How We Win

In this special newsletter, we present Climate Action Now’s plan to accelerate the sustainability revolution and ask for your help to make it happen.

One sentence in a recent Washington Post account of recent heatwaves leaped out at us:

In the past seven days alone, billions felt heat with climate change-fueled intensity that broke more than 1,000 temperature records around the globe.

1,000 broken heat records in seven days.

This is just one in a cascade of warnings that should be a bucket of ice water in the face of a sleeping person. Yet, the world continues to sleepwalk through the unfolding catastrophe.

The overwhelming responsibility for this calamity lies with the fossil fuel industry and the politicians who support it. Together, they have blocked laws that could have brought about the systemic change needed to stem the rising temperatures. The Inflation Reduction Act helped, but it is vulnerable and only gets us part way.

Ultimately, physics will overwhelm the arguments of deniers and naysayers. And innovators will create technologies that are so clearly superior to the polluting technologies in price and performance that the argument will be won with economics. The fossil fuel industry will go the way of the whale blubber and horse and buggy industries.

In the meantime, however, time is of the essence. CO2 continues to accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures continue to rise, and the failure to act decisively will cause more future harm.

The question then is, what are we to do?

The answer begins by recognizing that we are not powerless. We say it repeatedly:

Public opinion is the only effective counterweight to the immense power of the fossil fuel industry. The industry know this, which is why it spends hundreds of millions of dollars trying to shape public opinion with disinformation. Even dictators like Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping know this, which is why they go to extreme lengths to suppress free speech and control the state media. Public opinion can sweep everything and everyone in its path.

Your opinion is your superpower.  Collectively, we have the power. The question is, how do we use that power?

We need a plan.

The Inside/Outside Game
If you are an engineer, hopefully, you are working round the clock to make a better battery, solar panel, wind turbine, or any of a wide variety of technologies that we need to speed the transition.

But for the rest of us, our job is clear. We must give our political leaders the courage to pass the laws that will accelerate the sustainability revolution.

Laws, of course, are passed by our elected representatives, and many of them would work harder to get climate legislation passed if they thought they had the support of their constituents.

Unfortunately, although most people are concerned about climate change, only a small percentage of them engage in advocacy.  But that’s OK, because a small number of people can make a huge difference.

Climate Action Now has proven this repeatedly with our Action Parties in which participants flood the inboxes of legislators and other influencers with messages demanding action.

The key is to bring maximum public pressure to bear at precisely the right times. That bears repeating.

The key is to bring maximum public pressure to bear at precisely the right times
.

This requires coordination between two teams of people.

We call it the Inside/Outside Game.

The Inside Game is played by policy experts and activists who work with sympathetic legislators to craft and introduce the needed policies and laws.

Climate Action Now works closely with policy experts and activists at wonderful organizations like the Environmental Working Group, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, California Action Coalition, Beyond Plastics, and many others who work tirelessly year after year on the front lines to help craft and bring these laws to their state legislatures.

The Outside Game is played by you, by us, and by other members of the concerned public who show up when called upon, usually at an Action Party, to apply public pressure at precisely those times when it can have the greatest impact:

When laws come up for a committee vote
When laws come up for a floor vote
When the bills are on the governor’s desk for signature

We’ve done it again and again and again.

Our April 2023 Save the CLCPA Action Party helped save New York’s signature climate law from being gutted by a backroom deal between the Governor and the state’s gas supplier. In the space of one hour, participants flooded the inboxes of the Governor and legislators with thousands of messages opposing the deal. Two days later, the Governor backed down. We tell the story here.

New York Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher and activist Bill McKibben acknowledged the victory.

In New York, CAN Save the Bees Action Parties helped pass the landmark Birds & Bees Protection Act, the first law in the nation curtailing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides! This deadly class of pesticide is the most environmentally destructive pesticide since DDT.

The Sierra Club’s Caitlin Ferrante celebrated the victory.

And Climate Action Now’s own Tim Guinee and New York Senator Pete Harckham announced several other legislative victories enabled by citizen advocacy with the Climate Action Now app.

Of course, you can’t win ’em all. Several End Plastic Pollution Action Parties helped bring New York’s Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act to the brink of victory this year, only to be defeated at the last minute by determined resistance from the plastics industry.

But Beyond Plastics leaders Judith Ench and Alexis Goldsmith testified to the importance of the CAN app and community to the Outside Game.

Here’s the amazing thing: these victories and near-victories were accomplished by only 1.2 paid staffers and a handful of volunteers. Just imagine what we could accomplish with more resources!

In addition to taking action with the Climate Action Now app and showing up when called to the Action Parties, the most important thing you can do to help us execute this plan is to become a Climate Action Now member at the highest tier your budget will allow. Your subscription gives us the continuous revenue stream we need to execute the Inside/Outside strategy.  

Depending on your membership level, you’ll get:

  • A green, teal, gold, or sapphire leaf around your profile photo in the app
  • No more donation appeals in the app
  • No more ads of any kind in the app
  • 5%-25% savings on all in-app gift purchases
  • 5-40 trees planted every month on your behalf

You can become a member on our website or in the CAN app by touching the Support Us link at the top of the screen.

If you are already a member or want to help in a different way, please consider these options:

  • Become a Planet-Saving Subscriber. Every month or year on your behalf we’ll plant a certain number of trees, reduce a certain amount of CO2 from the atmosphere, and preserve forever an area of vital habitat.
  • Purchase planet-saving gifts or a Bonus Tree Subscription and double or triple the trees you earn while taking climate action.

    To access these options in the app, touch the ☰ icon in the upper left corner of the app, then choose what you want.
  • Make a one-time donation and put some wind in our sails. Every little bit helps!

Thanks so much for your help and support!