Natural Resources Conservation & Protection,
Pollution Abatement & Control
Mission: Friends of the Earth fights to defend the environment and champion a healthy and just world. We are the U.S. voice of the world’s largest federation of grassroots environmental groups, with a presence in 75 countries. To accomplish our mission, Friends of the Earth is working at the nexus of environmental protection, economic policy and social justice to fundamentally transform the way our country and the world value people and the environment.
Results: For a relatively small organization, Friends of the Earth has an impressive legacy. Through our more than 45-year history, we have provided crucial leadership in work that resulted in landmark environmental laws, precedent-setting legal victories and the exposure of political and corporate malfeasance.
• Keeping fossil fuels in the ground. In early 2016, we won a major victory in our campaign to keep fossil fuels in the ground when the Obama administration announced it is putting a moratorium on new coal leasing on public lands. This big win will help keep our public lands safe from fossil fuel extraction and could signal a new era of putting the American people ahead of fossil fuel industry profits.
• Blocking approval of a dangerous pipeline. Friends of the Earth led the effort to expose corruption and pro-oil bias in the State Department’s review of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Our work (and that of allies) generated pressure on the Obama administration, forcing it to hit the reset button in 2012 and order a new review of the pipeline’s potential environmental impacts. As of January 2016, President Obama had denied the permit for the pipeline to proceed.
• Keeping GMO seafood off grocery store shelves. Thanks to work from Friends of the Earth and allies, more than 60 major grocery store chains, including Safeway, Kroger and Whole Foods, have made commitments not to sell genetically engineered salmon. Together the companies comprise 9,000 individual stores across the country.
• Reducing air pollution from ships. In August 2012, after working for nearly a decade to reduce air pollution from ships, we were rewarded for our efforts when the Emission Control Area (ECA) went into effect for North America. The EPA expects the reduction in smog created by the new rule to improve the health of people living near the coasts and save thousands of lives. Since then, we have worked to strengthen and protect the ECA by intervening in the state of Alaska’s attempt to challenge the rule.
• Opposing the first GMO apple. In 2013, thanks to our campaign against the GMO apple, McDonald's and Gerber have confirmed that they have no plans to sell or use it. The Arctic Apple® would be the first GMO apple on the market.
• Forcing climate impacts to be considered when the government lends money. In early 2012, we successfully held a World Bank proposal at bay to exempt a new lending program from 25 social and environmental safeguards and policies. As a result of our advocacy, and that of our allies, today, projects with the highest social and environment risk are excluded from this new program.
• Protecting Puget Sound from ship dumping. In 2012, we achieved a ban on cruise ships dumping wastewater while docked at the Port of Seattle. The ban will protect the people and marine habitats of Puget Sound.
Programs: Outreach & membership program - the outreach program educates members and activists as well as the greater public through online action alerts, print and online advertising, mailings and quarterly newsmagazine (to donors), monthly e-newsletters, as well as social media sites like facebook, twitter, youtube, and flickr. The team also seeks opportunities to educate the public through tv and radio interviews.
climate & energy - the climate & energy team promotes clean energy and conservation and fights to end our dependence on dirty, harmful sources of energy including coal, oil, nuclear, and biofuels. Current campaigns seek to prevent the extraction of tar sands oil and its transport through the u. S. , to phase out our use of dangerous nuclear reactors, and to end federal incentives for the production of corn ethanol and other biofuels that raise food prices while harming the environment.
economic policy - also known as "economics for the earth," the economic policy team aims to create a more environmentally sustainable and socially just world by transforming financial and economic systems. Activities include efforts to end subsidies for polluting industries, making polluters pay for the damage they cause and encourage investments in clean alternatives. It works to alter lending practices at large financial institutions that fund polluting activities and harm communities in developing countries. The team also seeks to educate the public and policymakers about the environmental dangers and undemocratic nature of trade agreements, such as the trans-pacific partnership. During fiscal year 2014, the team engaged in efforts to raise awareness of the need for campaign finance reform, an attempt to prioritize the voices of voters over corporations. This team also works to address the root causes of forest destruction through its campaign against landgrabs, forests and finance, and its work to challenge forest carbon offsets.