Friends of the Earth Action strives for a more healthy and just earth.
We work on a dynamic set of issues, including energy policy, corporate pollution, environmental legislation, consumer-product toxins, tax and budget policies, and international trade and financing.
Making a Difference, Together
We not only fight for laws and lawmakers that will do the right thing on these issues, but we help the public join in the political battle as well. Only unprecedented political action from across the nation will turn the United States, and hopefully our planet, back on a sustainable course.
Three Principles Guide Our Work
CLIMATE & ENERGY
The climate crisis is the definitive environmental issue of our time, but it will take more than just greenhouse gas-reducing technologies to address it. We will need to change how we produce our energy, grow our food, conduct our politics, organize our economies, and more. We need to make a wholesale transition from an extractive to a regenerative economy, and protect vulnerable communities in the process. Friends of the Earth fights to end our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power; and promotes solutions like renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and tropical forest protection. All while putting communities, not corporations, at the center.
Environmental progress — from curbing climate change to ensuring the safety of the food we eat and the water we drink — is hampered by threats to our democratic system. We deserve to have a say in decisions that affect our lives and our environment; and must build a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted and every voice is heard. Friends of the Earth Action is particularly working to resist gerrymandering and voter suppression through supporting frontline communities fighting for environmental justice. We also deserve a government that responsive to our needs. Today, we are facing a unparalleled level of corruption in government and politics, wherein monied, special interests – especially corporate polluters – are influencing our elections, policy-making and regulatory agencies. We seek to increase accountability in the executive branch, strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, and improve government ethics policies.
FINANCE & ECONOMIC SYSTEMS
We aim to create a more environmentally sustainable and socially just world by transforming financial and economic systems. We work to redirect tax policies and public spending to make polluters pay for the costs of their pollution and to drive the transition to a cleaner, low-carbon economy. At home and abroad, we advocate for policies that minimize environmental and social harm and fund a brighter future. In the United States, we strengthen regulations to encourage sustainability in financial markets and fight trade policies that allow companies to run roughshod over the environment and human rights. We also work with allies around the world to alter lending practices at financial institutions such as the World Bank, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and Wall Street banks that fund polluting activities and harm communities in developing countries.
FOOD & AGRICULTURE
We work to rapidly transition our food system to one that is sustainable, healthy, and just. For decades, United States food and farming policy, corporate power and agricultural science have been directed toward a narrow goal: producing as many calories as possible as cheaply as possible. The confluence of these forces has created a powerful river of toxic, energy-intensive factory farming. We are eroding public health, worker safety, local economies, animal welfare, and the resilience of the ecosystems we depend on. Solutions are available — if policymakers, people and businesses make vitally needed changes. We must farm in a way that protects the health of people and the planet. We seek three fundamental shifts in our food system: from toxic and chemical-intensive to healthy and ecologically regenerative; from corporate controlled to democratically governed; and from a system that embodies the deepest inequities in our society to one that advances justice and fulfills the needs of all eaters now and in the future.
The loss of forests worldwide accounts for roughly 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and forests are critical to regulating the climate, both locally and globally. Climate change has thrust the decades-long fight against deforestation back into the international spotlight. Deforestation is an urgent problem that has wide repercussions. But forests are not merely the lungs of the earth — they are also the greatest repositories of biological and cultural diversity on earth, and home to 350 million people, including at least 60 million indigenous peoples who have protected and defended forests since time immemorial. Friends of the Earth’s International Forests program works to address the root causes of forest destruction and the marginalization of forest-dwelling communities. We do this through our campaign on Land grabs, forests & finance, and our work to challenge forest carbon offsets.
The world’s oceans support countless forms of life. Unfortunately, oceans and the tens of millions of people who live near them are under threat from oil spills, air pollution, sewage releases, industrial ocean fish farming, and unnatural ocean noise. Friends of the Earth has won regional, national and international limits on air, water and oil pollution from cruise ships, cargo ships, oil tankers, ferries, and recreational watercraft. We were instrumental in achieving the establishment of air pollution limits for ships near the coasts of the U.S. and Canada, which prohibit the use of dirty bunker fuel — unless alternative compliance methods are employed, such as shore power or other pollution reduction technologies.
STOPPING NUCLEAR POWER RESURGENCE
The proponents of nuclear power are seizing on the global warming crisis to convince the general public and lawmakers to subsidize the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants threaten national security and pose substantial risks as we figure out how to dispose of their radioactive waste. In 2006, Friends of the Earth organized a national conference to jump-start the anti-nuclear power movement, and Friends of the Earth Action will be dogging the candidates and office-holders who fail to stand up against the nuclear latest push.
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Friends of the Earth Action looks beyond our borders to the impacts of natural resource and energy policies abroad — impacts including ongoing global warming. The serious harm caused by overexploitation of resources and global and local pollution falls most heavily on the world’s poorest, especially in developing countries. U.S. consumers and financiers often have a role and responsibility in this phenomenon and that means the onus is on the United States to act. Friends of the Earth Action is working for laws and lawmakers who value international environmental protection and poverty alleviation — who will ensure that U.S. foreign policies consider the ecological consequences for all on our planet.