Organizations and Resources for Climate Advocacy
Here are four grass-roots organizations dedicated to addressing climate change. All are national in scope, with local chapters across the country. They offer advocates the advantage of immersion in a local advocacy community while also gaining access to the resources of the larger group.
Sunrise Movement – Sunrise is a youth-led initiative that has emerged in the past few years to exert a decisive influence on the Democratic climate platform. The group is aligned with the values of the Green New Deal.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby – CCL is a national grassroots organization working to build the political will for Congress to pass an economywide federal price on carbon. The group brings citizen volunteers to Washington DC twice per year for lobbying efforts.
350.org – 350 is the national organization founded by renowned climate advocate Bill McKibben. Individual chapters throughout the country promote fossil fuel divestiture, prevent fossil fuel export projects, and fight for climate justice.
Climate Reality Project – A progressive organization founded by former Vice President Al Gore. It is built around a unique multi-day event called the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training, which includes education on climate policy and participatory exercises that build skills in climate communication.
Many resources are available for climate advocates working on different aspects of the problem. Here are some of the most generally useful.
Climate Interactive is an independent think tank that creates science-based tools to assist advocates in seeing the effects of climate change policies. The En-Roads climate simulator created by this group offers a powerful way for savvy climate advocates to engage community groups, businesses and lawmakers on the subject of climate.
The Yale Program on Climate Change Communications is a social science research group studying the causes and consequences of public opinion on climate change. Their website offers reports and resources that assist advocates in learning about the best ways to talk about climate change.
The Center for Responsive Politics is a research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. It provides a unique, invaluable resource with many tools for citizen empowerment.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing scientific findings to bear on global issues where science literacy is paramount. This group works at the interface of science and advocacy, and offers many educational resources as well as opportunities for action.
The Climate Advocacy Lab is a community of thousands of climate advocates, including community organizers, field and academic researchers, and data specialists. They provide free state-of-the-art tools and training for climate advocacy groups, including climate engagement resources organized by state.
Green Corps is a yearlong training program for environmental organizers, which includes classroom training and hands-on experience working on campaigns.
We Are Still In is a joint declaration of support for climate action signed by a large, diverse coalition of more than 3900 prominent individuals in the United States – including mayor, governors and corporate executives. Find out which groups in your local region have joined, and invite others to make the pledge.
Almost all the large environmental advocacy groups are orienting their work to climate change solutions. Among the actions that advocates are invited to join in with are: letter writing campaigns, phone banks, participation in local, state or federal administrative processes, and targeted opposition to fossil fuel infrastructure. Here are ten of these groups and some of the action areas they specialize in:
- Center for Biological Diversity – wildlife, public lands, oceans, urban wildlands, environmental health and justice
- Friends of the Earth – fossil fuel infrastructure, food & agriculture, oceans, forests
- League of Conservation Voters – petitioning Congress and the Biden administration on climate, energy and related issues
- National Resources Defense Council – petitioning Congress and the Biden administration on climate, energy and related issues
- Sierra Club – Fossil fuel infrastructure, 100% clean energy
- Defenders of Wildlife – biodiversity, endangered species protection
- National Wildlife Federation – wildlife protection, coastal restoration
- Nature Conservancy – land conservation, clean energy infrastructure, wildlife
- Wilderness Society – energy development, land conservation
- World Wildlife Fund – climate resilience, food, forests, oceans
Many advocacy groups are invested in finding solutions to particular aspects of the climate and zero-carbon energy challenges. Here are some of them.
Moving past fossil fuels
Global witness is a UK nonprofit that carries out investigations and advocacy in the cause of climate justice and preservation of a healthy planetary ecology. The organization works to end the flow of money to private organizations that drive deforestation and other ecological abuses, and highlights the efforts of land and environmental defenders.
Insure our Future (formerly Unfriend Coal) is a global coalition of nongovernmental organizations and social movements that are pressuring insurance companies to stop supporting fossil fuel infrastructure and to transition to clean energy.
Climate Action 100+ is an investor-led initiative that works to pressure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters to take action on climate change. The group asks polluters to implement a strong governance framework on climate change, take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance corporate disclosure.
The Center for Climate Integrity educates the public and policymakers about climate change damages and the role of corporate polluters. It calls for accountability for corporate misrepresentations and offers resources for communities working to organize around corporate accountability.
Taxing carbon: conservative groups
The Climate Leadership Council (CLC) was founded by late Green Corps graduate Ted Halstead, and advocates for taxing carbon via a dividend return plan that returns revenues to American households. The CLC has mobilized a bipartisan effort to enact a carbon fee and dividend return plan into law, including a statement of support from thousands of economists.
Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends is an advocacy group that aims to mobilize young conservative leaders to support the CLC’s carbon fee and dividend return policy. The group is led by young College Republicans who believe that the climate problem can be solved through the application of free market principles and limited government.
Students for Carbon Dividends is a student-led movement that promotes the CLC’s carbon fee and dividend plan as a bipartisan solution to climate change.
Earthjustice is a nonprofit public interest environmental law organization dedicated to wielding the power of law to fight for a healthy climate. The group represents clients across the country in its quest to protect public lands and waters from fossil fuels.
Our Children’s Trust is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to securing the rights of young people to a healthy atmosphere and safe climate.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a leading nonpartisan, nonprofit environmental organization with a legal arm. The group works in partnership with many other organizations to promote science and economics-based solutions to climate change, the carbon-free energy transition, and natural resource conservation.
The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law develops legal approaches to fight climate change, and trains students and lawyers in their use. It also provides a comprehensive resource to all climate-related lawsuits in the United States.
Clean electricity, transportation and cities
Americans for a Clean Energy Grid is a nonprofit public interest advocacy coalition focusing on the expansion, integration and modernization of the North American electricity grid. The coalition educates stakeholders and advocates for an American Super Grid that will reliably provide 80% of America’s electricity from carbon-free sources.
Solutionary Rail is a grassroots organization advocating for the electrification of the nation’s railways, and for shifting the economics of rail transport away from moving fossil fuel commodities and toward diversified high value freight. The group proposes an innovative new public-private partnership to fund the new infrastructure.
Rewiring America is a nonprofit organization with a mission to “electrify everything”. The organization advocates low-cost financing to electrify every home, greater private investment in the electricity grid, streamlined permitting, and ensuring that benefits flow to homeowners who invest in electrification. Led by inventor Saul Griffiths, Rewiring America has also produced an aggressive roadmap for the United States to reach its net-zero carbon goal.
The US Climate Resilience Toolkit provides case studies for building resilience in cities and communities of all sizes, and offers a wide variety of tools that can be used to parse and use climate data in specific situations. The Rocky Mountain Institute offers resources and transition assistance for local governments to develop transition plans.
Forests, Agriculture and Land Conservation
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for natural resources and the sustainability of the food system at the federal level. The coalition represents small and mid-sized family farms, developing policy and representing their interests in Congress and the executive branch.
The Rainforest Action Network is a nonprofit organization with a strong focus on racial and environmental justice. It works for the preservation of forests, biodiversity and wildness, and against the extraction of fossil fuels.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and their habitats through restoration of natural carbon sinks, diversified agriculture practices and responsible livestock and land management. The group also supports a wide range of federal policies to bring about the net-zero carbon transition.
Protect Our Winters is a community of athletes, scientists, creatives and business leaders working to generate the political will to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The group supports carbon pricing, renewable energy development, transportation electrification and conservation of public lands.