Advocacy Program


Green Foothills’ advocacy team engages early in land use policy, proposals, and planning processes that pose an opportunity or threat to our natural environment. Sometimes this means supporting a land use plan that will protect nature and bring ecosystem benefits to our communities. At other times, it means opposing a new development proposal that will harm a wetland, adversely impact a marginalized community, or block a wildlife corridor.

We support current and future decision makers to be champions for conservation and inclusive public process, and we mobilize people to effect change for the land, the wildlife, and their communities.

Since 1962, our advocacy on over 900 land use issues has resulted in nearly 200,000 acres of open space permanently protected, supporting biodiversity, climate resilience, and local farming.


Take Action 

Want to take action to help protect open space and natural resources? We regularly let our supporters know when there’s an opportunity to contact decision makers about a local environmental issue. See below for our most recent Action Alerts. To receive our Action Alerts in your inbox, sign up on our Stay Informed page.

Reid-Hillview Airport Protest

Photo Credit: Maricela Lechuga

How We Choose Our Advocacy Issues 

Green Foothills considers many factors when choosing to engage in an advocacy issue. They include, but are not limited to the areas and impacts listed below.  We take into account the particular facts and individual circumstances of each case before deciding whether to engage in an issue and what position to take.

When deciding whether to engage on an issue, we ask ourselves:

Issues impacting open space, farmland, wildlife habitat, or natural resources align with our mission and consideration is given as to the level they may be affected. We may also consider other environmental impacts such as scenic vistas and air or water quality.

Good land use planning determines how we best use our land to meet our needs while safeguarding open space and natural resources. An example would be avoiding sprawl and encouraging transit-oriented infill development. Quality of life issues may also be affected by these decisions so may be taken into account as well. These include public access to open space, preservation of historic and cultural resources, social justice issues including affordable housing, public health and safety, food access, and transit.

Sometimes the outcome of an issue can potentially set a precedent for future environmental policy or decision making. The extent to which this may occur can be a deciding factor in our engagement in an issue.

What may be suitable for one location may not be suitable for another. For example, what may be appropriate in downtown San Jose may not be appropriate on the San Mateo County coast or along a natural creek corridor with sensitive wildlife habitat.

In choosing whether to allocate our limited resources to a given issue, Green Foothills must take into account our own ability to devote the time and energy needed to make a real difference, as well as the degree to which an issue aligns with our mission and advances our vision.

Green Foothills may choose to prioritize advocacy issues involving partnerships with organizations that serve marginalized communities and people of color, led by people from that community. Our approach may include centering the perspectives of BIPOC voices, advocating for a more inclusive public process, stepping back so that community members, tribes, or other historically marginalized groups may lead an advocacy effort, or providing support to community-based groups or coalitions in their advocacy efforts.

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