Meet Jed Thorp: Coordinating community advocacy efforts for the Bay
Jed Thorp joins Save The Bay as our first advocacy coordinator. He grew up in Ohio, but fell in love with Narragansett Bay shortly after moving to Rhode Island in 2013. He spent the last four years at The Public’s Radio 89.3FM, Rhode Island’s NPR news station, but has spent most of his career working on environmental issues. He’s helped lead environmental advocacy campaigns for Ohio Citizen Action and Clean Water Action in Massachusetts and was the Director of the Ohio Sierra Club prior to relocating to Rhode Island. Jed also spent five years in state government with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. He and his family live in Cranston near Stillhouse Cove, where they enjoy the beauty of the Bay as often as possible.
Explain your new role as Advocacy Coordinator, and what that entails?
The Advocacy Coordinator position is new, with the goal of better engaging Save The Bay’s supporters with our advocacy work. I’ve always followed the theory that there are two forms of power in politics: money and people. Ultimately, Save The Bay’s political strength comes from the people who support our work and our policy proposals. My role will be to translate our existing “people power” into “political power.” I’ll do this by giving our supporters ways to let elected officials know that the protection and improvement of Narragansett Bay is important to them. We’ll focus on actions that not only influence decision-makers, but that also strengthen the organization in the long-term.
What excites you about this new role?
I’m always excited by potential, and I see a huge amount of latent political power out there that can be thoughtfully and strategically mobilized to advance our agenda to protect and improve Narragansett Bay. I love working with and empowering people and helping them engage in the political process. Many folks think “politics” is a dirty word, but politics is simply the process of deciding who gets what, when and how. People who care about the Bay and our environment should feel empowered and excited to be part of that process.
What issues do you anticipate working on?
There are many important issues affecting the Bay, but some lend themselves better to citizen advocacy than others. Climate change and its impact on our state will be a critical issue for years to come. I anticipate a lot of work to ensure the state prepares for and adapts to these changes in a proactive way. How our communities manage stormwater, and other infrastructure challenges, will likely require organizing at both the state and local levels. And, maintaining public access and fighting reckless development along our coasts are extremely important issues to many Rhode Islanders.