Sierra Club Wrapped: 23 Wins for Planet & People in 2023

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Warnings about the urgent need to act on climate may sound like a bad song on repeat. And with 2023 ranking as the hottest year on record, with more of our communities feeling the impacts and more species at risk of extinction, we have our work cut out for us to turn the tide.

But we’re also seeing decisive victories that are putting us on the path towards a clean energy future where all of us can thrive. 

To wrap up the year, we're sharing 23 of our favorite moments, victories, and accomplishments from 2023. Take a moment to celebrate what we've done together to create the better world we all deserve‚ÄĒbecause this wouldn't have been possible without advocates like you.

Click to drop down to the following sections:

Drone footage from the March to End Fossil Fules

Drone footage from the March to End Fossil Fuels.

Campaign Highlights

We worked on dozens of campaigns to transition to 100 percent clean energy, protect wildlife, stop dirty and dangerous fossil fuel projects, increase access to the outdoors, and more. Here are four key campaigns you helped support in 2023. 

Photo of Juni with her coloring page to protect our forests

Juni holding her coloring page to potect forests. Photo by Jennifer McCharen.

  1. Implementing the largest ever climate, jobs, and justice legislation
    • This August marked the first anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, a game-changing climate, jobs, and justice law and the largest in our nation's history. Now, we're seeing billions of dollars flow into our communities. To make sure we fully harness this federal funding at the state and local level, we launched the¬†Community Advocates program. We trained dozens of volunteers across the country to make sure these benefits go to everyday people and families who need it most--not corporate polluters.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  2. Protecting Old Growth Forests
    • In July, we submitted 17,020 comments to the US Forest Service asking them to protect old-growth forests, which safeguard our communities from the future impacts of climate change. Since then, you've continued ramping up the pressure by¬†sending in hundreds of coloring pages and more.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  3. Strengthening the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)
    • The National Environmental Policy Act is critical to building a more just and livable clean energy future. That's why it was so important that over 12,000 Sierra Club activists submitted comments to the White House, 4,000 of which included a personal message, demanding that climate and justice are at the forefront of our nation's energy decisions. 40 Sierra Club volunteers also testified in support of the administration's plan.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  4. Protecting the Arctic
    • The Arctic plays a critical role in our climate and future, and protecting it is a matter of survival and food security for the Gwich'in and other local people and wildlife. We've seen major setbacks with the Biden administration's approval of ConocoPhillips' devastating Willow project in Alaska,¬†which we will continue to fight. But we also saw a major victory with our work to push President Biden to¬†cancel all oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (more on that below).¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Alexis Bonogofsky, courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Excited to help build on this work in 2024 and beyond? Get involved here!

Movement Victories 

While only a partial list of everything we achieved this year, here is a selection of exciting victories the climate and environmental movement won in 2023.

Designation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni‚ÄĒAncestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon

Designation of Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni‚ÄĒAncestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter.

