A Giraffe has been sighted in New York & D.C
Carl Ross believes that grass roots activism can change the
world, and hes dedicating his life to that belief. As co-founder
of Save Americas Forests (SAF), a nonprofit lobbying group,
Ross lobbies daily against forces that want to cut old growth
and against fellow environmentalists who disagree with his tactics.
He has been attacked in the press and even had angry environmentalists
storm his office. They might well find him there in the middle
nightRoss works so late and starts so early, he often sleeps
in the office.
Ross and two partners who later left the group, started SAF in 1990
as a national network that would enlist all environmental groups in
a coalition to press for the legislation that would save Americas
trees. It hasnt worked out that smoothly.
Through unrelenting lobbying and educating of politicians, tiny SAF
has repeatedly attracted strong congressional support for forest-protection
bills. Ross works to rally environmental groups behind the bills in
question, but some well-funded national groups have proposed separate
bills and then accused Ross of undermining their efforts. In spite of
all difficulties, Ross is undaunted. His viewpoint: "We got the
movement out of the doldrums.
Lobbying politicians and rallying grassroots environmental groups are
only parts of SAFs work. Another major thread is training the
next generation of environmental activists. SAF regularly has 10-12
interns learning environmental law and the political process. Many of
them go on to careers in places such as the Natural Resources Division
of the Justice Department.
SAF also provides citizen education. Their website <www.saveamericasforests.org>
offers a Citizen Action Guide full of information about upcoming forest
legislation and existing laws, the effects of clear-cutting, and the
status of endangered species.
Ross is sure that environmental protection will someday be the norm
in our culture rather than a matter of ongoing dispute. "It took
hundreds of years to end slavery and to secure womens right to
vote. says Carl Ross, who led his first save-the-trees campaign
at age 19, rallying neighbors in Plainview, New York. Forest protection
is doing amazingly well for a movement thats only decades old.
Look for Carl Ross to be hanging in for the long haul, working for
that day when there are no more disputes about environmental protection.