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Green Corps’ Mission
Green Corps was founded in 1992 by leading environmental advocates with an important mission: to train the next generation of environmental leaders while making a difference on critical environmental campaigns. Green Corps' niche is working at the grassroots level, bringing people into the movement. We train talented young people to become environmental leaders while tackling important issue campaigns.
Over the last twenty years, Green Corps has graduated nearly 300 emerging environmental leaders from our yearlong Environmental Leadership Training Program, with eighty-five percent of our graduates continuing their careers in the environmental and social change field. Today, our graduates work as executive directors, field directors, campaigners, advocates and grassroots organizers with leading regional and national groups such as the Sierra Club, Climate Solutions, FUSE Washington, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, and Environment America.
Since our founding in 1992, Green Corps has partnered with more than 100 environmental organizations, provided critical field support to one hundred campaigns, and secured dozens of significant victories in conservation, and public health. Green Corps work has helped dozens of local communities reduce air pollution, eliminate toxic pollution threats, curb global warming pollution, and protect forests and wild places – enhancing the health and welfare of citizens across the country. In addition, each Green Corps organizer typically educates more than 1,500 citizens about environmental issues through their campaign work and trains 20-50 volunteers. We also reach tens of thousands of citizens through our media outreach in newspapers and on television through our conservation and public health issue campaigns.
Green Corps’ work in Washington
Approximately 5% of our membership is from Western Washington. In Green Corps’ work in Washington over the years, we have protected children from harmful chemicals and from air pollution that causes childhood asthma. Likewise, in our campaign to get cleaner cars on to Washington roads, we have worked to stop sources of air pollution before they impact children, who are already experiencing asthma at historically high levels.
Green Corps’ Environmental Leadership Training Program reaches across the state. Each year, we recruit recent college graduates from colleges and universities in University of Washington, including University of Washington, Evergreen State College, Gonzaga University, Pacific Lutheran University, Whitman College, and Washington State University. In addition, our campaigns are state-based, educating and involving multiple communities.
In the past three years, our organizers working in Washington have focused on exposing the health risks of bottled water through a partnership with Corporate Accountability International. In the past decade, there has been a significant expansion of bottled water production and consumption in the United States. Unfortunately, much of the time, bottled water is essentially less-regulated tap water. There are environmental costs to this product: the manufacturing and shipping of it requires enormous amounts of energy and many bottles are thrown away instead of recycled. Also, when municipalities decide to purchase bottled water, it undercuts confidence in our public water infrastructure. This means many individuals actually buy bottled water out of concern for their health when in fact they could be better off drinking tap water.
To tackle this issue in the Seattle area, a Green Corps organizer worked with Corporate Accountability International to educate citizens about the issues of water scarcity and the value of municipal water in 2009, 2010 and 2011. From January to April in 2009, the organizer and her 8 volunteers delivered 150 handwritten letters to Governor Gregoire in Olympia, Washington. After delivering the letters, they had a sit-down meeting with the Governor’s Policy Advisor on the Environment, Kathleen Drew. From February through April of 2010 a Green Corps organizer convinced 8 out of the 9 members of the Seattle City Council and the Mayor through educational meetings to sign a personal pledge committing to no longer buying bottled water. Finally, from February through April of 2011, a Green Corps organizer convinced 17 business establishments and over 200 individuals in Olympia, WA to pledge to go bottle water free.