July 19, 2002
Enviro-dollars—A Primer

(Note: This was originally posted as a comment—see this thread. I decided to slightly reword it and post it in a thread of its own.)

This is a quickie list of large groups that fund environmental activism. It is by no means all-inclusive. I provide it as a counterweight to the argument that big business has no well-funded opposition to prevent it from controlling politicians and dominating the media markets.

Turner Foundation

-Provided grants totalling $23.5 Million in 2001.

Daivd and Lucille Packard Foundation

-Provided grants of $360.2 Million just to environmental groups 1999-2001. They also donate to several other causes.

The Pew Charitable Trusts

-Provided grants of $42.1 Million just to environmental groups in 2001. They have an extensive grant program covering a wide variety of causes.

John D. and Carolyn T. MacArthur Foundation

-Provided grants of $72.8 Million just to environmental groups and $62.7 Million just to Human and Community Development groups in 2001. (A significant portion of the latter goes to family planning and "social justice" agitation groups; most goes to projects that are worthy of funding.)

Ford Foundation

-Provided grants totalling $652.1 Million in 2001. This is a total for all grants. I could not find a breakdown of grants by area on their site, only totals and individual grants, through which I was not going to spend hours sorting.

Even the Environmental Protection Agency, an arm of the federal government, has joined in—they contributed a total of $4.6 Million to the Natural Resources Defense Council from 1996-2001, and over $3 Million to the Tides Foundation from 1993-2001 (that is a total, not a yearly amount).

Of course, one's personal beliefs will dictate whether the groups that have received funding can be considered "extremist", but groups such as EarthSave, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Natural Resources Defence Council, Greenpeace, PETA, and Ruckus Society are probably likely to be considered extremist by a large majority of the populace of the United States. These groups are not the only ones that have received funding from the above foundations, but all have received significant chunks of change.

Because their brand of environmentalism is one of opressive regulation, they are inherently anti-capitalistic, another reason to oppose them. Some, such as CSPI, wish to impose taxes upon the food we eat in an effort to socially engineer our society to one that is more to their liking. Others simply want to impose regulations that will eliminate industry and return us to the pre-industrial age, regardless of what the rest of the people want. Some, like the Ruckus Society, specialize in training protesters such as the anti-globalization and anti-WTO protesters that have wreaked havoc in Seattle, Quebec, Washington, DC and elsewhere. These people are "watermelons"—green on the outside, red on the inside. I don't like watermelons, and I don't want any part of their agenda.

(Apparently I am not alone; No Watermelons Allowed derives its name from the same concept.)

posted on July 19, 2002 10:08 PM


Wow, you do good work! Although I can appreciate the "No Watermelons" sentiment, there's also a different thing happening here. Quite a few people have decided that existing formal institutions are hard pressed to respond to increasingly chaotic world situations or complex emergencies. Hence they're looking at the idea of strengthening civil society by supporting a wide variety of groups capable of working out local solutions even when existing formal institutions can't. Perhaps the civil society movement is inherently wrongheaded, in that it is challenging the idea that church, family, corporations and government are the only appropriate avenues for addressing social issues?

posted by sassafrass on July 20, 2002 12:19 PM

I feel that the overlooked option of "grassroots support" is vital to effecting any sort of change.

This is similar to family, but not quite the same; my family of four has four different political views, and three different political registrations. Family ties often don't extend to political beliefs.

I visited the link to Civil Society International (the link in your post). At the risk of sounding arrogant, I don't object to most of their programs, because they don't operate in the United States. I agree with the aims of some of the groups, and I disagree with others, but what they do doesn't directly affect me or this country. Further, some of the groups are pursuing goals that are desperately needed elsewhere, but are not necessary here; pushing a similar agenda in this country would irritate and insult me.

As one may infer with the thrust of my post, I have more of a problem with environmental groups than I do with social issues lobbies. I am sometimes irritated by some of the civil-rights groups, but the tactics of the eco-extremists send me over the edge. I don't drive (I've never had a license), I lived in a small studio before I moved onto the military base I now call home (my barracks suite is just a bit larger than my old studio apartment) and I recycle a large portion of my trash. However,I am considered anti-environment because I don't agree with the aims of the greens that wish to force my personal choices upon everyone else, whether they like it or not. That is totalitarian.

posted by Timekeeper on July 20, 2002 03:59 PM

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