brings democracy and science to environmental decision-making at the local, state and national levels. We encourage involvement in the democratic process to defend our environmental heritage - water, air, biodiversity, and genetic variability - known as 'the commons.' Conserving our commons is undeniably linked to the quality of our own lives - our health and the health of ecosystems.
We work to preserve our natural areas, protect wildlife and promote sustainable policies using education and informed discussion.
Environmental Commons in the News
Formed in June 2004,
works to engage and educate the public on important environmental issues and policies by
providing scientific information and instructive materials.
We support democratic involvement and decision-making in the
conservation and recovery of biological and natural resources. We believe that by
advancing community involvement, we can collectively effect change for a healthier environment.
Economically driven developments for short-term gain have led to an increasing
decline of species diversity, genetic variability, and access to clean water.
Increasing private control of the world's rich plant and animal diversity and
its rivers and aquifers interferes with a public vision of maintaining and
protecting dynamic resources long seen as our common heritage.
We promote the protection of a rich biodiversity and genetic variability
to better support ecological and human health.
We are witnessing unprecedented impacts as a result of food being seen primarily as a commodity.
locally developed food systems
that value sustainability and balance have the potential
to reconnect us to each other and to the land.
We encourage and support the rights of communities to shape their food systems, exercising
local democratic control
over matters of health, safety, and welfare.
We provide education and information about the risks associated with the introduction of
genetically modified organisms.
We oppose the uncontrolled growing, raising and expansion of GMOs. We support communities democratically reaching decisions regarding the adoption and growing of GMOs.
We believe that modern biotechnology:
- Threatens ecological and human health by constricting genetic variability.
- Creates unanticipated environmental effects.
- Suppresses the development and integrity of less intensive, more sustainable farming systems.
Precautionary Principle is a guiding framework for decision-making that anticipates how our actions will affect the environment and health of future generations. The Principle incorporates a thorough examination of alternatives, transparency, participatory democracy, and prevention of harm. We assist communities considering adopting the Precautionary Principle. Read about our progress in
Mendocino County, CA.
Pesticides and other chemicals are used in forestry and vineyard operations along the North Coast. Many of these chemicals are toxic not only to human health, but their use can also affect fish and their habitat, as well as other wildlife. We promote precautionary policies and advance education that lessens harm to our environment from the unnecessary usage of toxics.
Britt Bailey is the Founder (in 2004) and Director of
Prior to forming Environmental Commons she was Co-Director of the
Center for Ethics and Toxics.
Britt holds a masters degree in Environmental Policy. Her thesis focused
on regulations and policies pertaining to developing farming technologies and the
intersection between intensive agricultural settings and fragile ecosystems.
She has written and researched on a number of key issues including the misuse of
pesticides, agricultural biotechnology, sustainable farming, and endangered species.
Her writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle.
She is the co-author, with Marc Lappé, of
Against the Grain: Biotechnology and the Corporate Takeover of Your Food
(Common Courage Press, 1998) and is Senior Editor of
Engineering the Farm,
The Social and Ethical Aspects of Agricultural Biotechnology (Island Press, 2002).
She is also the producer of
Against the Grain: The Video (The Video Project, 1999).
Britt speaks at international conferences and universities on biotechnology and
industrialized agriculture. She was the Environmental Policy instructor at the
College of Marin, Kentfield, CA from 2000-2007. Her email address is
Siobhán Noland, M.S., started her environmental career in the
Education Department of the National Audubon Society.
She attended the Graduate School for Environmental Studies at Bard College
in Annandale-on-Hudson before moving to San Francisco. Once in the Bay Area,
she became a Program Assistant for the Population and Conservation Programs
of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She took a few years off to raise her daughter,
and returned to the environmental world as a Program Associate with the
Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. Currently, she performs research
part-time for Environmental Commons while tending to her newborn daughter.
Dave Jordan is a member of the
steering committee. He designs and maintains the
EnvironmentalCommons.org website, as well as websites for several other environmental groups in northern California.
Dave managed enterprise-scale database systems and web servers in Silicon Valley for many years. Prior to moving to California, he was employed by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he managed software development for UNICEF's global supply operation. Jordan has a Masters degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan, where he studied social organization and social change.
Britt Bailey, M.A., Founder & President
Pam Arnsberger, Ph.D., Secretary/Treasurer
Alice Diefenbach, M.D.
David Jordan, M.A.
For more information, please contact us at
is an organization of the
Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance (RCWA),
a California 501(c)(3) non-profit, public benefit corporation.
Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance (RCWA) was formed in 1990 to aid in the development
of local watershed protection organizations, their community-based study programs,
and to coordinate their activities. The goals of the organizational projects include
educating the general public, industry, and government on the need to preserve genetic
diversity within the natural environment, as well as to show the irreversible environmental
damage that occurs when species and their habitats are heavily altered or eliminated.