Inspiring examples of environmental activism


  Inspiring examples of environmental activism

There are many interesting and inspiring examples of environmental activism. This article will cover ten of them, which are listed below. They range from the large-scale to the small-scale, from the nonviolent to the violent, and represent a diverse group. If you're interested in following some other examples on your own, just search "environmental activists" or visit our list of articles about them!

1) Greenpeace: Greenpeace is a global anti-capitalist green peace group known for their public protests against corporate globalization of environmental issues. It has committed itself to grassroots activism and nonviolence in order to influence positive social change on a global scale. Greenpeace's tactics include protests, direct actions, lobbying, media campaigning and investigations. Greenpeace has an international reach by virtue of its large donor base. Several Greenpeace campaigns were featured in the top ten most effective adverts of all time.

2) Vandana Shiva: Vandana Shiva is a radical environmental activist with a positive message for development in her third-world homeland. She is a prominent critic of corporate globalization via food imperialism and biopiracy. She works towards convincing the industrial world to look at nature as a source of solutions for environmental problems rather than as a source for pollution and waste products; most recently she had been working on stopping Monsanto from patenting seeds in India. Vandana Shiva has written books about the impact of large corporations on the environment. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.

3) The Mountain Institute: The Mountain Institute is a non-profit environmental group working in six regions of the world to promote sustainable mountain cultures and livelihoods. It aims to preserve biodiversity and lands through sustainable practices, with a special focus on those areas that are undergoing rapid development or decline. It is active in subsistence farming, forestry, ecotourism and other areas. The organization focuses on mountain regions of the world such as Tibet, Nepal and northern Thailand and Laos.

4) Janine Mattoon: A Canadian advocate and activist born in 1960, Janine Mattoon is a member of the Inuit community of Clyde River on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. She is also a co-founder of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), which was established to advance Inuit rights around the world.

5) Peter Matthiessen: Peter Matthiessen was an American writer, author, environmentalist, and former special agent for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's criminal investigations division. He wrote several novels; his book "The Snow Leopard" won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 1978. He also published books on natural history and ecology of Alaska.

6) Waman P. Raval: Waman P. Raval is an Indian activist and environmentalist who develops sustainable solutions for the urban poor in India to improve their health, enhance farming and means of survival, and protect the environment from pollution. He focuses on urban people's basic needs like clean drinking water, affordable food grains, shelter and energy efficient lighting. His work has been recognized internationally by organizations such as the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He also received the U.N. Humanitarian Award in 2002 for his dedication to the urban poor and their struggle for survival in India. 

7) The Pesticides Action Network North America (PANNA): PANNA is an international coalition of over 200 environmental and health-focused organizations working to protect people from exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides, improve the risk assessment process, and end chemical dependency on agrochemicals. PANNA's efforts are focused on developing and promoting low-dose alternatives to pesticide use, integrating public health into pesticide risk assessment, working with policy makers on meeting the Millennium Development Goals by reducing dependency on pesticides, and facilitating chemical-free farming in large-scale industrialized agriculture. The organization is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

8) Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK): PAN UK is a non-profit activist organization that campaigns to end the use of toxic pesticides. The organization lobbies for pesticide reform and changes to EU policy on pesticide regulation and plant protection. It focuses on promoting healthier alternatives to chemical pesticides such as integrated pest management and farming methods that are less dependent on chemicals. PAN UK's efforts are primarily aimed towards developing countries in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, where it works with civil society groups to raise awareness about the dangers of pesticides through education, local media initiatives and capacity building activities. It is headquartered at the Sussex Centre for Conservation Education in Brighton, U.K.

9) The Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is a non-profit, environmental organization that focuses on conservation issues such as wildlife protection, blue-green algae control and climate change mitigation. It was founded in 1892 and has over 1.3 million members, making it the largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It aims to educate the public about responsible resource use and environmental sustainability by advocating for clean energy sources and reducing the effects of climate change. The Sierra Club runs campaigns designed specifically for urban areas as well as national parks near metropolitan areas where members can get involved in activities such as recycling programs or volunteer tree planting events.

10) Greenpeace: Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization that was founded in 1971 by Canadian journalist Irving Stowe as an activist group committed to environmental conservation. Greenpeace has offices in over 40 countries and uses non-violent methods of protest based on civil disobedience. It is most well known for its campaigns to raise awareness about global warming, nuclear testing, and whaling and seal hunting. The organization raises money for its operations via donations from private citizens, businesses and other organizations. Greenpeace has 3 million supporters worldwide with the largest number of members located in the United States (630,000), Germany (445,000), Canada (300,000), the Netherlands (165,000) and the United Kingdom (145,000).

11) The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL): CIEL is an international non-profit organization founded in 1992 to promote the rule of law as a way of resolving environmental challenges. The organization focuses on three main program areas: environmental and human rights advocacy, capacity building and education, and public interest litigation. Two of its primary campaigns are aimed at making corporations accountable for their actions overseas as well as addressing the public health impacts of mercury pollution. Its headquarters is located in Washington D.C., with offices in New York City and Brussels.

12) The Environmental Working Group (EWG): EWG is a non-profit organization that aims to empower citizens in the areas of health, food, agriculture and environmental quality. The organization works on behalf of over 500,000 members to educate the public on the effects of toxic chemicals in the environment and advocate for greater government transparency. Two of its main causes are fighting against pollution from coal fired power plants by encouraging local governments to adopt pollution prevention policies and encouraging labeling standards for genetically modified foods. Its headquarters are located in Washington D.C., with additional offices in Santa Monica, California; San Francisco, California; and Chicago Illinois.


The future of urban land use is largely determined by the actions of these environmental non-profits. The leaders and members of these organizations are all very dedicated people who understand that their actions can have an effect on the way we live in the twenty first century. With their tireless efforts, the world's population can continue to improve its quality of life without increasing pollution and using up natural resources at an alarming rate.


• Bhatti, Paul. "Innovation in Sustainable Urban Development: A Critical Analysis of the Alternatives." In Sustainable Urban Development: Innovations in practice, edited by Darryl M. Federer and Andrew C.

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