A college student in Wisconsin. An impoverished farmer in Mexico. A radio listener in San Jose. A parliament member in Brussels. An internet reader in St. Louis. A rancher in rural Idaho.
What do they all have in common?
Well I’m pleased to tell you that each one is among a growing number of people, here and around the world, who are gaining a fresh new perspective about issues of environment and development because of the work you and I are accomplishing through CFACT.
With the goal of “enhancing the fruitfulness of the earth, and all of its inhabitants,” CFACT is demonstrating that a broad coalition — transcending political and ideological boundaries — can be built when the passion and heart of environmental activism is combined with the practical solutions of free markets and sound science.
So from our fast-growing Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow program on U.S. college campuses to our international efforts with CFACT Europe, Freedom 21, and our new SEFED “adopt-a-village” program that will soon impact communities all over the globe, the CFACT message and mission are on the march!
Indeed, 2005 was a year of strong success for CFACT, and paves the way for our programs and impact to grow even exponentially in the months to come.
Among the highlights:
College Campus Outreach
- CFACT’s Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow network continues to reach full maturity in the Upper Midwest, where chapters in Wisconsin and Minnesota lead the way with staffing and educational outreach. Aside from regular campus activities, the chapter at the University of Wisconsin alone now has some 50 student interns, working on CFACT projects for college credit. Collegians chapters on various campuses enjoyed speeches by urban planning expert Randall O’Toole, genetically modified foods author Greg Conko, free trade advocate Greg Rehmke, Sand County Foundation representative Brent Haglund, and the co- sponsorship of speeches by nationally known celebrities Robert Novak and John Stossel. Expansion efforts in New York, North Carolina, and Oregon are also progressing well, and significant new outreach on at least 4 campuses in Texas was also accomplished in 2005. Finally, Collegians from a number of campuses traveled to Montreal earlier this month where they participated in the latest U.N. summit on global warming, and staged a mock hockey game in the main conference center to demonstrate some of the flaws in policies and science surrounding Kyoto.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- CFACT Senior Fellow Paul Driessen once again led the way as one of the nation’s leading experts on sensible corporate social responsibility, and the effects of misguided environmental policies on impoverished people here and abroad. Through his work, CFACT won the distinguished PR News award for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for Human Rights Communiciations; his book on “Eco-Imperialism,” which has already sold nearly 10,000 copies, was translated into German and Italian; and he participated in numerous speeches, talk show interviews, and wrote and distributed some 30 articles on issues ranging from energy and climate change to malaria and biotechnology.
- Launched toward the end of 2004, CFACT’s sister organization enjoyed a successful first full year of operation in 2005. Designed to promote a balanced public-interest message throughout the European Union, executive director Dr. Holger Thuss of Germany achieved some significant accomplishments including building a board of some 15 prominent advisors, and establishing the core of national CFACT groups in 6 European countries. In addition, a fully operational pan-European website was established, as well as national websites for Germany and Austria; numerous articles were written, translated, and distributed throughout the network; and presentations were given by U.S. and European CFACT leaders at major conferences in France, Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Lithuania. CFACT Europe also undertook the translation and updating of Paul Driessen’s “Eco-Imperialism” book into German, with a particular focus on European issues.
- This domestic and international coalition, organized in 1999 by a number of organizations, including CFACT, to support market and technology-oriented solutions to issues of sustainable development, enjoyed some significant accomplishments in 2005. The first was the coalition’s 6th annual national conference, held over three days in July in Reno, Nevada, at which some 200 grassroots leaders in the fields of property rights, sound science, and other related issues gathered to discuss and learn about contemporary issues, and continue planning strategies for outreach. The other was the completion of the second edition of the Freedom 21 Alternative to Agenda 21 that provides a comprehensive guide for sensible sustainable development for public officials, academics, the media, and other interested individuals. Expert review committees in each of 5 major areas oversaw final revisions and editing on issues including population and poverty; land use; air and water; toxics; energy; and food.
CFACT’s “Adopt-a-Village” Program
- At the WTO conference in Cancun, Mexico in 2003, CFACT was transformed from a group that merely writes and talks about development issues, to a group that also takes a hands-on approach to these topics, when we led an international coalition to distribute two tons of food to the impoverished village of Valle Verde. That was the beginning of our “Adopt-a-Village” campaign, which in 2005, took much clearer shape with the completion of a project plan called the Social Entrepreneurship and Free-Market Environmentalism Demonstration program, or SEFED. In August, CFACT returned to Valle Verde to officially launch the SEFED program; met with government, business, academic, and local leaders to build its first local SEFED network; gave out four solar ovens and food parcels to needy families in Valle Verde as a symbolic first step of progress; and produced a 7-minute video focusing on Valle Verde to help explain the kinds of problems SEFED will seek to solve on a global level. CFACT Collegian students also sprang into action to raising money on their campuses for relief efforts after Hurricane Wilma delivered a terrible Category-5 blow directly to Cancun in October.
Beyond all this, of course, CFACT continued to write and speak about a wide range of environmental topics; launched a new electronic newsletter called The E-FACT Report that is bringing CFACT news and opinion to a growing list of interested readers; completed its 12th year of airing insightful commentary and interviews on our “Just the Facts” daily national radio program; and had active participation in a number of issue coalitions on topics including property rights, climate change, transportation, and endangered species.
Now, with the opportunity before us to build upon that success, and have an even greater impact on the issues that are so important to people around the globe, we look forward to working with all of our friends and supporters to make CFACT’s 21st year of operations its best ever!