"NGO," meaning "non-governmental organization," is a relatively new term for something that has been around for decades: groups of citizens organized to advocate improvement of some particular kind. Groups of citizens have organized at all geographic scales - from the neighborhood to the globe - to tackle environmental problems of common concern. In many cases, the web sites maintained by such groups provide important information about - and critical perspectives on - environmental matters.
Special note to geographers:
NGOs are not any place to get rich, but many of them do offer geographers fulfilling professional opportunities. Many of the sites below include employment pages. Even if you are not actively looking for a job yet, visit such pages to start learning about the NGO job market.
As with all of my pages, please feel free to suggest additions by e-mail: jhayesboh@bridgew.edu.

Human Rights and the Environment

The Americas Project explores issues of democracy and human rights in the hemisphere. It is a joint venture of the World Policy Institute (New York) and Bay Area Institute/Pacific News Service (San Francisco). The Project recognizes internationally-accepted definitions of human rights, as codified in the United Nations Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and other international documents. It addresses the overlap between human rights and environmental problems. This is good for those who claim that environmentalists are disinterested in human suffering. Quite the contrary: human suffering is often directly connected to environmental problems.

The Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF's) Scorecard is an easy-to-use interface with government reports about chemical pollutants. Use it to find pollution sources in any community in the United States, and to find out the health effects of over 5,000 chemicals.

The Center for Watershed Protection works with local, state, and
federal governmental agencies, environmental consulting firms, watershed
organizations, and the general public to provide objective and scientifically sound
information on effective techniques to protect and restore urban watersheds.

This site is has a wealth of information about watersheds from geographic, hydrologic, biologic, and regulatory perspectives.

Sierra Club is one of America's oldest environmental organizations; it emphasizes the preservation and appreciation of wilderness. My friend Rex Bouvesett manages the web site for the Iowa City, Iowa Chapter.
The Nature Conservancy is "Nature's real estate agent." Among environmental organizations, we fill a unique niche: preserving habitats and species by buying the lands and waters they need to survive. 

The Nature Conservancy operates the largest private system of nature sanctuaries in the world--more than 1,500 reserves in the United States alone. Some are postage stamp size, others cover thousands of acres. All of them safeguard imperiled species of plants and animals.

Environmental Defense Since 1967, Environmental Defense (formerly Environmental Defense Fund) has linked science, economics and law to create innovative, equitable and cost-effective solutions to society's most urgent environmental problems.
Greenpeace is another important environmental organization, with a focus on pollution and protection of marine animals.
Green Network GreenNet supports a progressive community working for Peace, the Environment, Gender Equality and Social Justice, through the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The International Fund for Animal Welfare -- headquartered on Cape Cod in Yarmouth Port -- works to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world by reducing commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress.

The Land Trust Alliance promotes voluntary land conservation and strengthens the land trust movement.

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is a nonprofit, public interest, member supported environmental advocacy organization, which uses a wide variety of strategies to find solutions for
New England's most pressing environmental and public health problems. Its toolbox includes legal skill, of course, but also technical expertise in science, economics and policy making.

The Institute for Cultural Landscape Studies at Harvard University works in the overlap among three interrelated fields: historic preservation, natural areas conservation, and land use planning.

ALBC-USA The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy works on an important but little-discussed environmental problem. Modern agriculture achieves high productivity at the expense of diversity with crop and livestock species. The ALBC works diligently to preserve strains of livestock that might otherwise become extinct. See the web site for  information about why this is important and lists of endangered breeds.
The Cyberpanda site is dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of pandas, of which only about 1000 remain in the world.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) researches and implements strategies for cheetah conservation in its natural habitat. From its Namibian base, the CCF works with countries that have wild cheetah populations.

Rain forest Action Network - just what the name implies.

Defenders of the Rain forest is a British student environmental group.

Earth WINS is dedicated to supporting activism for the environment, peace, justice, human rights, Native Americans, and Indigenous peoples with a special emphasis on unsafe mining and reform of corporate law and business practices. At this site, people can obtain and distribute news and information about activism around the world, as well as a place where people can share their ideas, stories, visions and prayers for/about humanity and Mother Earth.

Bridging The Gap (BTG), a Kansas City based not-for-profit organization, unites the business community, local government, and citizens in a common search for solutions to environmental problems. Since 1991, BTG has been intimately involved in community based environmental action in greater Kansas City, including waste prevention, environmental education, residential recycling, and the promotion of business recycling efforts. I mention it here because I used to live in Kansas City (long before BTG was established) and also because this broad-based community effort might be a good model for other urban areas.
World Wildlife Fund is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife habitat. 

Worldwatch Institute monitors trends in population and critical resources. World Resources Institute does similar work and has a somewhat stronger reputation for reliability.

EarthFirst! is a self-described radical environmental group, known for its association with a protest/sabatoge strategy known as monkeywrenching. Both of the EarthFirsters I've met (including founder Dave Forman) have left for more mainstream environmental efforts, but EarthFirst is still around, publishing a journal both on paper and online (though I note it has not posted any issues since before September 11, 2001. Earth First

Paul Ehrlich and the Population Bomb is a Public Broadcasting Service documentary about the work that introduced the term "population explosion." The Population Bomb web site displays a constantly updated estimate of the world's population and covers any aspects of population growth.
One kind of NGO is the professional association. The National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) is an excellent resource, both for environmental professionals and for students of the environment. Student membership is available. Even if you are not a member, the library at NAEP's web site is an excellent source of information about environmental protection, industrial monitoring, and the like.

The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is a formal alliance of major faith groups and denominations across the spectrum of Jewish and Christian communities and organizations in the United States. This article explains some of the thinking of behind the group. 

The Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE) is a research institute at Tufts University dedicated to promoting a better understanding of how societies can pursue their economic and community goals in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. 

Any questions? Contact me at jhayesboh@bridgew.edu.
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Bridgewater State College
Revised: January 10th, 2007