About this series

Day one
April 22, 2001

Main story: Movement's prosperity comes at a high price

Sidebar: Rare rodent likely extinct

Sidebar: A century of environmentalism

Graphic: Giving to the environment

Graphic: Executive salaries (Requires Acrobat Reader)

Graphic: The greening of the environmental movement (Requires Acrobat Reader)

(Download free Acrobat Reader)

Photo gallery

Day two
April 23, 2001

Main story: Mission adrift in a frenzy of fund raising

Graphic: Philanthropic report card

Graphic: Fund raising fact and fancy -- Otters

Graphic: Fund raising fact and fancy -- Whales

Graphic: Fund raising fact and fancy -- Wolves

Graphic: Fund-raising effectiveness

Photo gallery

Editorial: How to be green

Day three
April 24, 2001

Main story: A flood of costly lawsuits raises questions about motive

Graphic: The cost of environmental litigation

Photo gallery

Day four
April 25, 2001

Main story: Spin on science puts national treasure at risk

Graphic: Growing Southwest forest fires

Graphic: Fire country

Photo gallery

Day five
April 26, 2001

Main story: Solutions sprouting from grass-roots efforts

Graphic: Endangered nation

Photo gallery



sacbee.com home page

Bee projects index

To our readers

(Published April 22, 2001)

Today, on the 31st anniversary of Earth Day, the environmental movement is at a crossroads. No one can deny its many successes in preserving precious natural resources, but they have come with a price. In fact, some say the environmental movement is fighting for its very soul.

In this five-part series, Tom Knudson, The Bee's Pulitzer Prize-winning environmental reporter, examines the high-powered fund raising, the litigation and the public relations machine that has come to characterize much of the movement today. His stories are based on exhaustive research conducted over 16 months with travel to 12 states and northern Mexico. And what he has found is that the movement established, in part, to combat the influence of the powerful has itself become big business.

-- Rick Rodriguez
Executive Editor

The series

Sunday, April 22: Price of power
A century after John Muir served as the Sierra Club's first president, environmental groups have successfully traded on his legacy, becoming bigger and richer than ever before. But in their quest for power and money, have they cashed in their tradition?

Monday, April 23: Cause or commerce?
When you give $20 to an environmental organization, you expect it to go toward protecting the environment. But creative accounting hides the myriad ways groups can fold a hefty chunk of that donation back into their fund raising and bureaucracy.

Tuesday, April 24: Strongest suit
Suing the government has long been one of the environmental movement's most important tools. But today, the targets and proliferation of environmental lawsuits are yielding an uncertain bounty for the land.

Wednesday, April 25: Apocalypse now
Scientists say Western forests are gigantic tinderboxes inviting disaster, badly in need of thinning. But many environmental organizations are ignoring -- and sometimes manipulating -- that message.

Thursday, April 26: Hope, not hype
A new kind of conservation is blossoming at the grass roots that focuses on results, not rhetoric. Its goals include buying, protecting and restoring land, and making commerce and conservation work together -- without crying wolf.