  1. New and expanded National Monuments 
    • Years of work by Tribes, activists, and Sierra Club members and supporters across the country paid off this year when President Biden¬†designated four new national monuments, including Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada, Castner Range in Texas, and Baaj Nwaavjo I'tah Kukveni‚ÄĒAncestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We also celebrate the designation of the¬†Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, which includes multiple sites across Illinois and Mississippi.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  2. The federal government announced new plans to tackle climate pollution from power plants and vehicles
    • The Biden administration proposed pollution standards from cars that would cut nearly 10 billion tons of CO2 emissions and reduce reliance on imported oil by 20 billion barrels through 2055. Then in November, the federal government released the fifth National Climate Assessment and announced more than six billion dollars to strengthen communities' resilience to climate change. The administration also opened two billion dollars for environmental justice through the EPA.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  3. President Biden established an American Climate Corps
    • This is an all hands on deck approach to address the climate crisis.¬†The American Climate Corps will provide the opportunity for 20,000 young people to enter a training and service program in clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience. They'll work on issues such as restoring coastal wetlands and deploying clean energy technologies. It‚Äôs a life-changing opportunity that offers the next generation pathways to engaging with environmental stewardship. We hope to grow this program even larger in the coming years.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  4. We retired our 375th coal plant this year
    • Thanks to the impressive dedication of staff and volunteers with the Sierra Club's¬†Beyond Coal campaign, we recently retired the 375th coal plant, in South Carolina. This is a huge victory for¬†the nearby majority Black community who, due to a history of redlining, has long been treated as a sacrifice zone. This success came just after the announcement of the closure of a plant in Maryland that puts the state on track to be coal free by 2025.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  5. President Biden canceled oil and gas Leases in the Arctic and finalized a "roadless rule" in Alaska
  6. States are requiring clean transportation
    • As the largest source of climate pollution, cleaning up our cars, trucks, and buses is critical to our future. That's why it's so exciting that California adopted two new rules for clean fleets and locomotives and¬†New York passed a Zero Emissions Vehicle¬†bill, which requires NYC to transition its municipal fleet to electric vehicles. In November, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Delaware became the latest states to adopt Advanced Clean Car Standards.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  7. The largest ever offshore wind was approved on the Virginia coast
    • The Biden administration¬†approved the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project‚ÄĒthe largest proposed offshore wind project in the country. And, in December, the first wind project offshore of New York went online.¬† These wind farms will reduce air pollution from carbon dioxide, decrease dependence on fossil fuel infrastructure, protect public health, and provide family-sustaining, quality jobs.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  8. The Forest Service granted one billion for forest projects across nation
    • The U.S. Forest Service's¬†Urban and Community Forestry Program earmarked over one billion to support efforts to increase equitable access to the outdoors. It will support projects that will plant trees, combat extreme heat, improve air quality, and provide more green spaces for communities.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  9. Federal financial regulators act on climate
    • In 2023 multiple agencies including the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department published¬†first-of-its-kind recommendations on how banks and other financial institutions can manage climate risks and protect investors and the economy. In California,¬†new laws were passed that will require big companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  10. The EPA closed an unlawful air pollution loophole
    • In July, we successfully pushed the EPA to¬†close an unlawful loophole in the Clean Air Act operating permit regulations that allowed fossil fuel power plants to release nearly unlimited amounts of dangerous air pollution during startup, shutdown, and malfunction events. These loopholes leave fenceline and downwind communities exposed, often unknowingly, to limitless amounts of soot, smog, and toxic chemicals and we will continue working to remove the loopholes from all EPA rules.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  11. On the Endangered Species Act's 50th anniversary, we increased protections for three wildlife species
    • For years, the Sierra Club has worked with Pacific Northwest Tribes and allies to dismantle dams on the Snake River that have pushed salmon to the brink of extinction. This year,¬†the White House took an essential step to protect these salmon. In another win for wildlife, Colorado is reintroducing gray wolves after last year's victory to regain their federal protections, reversing the Trump administration's delisting of the critical predator. Finally, in November, the wolverine, which is at risk of extinction, was added to the threatened species list. You can¬†keep up the momentum to protect wildlife here.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  12. We stopped a New Jersey gas plant from being built
    • Years of organizing¬†stopped a 640-megawatt gas-fired power plant located in Keasbey, New Jersey from being built. This will prevent an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and stop millions of tons of toxins from polluting the air of 70 nearby public schools.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  13. We marched and rallied to demand an end to fossil fuels
    • Over 75,000 people joined¬†the March to End Fossil Fuels, making it the largest climate mobilization since the start of the pandemic. This was a critical moment to demonstrate the strength of the climate movement and urge President Biden to do more to protect our future.¬†Hundreds of groups helped plan the march, including Fridays for Future NYC, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.¬†In March, we joined a national day of action led by Third Act with over 100 events across the country to demand the largest US banks stop funding the fossil fuels that drive the climate crisis.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  14. We won new protections against oil and gas methane pollution
    • Methane is a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. New safeguards implemented by the Biden administration are the culmination of years of advocacy by and on behalf of our families and communities. These protections against the oil and gas industry will advance environmental justice, slow the rate of climate change, and keep everyone's air clean.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  15. We saw a strong showing for climate in the elections
    • In November's election, voters showed up and continued to reject Republican extremism . In Virginia, staff and volunteers helped to protect their control of the State Senate and flip the House of Delegates, which will block extremist Governor Glenn Youngkin's ability to implement his anti-climate, anti-education, anti-choice agenda in the state. However, turnout was still low. If we want to continue to protect our future, we must work to get out the vote!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
Offshore wind, photo by Dennis Schroeder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Offshore wind turbine in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Nancy Pyne.

Your Activism By The Numbers

How you made this possible.         
 

  1. You took 1,102,503 online actions, including comments, petitions, and more.
    • From submitting comments to the Biden Administration about reducing car and truck pollution to pushing banks and insurance companies to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry and so much more, you made your voices heard. These small actions really add up to some big numbers!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  2. You moved decision-makers with 201,468 personalized messages.
    • Our stories are powerful! Personalizing our messages makes comments even more effective in swaying decision-makers, and more likely that legislators, department heads, and companies will see them. Thank you for taking those few extra moments to share why these issues matter to you.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  3. We built community with 39,950 people who signed up for events in every state across the country.
    • Thousands of people turned out for events at their local chapters and groups, as well as powerful virtual webinars and trainings to build skills and community.¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  4. We got outside with 8,744 people registering for and attending outings.
    • Everyone deserves access to explore and enjoy the outdoors that we‚Äôre working so hard to protect. That's why local chapters in your state and across the nation hosted hundreds of outings in parks and other outdoor spaces to explore together.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
Participants on a local Inspiring Connections Outdoors outing

Participants on a local Inspiring Connections Outdoors outing.

The Work Ahead

Each of you who wrote a public comment, posted on social media, called or met with your members of Congress, wrote a letter to the editor, attended a protest, donated, or talked to your friends and family is why each of these 23 things (and more) were possible. 

Of course, the work is far from done. It's going to take all of us continuing to advocate at the local, state and national level to win the better future we know is possible. 

Here are four ways to get involved in the ongoing work:          
 

  1. Make a New Year's Resolution to continue taking action in 2024!
    • Defeating the Dakota Access Pipeline once and for all. Bringing clean energy jobs to our communities. Protecting precious lands, water and wildlife from drilling and mining. These are the victories that are possible if we build the power of our movement. Sign up to get involved in 2024, and we'll follow up with you in the New Year to get you plugged in.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  2. Share these victories on your social media accounts to inspire your friends and family to get involved.
  3. Join your local chapter.
    • We have 63 Sierra Club chapters across the country, with at least one in every state. Join a community of changemakers and get involved in local issues.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
  4. Support Sierra Club's work.
    • Your gift will strengthen the Sierra Club‚Äôs vital work for the environment next year. Make a gift for the planet.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
       
Outing hosted by the Sierra Club Puerto Rico Chapter.

Outing hosted by the Sierra Club Puerto Rico Chapter. Photo by PopuliCom for the Sierra Club.

Thank you for everything you do. Movements are powered by everyday people taking action together, and we’re so grateful to be in this work alongside you. 


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