Here's a look at a few of the many groups working to
protect Planet Earth and the freedom and natural diversity
of her inhabitants.
The following brief overviews of a dozen conservation,
environmental, and humanitarian organizations, movements,
and publications are a mere sampling—an appetizer for
the concerned—of the many deserving groups that,
taken together, may represent a movement that could prove
to be Earth's only defense against humanity's inhumanities.
If space allowed, we could continue the list almost
indefinitely, because there are a great many fine groups
out there. Please forgive us if your favorite cause isn't
Read through the lot, and if your heart, head, and
budget allow, feel free to adopt one or more of these
movements by contributing financial or moral support.
Akwesasne Notes is a 32-page, magazineformat,
bimonthly newspaper serving as the official voice of the
Mohawk People of Akwesasne (the St. Regis Mohawk
Reservation)—an area that spans the New York/Ontario/
Quebec borders. Notes has been in print for 16
years and has readers on every continent.
The Akwesasne philosophy is so broad that it's difficult to
pigeonhole. Perhaps Mark Narsisian. the Notes
business manager, best summarized it when he wrote, "It is
our ancient philosophy as Iroquois People that all
peoples of the Earth are entitled by right of birth to
exist as diverse and distinct cultures."
Akwesasne Notes editor Alex Karoniaktakie adds,
"We seek a world unity through cultural diversity, not
Akwesasne Notes is a well-written, graphically
appealing nonprofit publication concerned with furthering
the rights and assuring the dignity of indigenous peoples
worldwide. And it is dedicated to opposing the subjugation
of Planet Earth to corporate financial whims.
Notes won numerous journalistic honors during the
1970's and is a member of the Alternate Press Syndicate.
U.S. subscriptions begin at $8 per year; Canadian rates
start at $10. Readers who can afford it are asked to send a
few dollars beyond the price of a subscription so that the
paper can be provided free to those who can prove that they
cannot afford to pay but nonetheless wish to be a part of
the Akwesasne movement. Tax-deductible contributions (as
opposed to subscription payments) should be made payable to
Akwesasne Notes/The Youth Project.
The address is Akwesasne Notes, Mohawk Nation via
Rooseveltown, NY 13683.
Amnesty International (AI)—the 1977 recipient of the
Nobel peace prize—seeks the abolishment of torture
and the release of prisoners detained by governments
anywhere for their beliefs, ethnic origin, religion, or
similar unsound reasons, provided the prisoners have
neither used nor advocated violence. AI terms such persons
"prisoners of conscience."
The group's work is based on the principle of international
responsibility for the protection of human rights. Since
its founding in 1961, AI has intervened on behalf of more
than 20,000 prisoners in over a hundred countries. Since
1980, the organization has acted on 2,687 cases in 45
countries. Members send letters, cards, and telegrams to,
and on behalf of, political prisoners. Group members also
collect signatures for international petitions and raise
money to send relief—such as medicine, food, and
clothing—to prisoners and their families.
Worldwide, AI boasts 250,000 volunteers in 130 countries,
with 13,000 Americans among their number.
Those who contribute any amount to AI receive three issues
per year of AI-USA's publication Matchbox.
Memberships begin at $20 for an individual and $30 for a
couple; members receive Matchbox plus eight issues
annually of Amnesty Action, which highlights AI's
"prisoner of the month"—a person designated to
receive a deluge of letters and attention from AI members.
The organization also publishes books. Its latest is
Torture in the Eighties, available by mail for
$5.95 plus $1.00 postage.
Send membership dues, inquiries, contributions, and book
orders to Amnesty International-USA, 304 W. 58th St., New
York, NY 10019.
The Earth First! (always with the "!") dictum is "No
compromise in the defense of Mother Earth!" Dave Foreman,
one of the founders (in 1980) of this "nonorganization" and
editor of Earth First!, the movement's fine
newspaper, summarizes the group's stance:
"Our primary goal is the preservation of natural diversity.
This means the development of an ethic of `deep ecology'
(biocentrism) and the withdrawal of human industrial
civilization from vast areas (several-million-acre
preserves) of Earth's surface. Our biggest triumph to date
was the successful nonviolent blockade of, and lawsuit
against, the U.S. Forest Service's efforts to construct the
Bald Mountain logging road into the North Kalmiopsis
Roadless Area in Oregon.
"Being a non-organization, we don't have membership rolls.
We're a movement: Earth
First! are individuals, and each is his or her own leader.
