n just the last two years, conservative leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly have paved the way for fracking, made our state a laughing stock as we shunned climate science, and passed multiple bills that allow industry to legally pollute our air and water. But sadly, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. So how did we get here? Anti-environmental elected officials now control every branch of state government, including a Governor who campaigned against environmental protection and a veto-proof majority in both the North Carolina House and Senate. What does this mean? In short, the environment is losing. We’ve already lost long-standing protections and anti-environment legislators continue to introduce some devastating practices to North Carolina, like fracking for natural gas and intentionally not considering scientific information regarding sea level rise. And, when the environment loses, we all lose. How do we get out of this mess? This shift took place over a few years and it will take a few years to get back on track. We need to start turning this around now. We also need to make sure we don’t lose all the progress and protections we’ve won over the past few decades. NC Conservation Network has developed this 10-year action guide for where we want to go and how we will get there. We will fight the day-to-day fights while we build for a better North Carolina in the future. Here’s how we’ll do it:
ӰӰ Grow, grow, grow. We want to continue to grow our grassroots base – not just next year, but for the next 10 years. ӰӰ Go local. We are unlikely to win anything meaningful at the state level for the next few years. However, we can win locally. We’ll work with our affiliates to win environmental protections at the city and county levels. ӰӰ Make the environment a top issue for North Carolinians. We want the environment to be on the short list of issues that North Carolina citizens believe are important and need action. This includes more media coverage as well as putting forward other voices – such as business leaders and public health experts – to carry our message. ӰӰ Find new leaders. We need more individuals who are willing to take leadership positions in local and state government. Our plan is to identify emerging leaders in our activist and affiliate networks and help them move into leadership roles in their communities.

With the support of our donors, activists, and affiliates, we can turn things around. Together, we can ensure North Carolina’s environment is protected. Your support has been a critical part of our success over many years and will be more important than ever in the years ahead. Read on for our action steps that will lead us back to the North Carolina we know and love.


At the start of the 2013 legislative session, more than half of the North Carolina General Assembly is made up of freshman and sophomore legislators. 58%, to be exact. These are elected officials who have no relationship with NC Conservation Network and who, in-large part, are either anti-environmental, or their views on the environment are unknown. This wave of new legislators and a new Governor who campaigned on an anti-environmental platform help explain why we’re seeing a flood of bad bills being introduced and moving quickly towards passage. To get out of this mess, we’re going to need new leaders who care about environmental protection. We must start finding and cultivating these people now so that they will be ready to lead over the next 10 years. Here’s how NC Conservation Network plans to do this:
ӰӰ In the short-term, we will make in-roads and build relationships

Our new Leadership Development program will identify, train, and connect new leaders and give them the tools they need to pursue leadership positions in their own community.

with current legislators from both sides of the aisle.
ӰӰ In the long-term, we will identify individuals who care about

the environment and are willing to take a leadership role, and then train, network, and nurture these future leaders. We recognize that developing the next generation of leaders can take time and that there are real threats right now. So we will also fight to keep our existing state environmental protections.


We will work at the federal and local levels to ensure that we continue to make progress on important environmental issues. Our plan is to:

FIGHT THE FLOOD OF ROLLBACK PROPOSALS from the North Carolina General Assembly to save the most important environmental protections. We will focus our attention on the most damaging proposals and develop campaigns to focus public attention on what’s at stake.

ADVOCATE AT THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS to win policy victories. At the national level, we are participating in federal campaigns to win critical climate and energy policies and to strengthen toxic chemical standards. At the local level, we will work with our affiliate groups to win clean air, clean water, land conservation, and transportation victories.

REFRAME OUR ISSUES AND REACH OUT to build new strategic relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle. Specifically, we will build a new cadre of friendly Republicans and members of the Black Caucus who care about environmental protection.


t the end of our 10-year action plan, we expect to see a North Carolina that has weathered the storm of environmental rollback attempts and a new, powerful group of leaders at the local and state level who understand the needs of our state and have made protecting our environment a priority.


