Founded in 1993 by philanthropist Diane Meyer Simon, Global Green USA (GGUSA) is an environmentalist organization which serves as the American arm of Green Cross International. Asserting that “global climate change” is a potentially calamitous by-product of human industrial activity, GGUSA has launched a Climate Solutions Program that calls for “fundamentally transform[ing] the way we power our global economy.” Specifically, says GGUSA president Matt Petersen, “We need governments to shift subsidies for oil, gas and coal toward solar and renewable technologies to create jobs, improve the lives of those in need, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Viewing energy policy as a vehicle by which to redistribute wealth both within and across national borders, GGUSA calls for the creation of a $50 billion Global Solar Fund that would finance the construction of “solar photovoltaic systems,” especially in “rural areas and cities in [the] developing world, in particular Africa, [as well as in polluted] urban centers in [the] industrialized world.”
GGUSA also administers several other major programs:
* The Green Cities Program works in partnership with local governments and other public agencies to “create innovative and replicable policies, programs, and procedures so that sustainable practices become standard in the planning, design, construction, and operation of the built environment.” This program has concentrated its efforts chiefly on several California cities as well as New Orleans, Louisiana.
* The Green Schools Program, which similarly focuses on California and New Orleans, has created “showcase green schools” whose administrators purport that by improving such variables as air quality and lighting, they can also “improve student test scores,” “lower energy bills,” and “reduce asthma attacks” among students. Through this initiative, GGUSA has “provided technical expertise for school districts to go green”; “hosted an annual Green School Makeover Competition”; “created innovative … web tools for greening K-12 schools”; and “helped secure $100 million in bond monies for green schools in California.” In 2011 GGUSA and the NAACP together sponsored a "Green School Makeover" competition that awarded some $130,000 in cash and technical assistance to help one K-12 school become more energy-efficient. In addition, four other schools received $2,500 apiece for a similar purpose.
* The Red Carpet/Green Cars Program promotes “clean transportation” in the form of plug-in hybrid vehicles, which, though not yet available to consumers as of 2011, would theoretically reduce gasoline consumption by a significant amount. GGUSA also advocates “innovations” in the production of “ethanol and renewable diesel, both of which will eventually be made from waste products and can be integrated into existing fueling infrastructure and vehicle technologies.”
* The Polar Expeditions Program organizes group trips to such places as Greenland, the Arctic Circle, and Antarctica, to give people a first-hand look at “the imminent danger caused by ... warming trends” in those regions. According to GGUSA, “If the Antarctica ice sheet were to break from land and slip into the ocean, global sea levels could rise by 20 feet.”
* The Security & Sustainability Program seeks to “foster dialogue on weapons of mass destruction, nonproliferation, and threat-reduction issues.” Toward that end, this program brings together “U.S. and foreign military and government officials, experts, and private citizens in a variety of formats, from high-level meetings between senior policymakers to expert seminars to public forums.” GGUSA's ultimate goal is “the global elimination of Cold War-era weapons stockpiles and the lock-down of dangerous weapons materials.”
* The Water Program aims to ensure “the equitable distribution of water resources and water treatment,” particularly in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Bolivia, Argentina, Burkina Faso, and Chad. The program also urges Americans to conserve water by fixing leaky faucets; washing full (rather than partial) loads of clothes and dishes; installing high-efficiency showerheads and toilets; watering lawns and gardens in the evening or early in the morning to avoid excessive evaporation; replanting their yards with native wildflowers and groundcovers; and “eat[ing] less meat” because “it takes 15,000 tons of water to produce a ton of beef, while a ton of grain only requires 1,000 tons.” Further, GGUSA calls for increased “environmental regulations of polluting industries,” and emphasizes that water should “not [be] treated as a commodity” but rather should be controlled and allocated by government.
* Through the Holy Cross Project of its Rebuilding New Orleans Program, GGUSA helped construct five single-family homes, an eighteen-unit apartment building, and a community/climate-action center in the Louisiana city that had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Reasoning that “the most effective solutions to climate change are only adopted when they are effectively communicated to policymakers and the public,” GGUSA has tried to disseminate its message as broadly as possible by partnering with such celebrity spokespeople as Kevin Bacon, Pierce Brosnan, James Cameron, Penelope Cruz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Morgan Freeman, Heather Graham, Tom Hanks, Salma Hayek, Val Kilmer, Norman Lear, Jason Lewis, Bill Maher, Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Susan Sarandon, Kyra Sedgwick, Oliver Stone and Serena Williams. DiCaprio and Norton serve as GGUSA board members.