What We Do

Protecting Our Natural Environment Through Advocacy 

Green Foothills is the champion for nature and wildlife in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Advocacy, education, and grassroots action has been our long-standing vehicle for change. We achieve this by:

Our staff engages early in land use policy, proposals, and planning processes, conducting thorough research to provide science-based recommendations. We partner with organizations and community groups and work collaboratively with public agencies, project proponents, and developers for a shared positive outcome for the community and the environment. We also collaborate with other organizations to share information and collectively work to protect local landscapes.

We meet with decision-makers and candidates for office to provide education about our mission and positions on issues impacting our community. We encourage them to enact, fund, and implement sound environmental policies. We provide the support and information needed for our region's leaders to become champions for the natural environment and open space protection.

We mobilize people throughout San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to take action on open space issues and help them navigate decision-making processes, providing expertise and support on environmental issues local community members care about. We train leaders in environmental activism through our Community Advocates Leadership Academy.

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.

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