The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) has undertaken an enormous amount of work over the past 52 years. In one of our early correspondences to potential supporters, Leo Drey (one of MCE’s founders) mentioned how our state needed a Paul Revere organization to sound the alarm on emerging issues. The people of Missouri would benefit from an organization focused on protecting their health and well-being as it relates to the environment, protecting our public lands and wild spaces, and ensuring we sustain our state’s diverse ecosystems.

Over the years, we have done our best to ride our metaphorical horse and yell, “The polluters are coming! The polluters are coming!” on a variety of environmental issues. We have also guided people through the sometimes intimidating and cumbersome ways for them to provide officially recognized public comments or testimonies.

With this rich history and wealth of experience in mind, MCE has been working alongside The Rome Group to develop an updated strategic plan for our coalition. This included reaching out to organizations, individuals and members who have worked with us in the past as well as those we do not currently have a relationship with. We have also held discussions with current staff and board members about who we are and who we want to be. All of the surveys, interviews and research has reinforced our commitment to conduct our work through the lens of equity, as well as to maintain our position as the environmental Paul Revere of our state.

This advocacy work was identified as a needed resource when we were founded, and it has been identified as a continued need during our most recent strategic planning efforts. We will be focusing our efforts on advocacy, which includes educating and organizing people throughout the state to ensure their health and environment are prioritized with our elected officials and governmental agencies. Furthermore, through our new strategic plan, we will focus our advocacy efforts on the climate crisis and on seeking justice for people who have been predominantly impacted by environmental harms due to racist or other unjust systems. We will also be holding ourselves accountable to live up to two specific words in our name: “Missouri” and “coalition.”

We will be working to maintain a statewide presence with our membership, volunteers and staff. We will also be working to ensure more people and organizations in our state know who we are and how we may be able to partner with them. It will take many groups of individuals and organizations working together to achieve our environmental goals, and we will approach our coalition-building work with both humility and a spirit of collaboration.