In 1971, American environmental activist David Brower called for the establishment of an international network for the protection of the environment. That was the beginning of Friends of the Earth (FoE). In answer to his call, European and American organizations came together to create FoE International (FoEI). Over the years, many other groups joined, and today, FoEI is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 75 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent.
With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, FoEI campaigns on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues. It challenges the current model of economic and corporate globalization, and promotes solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.
The decentralized and democratic structure allows all member groups to participate in decision-making. International positions are informed and strengthened by work with communities, and alliances with indigenous peoples, farmers’ movements, trade unions, human rights groups, issue-oriented networks, and others. FOEI has a small International Secretariat in Amsterdam, and has consultative status with ECOSOC (the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations) and all relevant UN bodies.
July 2001: The FoE 'Ark Action' at the Global Warming Conference in Bonn, Germany.