As Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune writes in his look back at 2013, this was a year to remember. Here are just a few of the most important and popular Sierra Club stories from the last 12 months. As you'll see, we accomplished a lot together this year. Bring on 2014!
A Climate Challenge and Response
In February, 50,000 people turned out in Washington, D.C., on one of the coldest days of the year to let President Obama know that they expect him to lead on climate. Four months later, the president responded with a landmark speech that laid out his administration's plan for climate action.
Giant Steps Beyond Coal
The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign announced its 150th coal plant retirement in October (the number now stands at 158). The trend is likely to accelerate if the EPA follows up its proposed new carbon pollution standards for new power plants with standards for existing plants. When the EPA held listening sessions on a standard for new plants, clean energy advocates turned out in force across the country. Another high point: Sierra Club ally Kimberly Wasserman won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work helping to retire Chicago's notorious Fisk and Crawford coal plants.
Our Top 3 Slideshows
Did you miss our nifty photo essays on treehouses, a year in the life of a lonely oak tree, or Earth's weirdest landscapes? Well, here's your chance to catch up!
Photo by Mark Hirsch
Electric Vehicle Guide
Sierra magazine published its second annual guide to electric vehicles. Check out individual cars, calculate how much CO2 and money in fueling you'll save, learn what EV driver incentives exist in your area, and find out where to buy an EV.
Handcuffs at the White House Gates
"For civil disobedience to be justified, something must be so wrong that it compels the strongest defensible protest." So said Michael Brune this January. Three weeks later, Brune, Sierra Club president Allison Chin (pictured at right), and Jim Dougherty of the Club's board of directors were among the 48 people arrested in front of the White House during the first sanctioned act of civil disobedience in the Sierra Club's history.
Beyond Oil (and Keystone XL)
The Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign accomplished a lot during 2013 -- and the highlight was undoubtedly our success in turning the Keystone XL pipeline from a "done deal" to a dubious proposition.
Read all about it!
5 Monuments and a Corridor
The Obama administration has generally been conservative about new protections for public lands (while Congress has been outright hostile), so it was big news when five new national monuments were declared last spring. Here's hoping 2014 sees more such designations, because we really need them. Also last spring, the Club's Puerto Rico Chapter (and leatherback sea turtles) achieved a huge victory when the island's Northeast Ecological Corridor was finally protected.
Standing Up to Fracking
In February, Michael Brune debated natural gas fracking in The Economist -- and won -- but we were even more thrilled to see several communities along Colorado's Front Range successfully pass fracking moratoriums during the last election. Earlier in the year, the Club and the Center for Biological Diversity won a legal challenge against proposed fracking operations in California.
Photo by EcoFlight
Climbing to Olympus
On the 12th anniversary of 9/11, Sierra Club Military Outdoors organizer Joshua Brandon and three other veterans undertook a six-day trek in Washington State's Olympic Mountains, traveling through one of the planet's largest temperate rain forests, traversing the Ridge of the Gods and two glaciers, and summiting 7,980-foot Mt. Olympus. "We climb for many reasons," Brandon says. Read his account of the trek, "Climbing to Olympus."
Photo by Dan Wiwczar (Sierra Club Mission Outdoors Outside Adventure Film School graduate)
Reinventing the Grassroots Network
Releasing terrapin hatchlings into Barnegat Bay, generating turnout to Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearings, raising the alarm about dangerous provisions to militarize the border in the name of immigration reform -- these are just three of the more than 40 projects and teams nurtured by the Grassroots Network in 2013. Viva volunteers!
SierraRise and Shine a Light on Google
This year we launched SierraRise, a new, feedback-driven community where we decide together what issues to tackle. We've already racked up some big successes, holding corporations like Monsanto accountable, pushing back on radical politicians, and taking on climate deniers.
Join us by raising your voice for the latest campaign: Tell Google to stop funding an extremist anti-environmental group.
Sierra magazine's Cool Schools list, now in its seventh year, has become the highest-profile ranking of America's greenest colleges and universities. More than 160 schools were ranked in this year's Cool Schools issue. In case you missed Sierra's September/October issue, find out which schools made our Top 10 list, how your school fared, and more.
Illustration by Harry Campbell
Act Now and Double Your Gift
2014 is shaping up to be a defining year for the environment, so we need you more than ever. Gray wolves are being grotesquely poisoned to make way for tar sands extraction in Canada, and they may soon lose their protections in the lower 48 states. Wildlife and wild spaces are under threat. We must be ready on January 1 -- and so we've set a $150,000 year-end goal. Can you help? Have your donation matched today, dollar for dollar, and your gift will go twice as far to preserve America's wild legacy.
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