BECAUSE THE FORESTS NEED DEFENDERS #GiraffeHeroes #StickYourNeckOut Carl Ross believes that grass roots activism can change the world, and he's dedicating his life to that belief. As co-founder of Save America's Forests (SAF), a nonprofit lobbying group, Ross lobbies daily against forces that want to cut old growth forests and against fellow environmentalists who disagree with his tactics. He has been attacked in the press and even had angry environmentalists storm his office. They might well find him there in the middle of the night–Ross works so late and starts so early, he often sleeps in the office. Ross and two partners who later left the group, started SAF in 1990 as a national network that would enlist all environmental groups in a coalition to press for the legislation that would save America’s trees. It hasn't worked out that smoothly. Through unrelenting lobbying and educating of politicians, tiny SAF has repeatedly attracted strong congressional support for forest-protection bills. Ross works to rally environmental groups behind the bills in question, but some well-funded national groups have proposed separate bills and then accused Ross of undermining their efforts. In spite of all difficulties, Ross is undaunted. His viewpoint: "We got the movement out of the doldrums." Lobbying politicians and rallying grassroots environmental groups are only parts of SAF's work. Another major thread is training the next generation of environmental activists. SAF regularly has 10-12 interns learning environmental law and the political process. Many of them go on to careers in places such as the Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department. SAF also provides citizen education. Their website offers a Citizen Action Guide full of information about upcoming forest legislation and existing laws, the effects of clear-cutting, and the status of endangered species. Ross is sure that environmental protection will someday be the norm in our culture rather than a matter of ongoing dispute. "It took hundreds of years to end slavery and to secure women's right to vote." says Carl Ross, who led his first save-the-trees campaign at age 19, rallying neighbors in Plainview, New York. "Forest protection is doing amazingly well for a movement that's only decades old." Carl Ross will be hanging in for the long haul, working for that day when there are no more disputes about environmental protection. You can keep track of this work at www.saveamericasforests.org. Like this Giraffe Hero? LIKE this whole Page so you can see more real heroes' stories.