Before I wave a final goodbye to 2009, I want to make sure you know about some of the environmental accomplishments of the past year, particularly those involving the organization I work for -- the Sierra Club. Without the help of our volunteers, supporters, and partner organizations, of course, we wouldn't be quite as effective, so thanks to you if you've signed our petitions, held a house party, or otherwise helped demand change.If you'd like to see a state-by-state round-up of victories (and possibly contribute your own for your particular state), check out our clickable map here. But to whet your appetite while you're here on Treehugger, here are some successes by the numbers:
- 26 coal-fired power plants were abandoned or defeated
- Congress protected two million acres of new parks, wilderness areas, and wild rivers
- The grizzly bear earned greater protection
- Tens of thousands of actions were taken leading to key climate-change rulings in DC
- The Obama administration ruled that greenhouse gases threaten public health and should be regulated
- More than 1,000 people submitted photos supporting a new EPA clean-car standard
- The Sierra Club held nearly 1,000 house parties for the Coal Country documentary, and called for an end to mountaintop-removal coal mining.
- The Sierra Club took 90,000 kids fishing, thanks to partnerships with the Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited.
- The Sierra Club held 750 house parties to sneak-preview the Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea.
I'm greeting 2010 with optimism as I see us working with an American public more interested than ever in protecting the planet. If what people are watching on TV and in the theaters count for anything, then it's hard to ignore how the Ken Burns documentary raised awareness of our country's special places and the need to protect them, and Avatar is echoing that theme in the cinema.
We still have a great deal of work to do, but we can be successful if we all work together. Here's to another effective year of protecting the environment!