We have all
probably heard about "activist movements". While the term "activism" often
conjures up images of marches and protests, you don't necessarily have to put on your boots and waive a carboard sign in order to get activated.
In fact, you don't even need to join a group in order to be an activist. All you have to do is live. By example. Or perhaps, live well, by exmaple.
Too vague? Well, leading by example is actually one of the most powerful forms of activism there is. As we like to say here at SaveWithGreen.com, "Champion your own cause". OK, maybe we don't say that. But it still sounds good, right?
Activism, whether it's aim is to bring about social, environmental and/or political change, begins with the individual. It's activist groups that are the ultimate force needed to incite global change. In essence then, one individual can change the world. An activist movement is borne when several individuals unite of like mind - all with the common intent to introduce change. Almost always extending into the world of politics, some activist groups have grown so large they could very well be considered political bodies in their own right.
The Holistic Activist
Activism extends into many areas of our lives. Although the equal rights movement and environmental movement may seem like two separate branches of activism, they are really one and the same. When taking a close look at and comparing the symptoms of an environment plagued by pollution and the symptoms of a global society plagued by inequalities, all of these symptoms begin to point to a single ultimate cause - losing sight and/or not yet realizing humanity's true nature.
It seems logical, in seeking out to understand our own nature, a good place to start would be Mother Nature herself. So if we do indeed take an honest look at the natural world in its current state, surely we will see it has been neglected and set upon a dangerous course. In other words, it's no long stretch to say the endangered state of our natural environment is reflecting to humankind the neglect that has taken place within our own nature.
It is a fact that human beings have become increasingly disconnected with the natural world, which in turn, has been replaced by a connection with materialism, and ultimately, a neglect of our spiritual selves. Not to say that the material world is bad, but rather, that the way in which we have been "materializing" is out of balance - an imbalance which certainly has had a ripple effect. One need only look at the inequalities existing in the global marketplace to see how materialism has allowed itself to be fueled by financial greed.
In terms of societal woes, there are many inequalities and discriminations that still exist today: physical, race, gender and sexual orientation discriminations to name a few. If you stop to think about it, discrimination is essentially the holding back of Love, which generally results from not loving oneself. Surely, this again is a manifestation of losing sight of one's true nature.
In essence, most of the conditions in our environment and societies are manifestations of mankind's bumpy road toward greater self realization. And it is this bumpy road which, despite some ugly scars, has helped us to realize our purpose more fully. They are growing pains, if you will. Sometimes it takes not doing or neglecting a thing to realize just how important that thing is - not just to ourselves, but even more so, to those who are yet to live after we are long gone. It is the activist who can help share this awareness with the masses.
By no means does this path toward greater awareness justify the persecutions and hardships that many people continue to face to this day. The only justification in this regard is the calling forth of human rights activist movements to help put an end to injustice and intolerance, and as always, spread a more heightened awareness.
The real danger is doing absolutely nothing. If we live by action - according to an ever-heightening awareness - and allow ourselves to think outside of our own limited experience, the new lives that come after us will invariably stand to reap even more from humankind's collective growth toward greater self realization and peace on earth. Whether you have children of not, the fact of the matter is that innocent generations are to come and inhabit this planet long after us. We must each hold ourselves responsible toward this reality. This is the mission of the holistic activist.
Environmental & Social Movements
The rest of this page is devoted to activist organizations that are making a difference in this world. All of the below groups are devoted to conservation, economic justice or social causes in one form or another. If you would like to join any of them and help their cause, they will be more then happy to welcome you aboard. These are some of the largest and well organized environmental activist groups in the world. If you would like to tell us about an activist group not listed here, whether it be for environmental/social/political change, please let us know about it.
Audobon Society - One of the longest running conservationist groups in the world, the Audobon Society achieved its earliest success in 1900, when the group urged members of the U.S. Congress to make the trafficking of illegally killed birds a federal crime. Nowadays, the Audobon Society is working within several fronts aimed at conserving and restoring natural ecosystems.
