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Natural Resources Defense Council


Natural Resources Defense Council

The NRDC was instrumental in obtaining protection for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.

Photo © John Pitcher / iStockphoto.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an environmental action organization that consists of 350 lawyers, scientists, and other professionals and commands a membership of about 1.3 million people. The NRDC uses the law, science, and their wide network of members and activists to protect wildlife and habitats around the globe. The issues the NRDC focuses on include curbing global warming, creating clean energy, preserving wildlands, restoring ocean habitats, stopping the spread of toxic chemicals, and working towards greener living in China.

The NRDC's e-activism approach empowers members to take action by making it easy for them to compose and send messages to their senators and representatives on key issues. NRDC members can use the organization's online action center to not only identify the environmental problems that most interest them, but to verbalize their concern with their elected officials.


The NRDC was founded in 1970 and it didn't take them long to make great strides towards better environmental protection. In 1971, the NRDC won the passage of the Clean Air Act, powerful legislation that today enables US citizens to sue polluters directly for the damages they cause. Also during the 1970s, the NRDC contributed to actions that sought alternatives to offshore drilling, improved mass transit, phased-out the use of leaded gasoline, insisted on land-use planning to help combat water pollution, removed ozone-depeleting CFCs from aerosol cans, and fought acid rain.

The list of the NRDC's accomplishments continued to blossom during the 1980s and 1990s. The organization helped to win federal protection for 100 million acres of land in Alaska, worked to improve the Endangered Species Act, helped pass legislation that requires the Pentagon to report on the environmental consequences of nuclear war, forged an international treaty to save the ozone layer, and much more.

More recently, the NRDC has secured protection for the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, halted oil exploration in public lands adjacent to Arches National Park in Utah, and fought tirelessly to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the oil industry's penchant for drilling there.

How they spend their money:

  • 83.2% of expenses go towards conservation projects
  • 6.0% of expenses go towards admininstration
  • 10.7% of expenses go towards fundraising



You can also find the NRDC on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


Natural Resources Defense Council
40 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
tel: (212) 727-2700
fax: (212) 727-1773


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