Environmental defense

Environmental Defense Fund
Founded 1967
Area served United States, Latin America, Caribbean, Asia, international
Focus(es) Environmentalism
Method(s) Science, economic incentives, partnerships, nonpartisan policy
Revenue $98.1 million USD (2011)[1]
Employees Approx. 340[2]
Members Over 700,000[3]
Motto "Finding the ways that work"
Website edf.org

Environmental Defense Fund or EDF (formerly known as Environmental Defense) is a United States–based nonprofit environmental advocacy group. The group is known for its work on issues including global warming, ecosystem restoration, oceans, and human health, and advocates using sound science, economics and law to find environmental solutions that work. It is nonpartisan, and its work often advocates market-based solutions to environmental problems.

The group's headquarters are in New York City, with offices nationwide, and scientists and policy specialists working worldwide. Regional offices more focused on local issues and policies include: Austin, TX; Boulder, CO; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Sacramento, CA; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh, North Carolina; Boston, MA.

Fred Krupp has served as its president since 1984.[4] In 2011, Krupp was named by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to a group of experts who will make recommendations to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations.[5]

In 1991, The Economist called EDF "America's most economically literate green campaigners."[6] The organization was ranked first among environmental groups in a 2007 Financial Times global study of 850 business-nonprofit partnerships,[7] and received a four star-rating from Charity Navigator, the independent charity evaluator.[8]


The organization's founders, including Art Cooley,[9] George Woodwell and Charles Wurster,[10][11] Dennis Puleston, Victor Yannacone and Robert Smolker discovered in the mid-1960s that the osprey and other large raptors were rapidly disappearing. Their research uncovered a link between the spraying of DDT to kill mosquitos and thinning egg shells of large birds. They successfully sought a ban on DDT in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. They then succeeded in banning DDT statewide. They then took their efforts nationally.[12][13][14]

Areas of work

  • Climate and energy - EDF aims to reduce the pollution and curtail global warming, with strategies including overhauling U.S. energy systems, protecting the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s limits on pollution, training new climate/energy leaders, and slowing deforestation in Brazil and the Amazon rainforest.[15]
  • Oceans - The organization works to protect marine ecosystems by creating sustainable fisheries, promoting the use of catch shares, and preserving fragile habitats like coral reefs.[16] Geographical focus of Oceans programs include Belize, Cuba, the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, and the South Atlantic.[17]
  • Health programs focus on cutting air pollution from utilities and transportation systems, reforming U.S. toxic chemicals policy, and working with corporations like Walmart to make safer products.[18]
  • Ecosystems - EDF works to promote ecosystem-friendly policy, helping landowners benefit from healthier land, water and wildlife. They work to restore river flows and native river bank habitat, broker agreements with landowners to protect endangered species, and partner with farmers and ranchers to improve habitat and water quality.[19]
  • Corporate partnerships - EDF has a long history of partnerships with corporations, fund managers, landowners, farmers, fishermen, and other groups.[20] The organization receives no funding directly from its corporate partners,[21] however it does receive millions in funding from organizations with strong corporate ties, such as the Walton Family Foundation.[22]
  • Environmental economics - The organization promotes the use of markets and incentives to help solve environmental problems.[23] Examples of this approach at work include catch shares the cap-and-trade plan written into the Clean Air Act (United States).[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]

Key accomplishments

Key accomplishments of Environmental Defense Fund include:


EDF has drawn criticism for its ties to large corporations including McDonald’s, FedEx, Walmart,[112] and the Texas energy company TXU, with which the organization has negotiated to reduce emissions and develop more environmentally friendly business practices. EDF’s philosophy is that it is willing to talk with big business and try new approaches in order to get environmental results.[113][114]

Fisheries conservation

A 2009 op-ed piece by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Association in the trade journal Fishermen's News argues that EDF's approach to fisheries policy in the Pacific Northwest is likely to damage smaller, local operators who have an interest in protecting fisheries and limiting by-catch. Many fisherman fear that the approach gives a competitive advantage to larger, non-local operations, jeopardizing independent operators, including boats, fisheries, and ports.[115]

But with a report suggesting economic waste in some of the world's commercial fisheries,[116] EDF argues that the way we manage our fisheries needs to change if we want to protect fishermen, fish, and coastal communities. EDF advocates an approach:[83] catch shares, which sets a scientifically based limit on the total amount of fish that can be caught; that amount is then divided among individuals or groups, who can sell their shares or lease them to fishermen. EDF suggests that concern about consolidation or corporate ownership of fisheries is unwarranted.[84]

EDF has been accused of funding and disseminating studies [117] that utilize questionable science and economics [118] in their promotion of catch share fishery management. Additionally, they have employed substantial political lobbying [119][120] to promote fisheries policies that tend to force out smaller fishing businesses in favor of consolidated, corporate owned fleets,[121] while denying any adverse effects these programs have on fishing families and communities.[122] EDF has held meetings with private investors [123] where their West Coast vice president, David Festa, promoted the purchase of fishing rights as an investment that can yield 400% profits, and “options value” despite their claims [122] that these rights are designed to provide financial incentives for the fishermen themselves. Multiple non-profit organizations have expressed repeated frustrations [124][125][126] with EDF and their promotion of these management schemes. Recent studies [127][128][129] show that despite EDF’s claims, catch shares do not end overfishing and typically result in no long term environmental gains.

Natural gas

EDF sees natural gas as a way to quickly replace coal, with the idea that gas in time will be replaced by renewable energy.[130] The organization presses for stricter environmental controls on gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing[131], and has funded studies jointly with the petroleum industry on the environmental effects of natural gas production. The policy has been criticized by some environmentalists.[132] EDF counsel and blogger Mark Brownstein answered:

"Demand for natural gas is not going away, and neither is hydraulic fracturing. We must be clear-eyed about this, and fight to protect public health and the environment from unacceptable impacts. We must also work hard to put policies in place that ensure that natural gas serves as an enabler of renewable power generation, not an impediment to it. We fear that those who oppose all natural gas production everywhere are, in effect, making it harder for the U.S. economy to wean itself from dirty coal."[133]

See also

Sustainable development portal
Environment portal
Ecology portal
Earth_sciences portal
Energy portal


Further reading

External links

  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Fightglobalwarming.com (In partnership with the Ad Council)
  • OceansAlive.org
  • Animax Entertainment
  • EnvironmentalDefence.ca
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