Get Involved. “The most important thing anybody can do is join an environmental group,” says environmentalist Bobby Kennedy Jr. “Major environmental change in this country comes through lobbying and legislation."
"Cherish Your Extended Home, the Earth Itself, and Your Love Will Grow."
In conceiving that magazine in the late 1980's, it was clear that the buildup of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere would cause a tipping point beyond which unwelcome changes could occur very quickly.
But even though we won awards for our environmental writing, photography, and design, back then too few people wanted to hear environmental messages that required changes, either real or perceived, in their lives.
Then Al Gore’s best-selling book, “An Inconvenient Truth” and his Oscar-winning film of 2006 explored the environmental topics he had been laying out before the congress and the public for decades, long before I envisioned my magazine. However, too often the facts were discredited, distorted, or ignored.
As an example, in the decade before his film, there were hundreds of articles in the popular press about climate change and over 50 percent doubted it was real. But in that same period, every one of the 928 peer-reviewed articles on the climate in scientific journals agreed climate change was real. Of course, neither the scientists nor the journals were beholden to corporate owners or advertisers.
As you start your own married life and possibly look toward creating your own family, may the natural world be as hospitable for you as it was for your grandparents and your great grandparents. Of course, now is also an opportunity to make your life together as earth-friendly as it is generous and caring.
Joining With Others ... “The most important thing anybody can do is join an environmental group,” says environmentalist Bobby Kennedy Jr. “Major environmental change in this country comes through lobbying and legislation.
“If you and I go out and buy a fuel efficient car, it’s not going to change the world — although it’s an important ethical statement.” (Of course, if true fuel efficiency existed at the manufacturer's level, we all would have such cars to begin with.)
“But if I can go into a senator’s office representing 150,000 members, he or she will listen to me. Then I can get support on Capitol Hill so we can prohibit the manufacturing of cars in this country unless they get 40 or 50 miles per gallon. Or we can push through legislation to change rate structures for power companies so utilities can make money when people conserve by using compact fluorescent light bulbs. Making environmental protection profitable will change the world.” A major group that he recommends joining is one he has worked with for many years, the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Online Involvement — Many Choices ... “One reason people don’t like getting involved online is that they feel they’ll be overwhelmed,” says Linda Lopez, director of memberships at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“But with our ‘SaveBioGems’ program, for example, you only get an email when wild places are specifically threatened. Our half-million ‘BioGem Defender’ online activists have sent our over eight million messages to Congress, companies, and governments, and we’ve saved a number of unique places from destruction.”
For example, go to “Polar Bears On Thin Ice,” and you can take an action right there. “Most people care about wilderness and wildlife, and if we’re taking care of the wilderness, we’re taking care of everything on the planet too.” The general site covers many topics. “A free subscription to ‘This Green Life,’ our monthly guide to living with our planet in mind, gives ideas from recycling to pet products and how to make small changes that can have a big impact.”
The www.nrdc.org site has an extensive global warming section and a place where you also can make a gift to NRDC in honor of other’s birthdays and weddings and email the person a beautiful photo. You also can become a member by making a contribution on the site too.
“I believe our members are most important to us as activists,” says Linda, “because congressmen and women actually do listen when people call and write — and our members do it time and time again.” The NRDC has some 1.2 million activists and members. “Together, they make it all happen.”
Natural Resources Defense Council
40 West 20 Street, New York, NY 10011