“I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and have always had an enormous amount of respect for nature. Therefore, when I got to college and was approached by an environmental group, I jumped at the chance to make my difference in the world. Unfortunately, as the semester wore on I found myself leaving meetings with more questions than answers. Although well intentioned, the proposed solutions of this group were often lacking in a necessary level of debate. That’s why I am now a member of CFACT. We can’t allow any one type of group to dominate discussion on the environment. It’s too important. We need debate before we can have answers.”
— Ms. Lindsey Ourada Former organizer for Ralph Nader’s PIRGs who is now the intern program director for the CFACT Collegians chapter at the U. of Wisconsin, Madison
Can a group espousing principles of sound science, market economics, sensible stewardship, and expanded political freedom ever appeal to a broad-based audience?
Can buttoned-down, conservative Bush supporters lock arms with body-pierced, liberal Kerry fans, and together support a constructive program designed to bring genuine progress to people and nature around the globe?
Well over the past year, we at CFACT have found the answer to be a remarkable and resounding “Yes!”
And that is why we believe, as we enter our 20th year of operation, CFACT is now poised to lead a new movement that can augment old-style consumer and environmental advocacy with a practical and effective public-interest agenda that can transcend political and ideological boundaries.
We saw this at a recent gathering in New York City, where CFACT’s newly refined mission statement of “enhancing the fruitfulness of the earth and all of its inhabitants” was warmly received by an audience of mixed political persuasions.
We saw it at the second annual Eco-Summit of CFACT’s college arm, the Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow, which took place at Phantom Lake in Wisconsin. There, a group of new student interns and coordinators imbibed the CFACT vision and then enthusiastically talked about how they believe they can increase the student membership on the progessive-minded campus in Madison from 200 to more than 400 in the coming academic year.
And we saw it in our conversations with international policy experts and organizers who believe our optimistic message of progress and prosperity is a winning one, and are now helping us build CFACT-Europe, as well as permanent outreach in Africa and Latin America through a new program called Prosperity International.
Indeed, this has truly been a monumental year in terms of building upon our past success, and beginning to take new steps that can catapult our movement to unprecedented levels of widespread support.
Among the highlights of the past year:
- We continued working to build local cadres of committed students to make our Collegians program a permanent fixture on American college campuses. CFACT chapters in the Upper Midwest region continue to grow at Minnesota and Wisconsin, new chapters were added at Milwaukee and in North Carolina, and efforts are underway to expand the program to more campuses nationwide.
- The Freedom 21 coalition, which CFACT helped to create, experienced exponential growth as the annual convention that took place this summer in Reno drew nearly 400 participants; an exciting new promotional video was completed; a nationwide concert tour to promote Freedom 21 with country music star Michael Martin Murphy is now underway; a comprehensive guide to sustainable development for local officials was produced by the Freedom 21 affiliate in Santa Cruz, California; and efforts toward producing an even stronger second edition of the “Freedom 21 Alternative to Agenda 21” moved closer to completion with the work of a team of leading experts.
- CFACT senior fellow Paul Driessen gained significant and growing interest for his book on the effects of international environmental policy that sold out its first printing, and through his various speeches, lectures, radio interviews, and Congressional testimony, is drawing much attention to the vital importance of considering the health and welfare of millions of people in developing nations.
- CFACT continued cultivating its relationship with leaders in America’s religious community, and is now working to greatly expand its outreach on religion and environment through the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship and collateral educational efforts.
- International efforts built upon our recent forays to global conferences in Johannesburg, Cancun, and Bonn, Germany, among other places, are now reaching fruition: First, we have launched a new sister organization called CFACT-Europe to address public interest issues in the EU. We have also helped create a coalition called “Prosperity International” that will seek to bring expanded economic and environmental opportunity, as well as much-needed property rights, to impoverished communities around Africa and Latin America.
Through these various projects, along with our general education efforts that include a new electronic newsletter, and our Just the Facts daily national radio commentary that has now completed 11 years on the air, CFACT was once again been able to make significant progress in 2004. So with much excitement and anticipation, we look forward to the challenges and opportunities of the coming year.