Thirty years of hope and resistance: Friends of the Earth celebrates founding anniversary

June 8, 2001

On Sunday June 10th, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) will celebrate its founding thirty years ago with the release of a special publication and the launch of a new logo and visual identity.From the few individuals who came together with the dream of creating an international environmental network of groups working for environmental protection and social justice in 1971, Friends of the Earth has grown into a global federation with 66 national member groups. FoEI currently has nearly one million members around the world, and unites some 5,000 local grassroots groups in South, North, East and West.

Grassroots Resistance

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, FoEI is releasing Sparks of Hope, Fires of Resistance: the Sustainable Path Forward. [1] This unique publication highlights Friends of the Earth's alternatives to ongoing environmentally and socially destructive trends related to economic globalisation. A moving testament to community-based action, it documents some of the real, viable solutions to environmental problems that are being implemented by our member groups. From Ecuador to England and from Sri Lanka to Switzerland, the publication’s 35 stories from 27 nations portray the vision, determination, and brave resistance that characterise FoEI's member groups.

In Costa Rica, teaching poor women farmers how to cultivate butterflies for export generates income and preserves biodiversity. In Poland, children threatened by the effects of severe agricultural pollution are provided with organic produce. In the Middle East, a Bedouin community that has never had electricity is transformed with solar power. And in Benin, a new garden for medicinal plants is becoming a thriving centre for endangered biodiversity and traditional pharmacology.Sparks of Hope, Fires of Resistance: the Sustainable Path Forward also features FoEI's new visual identity and logo, both of which reflect the organisation's dynamism and coherence as we move into the new millennium. 

and Global Mobilisation

Several FoEI campaigns on pressing global issues have also met with recent success:

  • In May, Royal Dutch Shell dropped its plans to explore for gas in Pakistan's Kirthar National Park. FoEI welcomed this unexpected move, as we were pursuing a major legal case against Shell in the Pakistani courts. [2]
  • We continue to play a leading role in the growing movement against genetically modified agriculture. FoE's discovery last year of illegal genetically manipulated maize marketed by Aventis in the human food chain, for example, set off a series of events that sent the US biotech industry into turmoil. [3]
  • FoEI has a strong presence at the ongoing negotiations about dangerous climate change. Friends of the Earth mobilised thousands of people to come to build a Dike in The Hague last November, and will bring thousands more to Bonn, Germany in July to construct a Lifeboat [4]. FoE Europe's recent "Flood Bush" electronic protest resulted in over 100,000 protest messages being sent to the White House regarding the US President's refusal to adhere to climate commitments. [5]
  • We have helped to prevent the passage of destructive trade and investment treaties, including the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and the Millennium Round of the World Trade Organisation. [6]

notes to editors:

[1] Sparks of Hope, Fires of Resistance: the Sustainable Path Forward, FoEI's 30th anniversary publication, can be downloaded or ordered at http://www.foei.org
[2] For more information, see http://www.foei.org/whatsnew/9_may_Pakistan.htm
[3] For more information, see http://www.foe.org/safefood/moreoncorn.html
[4] Visit http://www.foeeurope.org/lifeboat/ for details of the July 21st Lifeboat action in Bonn.
[5] For more information, see http://www.foei.org/whatsnew/12_april_Bush.htm
[6] For more information, see http://www.foei.org/campaigns/TES/indextes.html

For further information contact:

FoE groups from around the world will celebrate FoEI's 30th anniversary in Gothenburg, Sweden on Sunday June 10th. A major international conference entitled Sustainability and Solidarity: Europe's Way to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, is being organised by FoE Europe and FoE Sweden from June 12th through 14th.

To talk with FoE campaigners in Sweden, please contact:

Ann Doherty,
FoEI Communications
Mob: 31 614 243 231
Email: info@foei.org

Malin Månsson,
FoE Sweden
Mob: 46 (0) 70 338 56 35

FoE Australia national liaison office
Mob: 0419 338 047
Email: foe@foe.org.au