Frustrated and angry with “Big Green, Inc”——the stuffy, corporatized and largely coopted environmental groups?
Then consider these organizations, says Jeffrey St. Clair, a leading investigative journalist, writer and editor (Counterpunch), whose articles often focus on the politics surrounding ecoanimal and military issues.
It takes guts for an environmental group to stand up to a Democratic president in an election year and call him on his betrayals. You risk being marginalized and stripped of your funding by the Democratic-aligned foundations that underwrite most of the mainstream groups. Here are ten groups who stand up for what they stand on, who put protection of the environment before politics. They all operate close to the bone, their meager budgets are spent on activism and litigation, not on self-promoting direct mail operations, glitzy offices or bloated administrative expenses. These groups will put your money to work defending the planet. Now pony up!
Alliance for the Wild Rockies
P.O. Box 505
Helena, Montana 59624
Alliance for the Wild Rockies fights to secure the ecological integrity of the Wild Rockies Bioregion through citizen empowerment, litigation and the application of conservation biology, sustainable economic models and environmental law.
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, MD 20912
The nation’s feistiest and most uncompromising anti-nuclear power group, which is fighting to shutdown aging nuclear plants like Indian Point and protesting the construction of a new generation of nuclear plants. Beyond Nuclear also highlights the symbiotic relationship between nuclear power and nuclear weapons production.
Buffalo Field Campaign
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Since 1985, the federal government, working in concert with Montana cattle barons, has killed more than 6,800 bison that have migrated out of Yellowstone National Park. The slaughter is rationalized on the specious grounds of preventing the spread of brucellosis from bison to local cows. The Buffalo Field Campaign has exposed this dreadful bloodbath as a political hoax. Their volunteers courageously place themselves between the bison and their would-be killers. They spend all day, from sunrise until sunset, watching and documenting actions taken against the buffalo. They run patrols from cars, skis and snowshoes to protect buffalo outside the park. Their tactics range from video documentation to nonviolent civil disobedience.
Civil Liberties Defense Center
259 E 5th Ave, Ste 300 A
Eugene, OR 97401
In 2003, Lauren Regan, executive director and CLDC’s staff attorney, in combination with a group of environmental and social justice activists and attorneys, founded the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC). The creation was an urgent response to a growing and increasingly crucial need for education and legal assistance within the progressive change movement in the post-September 11th era in which decrees like the PATRIOT Act were put in place. CLDC immediately developed a number of public education and outreach programs, offering low and reduced-rate legal assistance to activists, conducting national media interviews and commentary, and monitoring and challenging repressive legislation in the courts. Their legal know-how, ability to effectively translate legalese, and litigation expertise, provide a foundation in which activists can rely on to tackle the tough issues they are confronting. Additionally, the CLDC’s training sessions weave together to build activists’ confidence and awareness of what to expect from interactions with law enforcement or counter-protesters.
Climate Ground Zero
PO Box 163, Rock Creek,
West Virginia, 75174
The frontline battles against big coal aren’t being fought in Durban or Washington, but in the mining towns of Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia, where citizens are placing their bodies on the line to stop mountain top removal mining. This grotesque form of mining has devoured more than a million acres of forest, buried hundreds of miles of streams under toxic debris and is steadily annihilating a way of life for the mountain people of Appalachia. The coal industry has struck back hard, hitting activists with SLAPP suits, trying to intimidate greens from engaging in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. Mike Roselle started this group and he hasn’t compromised since he bunted once in Little League.
Fund for Wild Nature
P.O. Box 900
Kelso, WA 98626
Think of the Fund for Wild Nature as a kind of mutual fund for radical environmentalism. Instead of investing in stocks and bonds, the Fund for Wild Nature puts its money into non-compromising grassroots environmental groups. Unlike most foundations, the Fund for Wild Nature’s budget doesn’t derive from oil companies, sweatshops or software magnates, but from individuals who want to see militant action taken in defense of the earth. Join them. You’ll feel better about yourself.
