February Environment Grants Awarded!

The Environment Program awarded 7 grants this grant cycle. Of this group, one is for Latin American Biodiversity Conservation, four for Sustainable Consumption & Production, and one for Media. Additionally, a grant was awarded to the Wildfire Project as part of the Environment Program's increasing focus on 'movement-building.' This does not include six pledge grants, three of which are for Latin American Biodiversity Conservation (Imaflora, Root Capital, and the Wildlife Conservation Society), two for Sustainable Production and Consumption (Environmental Paper Network and NRDC), and one for Media (Grist). Our two new grantees are the New York Harbor Foundation and the Wildfire Project. In total, the Environment Program awarded $205,000. The Foundation is extremely proud of the work of all its grantees, and congratulates them on their many and impressive successes!

Biodiversity Conservation in Latin America

The Overbrook Foundation awarded the Environmental Investigation Agency a renewal grant of $55,000 for General Operating Support. This award comes on the heels of a recent victory for elephant conservation: the Obama Administration's decision to ban virtually all commercial sales of ivory in our out of the U.S., a victory for which EIA deserves no small amount of credit. It also published a widely-cited report on the illegal flow of timber from pristine Russian forests, to Chinese manufacturers, to big name brands in the U.S.

Sustainable Production and Consumption

If acting as watchdog for illegal timber harvesting in vast wildernesses wasn't challenging enough, 350.org aims to keep fossil fuels in the ground - and its production revenues out of the pockets of higher education. It's been mobilizing thousands of college-age students across the U.S. and around the world to push their colleges, universities, and foundations to divest from companies that engage in fossil fuel extraction. A critical endeavor, and one that requires constant pressure. Overbrook was able to award $40,000 to 350.org for General Operating Support.

The Dogwood Alliance - whose mission is to conserve the vast forests in the Southern U.S. through advocating and pushing for sustainable industry practices - has also seen important victories in 2013. It convinced several major companies to use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and pulp, instead of the industry-supported Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and successfully brought its first carbon credit project to market. We hope that our renewal grant of $15,000 will be of use to Dogwood in the continuation of its Paper Campaign and its Carbon Canopy Project.

UPSTREAM, née Product Policy Institute, was awarded a $15,000 grant for its Campaign for Sustainable Products and Packaging. While EIA and Dogwood Alliance focus on keeping the trees in the ground and holding producers accountable, UPSTREAM looks at returning responsibility to manufacturers for products once they've been used. The Campaign aims to prevent marine debris, plastic pollution, climate change emissions, and natural resource depletion through sustainable packaging and product policies. It builds stakeholder literacy and political power to achieve EPR packaging policy in the public’s interest and mobilizes citizens to put public pressure on brands through the Make It, Take It market campaign. It also continues to develop the CRADLE 2 Coalition into a powerful national network to build political support for EPR for additional products.

But recycling and reuse needn't be focused only on man-made pollutants! That's the premise of the New York Harbor Foundation's Billion Oyster Project, for which it was awarded a first-time grant of $35,000. The Foundation - which supports the innovative New York Harbor School on Governor's Island - aims to engage all New Yorkers in re-discovering their waterways. And what better way than through our stomachs? The Foundation is collecting oyster shells from restaurants to be used to build beds for the baby oysters (or "spats") and eventually, provide a home for oysters and the dozens of other flora and fauna that utilize them. Chilled Sauvignon Blanc at happy hour not included.

Media

Sometimes, of course, one wants a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. Real Food Media Project aims to satisfy both through informative visual media, busting 'Big Ag' food myths and supporting alternative sustainable visions. The grant of $25,000 for General Operating Support will also go to the publication of its inaugural film contest, which you can vote on here!.

Movement Building

And if you're still searching for that spark, look no further than the Wildfire Project. Founded by one of the lead architects of the Occupy movement, it fuses political education, skills training, group development, and direct organizing support in a curriculum tailored to specific needs of groups in actions. Too often have movements bloomed, only to wither on the vine through lack of interest or support. But if the movements have had the change to develop strong roots, there is a much greater chance of success for the social, political, economic, and ecological justice we are still lacking. We are proud to be able to support the Wildfire Project through a $20,000 General Operating Support grant.