Bern and I just returned from attending the Pacific Northwest Global Donors Conference in Seattle. The conference aimed to inform people about the benefits of supporting international work, and I think it succeeded. Giving internationally offers the potential to create systemic and long lasting change. Our discussions about international work on human rights, climate justice, and food security reinforced that, in many places around the world, a small gift can, and does, make a big difference. That is certainly true here at ELAW.

IT Manager Glenn Gillis sharing tech tools with an ELAW partner in Kenya.

At the conference, Bern along with ELAW Board member Cheryl Coon and Digital Democracy (Dd) Executive Director Emily Jacobi, discussed the power of using technology to support advocates working in their home countries. At ELAW we use an electronic network to facilitate cross border collaboration between attorneys and scientists around the world. This collaboration is high-impact because: it allows advocates to replicate victories; advocates can tap critical legal and scientific resources; and it is fast and low cost.

2010 ELAW Annual Meeting participants in Costa Rica

Yet, the technologies we employ to help advocates are only as strong as the personal relationships that link advocates in the network. Here at ELAW, in addition to having an expansive electronic network, we have a vast human network. Trust is an important part of our system. Partners are willing to help colleagues in other countries because they know these colleagues personally and know they are working to protect the environment. Often ELAW partners build relationships at Annual Meetings and during ELAW Fellowships. These face-to-face meetings allow advocates to get to know one another and build the trust they need to work together across borders.

By collaborating with local advocates to meet immediate threats to the environment, ELAW is helping win victories for the environment and building a global corps of committed, effective advocates who will work to protect the environment for years to come. We thank all our supporters who recognize the value of supporting this high-impact, global work.

Michele Kuhnle
ELAW Donor Liaison