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Environment, Inc. From Grassroots to Beltway Christopher J. Bosso 2005.

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1 Environment, Inc. From Grassroots to Beltway Christopher J. Bosso 2005

2 Overview of the Environmental Movement Was cultivated from local organizations; diversified and sought niches. Was cultivated from local organizations; diversified and sought niches. Organizations go national, move towards corporate structure, focus on fund-raising & survival tactics. Organizations go national, move towards corporate structure, focus on fund-raising & survival tactics. The anti-environment movement emerges; environmental organizations must fight at all levels of government. The anti-environment movement emerges; environmental organizations must fight at all levels of government.

3 Author’s Main Ideas No one political party, president or session of congress can claim credit for the resiliency of the environmental movement. No one political party, president or session of congress can claim credit for the resiliency of the environmental movement. The movement has faced criticism from both left and right. The Left accusing it of being ‘too mainstream’ and the Right claiming, as a collective, it is self-serving and puts too much emphasis on marketing. The movement has faced criticism from both left and right. The Left accusing it of being ‘too mainstream’ and the Right claiming, as a collective, it is self-serving and puts too much emphasis on marketing. For all of the movement’s challenges, including being labeled as too narrow, not diverse enough and too willing to compromise, environmental organizations appear to be a permanent fixture of American culture, with no signs of disappearing. For all of the movement’s challenges, including being labeled as too narrow, not diverse enough and too willing to compromise, environmental organizations appear to be a permanent fixture of American culture, with no signs of disappearing. Essentially, Bosso concludes: Essentially, Bosso concludes: The environmental movement has adapted to survive, transitioning from local, to national, to state level, to today. The environmental movement has adapted to survive, transitioning from local, to national, to state level, to today.

4 Origins of the Environmental Movement The movement did not emerge spontaneously. The movement did not emerge spontaneously. Developed from organizations founded during earlier spurts of organizational creation Developed from organizations founded during earlier spurts of organizational creation Emphasis shifted from the preservation of nature for aesthetics to preservation for recreational purposes. Resulted in a division. Emphasis shifted from the preservation of nature for aesthetics to preservation for recreational purposes. Resulted in a division. Movement has diversified due to a need to cover a broader range of policy concerns Movement has diversified due to a need to cover a broader range of policy concerns

5 The Progressive Era The Progressive Era ( ) saw an explosion of organizational creation at the local and state levels. The Progressive Era ( ) saw an explosion of organizational creation at the local and state levels. The Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society were such groups. The Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society were such groups.

6 The Interwar Period The period between the world wars saw a focus shift from preserving nature for aesthetic purposes to that of recreation. The period between the world wars saw a focus shift from preserving nature for aesthetic purposes to that of recreation. New organizations were formed to encourage the enjoyment of the outdoors for every American. New organizations were formed to encourage the enjoyment of the outdoors for every American.

7 Ducks Unlimited Organization created to encourage nature recreation Organization created to encourage nature recreation Spawned from the More Game Birds in America Foundation Spawned from the More Game Birds in America Foundation Addressed the decline in American game birds, due to declining Canadian breeding grounds Addressed the decline in American game birds, due to declining Canadian breeding grounds

8 Following WWII Organizations formed in the late 40s and 50s were the first in a group of “niche fillers,” each occupying a policy or advocacy niche previously unoccupied. Organizations formed in the late 40s and 50s were the first in a group of “niche fillers,” each occupying a policy or advocacy niche previously unoccupied. Resulted from a post-WWII swell in membership. Resulted from a post-WWII swell in membership. Reflected a growing alarm over the effects of industrial pollution and chemicals on wildlife Reflected a growing alarm over the effects of industrial pollution and chemicals on wildlife

9 The Modern Environmental Era Surges in citizen advocacy grew from an increase in middle-class participation Surges in citizen advocacy grew from an increase in middle-class participation Furthered the diversity of causes and increased the number of organizations Furthered the diversity of causes and increased the number of organizations Increased the need for niche filling. Increased the need for niche filling.

10 Recap The movement did not emerge spontaneously. The movement did not emerge spontaneously. Saw a division when emphasis shifted from nature preservation to recreation. Saw a division when emphasis shifted from nature preservation to recreation. Organizations formed shortly after WWII were the first in a group of “niche fillers.” Organizations formed shortly after WWII were the first in a group of “niche fillers.”

