Pew's Environment Program and the National Environmental Trust to Merge (Summer 2007 Trust Magazine briefing)

Aug 20, 2007

A new “green team” is taking shape: Pew’s Environment Program and the National Environmental Trust (NET) are scheduled to merge staff and operations as of the new year.

The consolidated team, to be called the Pew Environment Group, will have a domestic and international staff of more than 80 and estimated annual operating revenue of approximately $70 million, making it one of the nation’s largest environmental scientific and advocacy organizations. The Environment Group will have an initial presence across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, Europe, the Indian Ocean, Latin America and the Western Pacific.

Why merge? One factor was the compelling need to act now. “We have reached a critical moment in our history with the natural world,” says Joshua S. Reichert, who has directed Pew’s Environment Program since 1990 and will serve as managing director of the Pew Environment Group. “For years, scientists have been warning of the potentially devastating impacts of human activity on the land, the Earth’s atmosphere and the sea. We have a rather narrow window of time to address these problems and a corresponding opportunity to reverse course and begin to more sensibly manage our relationship with nature.” The merger, he adds, “will help us to improve the collective ability of organizations in this country and abroad to better address global problems that no single organization can successfully tackle on its own.”

The Pew Environment Group will combine science, policy, campaign and advocacy expertise to reduce the scope and severity of three major global environmental problems: dramatic changes to the Earth’s climate caused by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the planet’s atmosphere; the erosion of large wilderness ecosystems that contain a great part of the world’s remaining biodiversity; and the destruction of the world’s oceans, with a particular emphasis on global fisheries.

The Washington, D.C.-based NET, founded by Pew and other leading environmental funders 13 years ago, has built an experienced staff of public policy and campaign professionals that has played a central role in both U.S. environmental policy debates and international treaty negotiations. The organization has operations in 18 states and a Washington-based staff specializing in media and communications, government relations and field organizing. It hosts a number of coalitions made up of environmental organizations working on such issues as protection of U.S. national forests and international fisheries conservation.

Philip E. Clapp, NET’s founding president, will become the Pew Environment Group’s deputy managing director, overseeing day-to-day operations, policy development and strategic planning with Reichert. Thomas A. Wathen, NET executive vice president and general counsel, will become deputy director, and will be joined in that capacity by Kathleen A. Welch, currently deputy director of Pew’s Environment Program.

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