Featured Donor: Linda Nicholes

Since 1999, Linda has donated over $7,000 to support RAN’s campaigns. In 2005, she also became a critical campaign ally as a campaigner for Plug in America, a key Freedom From Oil coalition partner. Linda continues to generously donate to RAN and remains a devoted ally in our fight to end America’s oil dependence, reduce oil related conflicts and stop global climate change.

Activist Donor

After 27 years spent hunched over a stenographer’s machine as an Orange County Superior Court Reporter, I retired in 2003. I had always been what you’d call a passionate “arm chair” environmentalist. Time now feels like a gift; I get to be an activist, out in the world, doing what I believe in! In that vein, I spend my days in front of the computer doing online work, planning and participating in various clean-air, sustainable transportation and renewable energy events as well as facilitating conference calls for the grassroots organization, Plug in America. As a teenager I worked summers pumping petrol at one of my dad’s gas stations—this is certainly in contradiction to my present involvement in the development of zero-emission, electric transportation powered by renewable energy.

Perhaps learning to ride horses on my grandparents’ ranch as soon as I could walk was the beginning of my extreme love of nature. Nowadays, despite my fear of heights, I frequently climb trees. This is really not an “age-appropriate” activity for me to engage in, and it has startled and dismayed friends and family. Of course, what would one expect of a dedicated tree-hugger?

I’m an avid reader, love to write, and I’m actually accomplishing some pretty radical moves in my frequent Pilates classes. I am married to a wonderful guy who puts up with and supports my passionate interest in electric cars and all things environmental. He’s a saint. I have a 25-year-old daughter, Robin, who is an energetic, counter-culture, holistic, professional dancer. Robin is not easily categorized. Wonder where she got that?

Why donating to and working in collaboration with RAN makes sense to me

I’ve been supporting RAN since 1999, and by giving whatever I can every year, I’ve been able to donate nearly $7,500. RAN triggers my better nature and my altruistic impulse for several reasons. I continue to support RAN philosophically and fiscally because RAN, very clearly and without reservation, shares my core values. RAN understands that we humans cannot continue to deplete the earth’s resources, poison our air and water while sending unprecedented species into extinction. RAN will not be silenced- RAN has a message that cannot be ignored. RAN is leading the charge to educate citizens and corporations about more efficient and innovative technologies and business models that will allow us to be better stewards of the Earth. I think RAN brings a message of hope that through education, dedication and action, we can turn the tide.

Also, I greatly appreciate RAN’s focus on automotive efficiency and plug-in technology as some of the most promising solutions to combating global climate change. I applaud RAN’s determined, yet professional, take-no-prisoners stance as this effective organization pushes back against automaker stagnation. This push-back is clearly illustrated by RAN’s Freedom from Oil campaign. But beyond understanding the need to move people and goods down the nation’s freeways in less harmful and less destructive ways, I am truly grateful for the fact that RAN sees the connectedness of every action, large or small. From rainforests to rivers, RAN “gets it.” RAN also understands that good environmental policy is always in line with good economic policy.

RAN’s campaigns are focused but also address a broad range of related issues that I care most about

As a person who is deeply concerned about air quality, global warming and America’s wasteful, resource-intensive energy practices and policies, I find that RAN effectively addresses all of these issues in creative and successful ways. Years ago I intuitively and intellectually felt that technologies already existed to address those concerns. This feeling was actually validated in 2000 when my husband Howard and I installed grid-connected solar panels on our residential roof prior to California’s so-called energy crisis. That solar expense was further justified the following year with the lease of an all-electric RAV4 EV that could “run on the sun.” The synergy of PV and EV still seems magical and miraculous to me. Our home, our transportation and our lives are literally powered by the sun. Every time I turn the key in the ignition, I experience the thrill of “riding the rays” while avoiding the corner gas station. One of our recent utility bills indicated that we owed $1.95 for two months of powering our 3,000 square- foot home and sending the electric vehicle down the freeway at ticket-inducing speeds. It really doesn’t get any better than that unless you consider that no one had to die on any foreign shore for our fueling choice.

RAN supports energy efficiency, renewable energy and electric transportation for which I am endlessly grateful. In 2005 Plug in America and Rainforest Action Network worked side-by-side in mutual attempts to save GM’s remaining EV1 electric vehicles from corporate crushing. Both organizations’ efforts were featured in the film documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. Number 5 in RAN’s 12-Step Program to Break America’s Oil Addiction is “Plug in America.” I love that.

I have worked with and donated to RAN for years and will continue to do so well into the future

I read about RAN’s leadership in several highly effective campaigns against various corporations; corporations that seemed to be mired in old, antiquated, 19th and 20th century ways of doing business. I was particularly inspired by RAN’s campaigns against Home Depot, Boise Cascade and Citigroup. As investors in and customers of these corporations, my husband and I wrote letters and contributed to those actions. It was gratifying to be part of RAN’s success, and it was the beginning of our lifelong alliance with RAN.

Unlike some other organizations, I think RAN has the courage of its convictions. RAN is unrelenting in its determination and willingness to take calculated risks. I also appreciate that RAN is a master at producing media images; images that stick and get the point across. RAN often displays humor and irony in a picturesque way that frequently gets good media play and turns tables.

I feel that my donor dollars will be spent on concrete actions and not dwindled away in a bureaucratic logger jam. Knowing this, I have frequently contributed over the years and I have had the pleasure of seeing amazing results. In particular, I have been able to see the concrete results of my donations to RAN and am convinced that my hard-earned money will continue to directly support great campaigns, with even greater outcomes. RAN is action oriented and remains true to its stated mission. Judging by RAN’s tangible results, I believe that donors’ and activists’ money and time are well-spent with Rainforest Action Network.