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Founded in 1989, the Earth Action Network (EAN) describes itself as a “non-profit, environmental/social justice organization dedicated to the prevention of Earth-damaging developments.” The founder of the group, Los Angeles chiropractor Mha Atma Singh Khalsa, was a member of numerous environmental and social-action organizations. After reading, in an activist guidebook, that governmental and private entities alike generally assume that each letter they receive on any given topic is representative of the views of hundreds of additional voters or consumers, Khalsa began writing letters to elected officials, corporate presidents, and other influential people based on the information contained in the many newsletters and reports that he received from the groups to which he belonged.
Khalsa subsequently resolved to make this same strategy the foundation of his newly formed EAN, whose activism mainly takes the form of letter-writing campaigns. Specifically, EAN members and supporters can download pre-written letters expressing concern about various environmental issues from the EAN website, and then personalize the letters on their own. Or, as an alternative, they can sign up to receive, via postal mail or an email attached file, monthly packets of already-personalized, pre-addressed letters that they can simply sign and then send to elected officials, world leaders, corporate CEOs, and anyone else capable of affecting public policy. EAN claims that such letter-writing initiatives have helped bring about the end of the Home Depot Company’s sale of wood from “old-growth forests”; the end of land development in Latin America and Indonesia by Citibank/Citgroup; and the defeat of efforts to initiate oil drilling in the ANWR Arctic refuge.
EAN has also attempted, through its letter-distribution campaigns, to influence U.S. foreign and domestic policies outside the realm of environmentalism. For example, in the first few years of the 21st century, the Network issued “Action Letters” opposing post-9/11 Homeland Security measures. These letters bore such titles as “Vital Changes Needed in U.S. Foreign Policy!”; “Missile Defense Is Wasting Billions That Could Be Spent on Real Security!”; and “Don’t Extend USA Patriot Act!” They also counseled Americans to “Reverse New FBI Guidelines” and “Protect Our Bill of Rights” by opposing anti-terrorism legislation like the “VICTORY Act.” Also a leading opponent of free trade and globalization, EAN condemned the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) of 2004.
In 2001, EAN founder and principal letter-crafter Mha Atma Singh Khalsa joined other leftist power brokers – including the billionaire Aris Anagnos, founder of the Humanitarian Law Project – in withholding financial support from the Southern California radio station KPFK for its refusal to broadcast the radical programs Democracy Now! and Alternative Radio.
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Khalsa was a signatory to Not in Our Name’s “Statement of Conscience,” which condemned the Bush administration’s “stark new measures of repression” and its “unjust, immoral, illegitimate, [and] openly imperial policy towards the world.”
To further spread its message on issues of concern, EAN also sends email alerts to its members and has produced a series of audio recordings which it sells for a nominal fee. The speakers featured in these audios include Noam Chomsky, Kevin Danaher, and other left-wing ideologues.
Over the years, EAN has received a great deal of funding from such entities as the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Ford Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Heinz Family Foundation, the Jenifer Altman Foundation, the Park Foundation, and the Turner Foundation.