Meanwhile, Closer to the Ground…
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Outside magazine, March 1994
Meanwhile, Closer to the Ground…
Eight reasons to believe that smaller might be bigger
Around the country, and especially in the West, there’s been an evolution in the revolution. Focused but not myopic, this generation of grassroots groups runs on the proverbial shoestring ($15,000 to $300,000, in the case of those we’ve highlighted here), with tiny staffs and vituallly no overhead, so they give more bang for your buck. You won’t get anything in the mail from
Founded by Ed Chaney, a former employee of the Oregon Fish Commission who, after witnessing a massive kill of salmon and steelhead in the ladders of a Columbia River dam in 1968, was instructed to keep it under his hat. Instead he quit to work for NWF in Washington, D.C., where he became further disillusioned and left, founding NRIC in 1976. The streamlined four-person staff is
Dedicated to protecting the higher ranks of the Rockies food chain, mostly by watching state and federal agencies like a hawk. Recently, the project forced the federal Animal Damage Control program to consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before exterminating predators–a requirement that had somehow slipped off the agencies’ agendas for 13 years. It also forced local BLM
Conceived eight years ago by disgruntled Sierra Club members, NFC singlemindedly advocates a total ban of timber sales on public land. Like Earth First!, it carries a no-compromise torch, but it eschews guerrilla theater in favor of more conventional ways of raising public awareness and broadening debate. It also serves as the hub of a loose network of forest groups nationwide.
RESTORE: The North Woods
Founded by a former Wilderness Society regional director and an Outward Bound instructor, RESTORE wants to bring back to ecological health a big chunk of turf that most have written off: New England. It has called attention to ignored species like the eastern timberwolf and filed a petition to have the Atlantic salmon, whose numbers have slipped to 5,000, declared endangered.
A cadre of low-paid lawyers and scientists, ELF steps in where big groups generally decline to tread–specifically, in poor urban communities all over California. Now in its third year, it has filed and won the state’s biggest right-to-toxics-information case, as a result of which the manufacturers of lead-leaching faucets are changing their ways. ELF is now in the process of
The National Healthy Air License Exchange was set up last year to make the most of the Clean Air Act’s pollution trading provision. The group buys and sits on EPA-issued sulfur-dioxide emission allowances–each of which lets the owner contribute a ton toward the national limit–at an annual auction on the Chicago Board of Trade. The rest of the time, it makes deals with
This is a NIMBY with a ridiculously large backyard–which happens to include the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where it served as first alarm and bloodhound for the national groups. In 1987 it sued to get the BLM and the Park Service to crack down on placer mining pollution; in 1990 it pushed through a landmark statewide mine-reclamation bill. Currently the center is
The six documentaries produced so far by Jane Baxter, a 50-year-old B&B owner who roves the western Sierra Nevada videotaping signs of damage from grazing on public lands, have recently earned her an audience in the U.S. Senate and served as key evidence in several green lawsuits. Baxter, who now works out of a Rube Goldbergesque four-wheel-drive truck mounted with a tiny