Friends of the Earth US was founded in 1969 in San Francisco, and was one of the founding organisations of Friends of the Earth International in 1970. Friends of the Earth US has for decades been at the forefront of high profile efforts to create a healthier and just world.

Friends of the Earth US is fighting to defend the environment and create a healthier and just world. They are progressive environmental advocates who pull no punches and speak sometimes uncomfortable truths to power. It’s an approach that for four decades has yielded victories protecting our planet and its people.

Their current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

The team

Friends of the Earth is led by Erich Pica, a leading expert on how federal tax dollars subsidise pollution. Their dedicated staff fight to protect the rights of all people to live in a safe and healthy environment, both in the US and in countries around the world. Their campaigns demonstrate their belief that the fight for justice and the movement to protect the health of the planet are part of the same struggle. Their members and activists support this work and act as a grassroots base of support that mobilises to promote public policies that are good for people and the planet.

Their impact

Over the last 40 years, Friends of the Earth members, activists and staff have:

  • Eliminated billions in taxpayer subsidies to corporate polluters;
  • Reformed the World Bank to address environmental and human rights concerns;
  • Pushed the debate on global warming to pressure the U.S. to attempt the best legislation possible;
  • Stopped more than 150 destructive dams and water projects worldwide;
  • Pressed and won landmark regulations of strip mines and oil tankers; and
  • Banned international whaling.

Their strategy

Friends of the Earth US, as an outspoken leader in the environmental and progressive communities, seeks to change the perception of the public, media and policy makers – and effect policy change – with hard-hitting, well-reasoned policy analysis and advocacy campaigns that describe what needs to be done, rather than what is seen as politically feasible or politically correct. This hard-hitting advocacy has been the key to their successful campaigns over their 40-year history.

One way that Friends of the Earth works to achieve a just and healthy world, is by focusing on the economic drivers that are encouraging environmental degradation. Depending on the issue, these drivers may include public investment, granting corporations the right to pollute, or other factors. With key policy expertise at the federal and state levels, Friends of the Earth works to eliminate these drivers and thus bring environmental degradation to a halt.