One of the elements which has gotten lost in the discussion of small versus big government and government lobbying is government's role in transforming wholesale change into retail change. Policy influencing bodies like the DVGBC, USGBC, etc. can use their limited resources on education and outreach to policy makers, who in turn make laws which change the behavior of innumerable individuals.
Green building laws are an excellent example of this transformation. This election cycle, there are several green initiatives on the ballot. For example, a $17.9billion initiative in Washington for improvements to commuter rail and bus service http://law.lexisnexis.com/practiceareas/Environment-Climate/179-billion-clean-transit-plan-on-Seattle-area-ballot.
Additionally, Oregon and New Jersey have been developing comprehensive green building regulatory initiatives. Oregon--http://www.natresnet.org/resblog/post.asp?iPostID=7105; New Jersey--http://www.njlawblog.com/2008/10/articles/real-estate/green-building/legislative-initiatives-in-green-building-arena-abound/
As a result of these laws, buildings in these states will be greener and the environment cleaner, of course. But builders in these states will develop knowledge and experience with green buildings, a market for green products will be enhanced, and consumers will have more green products and buildings to choose from. In short, the benefits will move from the thought leader level to the grassroots level. At its best, lobbying and government outreach is a tool for educating thought leaders who can change policy, thereby transforming the world for the better.