Environmental progress, on arguably every issue Friends of the Earth works on -- from climate change to food and water safety -- is hampered by the outsized role of money in politics and efforts to block the vote. Not only do these impede achieving environmental goals, it puts more environmental battles on defensive terrain while creating new barriers to positive change. Addressing our broken political system is the task of this generation, learning, building and growing from the national civil rights movement of the late 1960s.

Friends of the Earth is working to create stronger and more effective environmental policies by fostering representative and responsive democratic institutions across the United States.

Money out, voters in
The unbalancing influence of Citizen’s United and other Supreme Court rulings, which gave powerful corporations the same free speech rights as citizens, changed the political system in which Friends of the Earth and our allies operate, and the mechanisms through which we seek to create positive environmental and social change.

Adults without valid photo I.D.

Since 2008, we have seen increased efforts across the U.S. to restrict voting rights. Examples include preventing people from voting who do not have photo IDs. Ongoing voter suppression efforts seek to specifically exclude communities most likely to support environmental and progressive policies from the democratic process.

Money in politics undermines three key democratic principles -- equality, representation and fairness. We are now witnessing a post-Citizens United political system where a handful of mega-donors and powerful anti-environmental interests have a greater say in U.S. politics than ordinary citizens. To protect the environment, we need politicians that are accountable to the people, and not polluters.

Friends of the Earth is flexing the political muscle of the environmental community to win state and local level democracy fights, and ultimately force action at the federal level to reclaim our democracy. We are working to inform our community and new allies about how the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time are adversely impacted by political institutions that are neither representative nor responsive, and to work in collaboration with them to advance specific pro-democracy reforms.


  • Increase campaign finance transparency
  • Promote public financing of elections
  • Defend and extend voting rights
  • Ensure the fair representation in the electoral process
  • Build the role of the environmental community as a valuable ally in the democracy movement

City by city, state by state, we are fighting to restore a government of the MANY — not the MONEY. Take action to help support the Democracy program here.

Participate on Twitter by following us here.


Map of states with voter suppression laws



Maine Question 1 Won!Main votes money out, people in, Nov. 5, 2015

For Mainers: A government of, by and for the people, Nov. 3, 2015

Friends of the Earth joins America's Journey for Justice outside Congress, Sept. 15, 2015




The following videos offer an inside look into the key issues our democracy faces.

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