There are no dues other than the $10 annual subscription to
Earth First!, our newspaper, which is issued eight
times a year, on the old European earth holidays. The paper
is primarily a forum for the exchange of ideas on
environmental activism We pay no office rent, and no one
gets a regular salary; all of our income goes into
publishing Earth First! and funding environmental
action. Contributions to our Earth First! Foundation are
tax-deductible, and should be sent to P.O. Box 6206, Santa
Fe, NM 87501. Subscription orders and other correspondence
should be directed to P.O, Box 26221, Salt Lake City, UT
For more insight into the history and workings of Earth
First!'s brand of environmental concern, review the Plowboy
Interview with Ed Abbey, which appeared in MOTHER N0.
87-and if you can find a copy of the December/January 1983
issue of Outside magazine, check out the article "The Real
Monkey Wrench Gang."
There can be no doubt that these men and women have the
strength of their convictions. In a very real sense, they
are heroes and heroines.
The Environmental Action Foundation (EAF) and its sister
organization, Environmental Action, Inc. (a lobbying
group), publish Environmental Action magazine.
Their most recent coup was the disclosure last June, by EAF
economist Richard E. Morgan, that American power companies
are holding over $25 billion in unpaid federal
taxes collected from ratepayers during the past 30 years.
We'll let Alden Meyer, EA director, tell the rest of the
"Environmental Action was founded in 1970 by the organizers
of Earth Day. We have been a key group in all of the
landmark environmental fights: against the SST, the B-1
bomber, and the Clinch River breeder reactor; and in
support of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, SuperFund,
Occupational Safety and Health Act, Toxic Substances
Control Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and many others.
"One can join EA with a $15 membership contribution. This
brings a year's subscription (ten issues) to the highly
acclaimed Environmental Action magazine and an
opportunity to join EA's activist list (people who are
alerted when important environmental legislation hits
Capitol Hill), as well as tree books and resources.
"Contributions to EA are not tax-deduct ible. However, many
of our members make taxdeductible contributions to our
sister organization, EAF, which provides information and
technical assistance to individuals and groups working on
pollution and energy issues at the state and local levels."
To join, to request information about, or to make
contributions to Environmental Action, Inc. or the
Environmental Action Foundation, write to EA, 1346
Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 731, Washington, DC 20036.
Like Earth First!, Greenpeace deserves special admiration:
Its volunteers actually lay their freedom and lives on the
line in an ongoing effort both to protect the environment
and to draw public attention to critical ecological issues.
Greenpeace goals include a worldwide halt to the commercial
slaughter of whales, dolphins, and seals; an end to the
proliferation of nuclear weapons and the consequent
generation of nuclear wastes; the protection of endangered
species; the introduction and implementation of clean air
regulations that will result in an end to acid rain; and an
international ban on the dumping of hazardous wastes into
On each of these issues (and many more), Greenpeace
volunteers—operating with the financial and moral
backing of Greenpeace members and supporters in the U.S.,
Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand,
Denmark, and Canada—have made great progress.
Greenpeace even has its own "eco-navy"—including
everything from a fleet of inflatable rubber boats up to a
converted minesweeper—which it deploys with skill and
All donations to Greenpeace are tax-deductible, and donors
will receive the Greenpeace Examiner (a quarterly
newsmagazine), along with special information mailings and
action alerts. There is no minimum donation required to
qualify as a member.
This group of dedicated environmental workers most
certainly lives up to its slogan, "Greenpeace puts itself
on the line." (How would you like to have irate whalers
fire rifles and harpoons over your head while you are in a
rubber raft, trying to disrupt their activities?) Send your
donations to Greenpeace USA, 2007 R St., Suite 300,
Washington, DC 20009.
NATIONAL PARKS AND CONSERVATION
Since its establishment in 1919, the National Parks and
Conservation Association (NPCA) has been both an advocate
and con structive critic of the National Park System. (For
example, in 1982 NPCA participated in a lawsuit that forced
the NPS to remove from Mammoth Cave National Park a
facility that was polluting the cave system.) We'll let
NPCA Program Assistant Kathy Sferra take it from here:
"NPCA has worked to preserve pristine natural ecosystems in
national parks by opposing such incompatible uses as
logging, mining, sport hunting, commercial development,
dams and reservoirs, and unnecessary roads. NPCA is also
working to strengthen the Clean Air Act.