Environmental Defense - Formed forty years ago by a notable group of scientists that now include National Academy of Sciences Member, Dr. Bill Chameides, Environmental Defense uses a unique approach to addressing environmental issues. A U.S. facing organization, their philosophy is that in order to change America, America' corporations must be engaged. The mission of Environmental Defense is to work with businesses directly and in a constructive nonpartisan manner to show that profit can still be had while implementing environmentally safe practices. Getting FedEx to commission hybrid trucks which run 57% farther on a single gallon of fuel was a big accomplishment for ED. Other fleets have already followed suit, including Coca-Cola, U.S. Postal Service and Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
Greenpeace - Call them the doers of the environmental movement, Greenpeace activists undertake hands-on projects, research and innovative protests to instill change. They also aggressively pursue the U.S. Congress for introducing legislation to protect the environment. Started in 1971 when a grassroots group of activists leased a fishing vessel to protest U.S. nuclear testing off of the coast of Alaska, only to be intercepted by the U.S. coast guard, GreenPeace caught the world's attention and has been growing ever since. To this day, Greenpeace undertakes risky expeditions to uncover the truth. CleanEnergyNow.org is another environmental activist group formed by Greenpeace.
Idealist.org - Idealist.org is the one-stop resource for non-profit groups and people looking to connect and make a difference. Idealist not only brings environmentally, socially and globally conscious people together, they help to unite grassroots movements of similar cause. A very active website to say the least, there are nearly 60,000 non-profit groups registered with Idealist.org, all of whom are posting news, jobs, events and volunteer opportunities on a daily basis. Every holistic activist should join Idealist.org.
Interfaith Alliance - When it comes to ensuring the separation of Church of State is as it should be according to the United States Constitution, as well as the religious liberty clause of the First Amendment, the Interfaith Alliance and Interfaith Alliance Foundation are making monumental strides. While it's unfortunate that monumental strides are needed in this area to begin with, it is reassuring to know the 185,000 members and 75 local activist groups making up the Interfaith Alliance are effectively fueling a national grassroots movement that stands for religious and spiritual liberty in the United States. Standing against the funneling of government funds into religious institutions, the Interfaith Alliance sees the role of faith and spirituality as a source of societal healing.
NRDC - The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of the most powerful environmental lobbyists in the world. With over 1.2 million members committed to protecting the Earth's wildlife and natural resources to ensure a healthy environment for all living things, NRDC has great influence in making political change. Named one of America's 100 best charities by Worth Magazine and given four out of four stars by CharityNavigator.org, many other people think so too. Several well known environmentalists, scientists and activists make up NRDC's Board, including the influential actor and American icon, Robert Redford. NRDC also runs the BioGems Initiative (formed in 2001), which is specifically geared toward protecting imperiled ecosystems. With over half-a-million members, BioGems is growing fast. Past and current projects include persuading Congress to reject proposals to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a proposal to log 2.4 million acres in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. BioGems is also working with indigenous communities in Canada to help them protect over 10 million acres of ancient boreal forest and has championed a movement to protect the Emerald Coast of Florida's panhandle.
Oceana.org - Oceana is a global non-profit group committed to helping protect and regenerate the world's ocean's. With over 300,000 members and Web activists in over 150 countries, Oceana's reach is long and powerful. They are focused on several ocean-related campaigns, including global warming, seafood contamination, overfishing, overfishing subsidies, saving krill, saving dolphins, safeguarding sharks, and putting an end to destructive trawling and dredging. Join their website for free and start helping spread their message to save the world's oceans and sea life.
RAN - Like Environmental Defense, the Rainforest Action Network seeks to push companies to balance profit and principles. Specifically working toward protecting the world's rainforests by educating indigenous communities and organizing non-violent grassroots movements, Rainforest Action Network has made considerable strides in drumming up public support and convincing businesses to hold themselves environmentally accountable. RAN has helped protect millions of acres of forests in Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Canada and elsewhere. They also organize grassroots movements to end America's oil dependence.
Surfrider Foundation - For over twenty years, the Surfrider Foundation has served as a leading grassroots movement to protect the worlds waterways. Although primarily active in the U.S. with over 50,000 members and 60 national chapters, the Surfrider Foundation has five additional branches in other countries. What makes the Surfrider Foundation unique is that their membership is made up of beach and ocean enthusiasts, including surfers, bodyboarders, divers and kayakers. Who better else to protect the U.S. coastlands than the surfers who call it home.
World Wildlife Fund - Since 1961, the WWF has been funding conservation projects around the world. Currently funding over 2,000 conservation projects, the World Wildlife Fund has the financial resources to get things done. Thriving off of donor contributions, the WWF has extended its reach into 100 countries and has had influential talks with the World Bank and European Commission. Their mission statement is to conserve the planet's biological diversity, sustain the use of renewable natural resources, and mitigating pollution and wasteful consumption.