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Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) is a national organization with 80 local groups. Founded in 1971, it has around 80,000 members and contributors. Our youth department, JongerenMilieuAktief (JMA), has several thousand partners. Milieudefensie joined Friends of the Earth International in 1972.
The Netherlands is a densely populated and built up country, which largely defines the scope of Milieudefensie's campaigns. Quietness, space and fresh air have become scarce. The air in our major cities is among the most polluted in the world. That is why Milieudefensie is building a clean air movement to press for action.
Intensive agriculture is notorious for its pollution and animal unfriendly production methods. It makes heavy demands on the environment in other parts of the world; parts of the Amazon forest are destroyed to produce cattle feed for the Netherlands. Milieudefensie is calling for a switch to ecologically sound and animal-friendly agriculture.
But Milieudefensie's work does not stop at the border; it has a long history of campaigning for the conservation of tropical and virgin forests. It has been successful in actions against Dutch companies that do not protect the environment in other countries. Shell is one of those companies. In a court case that made headlines around the world Shell was held responsible for oil spills in the Niger Delta. Other current topics include: shale gas, biofuels, mining and corporate social responsibility.
Measures that have no public support hardly stand a chance. Milieudefensie's members are involved in the decision making process, and campaigns are undertaken where there is popular support.