11 An Early Move Towards Specialization Differences in opinion about policy agenda and organization governance within the organization. Differences in opinion about policy agenda and organization governance within the organization. Competition for funding and membership with other organizations. Competition for funding and membership with other organizations. Led to dissident groups and niche-seekers, a national move of environmental organizations towards specialization. Led to dissident groups and niche-seekers, a national move of environmental organizations towards specialization.

12 Dissidents - competitive & complimentary Dissidents - competitive & complimentary David Brower’s leadership as executive director of the Sierra Club David Brower’s leadership as executive director of the Sierra Club Friends of the Earth emerges Friends of the Earth emerges Niche-seekers - strategic & specialized Niche-seekers - strategic & specialized Proliferation of organizations dedicated to a single species and habitat: Ducks Unlimited, The North American Wolf Society, Desert Tortoise Council, and the Desert Tortoise Preservation Committee. Proliferation of organizations dedicated to a single species and habitat: Ducks Unlimited, The North American Wolf Society, Desert Tortoise Council, and the Desert Tortoise Preservation Committee. And of organizations filling tactical and policy niches: American Rivers, Conservation International, and Ocean Conservancy. And of organizations filling tactical and policy niches: American Rivers, Conservation International, and Ocean Conservancy. Apples and Oranges – The Dissidents and the Niche-Seekers

13 Breaking Free – Why Organizations Sought to Specialize New, specialized organizations made to fill legal, policy, or resource-based niches. Attract special interest groups, and often have single-issue agendas attractive to one-time donors and larger membership bases. New, specialized organizations made to fill legal, policy, or resource-based niches. Attract special interest groups, and often have single-issue agendas attractive to one-time donors and larger membership bases. Niche-seeker organizations actively seek specialized policies, tactics, and support bases to differentiate from their competitors. Niche-seeker organizations actively seek specialized policies, tactics, and support bases to differentiate from their competitors. Dissidents break off of from old-line organizations due to differences of opinion in policy agenda, leadership, or tactics. Dissidents break off of from old-line organizations due to differences of opinion in policy agenda, leadership, or tactics.

14 Democracy Over Dictatorship Members – their place and their power, an example of dissidents in the Sierra Club (1960s): Members – their place and their power, an example of dissidents in the Sierra Club (1960s): On David Brower’s Side: Membership satisfaction must bow before larger social interests as defended by advocacy leadership. Members a source of revenue and mobilization base, not governance. Wants to go national. On David Brower’s Side: Membership satisfaction must bow before larger social interests as defended by advocacy leadership. Members a source of revenue and mobilization base, not governance. Wants to go national. On Ansel Adams’ Side: Chapter-based members essential to organizations’ financial and advocacy future. Actual over virtual representation of membership in organization governance. On Ansel Adams’ Side: Chapter-based members essential to organizations’ financial and advocacy future. Actual over virtual representation of membership in organization governance.

15 A New Vision of Advocacy A new environmental ethos contributes to group specializing. A new environmental ethos contributes to group specializing. A wilderness-preservation focus becomes an environmental-preservation (holistic) focus. A wilderness-preservation focus becomes an environmental-preservation (holistic) focus. National Parks Association National Parks Association Transforming members from advocates into donors. Transforming members from advocates into donors.

16 ACTIVITY Merging Organizations: The Pros and Cons Ducks Unlimited Ducks Unlimited Roots as a hunting association, focus on maintaining the species for recreational gain Roots as a hunting association, focus on maintaining the species for recreational gain Began as the More Game Birds in America Foundation Began as the More Game Birds in America Foundation The National Audubon Society The National Audubon Society Grew into a bird-watching association, focus on maintaining all avian species for their own sake. Grew into a bird-watching association, focus on maintaining all avian species for their own sake. Originally organized around the prevention of bird feathers being used in women’s fashion Originally organized around the prevention of bird feathers being used in women’s fashion

17 Corporate vs. Grassroots It is difficult for any advocacy organization to survive. It is difficult for any advocacy organization to survive. Pressure to cling to original ideals all while maintaining membership and money difficulties. Pressure to cling to original ideals all while maintaining membership and money difficulties. The environmental movement had to learn how to adapt within politics, economics and leadership styles. The environmental movement had to learn how to adapt within politics, economics and leadership styles.

