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Environmental Defense (ED), formally Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), is a Non-profit organization that raises $27.8 million in its total programs. They are supported mainly by member donations and grants.They have a staff of 170, which includes 75 full time scientists, economists and attorneys. Their headquarters are in New York City with regional offices located in other major cities in the USA. The ED was founded in 1967 by volunteer conservationists on Long Island to ban the use of the pesticide DDT. In 1972 DDT was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with help from the then EDF. The issues that the ED focuses on are broad range, stemming from regional to international. They have become a leader in advocating economic incentives as a method to solve the world’s environmental problems.

One of their most noteworthy programs is the Safe Harbor Program. They sell it as “Mak[ing] the Endangered species act work the way it was intended to work.” The program offers incentives to private landowners, who have endangered species on their property, to protect those species. The protection can include restoring the habitats or creating conflicts. Eighty one percent of America’s habitats are on private land, which creates great overlap for endangered species, this is why they have the program. Also “Nearly 90% of America’s protected species have some of their habitat on private land.” Because of the wariness of home owners to have an endangered species on their property (due to government intervention) the species often go on neglected. But with the Safe Harbor program the land owners can be more flexible. The Safe Harbor has helped the following species: The San Joaquin kit fox; the northern Aplomado falcon, panthers in Florida, golden-cheeked warblers in Texas and long leaf pine forests in Georgia.

They also have another project in motion, working with BP-Amaco and Shell to reduce emissions and stop the release of greenhouse gasses. Another program of ED’s is a protection of coastal waters (mainly in California) from overfishing. They helped pass a law that protects the fish, as well as underwater habitats such as coral reefs. The ED is pioneering safeguards in factory farms in Colorado and North Carolina. These farms produce massive, and harmful quantities of animal waste. The ED has worked with UPS to design shipping packages and envelopes that can be reused and otherwise better for the environment.

The various programs that ED has set-up make it one of the most influential environmental groups of the new century, but because it is member supported (like most environmental groups) it can only go on with support.

Quotes and information taken from the Enviromental Defense website www.edf.com

See how your town is doing at ED’s www.scorecard.com

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