This is a longer email than usual for me, and it has a few more charts and graphs than you're used to. But that's because I want to tell you about the results of our (newly) annual member survey - and what it tells us about what we want to work on, where we need to focus our efforts, and who we all are.
Last week, as millions of people tuned in to watch President Obama's State of the Union address to Congress1, we asked you to weigh in on the state of Environmental Action. Over 1,000 of you took the time to share your thoughts, ideas and vision for our work - and over a third of the entries included a personal note or message of some kind. So first of all, let me say - THANKS for sharing.
Now, what shall we work on together?
Many of you listed stopping the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other extreme energy projects as your top priority. You might have heard that the Senate just delayed it's final vote on that until next week.2 That's good news, because we could use a few more days days to organize the opposition we need to ensure that President Obama's veto of that project is sustained. If you haven't already, you should send a message to your Senators telling them to sustain the veto, and encourage your friends to do the same if you already have.
Many of you also ranked stopping fracking and fracking infrastructure as a top priority. If stopping fracking is your passion, you should definitely check out our ongoing campaigns to shut down fracked gas pipelines and export terminals, like the ones proposed in the Dominion pipeline in Virginia, the Cove Point export terminal in Maryland, Jordan Cove Oregon, and Port Ambrose New York. It can sometimes feel like playing whack-a-mole, fighting each and every one of these fracked gas projects. But they're all part of a coordinated strategy to jam-up the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and shut down the machinery that makes fracking possible.
Even more of you listed some combination of topics, including labeling GMOs, saving threatened and endangered species and pushing Obama to #leadonclimate as key goals. Perhaps the most common sentiment in comments and hand-written answers I saw was summed up by the member who said:
"Are you kidding? all of above!"
Now, let's talk about how to do all that extreme energy stopping, fracked gas blocking, species saving, GMO labeling work. Far and away, the most popular way to help solve problems was by taking action online. So rest assured, we'll keep sending you emails and actions where you can sign your name or send an electronic letter to make a difference.
But a lot of us also want to do more than sign online petitions: we want to take action in the streets, meet up with our neighbors, and donate to support those efforts where we can't attend ourselves. That's good because the logistics of these events -- such as buses to bring more people to a rally, or equipment to broadcast an event live on the internet -- all takes money. Remember that next time you get an email from us asking for money. And remember the spirit in which we're asking: we don't use your donations to fund a fancy office or expense accounts. We put your dollars to work supporting actions and events that other members want to organize and participate in. Like next week's massive March for Real Climate Leadership in California. And if you want to chip in to support all our work, it's always appreciated.
When it came to WHERE to work - at the local, state, national or international levels, we generally preferred working on national policy. That's why, where we can, we'll keep looking for opportunities to work with the federal government, not against it -- like saving the monarch butterfly. But you also reminded us that with Congress mired in partisan gridlock, we need also need to work at the state and local levels if we want to save the planet. We've taken that to heart as well, as you can see in our campaigns to ban fracking in California, or save Bears in Florida.
We heard lots of good ideas for additional campaigns to work on - from local treasures to protect, to species that need saving, to clean energy projects to support. If you've got an idea for an action, don't be shy - share it with everyone! You can start a petition anytime with us and our partners at MoveOn. When you do, you'll not share with a community that loves to take action for the planet, but also gain the resources of two of the internet's biggest groups working to save the planet.
Finally, I know that no four-question survey can ever hope to sum up all the ideas, passion and talent we all have, especially when we work together. If you've got an idea, a comment, or a complaint, I invite you to share it with us on our Facebook page. Thousands of us are there every day sharing ideas, talking up campaigns at the local, state and national level and looking for feedback. Here are just a few of the great ideas and comments that members like you submitted:
"Agricultural run off. The Mississippi River Valley needs to come together on this."
"Green New Deal, get out-of-work people into the solar installation/assessment/repair field through government-sponsored programs."
"Nuclear power is not safe nor is it "clean." As our nuke plants come up for re licensing, let's take a strong stand for safety . . . And consider that none of our plants are fool proof or safe from terrorists."
"Over population as a major cause of all our problems. We humans are maxing out our finite resource, Mother Earth."
"Strengthen the capacity of states to conserve marine and freshwater habitats and fisheries. There are no federal funds to help states enforce local fishing regulations."
"Removing power from Wall Street and big banks."
"Save the national parks and national forests from being degraded."
"Stopping the TPP."
"Thanks for all you do!!!"
As that last member said, thanks for all you do, and for always taking action for the environment.
Drew Hudson, Director, and the team at Environmental Action
1 - Environmental Action, State of the (Environmental) Union, January 20, 2015
2 - Laura Barron-Lopez, Bid to end Keystone debate fails, The Hill, January 26, 2015