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SPIN WATCH – AT A GLANCE – PROFILES OF THE TOP TEN
Big Green and other monikers such as ‘The Group of Ten’ and ‘Gang Green’ are terms that have been used often critically to describe the biggest environmental organizations in the United States. These are heavily-staffed, well-funded non-profit corporations each with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars a year, offices in Washington, DC and other major cities, highly paid executive directors, and a staff of lobbyists, analysts and marketers. Big Green environmental groups together raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year, most of it contributed by non-profit foundations and individual donors. Many of the Big Green groups partner with corporations and have representatives of major corporations on their boards of directors. With the exception of the Sierra Club, these groups have no meaningful accountability to the thousands of individual small donors who constitute their marketing lists and who are labeled ‘members.’
Environmental activists and authors including Sharon Beder  Mark Dowie , Michael Dreiling, Christine MacDonald, Peter Montague , Brian Tokar , John Stauber and others whose articles and interviews are listed below have for decades criticized Big Green for soaking up the majority of the hundreds of millions of US dollars raised and spent each year on environmental activism, education and lobbying; raised for often abandoning or undercutting grassroots environmental struggles for fundamental change; and for often selling out the environment and the grassroots movement through business partnerships and agreements with compromising politicians.
Corporate PR experts such as Peter Sandman, Ron Duchin of the Mongoven, Biscoe & Duchin firm and E. Bruce Harrison have over the decades advised their clients on ways to divide and conquer environmental activists by finding common ground with business-oriented Big Green groups
Author and activist Jeffrey St. Clair of CounterPunch is one of Big Green’s leading critics. In 2007 he wrote, “The Group of Ten (aka: Gang Green) now manifest all the intensity of an insurance cartel… National environmental policies are now engineered by an Axis of Acronyms: EDF, NRDC, WWF: groups without voting memberships and little responsibility to the wider environmental movement. They are the undisputed mandarins of technotalk and lobbyist logic, who gave us the ecological oxymorons of our time: ‘pollution credits,’ ‘re-created wetlands,’ ‘sustainable development.’ In their relativistic milieu, everything can be traded off or dealt away. For them, the tag-end remains of the native ecosystems on our public lands are endlessly divisible and every loss can be recast as a hard-won victory in the advertising copy of their fundraising propaganda.”