Giving Thanks for Successful Grassroots Action

© Javier Sierra
Sierra Club activists rally outside the White House against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

We’re sometimes gloom and doom when we write about important environmental and public health issues facing our planet today, but this week is an excellent time to bring up the victories and dedication that make us thankful.

I am inspired by the many hard-working grassroots activists in the Sierra Club and amongst our ally organizations. Here’s my short list of some recent phenomenal grassroots work for which I’m grateful:

-Keystone XL: The Sierra Club and our many allies cheered the State Department’s announcement two weeks ago that it would reassess the environmental impacts of the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. This move came after thousands and thousands of Americans sent in comments, showed up and testified at public hearings nationwide, got arrested outside the White House, and then later circled the White House – all protesting this dangerous, dirty energy project.

-The Beyond Coal Campaign: Sierra Club Beyond Coal activists nationwide continue to amaze me with their tireless work for clean energy in their communities. Some recent examples include a hearing in Sutton, Alaska, where despite a wind chill of -13, more than 200 people showed up to say no to the proposed Wishbone Hill Coal Strip mine.

And then in the Midwest, residents of South Chicago are maintaining their steady drum beat for public health as they work to get the city to close the filthy and ancient Fisk and Crawford coal plants.

Finally in the South, our activists are celebrating the City of Austin’s announcement that it will go coal-free. The Texas Beyond Coal organizers are an impressive bunch, busily working statewide to transition to clean energy.

-Cleaning Up the Natural Gas Industry: Americans want the natural gas industry to keep the “frack” out of their water – and the most recent example of this came in the Delaware River Basin, where the NJ Sierra Club delivered over 71,000 letters from citizens and lawmakers opposing the Delaware River Basin Commission's draft rules on natural gas drilling to Gov. Chris Christie.

Those rules would’ve let the industry drill at will in the Delaware River Basin, putting fresh water at risk for over 15 million of Americans. We cheered on Nov. 17 when that plan was postponed.

I could go on and on, as there are so many wonderful activists nationwide committed to protecting their air and water and working for clean energy. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for their passion and their dedication.

Tags: Activism | Alaska | Chicago | Coal | Natural Gas | Tar Sands | Texas

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