Probe is one of Canada’s leading environmental and public policy research institutes.
It has four main goals:
- To provide the public, media, business, and government with information on resource-related issues;
- To promote sustainable resource use;
- To encourage individual responsibility and accountability;
- To help Canada contribute to global justice and prosperity.
Probe works to promote social, economic, and environmental well-being in Canada and abroad.
How We Do It
We are neither left wing nor right wing. Our fundamental concern is with process. We rarely argue for particular ends, because the world is too complex to know what they should be. Rather, we argue for the means – the rule of law, markets, the ballot box – to hold decision-makers accountable for the consequences of their actions.
We apply sound scientific and economic analysis to environmental challenges.
We promote “bottom-up” environmentalism, and champion the use of property rights and decentralized decision making to empower individuals and communities to protect the environment. We believe in the good judgment and incentives of ordinary people, and we work to put power and information in the hands of those most affected by decisions.
We believe that environmental protection and economic progress go hand in hand, and that the interests of one need not be achieved at the expense of the other. Furthermore, we believe that the economy and the environment require many of the same conditions – such as diversity and feedback – to thrive.
EPRF (Energy Probe Research Foundation, also Probe) – considered one of the most effective organizations of its kind by The Canadian Encyclopedia – first took form in 1970 as the Energy Team of Pollution Probe. In 1980, Energy Probe separated from Pollution Probe and became incorporated as the Energy Probe Research Foundation.
The Foundation has been called a maverick for taking positions that are often out of step with other citizens’ groups. One vital component of our work is our dedication not only to fighting against ill-advised projects but also to fighting for sound, democratic processes. The Foundation has always championed property rights and market mechanisms to protect consumers and the environment, has often criticized foreign aid and other forms of unaccountable international lending, and believes that an informed public can best ensure lasting environmental protection.
EPRF and its divisions are best known for their research exposing nuclear power as uneconomic, their promotion of renewable energy, their documentation that the science behind competing theories of global warming is not yet settled, their criticism of large-scale foreign aid, which undermines political accountability and promotes corruption, and their 24-year-long campaign against China’s Three Gorges Dam.
To inform public opinion, EPRF has been a founder of numerous organizations: locally, Ecology House; nationally, Friends of the Earth Canada; and internationally, the World Rainforest Movement and the International Rivers Network.
Energy Probe was one of only two “pressure” groups cited by the inaugural edition of The Canadian Encyclopedia for being effective in influencing our country’s policies. The Canadian Encyclopedia added: “despite its low budget, Energy Probe is respected for its scrupulous research.”
Our work often distinguishes itself by its academic standing. Most of our books have been adopted by university courses, our work appears in leading university texts, and it is published by academic publishers in Canada, the United States, and France. A number of our books have been translated into Bahasa, Bengali, Chinese, Estonian, Finnish, Japanese, and Spanish.
EPRF also influences policy decisions. Our views are heard by provincial and federal legislative committees, environmental assessment boards, and other regulatory agencies when we testify at hearings on a wide variety of pressing issues. Our factual, non-ideological studies are cited favourably by political parties of all stripes; similarly, our common-sense positions receive plaudits from both Ralph Nader organizations and right-wing think tanks such as the Fraser Institute.
And with the public we continue to have a major influence. Hundreds of thousands encounter our research through our best-selling books and our frequent media appearance. We also maintain Canada’s most popular – and most intensively used – environmental website. According to Amazon’s Alexa metric, Canadians are more likely to stay on our site after arriving than they do other environmental groups. They view many more of our pages, and they spend more time reading our material. In fact, visitors to our site stay with us four times as long as with the next most engrossing site.