"As an example of the many NPCA successes, in 1981 we
learned that the National Park Service had been ordered by
the Reagan administration to build a case to de-authorize
at least five National Park System units. NPCA's initiative
led to oversight hearings in which Secretary Watt was
forced to back down from his de-authorization plans.
"NPCA's active members and supporters total more than
45,000. We publish a bimonthly magazine, National
Parks, which is designed to educate its readers on
current issues, environmental problems, and the beauty of
our country's parks. In addition to the magazine, members
receive 'Citizen's Action Guides' and `NPCAlerts' on
important issues. Dues range from $13 for students and
senior citizens to $200 for sustaining membership. Regular
associate memberships are $18. Dues in excess of $7 and all
contributions are taxdeductible."
For more information, write to NPCA at 1701 18th St. N.W.,
Washington, DC 20009.
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
Since 1950, The Nature Conservancy and its 200,000+ members
have been involved in the preservation of nearly two
million acres of prime wildlife habitat in 50 U.S. states,
the Virgin Islands, Canada, and the Caribbean.
And—you may well ask—just what do they do to
"preserve" this land and its wild inhabitants?
Well, for the most part, they buy it. (Much is
also donated and willed to them.) We like that approach; it
could be compared to the activist tactics of Greenpeace and
Earth First!-but instead of personal, physical action, the
conservancy practices monetary environmental
activism. It works.
The Nature Conservancy's efforts are currently being
focused on their monumental National Wetlands Conservation
Project—a five-year, private/public effort to
conserve endangered water-related ecosystems in the U.S.
Start-up funding for the Wetlands Project was provided
through a $25 million grant from the Richard King Mellon
Foundation (the largest grant ever made by a private
foundation for conservation purposes), but the conservancy
must raise an additional $50 million in public and private
funds over the next five years.
If you wish to help, you can earmark contributions to go to
either the Wetlands Project or the General Fund (the latter
will be used to defray the organization's ongoing operating
expenses). You can learn more by writing to The Nature
Conservancy, 1800 N . Kent St., Arlington, VA 22209,
Attention: Membership Secretary. The annual dues start at
PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN
A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you
— Granville Hick
Formed in 1980, People For The American Way is a
100,000-member, nonpartisan educational organization whose
purpose is to promote and protect the individual rights and
personal freedoms of all Americans. Censorship is one of
the group's main areas of concern. Executive Director
Anthony Podesta explains:
"Through mass media education campaigns and citizen action
programs, People For promotes respect for diversity among
Americans and opposes extremist proposal, that would impose
one narrow way of believing, thinking, working, and living
on all people. We are committed to the basic promise of
liberty and justice for all, individual freedom of thought
and expression, religious liberty and separation of church
and state, support for individual and family rights, and
constitutional democracy—in short, majority rule with
protection for dissenters and minorities."
Contributions are tax-deductible and entitle you to receive
the Quarterly Report, which keeps members
up-to-date on the organization's efforts. People For also
offers Protecting the Freedom to Learn: A Citizen's
Guide (125 pages, $9.50 postpaid), which provides
suggestions on how to support your public schools and
People For The American Way's offices are at 1424 16th St.
N.W,, Suite 601, Washington, DC 20036.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA)
is the nation's largest nonprofit voluntary health agency.
Its membership consists of an elected volunteer board of
directors plus 191 affiliates. PPFA is a member of the
International Planned Parenthood Federation, with member
organizations in 95 countries and headquarters in London.
Planned Parenthood provides its services through more than
700 clinics located in communities throughout the country.
These clinics offer women's health services that include
pregnancy testing, VD testing and treatment, birth control,
pelvic and breast exams, pap smears, and medical
consultation, plus premarital education, counseling, and
referral services for both sexes. Planned Parenthood
charges its patients on a sliding fee scale: The less
income a woman has, the less she pays. As a result,
thousands of people annually receive first-class diagnostic
treatment, and these are largely women who otherwise would
have to live (or die) without it.
PPFA depends on medical fees and contributions for its
financial support, and relies heavily on volunteers to
staff its programs. If you wish to volunteer your time,
make a financial contribution, or avail yourself of Planned
Parenthood services, contact the PPFA clinic nearest you.
If there is no clinic in your area, write to the Planned
Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.. 810 7th Ave., New
York NY 10019.
SEEDS, a hunger-relief organization that was launched in
1977, publishes a magazine with the same name. We'll let
Gary Gunder son—SEEDS editor and one of the
group's founders—tell you about the organization's
"SEEDS focuses on informing, mobilizing, and enlarging the
community of people who respond to domestic and world
hunger. Our office is on the top floor of a church, and we
are unabashedly Christian, though many of our supporters
hold opposing worldviews; re lieving hunger is our
reason for being.
