Our Legacy

The Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) is committed to combating climate change and protecting the commonwealth’s land, water, and public health. By creating diverse alliances and building the power of the environmental community, ELM uses its collective influence to ensure Massachusetts is a leader in environmental and economic sustainability.

As a Massachusetts-based organization that engages in advocacy across the full spectrum of climate, environmental, and clean energy issues, ELM plays a crucial role in coordinating and elevating the environmental community to push for policy change and regulatory oversight.

Since 1898, ELM has been a cornerstone of the environmental community in Massachusetts, influencing the policy process to drive lasting change. ELM’s agenda has continually evolved along with the most pressing environmental issues of the day. ELM’s early work included the promotion of sustainable forestry practices statewide. In the 1920s and 1930s, the organization successfully petitioned the legislature to purchase more than 300,000 acres of state forests, leading to the establishment of the Massachusetts state park system and setting an example that inspired the creation of state forests nationwide. In the 1950s, ELM worked successfully for the establishment of town conservation commissions, achieved via the conservation commission act of 1957. For decades, we led on smart growth development and river protection. With the emergence of environmental health concerns in the 1970s and 80s, ELM became a strong advocate for the Massachusetts Toxic Use Reduction Act (the first such act passed in the country), and was instrumental in advocating for sufficient funds to enable its implementation.

More recently, ELM was a key leader in the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act establishing legally-binding emissions limits, the 2016 Energy Diversity Act authorizing the nation’s first offshore wind procurements, and the 2021 Roadmap Bill to set a net-zero by 2050 goal and codify much needed environmental justice protections.

Today, ELM continues to build on this legacy of impact and broad understanding of environmental issues, focusing on advocacy designed to equitably achieve carbon neutrality in ways that protect the public health and natural resources of the Commonwealth.

ELM is also the state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation. Our sister organization, the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund works to build the political power of the environmental community and is the state affiliate for the League of Conservation Voters.


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