2015’s Biggest Environmental Moments, as Told by Social Media
by Ryan Schleeter
December 18, 2015
2015 gave the environmental movement much to be proud of. Relive (and retweet) your favorite moments and recharge for the next year of environmental hashtivism.
This was an incredible year for the environmental movement. But don’t take it from me, take it from the Twitterverse (or Annie Leonard).
The Year Fossil Fuels Lost
It’s not a great time to be a fossil fuel baron — which makes it a good time to be just about anyone else.
On one hand, there’s the mounting evidence that the world is ready to move away from fossil fuels. On the other, there’s the increase in availability and affordability of renewable energy sources and radical advances in the technologies behind them.
Here are a few reasons we’re going with team renewables.
It’s breaking records left and right:
— 350 dot org (@350) August 11, 2015
U.S. cities are basically in a race to see who can get to 100 percent renewable energy first:
— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) November 19, 2015
Even big tech companies like Google are getting in on the fun:
— Chris Mooney (@chriscmooney) October 20, 2015
Recognizing the Ties Between Social and Environmental Justice
Whether we’re standing up to corporations polluting our environment or to the systems perpetuating racism and violence in our country, fighting injustices across the spectrum is key to creating the sustainable future we all deserve.
This year, environmentalists were privileged to stand with allies in some powerful moments of social progress.
We rejoiced with LGBTQ allies when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality:
— grist (@grist) July 1, 2015
We marched with civil rights allies and called on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act:
— NAACP (@NAACP) August 10, 2015
We commemorated the ten years since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast:
— People's Climate (@Peoples_Climate) August 28, 2015
And we stood with the Black Lives Matter movement to demand racial justice:
— Annie Leonard (@AnnieMLeonard) November 24, 2015
Remarkable Acts of Courage
Activists went to new heights this year to fight for the environment — literally. From a wave of global actions to save the Arctic through to innovative mobilizations on the doorstep of the Paris climate talks, people power delivered message after powerful message in 2015.
There was time that six brave activists mounted Shell’s massive Arctic drilling rig in the middle of the Pacific …
— RT America (@RT_America) May 16, 2015
In Portland, Shell's icebreaker appears to turn back upriver after activists block it from heading out to sea, and back to the arctic. Wow.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) July 30, 2015
This generated momentum that carried into President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline …
— 350 dot org (@350) November 21, 2015
… and came to a head during massive demonstrations in Paris this month.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) November 29, 2015
We Did a Few Nice Things for Nature
OK, given that we’re in the middle of the sixth great extinction, this might not be the year to celebrate all we’ve done to protect nature and wildlife. Mark that down as a New Year’s resolution: save more animals in 2016.
Still, we managed to do some good deeds for nature this year, like when the U.K. established the world’s largest marine reserve …
— Enric Sala (@Enric_Sala) March 18, 2015
… or when Texas banned the shark fin trade.
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) June 23, 2015
Animals, in turn, continued to amaze us. Like these heroic conservation dogs …
— Sierra Magazine (@Sierra_Magazine) December 7, 2015
… and these stupidly adorable sloths.
And if you haven’t yet, head over to our friends at Racing Extinction to learn more about the role we all play in saving threatened species.
— Racing Extinction (@RacingXtinction) December 3, 2015
People Stood Up to Corporate Power
The people spoke up big time this year, and companies listened. Here are just a few of the companies taking critical steps on sustainability because of your action this year.
Post-It Note maker 3M is making good on its promise to protect the world’s forests …
— Rolf Skar (@RolfSkarGP) March 5, 2015
… and major Indonesian pulp and paper company APRIL committed to zero deforestation.
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) June 3, 2015
The spotlight has never been brighter on the seafood industry than it is right now. From destructive fishing methods that harm our oceans to multiple investigations revealing human rights abuses, consumers are rightfully concerned about the seafood on their plates.
— Lauren Reid (@Lo_Pickles) September 9, 2015
What Will the Story of 2016 Be?
2015 gave us plenty of reason to be inspired. But of course, there’s more work ahead of us.
So we’re asking — what will 2016’s environmental victories look like? And how will you be a part of them?