The non-government and grassroots environmental sector has been growing rapidly over the past thirty years.
Not surprisingly, there are now more environmental NGOs and grassroots groups worldwide than ever before.
Equally not surprising is the fact that these ‘green-minded’ organisations do not share the same vision, purpose or modus operandi.
Consequently, there’s an increasing “silo” effect occurring within the not-for-profit sector.
In recent decades, grassroots and NGO environmental groups have played an increasingly influential role in raising global awareness about environmental and sustainability issues – curiously, however, despite the urgency for collective action, there is still resistance from many of the key players to collaborate on major initiatives.
I’ve had the opportunity to work professionally with both The Wilderness Society (TWS) and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). Whilst ACF is clearly focused on policy reform and engages with stakeholders at the highest political levels, TWS have a much stronger community focus and activist (rather than lobbyist) method; that said, the Wildos have been actively involved in high-level political lobbying on Wild Rivers and other campaigns.
I can recall (over five years ago now) raising a question with both organisations: Would they ever “join forces” with each other (and other environmental NGOs or grassroots groups) to promote a united front?
Interestingly, neither organisation seemed particularly inclined toward collaboration.
Even today, throughout the wider environmental community, there seems to be little if any cooperation between major environmental NGOs and grassroots organisations despite the potential for collaboration and partnerships to leverage resources, networks and audiences to enhance the reach and impact of environmental campaigns.
I wonder whether there’s an opportunity to promote the need to remove silos and start working together in cooperative ways, rather than competing for people’s attentions and the scraps of public funding.
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