Friends of the Earth has been concerned with nuclear safety as a principal and foundational issue since the inception of the organization in California in 1969 – just two years after the first reactor began operation at San Onofre (now closed). The controversial plans for building two more reactors at the site were strongly opposed by environmentalists, local citizens, and Friends of the Earth through the 1970's and 1980's. One of the main safety concerns for Friends of the Earth and others at that time was that San Onofre lay close to major seismic fault lines. Decades before the tragic events at Fukushima in 2011, the risk of catastrophic accident triggered by earthquakes was clear.
Friends of the Earth strives for a more healthy and just world. We understand that the challenges facing our planet call for more than half measures, so we push for the reforms that are needed, not merely the ones that are politically easy. Sometimes, this involves speaking uncomfortable truths to power and demanding more than people think is possible. It's hard work. But the pressures facing our planet and its people are too important for us to compromise.
We are members of Friends of the Earth International, a global network representing more than two million activists in 76 different countries. In the United States, we advocate in the halls of Congress, in state capitals, and with community groups around the country. With offices in Washington, DC and San Francisco, and members in all 50 states, we urge policymakers to defend the environment and work towards a healthy environment for all people.
What we do
Friends of the Earth, 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 our successful campaigns over our 42-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.
What makes us different
- We fight for what’s needed over the longer term for all creatures on our planet, not for what is easy or popular in the short term.
- We are a loud and fearless voice for the environment — and have been one for 42 years.
- We act globally and locally. Worldwide collaboration is a powerful tool, which is why we are a part the world’s largest environmental network, with activists in 76 countries.
- We know that solving deep-rooted environmental problems requires exposing and fighting the economic forces that fuel them.
- We employ a variety of tactics — from policy analysis, to grassroots activism, to litigation, to creative communications — in order to win campaigns.