18 The Environmental Movement Encounters Dramatic Change in Response to the Reagan Administration The anti-environmental agenda of the Reagan Administration ( ), the conservative congress, and major environmental positions were being filled by those previously working for industry caused great alarm to environmentalists. The anti-environmental agenda of the Reagan Administration ( ), the conservative congress, and major environmental positions were being filled by those previously working for industry caused great alarm to environmentalists. Catastrophic events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill let to greater urgency within the public for environmental action. Catastrophic events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill let to greater urgency within the public for environmental action.

19 Adaptation Key environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council have survived because of their size and adopting a variety of environmental issues. Key environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council have survived because of their size and adopting a variety of environmental issues. Greater self-sufficiency Greater self-sufficiency Diversification of support Diversification of support Less dependence on governmental funds Less dependence on governmental funds As a result of the Reagan Administration, environmental groups received little support from congress. They now had build upon or create their own scientific, legal, and technological resources. As a result of the Reagan Administration, environmental groups received little support from congress. They now had build upon or create their own scientific, legal, and technological resources.

20 Professionalism and Different Leadership Styles Emerge There was a high turn-over rate in key leaders in the mid-80s. There was a high turn-over rate in key leaders in the mid-80s. In the 1980’s, and still today, there is greater hierarchy in the structure of Environmental organizations. In the 1980’s, and still today, there is greater hierarchy in the structure of Environmental organizations. The number of full time professional staff has tripled, leaving some activists disenfranchised. The number of full time professional staff has tripled, leaving some activists disenfranchised. It is more common now for leaders of environmental groups to have their degrees in economics or Business and past degrees such as natural science or law are far less common. It is more common now for leaders of environmental groups to have their degrees in economics or Business and past degrees such as natural science or law are far less common. Shift from environmental activism to management expertise. Shift from environmental activism to management expertise.

21 Greater Cohesion and Cooperation Summit of 10 first met in The summit of 10 was the top executives from major environmental organizations. Summit of 10 first met in The summit of 10 was the top executives from major environmental organizations. In 1985, Group of Ten produced a declaration of Priorities of American Environmentalism. In 1985, Group of Ten produced a declaration of Priorities of American Environmentalism. Criticized for not adequately dealing with how to handle corporate power and failure to address environmental injustice. Criticized for not adequately dealing with how to handle corporate power and failure to address environmental injustice. Currently there is a Green Group, which has branched to include other advocacy groups. Currently there is a Green Group, which has branched to include other advocacy groups.

22 Fiscal Issues Today most rely on voluntary donations. Membership dues account for much of the current budget. Today most rely on voluntary donations. Membership dues account for much of the current budget. There has been a steady increase in environmental donations. In the year 2002, donations were over 2 billion dollars. There has been a steady increase in environmental donations. In the year 2002, donations were over 2 billion dollars. Changes in public attitude, have a huge impact on environmental organizations. Highest growth in recent years have dealt with organizations that handle and focus attention on land conservation. Changes in public attitude, have a huge impact on environmental organizations. Highest growth in recent years have dealt with organizations that handle and focus attention on land conservation. Fiscal issues are more difficult for ideological organizations such as Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network. They have to be creative and focus on ways to raise money without corporate sponsors. Fiscal issues are more difficult for ideological organizations such as Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network. They have to be creative and focus on ways to raise money without corporate sponsors.

23 Fiscal Issues Continue Organizations have to deal with the issue of ‘major gifts’. The IRS allows nonprofits to shield donors from public, with gifts of over $2,000 or more. Organizations have to deal with the issue of ‘major gifts’. The IRS allows nonprofits to shield donors from public, with gifts of over $2,000 or more. Foundation gifts are controversial because foundations can pinpoint and have an enormous amount of power over where the money can go. Foundation gifts are controversial because foundations can pinpoint and have an enormous amount of power over where the money can go.

