SAN FRANCISCO – One of the nation’s most innovative environmental change makers turns 25 this year, at a party held at City View above the Metreon. The all-green event will include a performance by Bay Area rockers, The Mother Hips.
Founded by famed environmental leaders Mike Roselle and Randy ‘Hurricane’ Hayes in 1985, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has reeled in some of America’s most audacious corporate victories and brought the plight of rainforests into the forefront of American hearts and minds. Once termed the ‘mosquito in the tent’ of big business by Fortune Magazine, RAN has changed minds and policies at Home Depot, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Boise Cascade, Bank of America and General Mills.
“RAN is one of the few organizations working at the intersection of deforestation, climate change and human rights – while confronting corporate power head on,” said Rebecca Tarbotton, RAN’s Executive Director. “It’s a winning combination which has made us a catalyst for corporate change for 25 years, pushing companies from Burger King to Bank of America towards a more sustainable future.”
The celebration is to include the 16th annual rainforest awards, presented to individuals who have shown outstanding leadership and done incredible work to protect the environment. This year awardees will include:
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. - Author, attorney and one of Time Magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet,” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. serves as Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and President of Waterkeeper Alliance.
Teri Blanton - As current Fellow for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Teri Blanton raises awareness about the dangers of coal and advocates for a new energy economy that will sustain – instead of exploit – Appalachian communities.
Amy Goodman - Award-winning investigative journalist and syndicated columnist, Amy Goodman is a leading environmental thinker and activist as well as a respected author and the host of the radio program Democracy Now!
Rivani Noor & Uki Setara - Powerhouse husband and wife team Uki and Rivani have been working with Sumatran rainforest communities for over a decade, each founding and leading their own organizations that are successfully taking on the main drivers of forest destruction in Indonesia – the pulp and paper and palm oil industries.
Frustrated with Reagan-era environmental policies, RAN was one of the first groups in the country to focus on corporations as an avenue of change. At the time, asking companies like Burger King to institute voluntary environmental policies was a risky departure from traditional activist tactics that focused on the political or legal systems. Rainforest Action Network leaders Randy Hayes and Mike Roselle blended this new strategic focus with traditional direct action techniques – sit-ins, protests, and other public displays of dissent. The risk paid off.
From its founding Burger King campaign to get rainforest beef out of fast food restaurants to more recent victories pushing the nation’s banks to stop funding mountaintop removal coal mining, and pushing General Mills to stop sourcing palm oil that destroys Indonesia’s rainforests; Rainforest Action Network has brought home new corporate policies from some of the nation’s largest corporations, and saved millions of acres of rainforests in Canada, Indonesia, Chile, Brazil and beyond. RAN’s campaigns also helped to crystallize the “rainforest movement” of the 1980s, helping to put the Amazon rainforest into the top tier of classic environmental issues. While rainforest destruction continues elsewhere in the world, it has actually slowed in many of the nine countries of the Amazon Basin, in large part, due to the efforts of American groups like RAN.
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org