Community ResourcesClimate and Ecological Activism
Thousands of organizations worldwide are engaging specific initiatives to raise awareness of our ecological predicament and to affect public policy as well as individual and organizational behavior. They are also gathering places for concerned citizens, and many are spawning serious communities of practice. Here is a list of a few of the organizations we value with the briefest of descriptions. There are many many others.
- Bioneers (bioneers.org), founded by Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons, is best known through its annual National Bioneers Conference and local conferences, community networks, and media—including Bioneers Radio, featured on national NPR stations. Their programs and conferences cover such themes as rights of nature, sustainability, permaculture, restorative food systems, and indigenous peoples’ issues. It is an important meeting place for grassroots conscious ecologists.
- 350.org, founded by Bill McKibben, is an international organization dedicated to building the global climate movement through online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions aimed especially at the fossil-fuel infrastructure. Its ultimate goal is to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from the current 400+ parts per million to 350 parts per million.
- Our Childrens’ Trust (ourchildrenstrust.org) advocates for the rights of young people to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere. Its programs help youth participate in science-based advocacy, public education and civic engagement on behalf of the ongoing viability of Earth’s natural systems. Its members have filed a major lawsuit seeking systemic, science-based emissions reductions and climate recovery policy at all levels of government.
- The Post-Carbon Institute (postcarbon.org) understands the interrelated ecological, economic, energy, and equity crises of the 21st century in many of the ways this book describes, and it convenes, educates and serves many of the activists who are leading the transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world.
- Project Drawdown (drawdown.org) involves an international coalition of scientists and researchers who offer bold solutions to climate change based on already existing technologies and practices. These solutions are described in the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken. Each of the 100 top solutions is described in terms of costs, benefits, and how much each can contribute to “drawing down” atmospheric carbon levels by 2050. The project and its findings are mentioned in chapter 1 of this book.
- The Rocky Mountain Institute (rmi.org) engages with businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based and cost-effective approaches that shift fossil-fuel dependence to efficiency and renewables. Among its many initiatives are the transformation of Caribbean island economies to local, renewable energy, and helping China to surpass its emissions targets and dramatically reduce its fossil-fuel dependency. It has recently released The Carbon-Free City Handbook, a resource for city leaders containing 22 ready-to-implement solutions with proven success.
- Shut It Down—Climate Direct Action (shutitdown.today) is a website supporting acts of civil disobedience to slow climate change, such as the “valve turners,” who cut off the pipelines bringing tar sand oil into the USA in October 2016. They undertake and support actions that illustrate with moral clarity the urgency and magnitude of change needed to avert climate cataclysm.
- New Dream (newdream.org) seeks to change social norms around consumption and consumerism by empowering individuals, communities, and organizations to transform the ways they consume to improve well-being for people and the planet. Their mission is closely linked to The Story of Stuff (storyofstuff.org), which began with 20 minute movie that went viral and has now become a movement to avoid plastic, microfibers, vinyl, and other destructive forms of consumerism.
- Honor the Earth (honorearth.org) seeks to develop financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities and to increase awareness of these issues generally. It partners with grassroots organizations to address climate-change issues and looks to convert to a more sustainable, land-based economics.
- The Pachamama Alliance, listed above under “Heart Intelligence,” is a dynamic partnership between indigenous Amazonian Achuar people and North Americans which promotes local empowerment and nature conservation in the Ecuadorian interior and education worldwide.
- The largest and best-known environmental advocacy groups play a key institutional role in affecting public policy and perceptions. The Sierra Club (sierraclub.org), founded by John Muir in 1892, is still a leading voice in promoting sustainable energy and climate-change solutions and is also a recreational organization whose local chapters sponsor many activities. The National Resources Defense Council (nrdc.org) and Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) have both long played a key role in the filing of legal actions in federal and state US courts. EDF also emphasizes the creation of economic incentives for the private sector. Friends of the Earth International (foei.org) is said to be the world’s largest environmental network, and its US branch, Friends of the Earth (foe.org) is involved in policy analysis, activism, and litigation. Greenpeace (greenpeace.org), with offices in over 40 countries, places emphasis on direct action as well as education and community. Earth Island Institute (earthisland.org) provides public education, sponsors many fledgling activist groups and projects worldwide through financing and organizational infrastructure, and publishes the award-winning Earth Island Journal.Rainforest Action Network (ran.org) has run many effective campaigns to halt environmentally destructive practices of corporations, especially as they relate to the manufacture of consumer products. The World Wildlife Fund (worldwildlife.org) works with habitat and endangered species preservation and maintenance of biodiversity.
- Vandana Shiva (vandanashiva.com) is an influential Indian scholar, environmental and anti-globalization activist, and food sovereignty advocate who has authored more than twenty books and influenced Indian agricultural policy. She argues for the wisdom of many traditional practices, advises the scientific committee of Spain’s Socialist Party’s think tank, and has been widely honored worldwide. Many activists stay tuned to her leadership on many cutting-edge issues.
- Connect 4 Climate (connect4climate.org) was founded by the World Bank and the governments of Italy and Germany and now has more than 400 international partners working to raise awareness, promote commitment to action, and build coalitionsto influence policy-makers and private businesses. It has spawned almost a dozen sub-initiatives including cities4climate, hack4climate, and youth4climate.
- Old-Growth Again (foreverredwood.com/restoration-forestry/overview/). Terry Patten personally participated in preventing the clear-cutting of over 200 acres of coastal Redwood forests with my friends Raul Hernandez and Frank Marrero through this initiative.