Earth Force is the home of Environmental Action Civics.
We exist to increase youth participation in environmental decision making.
In Environmental Action Civics, students share power with adults, practice democratic decision making, and address local environmental problems using civics. And adults are right there beside them, igniting a new generation of decision makers.
Earth Force provides customizable tools and professional development to help adults create space for young people to form youth-adult partnerships, engage in environmental problem-finding, and take civic action.
History & Impact
Learn about Earth Force’s beginnings and the impact we’ve had since.
Environmental Action Civics
Environmental Action Civics is a new field. Dig into it with us.
Meet Our Team of Experts
Meet our staff and our Board of Directors.
It all started with young people (as most great ideas do).
In 1989, five 3rd and 4th grade girls from Freeport, Maine noticed the amount of styrofoam in the trash along the shores of the Royal River.
They collected the trash and then narrowed in on the source of styrofoam – several local restaurants’ takeaway containers. They visited each restaurant to ask them to change their type of containers to something more easily biodegradable. Most restaurants were responsive to making changes, but a certain large national chain was not. The franchise was required to use the products and materials determined by the corporate headquarters.
As the girls became more knowledgeable about styrofoam, the chemistry, and the environment they became more vocal about the need for banning the styrofoam – and the use of non-biodegradable material. They debated with the franchise officials in the Town Council chambers.
One result of their efforts was the passage of the Chapter 33 Styrofoam Ordinance passed by the Freeport Town Council banning the use of polystyrene foam (PSF).
The Pew Charitable Trusts took note of this incredible youth-led change and created Earth Force to give more young people the opportunity to change their community.
We continued to innovate and we officially launched Environmental Action Civics – a clear way to infuse civics into environmental learning that now reaches over 40,000 young people per year.
We’re proud of the work we do.
Our educators are rockstars, our partners are groundbreakers, and our students are changemakers. We’re creating opportunities for young people to engage in civic decision-making around the environment.
The result? More environmental citizens, stronger civic participation, and real solutions to environmental problems. But don’t take our word for it. Brandeis University’s Center for Youth & Communities has independently evaluated our work for 18 years.
- 91% of students met with school or community leaders to ask them to take action
- 84 of students show an increase in understanding of environmental issues
- 77% are more likely to contact a public official or community leader to advocate for action on an environmental issue in the future
- 81.3% of educators stated that students’ ability to plan and carry out projects aimed at changing local policies improved
- 90.6% of educators stated that Earth Force increased their students’ belief that they can make a difference in the community
- 76.6% of students plan to get involved in community projects in the future
Build Environmental Citizens
91% of students met with school or community leaders to ask them to take action
84% of students show an increase in understanding of environmental issues
77% are more likely to contact a public official or community leader to advocate for action on an environmental issue in the future
Strengthen Civic Participation
81.3% of educators stated that students’ ability to plan and carry out projects aimed at changing local policies improved
90.6% of educators stated that Earth Force increased their students’ belief that they can make a difference in the community
76.6% of students plan to get involved in community projects in the future
Environmental Action Civics is an educational approach where youth work in partnership with adults to identify a local environmental issue and engage with community members to take action by advocating for systemic changes to policies or practices.
A central element of Environmental Action Civics is a commitment to prepare youth, especially those from historically marginalized communities, to engage in local environmental decision making now and in the future.
In Environmental Action Civics, young people:
Learn about the environment within the context of their own lived experiences (where they live, who they are, what they see);
Democratically select an environmental issue to study in partnership with their peers, educator, and community members;
Use credible qualitative and quantitative research methods to collect information about their issue and identify root causes.
Engage each other, their community, and local stakeholders in evidence-based discussion as a means to contextualize the information and deepen their understanding;
Develop action strategies appropriate for addressing the root cause of the problem and, with the support of adults and allies, advocate for those solutions to people in positions of power.
Through these experiences, Environmental Action Civics can help us get to broad-scale collective action on environmental issues while helping youth and adults gain formative experiences and skills.
Staff and Board
Board of Directors
With the exception of Earth Force’s CEO, board members are independent, voting members. Please click here to view our conflict of interest policy. Three-year terms begin with the January annual meeting of the following year. Board members can commit to another term at that time.
Earth Force follows generally accepted accounting principles in our financial record keeping and follows Financial Accounting Standards Board statements in our financial reporting, which includes tracking both cash and in-kind matching funds. Earth Force management closely monitors all expenditures to ensure compliance with the board-approved budget. We have an unblemished record of audits.
Our fiscal year is October 1 – September 30.
Additional information available upon request.