Friends of the Earth
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (November 2010)|
|Focus(es)||Environmentalism and Human rights|
|Volunteers||some 5,000 local activist groups|
|Members||75 national member groups|
Friends of the Earth was founded in 1969 as an anti nuclear group by Robert O Anderson who contributed $200,000 in personal funds to launch FOTE with David Brower, Donald Aitken and Jerry Mander after Brower's split with the Sierra Club. FOTE main mission was to lock up and prevent further development of nuclear energy. Their first employee was Amory Lovins, who kicked off FOE in the UK. It became an international network in 1971 with a meeting of representatives from the U.S., Sweden, the UK and France. For further historical details see articles on the national FOE organizations.
FoEI is assisted by a small secretariat (based in Amsterdam, Netherlands) which provides support for the network and its agreed major campaigns. The executive committee of elected representatives from national groups set policy and oversee the work of the secretariat. In 2010 Nigerian activist Nnimmo Bassey was elected to serve as chair of Friends of the Earth International.
Friends of the Earth considers environmental issues in their social, political and human rights contexts. Their campaigns stretch beyond the traditional arena of the conservation movement and seek to address the economic and development aspects of sustainability. Originally based largely in North America and Europe, its membership is now heavily weighted toward groups in the developing world.
The current campaign priorities of Friends of the Earth internationally are:
- economic justice and resisting neoliberalism
- forests and biodiversity
- food sovereignty
- climate justice and energy
The campaign priorities are set at the bi-annual general meeting of Friends of the Earth International.
In addition to the priority campaign areas Friends of the Earth International has a number of other campaign areas which are active internationally. They include:
- mining and extractive industries
- nuclear power (see nuclear debate)
- consumption and intensive meat production (see Meat Atlas)
All FoE International campaigns incorporate elements of three core themes which are:
- protecting human and environmental rights
- protecting the planet's disappearing biodiversity
- the repayment of ecological debt owed by rich countries to those they have exploited.
Friends of the Earth groups
The Friends of the Earth organizations in each country are themselves many-tiered networks reaching from individual activists up to the national pressure group which campaigns for environmentally progressive and sustainable policies. The groups and activists at all levels also carry out educational and research activities.
Friends of the Earth groups are required to act independently of party political, religious or other influences; be open, democratic and non-discriminatory in their internal structures; and be willing to cooperate with other organizations who are working for the same goals. These are conditions of remaining a member of FOEI.
The national groups work on the main issues affecting their own country and choose to participate in the international campaigns of FoEI which are relevant to them. In turn, the local campaigners can work on local, national and/or international campaigns.
Structure of the network
The member organization in a particular country may name itself Friends of the Earth or an equivalent translated phrase in the national language, e.g., Friends of the Earth (US), Friends of the Earth (EWNI) (England Wales and Northern Ireland), Amigos de la Tierra (Spain and Argentina). However, roughly half of the member groups work under their own names, sometimes reflecting an independent origin and subsequent accession to the network, such as ERA (FOE Nigeria) and WALHI (FOE Indonesia).
Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is supported by a secretariat based in Amsterdam, and an executive committee known as ExCom. The ExCom is elected by all member groups at a general meeting held every two years, and it is the ExCom which employs the secretariat. At the same general meeting, overall policies and priority activities are agreed.
In addition to work which is coordinated at the FoEI level, national member groups are free to carry out their own campaigns and to work bi- or multi-laterally as they see fit, as long as this does not go against agreed policy at the international level.
The Meat Atlas is an annual report on the methods and impact of industrial animal agriculture. The publication consists of 27 short essays and visualises facts about the production and consumption of meat with the help of graphs. The Meat Atlas is jointly published by Friends of the Earth and Heinrich Böll Foundation.
- Mark Gordon, Wyoming state treasurer was his state's representative to Friends of the Earth board in the early 1980s.
- Jay Kay, frontman of the funk/acid jazz group Jamiroquai, is known for donating a part of the profits earned from his album sales to Friends of the Earth and Oxfam, among other things.
- Dominique Voynet, who ran in the 1995 and 2007 French presidential elections in the "les verts" parti, or Green Party is a member.
- Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead has publicly supported a number of Friends of the Earth campaigns.
Support for The Big Ask
Among those present at the launch of Friends of the Earth (EWNI)'s climate change campaign The Big Ask were: Jude Law, Edith Bowman, Sian Lloyd, Ross Burden, David Cameron, David Miliband, Thom Yorke, Stephen Merchant, Michael Eavis, and Emily Eavis.
- Friends of the Earth Europe, Brussels
- Young Friends of the Earth Europe, Brussels
- fr:Les Amis de la Terre-France, France
- fr:Les AmiEs de la Terre de Québec, Canada
- Amigos de la tierra, Spain
- Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland, Germany
- Environmental Rights Action(FOE Nigeria)
- Friends of the Earth (EWNI), England, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Friends of the Earth Canada
- Friends of the Earth Scotland
- Friends of the Earth (US)
- Green Action, Croatia
- Hnutí DUHA, Czech Republic
- Milieudefensie, Netherlands
- Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature, Norway
- WALHI (FOE Indonesia)
- Friends of the Earth Australia
- Friends of the Earth Malta
- Friends of the Earth Middle East
- Amigu di Tera, Curaçao
- Sobrevivencia - Amigos de la Tierra PY, Paraguay
- AmiGoS dA TeRRa - BraSiL
- Magyar Természetvédok Szövetsége / Friends of the Earth Hungary 
- Priatelia Zeme Slovensko (Friends of the Earth Slovakia) 
- KFEM Korea Federation for Environmental Movements (Friends of the Earth South Korea) KFEM
- Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.
- Friends of the Earth International
- Friends of the Earth Europe
- Article on the French branch of Friends of the Earth "Multinationals : Ecologists See Red"
- Young Friends of the Earth Europe
- "About Friends of the Earth International". Friends of the Earth International. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
- Gibson, Donald (2002-01-01). Environmentalism: Ideology and Power. Nova Publishers. pp. 64, 65, 86. ISBN 1590331494. Retrieved 2013-08-06. "Robert O Anderson... provided seed money for the creation of Friends of the Earth"
- Washington Hunt, George (2009). "The Big Bad Bank". Retrieved 2013-08-06. "Robert O. Anderson contributed $200,000 in personal funds to launch the radical environmental group, Friends of The Earth"
- Washington Hunt, George. The Big Bad Bank. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
- FOEI History
- Focus on Nnimmo Bassey and ERA, Friends of the Earth International.
- FoEI Campaigns
- Friends of the Earth Europe: New report - International ‘Meat atlas’, Jan 09, 2014
- FoEI Membership Criteria
- FOEI Membership Criteria
- FoEI Secretariat
- FoEI Structure
- Meat Atlas, Friends of the Earth, download Meat Atlas as pdf
- Radiohead's Thom Yorke to guest-edit Observer Magazine published March 20, 2008.
- Friends of the Earth report of The Big Ask launch
- Friends of the Earth Europe, We are fed up: 30,000 march in Berlin, 19 January 2014