Good news for the climate you probably missed

by Cassady Craighill

September 10, 2014

We hear a lot of bad news every day. A lot. Its easy for the good news to get lost in the shuffle.

And then of course, there are the endless quizzes on what sort of breakfast food best describes you, where you should retire and the 17 photos of adorable animals you MUST see (seriously, you must)!

The truth is that people (and companies) all across the country are doing AMAZING things to protect our climate, our future and advocate for clean energy.

Weve collected just a few of our favorite stories from the year that point to significant progress in not only the environmental movement, but also in the movement for people to make the change they want to see in their communities.

On September 21st, another story will be added to this collection- the Peoples Climate March in New York City during the UN summit on climate change. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging governments and world leaders to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.

Sign up now and become part of history.

Greenpeace is one of hundreds of organizations, together with tens of thousands of individuals from around the country, that will come together for this historic moment, held to get world leaders attention during the UN Climate Summit.

Join us, and all the individuals and groups profiled below, in making history. Well help get you there!

Lobster Boat Blockade

Prosecutors in Massachusetts dropped charges against two activists, Ken Ward and Jay OHara, for blocking a 40,000-ton delivery of coal to a Massachusetts power plant in 2013. Why? Let us allow the District Attorney to explain:

Climate change is one of the gravest crisis our planet has ever faced, Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter said about his decision to drop the charges. He went on to explain that the decision certainly took into consideration the cost to the taxpayers in Somerset, but was also made with our concerns for their children, and the children of Bristol County and beyond in mind.

Wow. Lets hope all peaceful activists taking action for our future are treated with the same good sense.

Solarize Charlotte

By 2016, it is estimated that a new solar installation will go up every 86 seconds in the United States. North Carolina is getting a head start with the help of Solarize Charlotte.

Solarize Charlotte is a coalition effort to bring cleaner and cheaper electricity to communities in the Charlotte region of North Carolina. Solarize Charlotte wrapped up in late July as the most successful Solarize program in the state with more than 600 signups for free solar assessments and many new installations.

Oh, and North Carolina Moms really care about solar.


Protecting the Chesapeake Bay from natural gas exports

For more than a year, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, working with a number of allies in Maryland and beyond, has worked to prevent the construction of a natural gas export terminal by Dominion Power on the Chesapeake Bay at Cove Point in Maryland.

This export terminal is one of about 20 that the gas industry wants to build around the country to send fracked gas all over the world, particularly Asia. Although the mission to stop the construction is ongoing, Cove Point is now a household name throughout the region and beyond as we have built a movement that led to 150,000 comments to protect the bay from the terminal. More than a thousand people marched at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The movement for no fracked gas exports is strong and will continue. –Submitted byTed Glick, National Campaign Coordinator, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

The Internet! Its getting greener!

Google announced it is purchasing 48 megawatts of renewable wind power for US data center

Google announced it is purchasing 48 megawatts of renewable wind power for US data center

The past year has been a good one when it comes to powering our clicks, tweets, emails, videos and more with clean, renewable energy. This progress is not only thanks to the responsible companies choosing a cleanenergy source for their websites, but also from users speaking out that they care about that choice.

Facebook, Apple and Google have committed to a goal of powering their services with 100 percent renewable energy. Other fast-growing technology companies, like Salesforce, Rackspace and Box, have joined them in making the same commitment. The most recent announcement came from Microsoft with big ol purchase of 175 MW of wind energy in Illinois to power its data center there.

We like how our International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo put it:

“The Internet has helped move the world to more freedom, transparency and democracy. Its only natural that it moves the world to a clean energy revolution that will last for generations to come.”

Oregon DENIES coal exports permit!

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) denied a key permit for Ambre Energys Morrow Pacific coal export project. Ambres scheme would send hundreds of uncovered coal trains spewing toxic coal dust on nearby neighborhoods, waterways, crops and fragile ecosystems.

This project would also send thousands of coal barge trips carrying up to almost 9 million tons each year down the majestic Columbia River, disrupting fisheries, salmon recovery, recreation, scenic areas, impacted communities and the climate with dangerous carbon pollution. For close to four years, communities have mobilized to public hearings, rallies, written letters and taken action to protect this region, telling key decision-makers that coal exports are wrong for the Pacific Northwest.

And it worked!

More green jobs? Yeah, thats happening.

Solarize Charlotte

Just in time for Labor Day this year, Environmental Entrepeneurs released a report showing that jobs from clean energy are surging. In fact, sustainable energy and transportation sectors, created some 12,500 new jobs in the second quarter of 2014, more than double the number of jobs added in Quarter 1.

The solar industry created 5,300 jobs, followed by wind with 2,700 while electric cars manufacturers Tesla and General Motors also contributed to the increase.

This Labor Day weekend, the story is that more Americans are working because of clean energy, said Environmental Entrepreneurs Executive Director Bob Keefe.

We like it.

Fossil free schools and cities

Dozens of universities and cities are committing to divesting in fossil fuels, including Stanford University, College of the Atlantic, San Francisco, Boulder and Ann Arbor. Several of these commitments come as a result of students and residents organizing and speaking to officials about the importance of divesting from fossil fuels.

READ MORE about everyone whos going fossil free!

Fracking in the New York? No thanks.

Thanks in part to the good work of regional groups, including Catskill Mountainkeeper, its going to be very, very hard to frack in New York state.

A precedent-setting ruling by the New Yorks highest court upheld dozens of government band on hydraulic fracturing. Pennsylvanias state court ruled in a similar way last year, eliminating sections of state law that disabled local cities and towns to regulate drilling companies.

No exploding oil train in my backyard, please.

Lac-Mgantic in Quebec now knows all too well what happens when oil trains run unregulated. In a tragic event, an oil train derailed and exploded there in the Quebec town in 2013 killing 42 people.

People in the Pacific Northwest are working hard to make sure that doesnt happen again. In August, three Seattle-area residents were arrested after blockading train tracks at an oil facility, demanding an immediate end to all new oil-by-rail terminals proposed in the Northwest.

Even Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is taking action on the terrifying issue saying

This is an important public safety issue facing Seattle and I will continue to advocate for less oil and and coal coming through our city.

TAKE ACTION for federal protection for communities from dangerous oil trains

Feeling inspired? RSVP for the People’s Climate March in New York and we’ll get you there.

And we definitely missed A TON of stuff. Please comment below and tell us what you know!

Cassady Craighill

By Cassady Craighill

Cassady is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based on the East Coast. She covers climate change and energy, particularly how both issues relate to the Trump administration.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.