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Friday, July 20, 2007

Bowling Alone

That's the title of a book I'm reading. "Bowling Alone" was recommended to me by Peter, one of our mail list members. A surprising thing I learned there was that none of the famous environmental organizations is driven by local groups. All of them are professional fund-raising organizations whose members merely send checks. Whether its Greenpeace, or the Environmental Defense Fund, or Friends of the Earth, or any of a dozen others, the general style and pattern is the same. These groups are professional lobbying organizations, with headquarters in Washington, DC. (Some of them use a different city.) They get their members by means of bulk mail! In fact they mostly use the same mailing lists, which they buy from companies that sell mailing lists. The majority of the "members" do not even know who the other "members" are.

This is not what I want for the Church of Earth. I'm hoping for an organization built upon local groups of people who know each other. It may not be easy to achieve, since this is going against the trend of the times, but such an organization will be much more durable and effective. This is an old-fashioned idea. It was the normal way of doing things 40 years ago. That was when the U.S. could put men on the moon, and bring them back safely. Rescuing the earth from deforestation, pollution and global warming will be a larger challenge than that.


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