P.O. Box 538
Gosport, IN 47433
The midwest was once blanketed with a majestic hardwood forest containing more than 70 species of hardwood trees. Unfortunately, much of this forest has been cleared and what remains is mostly isolated fragments of public land that nonetheless play a critical role in providing habitat for wildlife, purifying the air and water, moderating global climate change, and offering places of beauty and enjoyment. Heartwood was founded in 1991, when concerned citizens from several midwestern states met and agreed to work together to protect the heartland hardwood forest. Their campaigns remain rooted in the heart of the central hardwood region, with an emphasis on our “core states” of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri. Over time, Heartwood has branched out to serve areas of need throughout an 18-state region, giving special attention to the “at risk” national forests in Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Virginia.
PO Box 466
Moab, UT 84532
Living Rivers is working to overturn one of the greatest environmental crimes in American history, the damming of Glen Canyon. The goal is to restore not only Glen Canyon, but the much abused Colorado River itself. With a series of restoration initiatives and organizing efforts in both the Colorado and Rio Grande River watersheds, Living Rivers has begun building a popular movement to promote strategies for large-scale river restoration. From the ejidos communities in Mexico, through Indian reservations, farming towns and into metropolitan areas, Living Rivers is engaging people to pressure water agencies to embrace the simple solutions that offer opportunities for restoring our rivers and improving quality of life for millions of people across this arid region. Living Rivers gives you more bang for you bucks than any other American environmental group.
Los Alamos Study Group
2901 Summit Place NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
Since 1989, the Los Alamos Study Group community has consistently provided leadership on nuclear disarmament and related issues in New Mexico. Their work includes research and scholarship education of decisionmakers, providing an information clearinghouse for journalists, organizing, litigating, and advertising. They place particular emphasis on the education and training of young activists and scholars. LASG’s careful, reasoned approach developed many whistleblowers in the nuclear labs and plants. Since September 11, 2001, their work has increasingly placed nuclear weapons in the context of aggression abroad and the militarization of our society at home. One of LASG’s most recent campaigns is the effort to end nuclear waste disposal in northern New Mexico. Official estimates place current annual waste generation and burial at Los Alamos at about 45,000 drums’ worth per year, with increases planned if the University of California begins production of plutonium “pits,” the cores of nuclear weapons. New pits are not needed for any existing weapons, but they are needed for some of the new weapons now being designed at Los Alamos, which include weapons specially-tailored for aiming at Third World countries.
Utah Environmental Congress
1817 South Main Street, Ste. 10
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
Phone (801) 466-4055
Utah, which still harbors some of the wildest country in the lower-48, is under perpetual siege from uranium and coal mining, oil drilling, tar sands and shale extraction, logging and a crazy scheme to put a nuclear power plant near the small town of Green River. The UEC often finds itself alone on many of these battles. They are a fearless and unflinching outfit that doesn’t back down. Instead they advance. Their latest project is an audacious campaign to break wolves back to Utah. Now that’s a radical and welcome idea!
Wild Idaho Rising Tide
P.O. Box 9817,
Moscow, Idaho 83843
Since October 2010, Imperial Oil, a Canadian subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has shipped, barged, and trucked over one hundred pieces of gargantuan, Korean-made, industrial equipment from the Ports of Vancouver and Pasco, Washington, and Lewiston, Idaho. During the next six months, Northwest interstates could be overrun by another 300 transports of these two-lane wide, 500,000-pound “megaloads” escorted by aggressive, industry-sponsored state police. This is the second front in the fight against the tar sands oil frenzy in Canada. Wild Idaho Rising Tide is leading the battle against ExxonMobil’s scheme to turn all available Northwest and Northern Rockies highways into permanent corridors to the largest industrial project on Earth.
Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature, Grand Theft Pentagon and Born Under a Bad Sky. His latest book is Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.