We publish the bimonthly magazine SEEDS and the
newsletter 'Sprouts'. We also put out a few
books—such as our current release, A Guide to
World Hunger Organizations, which advises people how
to give wisely. We offer workshops on providing shelter for
the homeless and other practical relief measures.
Everything SEEDS does offers a handle for personal response
"SEEDS was honored in 1982 with the first annual
Hunger Media Award for best magazine coverage of hunger
issues. We mail SEEDS to just under 5,000 paid
subscribers. Our readership has doubled during the Reagan
administration years—at least in part because of the
large numbers of hungry people showing up on America's
doorsteps. Our primary commitment for the coming year is to
help mobilize the scale and type of response that can end
Africa's crushing hunger crisis and help move the African
people toward the self-sufficiency they clearly would
prefer to our charity "
You can subscribe to SEEDS for $10 a year (222 E.
Lake Dr., Decatur, GA 30030). Contributions over the
subscription price are taxdeductible. They'll be happy to
send you a sample copy for $1.00.
The Sierra Club is the "biggie" of environmental groups. It
was founded by John Muir in 1892 and currently boasts some
350,000 members, 54 grass-roots chapters, 298 special
groups, 180 staff members, ten regional conservation
committees, and ten field offices.
In a letter to members, President Denny Shaffer says, "The
Sierra Club is truly a unique organization, combining
environmental lobbying, litigation, outings, book
publishing, and—most important—grass-roots
activism. The club's work is accomplished, in large part,
through the unpaid, volunteer activities of its members. In
the past two years, our membership has doubled. making the
Sierra Club the fastest-growing conservation group in the
world. This tremendous growth is a testament not only to
the club's 92-year tradition of conservation effectiveness
but also to the increased need for a strong Sierra
Club: The Reagan administration has challenged virtually
every program designed to protect our environment,
wilderness areas, and public health."
A complete list of the Sierra Club's achievements would
fill many more pages than we have available here. Its
current legislative priorities include the reauthorization
of the Clear Air and Clean Water acts, increasing the
budget of the Environmental Protection Agency monitoring
minerals leasing on public lands, and pushing through the
largest number of wilderness bills (30) since the
Wilderness Preservation Act of 1964.
Sierra Club membership is $29 per year and includes a
subscription to the excellent Sierra magazine,
plus a variety of special mailers and "action alerts,"
which are published as needed.
If you'd like to add your voice to the club's, efforts,
write to the Sierra Club, 530 Bush St., San Francisco, CA
ZERO POPULATION GROWTH
There are nearly 4.8 billion people crowding the
world today. That figure represents a doubling since World
War II. At the current rate of growth, the global
population will double again within 40 years (it's
increased nearly 85 million in the last year alone).
Sound like a problem? Overpopulation is, in fact,
the problem of our time ...and the cause of a
majority of the world's other, lesser-by-comparison,
troubles and threats. Someone should do something about it.
And someone is trying to. Zero Population Growth (ZPG) is
now in its sixteenth year of struggling for reproductive
sanity in the world. In 1968 when population biologist and
writer Dr. Paul Erlich and a handful of other concerned
people formed ZPG, the U.S. fertility rate (the average
number of children per childbearing woman) was 2.5-or .5
above '`replacement level." By the early 1980's, the
fertility rate had fallen to 1.8 ...and ZPG played a large
role in bringing about that reduction. But today the
preponderance of teenage girls and older "baby boom" women
having children is combining with a high immigration rate
to reverse the trendmeaning that the U.S., contrary to
popular belief, is not even close to reaching ZPG.
It is, in fact, among the fastest-growing of industrialized
ZPG believes that the well-being and even the
survival of humanity depend on the attainment of a
balance between the Earth's resources, population, and the
Membership is open to any and all 4.8 billion of us and is
currently about 15,000. All contributions to ZPG are
tax-deductible. And contributors receive the bimonthly
newsletter "ZPG Reporter," which contains information on
the activities of the organization, as well as current
population news. Members also receive action alerts, which
inform ZPG's network of activists about important
population-related legislation being considered by
Congress, and suggest ways for members to make their voices
Write to Zero Population Growth at 1346 Connecticut Ave. N
W.. Washington, D.C. 20036.