By John LaRose, International Living Future Institute
John LaRose is Development Manager for the International Living Future Institute. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.228.5533.
Fresh into his second term in office, President Obama has twice given environmentalists a very public glimmer of hope that meaningful climate legislation is on the horizon.
The president spoke eloquently about the need to address climate change in his Inaugural Address last month, and though the excerpt was short in length (85 seconds) and details, optimists took it as a sign that the Obama Administration would finally tackle the environmental issues we face today.
More recently, in the State of the Union Address, the president vowed that if Congress could not work together and come up with a solution, the executive branch would use its authority to transition to alternative energy and prepare for the effects of a changing climate. Whether these promises result in any significant breakthrough remains to be seen. And as any environmental advocate is well aware, the path to action on the federal level is mired with obstacles and is painfully slow.
But this political inaction hasn’t slowed the environmental movement. Rather, the inertia of the federal government is galvanizing nonprofits and NGOs to raise awareness around climate change and alternative energy sources and to offer strategies for action at all levels. Tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations in the United States are dedicated to protecting and preserving our natural resources at the local, national and international scales. Though these organizations vary in scope and influence, collectively they help keep the pressure on politicians and ensure that these critical issues stay in the mainstream.
Just as importantly, these organizations can offer an outlet for individuals from around the world to unite under a common cause through membership. For decades, nonprofits have relied on the support of members, while providing members access to a network of likeminded change agents. When you become a member, you help direct real action, whether through voting privileges, by serving on committees or participating at events or rallies. Further, membership enables you financially contribute to a cause you believe in and to provide support to organizations working to make positive change.
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