Every environmentalist I’ve ever known shares two things in common:
- At some point in our lives, we’ve had a moment of awakening, an epiphany that forged a deep and profound intellectual and emotional connection to nature.
- We feel a powerful sense of responsibility that our day-to-day human activities must be balanced with the need to protect the natural wonders of this planet.
We are not alone. What we do has consequences. And what we choose to protect defines who we are and establishes our legacy on earth.
That’s what unites us. And when we find like-minded people who see the world the same way – who share our commitment to nature and to the solutions that will best protect it – that reaffirms our sense of hope and community.
These are some of the feelings I have when I think of the privileged role I’ve held for the last 11 years, working with a unique, innovative, creative group of environmental professionals here at EDF. Every day I’m blown away by the dedication and skill of my colleagues.
And every day I’m blown away by the commitment and passion of our more than 750,000 members and activists, so many of whom regularly contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, and complaints. I welcome it all because it connects us and reinforces my faith that together we are a strong force for environmental progress.
Every spring, we launch our Annual Fund campaign, one of our most important membership fundraising drives of the year. The funds we raise provide vital financial resources for our program experts to develop and promote their innovative solutions.
Our 2014 Annual Fund goal is to raise $750,000 from 8,200 donors, with an average gift of less than $100. The success of this campaign will help determine our program budgets through the end of the year. The greater our success, the more we will be able to ramp up our grassroots outreach and the harder we can push our elected officials and other key stakeholders to take our environmental concerns seriously.
Putting your support to work
Climate and clean energy
This year, the most important fight we will wage will be in support of the strongest possible climate pollution standards for existing fossil fuel power plants – the single biggest source of carbon emissions in the U.S.
We expect the Environmental Protection Agency to issue standards in June, which will kick off a colossal fight with many in the coal and utilities industry and their political allies. There is nothing more important this year in our efforts to avoid climate catastrophe than getting these pollution standards right.
Our Oceans team is working to heal our oceans and marine ecosystems by ending overfishing through reforms that work for fishermen and fisheries alike. Thanks in part to new programs EDF helped put in place, which create conservation incentives, the U.S. fish catch is the highest it’s been in a generation - with more than 100 species on the path to recovery! That’s because this “catch share” approach sets limits on how much fish can be sustainably caught and assigns fishermen a portion, or share, giving them a financial stake in protecting fisheries. With our donors’ support, we plan to advance at least 30 fishery management programs around the world, including in Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on helping small, local fisheries become sustainable. The health and well-being of a billion people depend upon it.
Our Ecosystems team is busy revitalizing the Gulf Coast wetlands and economy in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Rebuilding Louisiana’s coastal wetlands is the largest ecosystem restoration project in U.S. history. And this year EDF is continuing to work to ensure support for projects that allow the sediment-laden Mississippi River water to reach its coastal wetlands, restoring the ailing delta.
And our Health team is building on the progress we’ve made to promote new policies to phase out the use of hazardous chemicals in household and personal care products. We helped draft a new policy at Walmart to bring safer products to its shelves and Procter & Gamble, the largest consumer product maker in the world, already announced it is removing two of the hazardous chemicals from its products sold everywhere.
We are working every day to strengthen environmental standards and protect our natural world. This is what we do at EDF – this is what draws us together in this community of environmental innovation and creative solutions. Call us environmental policy wonks. But these solutions, which represent the determination and creative vitality of our amazing staff, are how we express our commitment to a safer, healthier, more sustainable world, one that better balances human activities with the need to protect nature.
As EDF President Fred Krupp has said, “Big challenges demand big solutions.” That is exactly what your Annual Fund support today can help us achieve in 2014.