We have found that a time of crisis is often the best time to grow your base of support. This is one of those times. As legislators introduce bad bill after bad bill, individuals get more concerned and willing to get engaged. We can see this in the rapid growth of our Public Alert citizen activist network, which has grown from 14,000 to over 34,000 activists in just the last year. We will continue to take advantage of the current crisis and ultimately grow our base to 80,000 Public Alert activists by 2023. We are also building our grasstops network of leaders from the business, public health, faith, and wildlife communities to support our campaigns. This work has been crucial as antienvironmental legislators often have a hostile knee-jerk reaction to the environmental community. Our grasstops work has allowed us to rely on non-traditional voices to advocate the need for environmental protections to decision makers. While it’s a great time to grow our base, we recognize we must also reach beyond it. We need to make the environment a top issue for North Carolinians. We will work to raise the issue of environmental protection through a new communications program. This program will focus on getting earned media to show individuals how our issues impact their lives on a regular basis. We’ll leverage our grasstop network of business, public health, faith, and wildlife voices to share why environmental protection is critical in North Carolina.

We’ll leverage our grasstop network of business, public health, faith, and wildlife voices to share why environmental protection is critical in North Carolina.


Specifically, this new communications program will:

DEVELOP A STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAM to educate and engage North Carolinians.

BUILD A TEAM OF OTHER VOICES at the state level who care about our issues, can better connect with the public, and reach a wider audience.

GROW THE TRADITIONAL NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE of environmental stories so that North Carolinians see how our issues impact their daily lives.


ur Public Alert network is one of the largest of any statewide progressive nonprofit with over 34,000* activists. This large grassroots base allows us to generate an impressive number of emails and phone calls to decision makers. We also have a strong Facebook following with over 14,000* fans. All told, our messages reach over 47,000* North Carolinians on a weekly basis.
*These numbers are accurate at the time of print.





2010 2011 2012

13,201 13,856 21,930

24,099 50,460 69,112

295 1,400 2,190


Since the creation of NC Conservation Network in 1998 some of our strategies have changed, but our role of coordinating and building the capacity of our affiliates – nearly 100 environmental, community, and environmental justice organizations – has remained a constant and critical aspect of our work. Even though our community has grown stronger through our work, the need for capacity building and coordination remains important. Starting in 2013, we are focusing our capacity building resources on regional trainings, webinars, one-on-one support, and launching new organizational development programs for our affiliates. We know that this approach will better help our affiliates and allow us to focus on strategic parts of the state. In addition, we will partner with some of our affiliates to conduct local campaigns. While there is little hope for progress at the state level over the next four years, we can win protections at the local level. Along the way, we will also build the capacity and sustainability of our affiliates so they will be stronger for the state-wide fights in the future. In the next decade, these strategies will result in a stronger North Carolina environmental movement and more North Carolinians being aware of how our issues impact their day-to-day lives.

In the next decade, this work will result in a stronger North Carolina environmental movement and more North Carolinians being aware of how our issues impact their day-to-day lives.


In the next 10 years, we will:

COORDINATE WITH OUR AFFILIATES to create a complimentary, comprehensive strategy to work together in this challenging political landscape and develop a powerful core of environmental advocates.

DEVELOP LOCAL CAMPAIGNS to win environmental protections. This is the best chance we’ll have to continue to make progress in North Carolina over the next few years.

BUILD THE CAPACITY OF AFFILIATE GROUPS in key geographic areas to be more successful and sustainable.

e plan to go local with our policy work by coordinating with our affiliates in specific communities across North Carolina. In addition to winning meaningful policy victories, these campaigns will also build our affiliates’ activist and donor bases.



We are asking you to continue to support us in this important work over the next 10 years.


or the next few years, North Carolina’s environment will be under constant attack. Making progress at the state level will be challenging. We need to fight to keep our current protections. We believe we can turn this around and invite you to invest in our movement now so we can hold the line today and win in the future. We need YOU in this fight. Without your financial support, we won’t be able to:

FIGHT THE FLOOD OF ROLLBACK PROPOSALS proposals from the North Carolina General Assembly to save our most important environmental protections.

IDENTIFY AND TRAIN FUTURE LEADERS who will fight to protect our environment.

GROW OUR PUBLIC ALERT ACTIVIST NETWORK to create a strong, diverse voice for our campaigns.

BETTER COMMUNICATE OUR STORIES by using nontraditional voices to carry our message.

WORK WITH OUR AFFILIATES local campaigns to create wins for North Carolina’s environment.

COLLABORATE WITH OUR AFFILIATES to create a comprehensive and diverse strategy to overcome this challenging landscape.

Don’t let our North Carolina be on the losing side of this fight. We are ready to respond to the current challenges and protect our state for generations to come. But, we need your support to make this plan a reality.

Join NC Conservation Network as we fight to protect North Carolina’s environment and public health.


Location NC Conservation Network

19 E. Martin Street, Suite 300 Raleigh, NC 27601

email phone (919) 857 4699 cursor facebook