"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead
US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 - 1978)


Grassroots activism has played an important role throughout history including the environmental movement. In 1970, some activists got together and created the first Earthday. Interestingly enough, there were no computers at the time and through letter writing and phone calls, a small group of activists were able to create a global phenomenon, one which has been carried forth ever since. Thanks to Senator Gaylord Nelson for all his hard work in bringing together the world to start paying attention to the environment. His efforts led to a full blown environmental movement that finally is maintstream.

The other amazing thing about this one action was that as a result, even got the attention of the federal government. The EPA was established and bi-partisanship worked hard to pass critical environmental laws:

There are endless examples of grassroots activism where people and communities come together to bring attention to an important issue and work to solve important challenges.

As environmental issues have come to the forefront of global issues, people continue to work together to protect the environment. Creating a college Campus Zero Waste Program, getting a school to ban bottled water, creating student sustainability centers, building campus bike loan programs, working with campus cafeterias to compost and buy local food, are all examples of student grassroots action that is sweeping the world.

Educational campaigns are a great way to interface with the public and create community dialogue but there are many opportunities to encourage people to speak up and support campus, state and national initiatives. Especially on Earth Day, it is great to do a letter writing campaign or petition drive on a recycling issue. There are many opportunities for providing education and support on issues that effect recycling and waste reduction. This can be a good opportunity to get students to write letters to the University administration in support of campus recycling or maybe another environmental issue on campus. The Grassroots Recycling Network always has some excellent campaigns going that are pertinent to college campus interest. Check the web site for more info. on their different activities and legislative updates (click logo below).

Don't just sit there and complain-Activate! Become part of the solution! All is possible.

Don't forget to include grassroots ideas when working with colleges to be green.

Handbook on grassroots activism:

Watch Earthdays, a video on the history of the Environmental Movement:


The GrassRoots Recycling Network

Greenpeace Organizing Term -
The Greenpeace Organizing Term is a semester of advanced training for student activists. It's action-filled and the best hands-on training for students to become environmental leaders.

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