24 Membership There has been a huge shift from governmental power back to the people in terms of how environmental groups survive. There has been a huge shift from governmental power back to the people in terms of how environmental groups survive. In 1980 there were only four groups that could boast 100,000 members or more and now 15 groups have membership greater than 100,000 people. In 1980 there were only four groups that could boast 100,000 members or more and now 15 groups have membership greater than 100,000 people. Most groups depend on membership/individual dues to survive. Outer focus on member mobilization and less on government influence. Most groups depend on membership/individual dues to survive. Outer focus on member mobilization and less on government influence. Critics claim this creates passive donors and it still doesn’t move beyond the middle class and deal with more pertinent issues impacting those who are less affluent. Critics claim this creates passive donors and it still doesn’t move beyond the middle class and deal with more pertinent issues impacting those who are less affluent.

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26 Criticism of How Much Executives Get Paid John H. Adams Executive NRDC salary $330, Randall Hayes Pres Rainforest salary $67, Carl Pope, executive director of Sierra Club salary $141,704, benefits $16, Kathryn S. Fuller, president and chief executive officer: World Wildlife Fund salary $223,560, benefits $29,516

27 Adjusting to the Modern Political Situation Environmental groups replenished the grassroots, adopted new tools, like the Internet, and banded together in order to remain effective. Environmental groups replenished the grassroots, adopted new tools, like the Internet, and banded together in order to remain effective. A result of the Republican takeover of congress in the 1990s, property rights groups, “Wise Use” groups, and the Bush administration. A result of the Republican takeover of congress in the 1990s, property rights groups, “Wise Use” groups, and the Bush administration. Increased pressure at all levels of government. Increased pressure at all levels of government.

28 The New Conservative Surge Led to the demise of the more liberal wing of the Republican Party, which was pivotal to bipartisan agreements. Led to the demise of the more liberal wing of the Republican Party, which was pivotal to bipartisan agreements. Resulted in a dependence on Democrats. Resulted in a dependence on Democrats. Environmentalists and Democrats realized attaining the White House is essential. Environmentalists and Democrats realized attaining the White House is essential.

29 Further Reasons for Change Environmentalists increasingly encountered well-organized and well-funded opposition from a variety of property rights and “Wise Use” groups at the state and local levels. Environmentalists increasingly encountered well-organized and well-funded opposition from a variety of property rights and “Wise Use” groups at the state and local levels. Authority over the implementation and enforcement of regulations had been shifted to the states. Authority over the implementation and enforcement of regulations had been shifted to the states.

30 The Internet as a Tool Gives any advocacy organization the capacity to communicate with the mass public Gives any advocacy organization the capacity to communicate with the mass public Makes it possible to “narrow-cast” in order to target information to specific audiences. Makes it possible to “narrow-cast” in order to target information to specific audiences.

31 Renewal of the Grassroots Local activists are needed to counteract pressure from property rights and Wise Use groups Local activists are needed to counteract pressure from property rights and Wise Use groups Local roots aid in influencing members of Congress and state legislators Local roots aid in influencing members of Congress and state legislators Increasingly possible with the Internet Increasingly possible with the Internet

32 Working Together Toward a Common Goal Facing large opposition, groups are joining together in a unified force to fight at all levels of government. Facing large opposition, groups are joining together in a unified force to fight at all levels of government. Environmental groups’ success is evident through their ability to block drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Environmental groups’ success is evident through their ability to block drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

33 Recap The Conservative surge, “property rights” and “Wise Use” groups, and a shift to state level politics have forced environmental groups to adopt new tools, replenish the grassroots, and band together in order to remain effective and relevant. The Conservative surge, “property rights” and “Wise Use” groups, and a shift to state level politics have forced environmental groups to adopt new tools, replenish the grassroots, and band together in order to remain effective and relevant.

34 Wining Over America – Looking Back At a Maturing Advocacy Community The affects of organizational adaptation: from local - to national - to state - to today. The affects of organizational adaptation: from local - to national - to state - to today. The difficulties of representing a generational problem of global and local scale. The difficulties of representing a generational problem of global and local scale. Adapting movement values for survival Adapting movement values for survival The short-term socioeconomic-oriented society The short-term socioeconomic-oriented society

35 About the Author: Comments & Criticisms Liberal-biased, has an agenda Liberal-biased, has an agenda Inaccurate predictions Inaccurate predictions Great Man, Great Organization historic perspective Great Man, Great Organization historic perspective Overly simplistic responses to criticisms of environmental organizations Overly simplistic responses to criticisms of environmental organizations

36 ACTIVITY A Timeline of Environmental Advocacy


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