washington Post on School of Dreams
"A masterly job... Splendid reading... Humes does what only a good journalist can do: He transports us body and soul... Great medical storytelling."
-- New York Times on Baby E.R.
"This is the same seamless, honest and also lyrical writing that earned Humes a Pulitzer Prize."
-- Los Angeles Times on Mean Justice
"A finely etched, powerfully upsetting portrait."
-- New York Times on No Matter How Loud I Shout
"Reminiscent of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Humes... makes it read as smoothly as a finely crafted suspense novel."
-- Chicago Tribune on Mississippi Mud