Environmentalists are often hamstrung by their own category, prevented by the narrow confines of what counts as “environmental” from commenting on subjects that have immense, if indirect, environmental effects. (This is one of the principal critiques of the movement in “The Death of Environmentalism” (PDF), about which Grist will have much, much more to say in coming weeks.)
Case in point: global poverty. While not directly “environmental,” the persistance of extreme poverty in several parts of the world leads directly to deforestation, water table depletion, and a host of other eco-ills.
With this in mind I recommend this Alex Steffen post on ending global poverty. It’s not a pipe dream — not even, as it turns out, very expensive. And the environmental (not to say simple human) benefits would be legion.