Most effective U.S. environmental advocacy group?
October 10, 2017 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Who is the most effective at changing attitudes, policy and practice as regards the environment, and why? I'd looking to join a group like, but time is a precious resource, so I'd like some thoughts (and facts/numbers) on which groups are doing the most effective work.
posted by falcon42 to Law & Government (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
One thought: Look for environmental justice groups in your area. I saw an interview recently with Kimberly Wasserman-Nieto of Chicago's LVEJO about the fight to close two coal-fired power plants in her community. She argued quite persuasively that local grassroots environmental activist groups reliably punch above their weight in securing major, tangible wins, as compared to their national/state counterparts with big budgets and donor bases.
posted by gueneverey at 8:05 PM on October 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

You talk about time being a precious resource, so I assume you mean volunteering? In that case, it's really hard to give you an answer without knowing where you are.

But for an overall blanket answer, I'd have to say Sierra Club. I used to work for them but this is based on 15 years in the environmental advocacy world - I think they are the most effective at marshaling volunteer effort and time to winning real policy victories.
posted by lunasol at 10:55 PM on October 10, 2017

Union of Concerned Scientists is very good. Their main thrust is changing policy, so they are remarkably effective. They wrote a whole heap of clean energy standards that have been adopted by U.S. states. They also do partnership work with local environmental justice groups.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:09 AM on October 11, 2017

Agree with looking local. here's a good case study.
posted by latkes at 8:00 AM on October 11, 2017

There is no single answer to this, especially not if you're asking about "attitudes, policy, and practice" -- that's a broad list!

This question comes up on AskMe about once every year or so. The challenge with answering it is that the movement needs a bunch of different groups working together. It needs grassroots organizers, lobbyists, lawyers... It needs groups that build long term relationships with insiders (even if that means sometimes supporting compromises). It needs outsiders who call it like they see it (even if that means sometimes burning bridges. I'm oversimplifying and creating something of a false dichotomy just to illustrate my point.) It needs doers, such as groups that actually buy land or install solar panels. It needs educators who shape the next generation of environmentalists. As already mentioned, it needs environmental justice groups who work with people from polluted communities as they stand up for their right to clean air and water. (I agree with the comment above.) That's just the start of a list. I want to link a bunch of victories to show how disparate they are but have to get something else done tonight. But basically, a lot comes down to what you as a person believe is most effective or want to be involved in.
posted by salvia at 9:02 PM on October 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

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