Two union members stand in front of an oil pump and a bright-yellow sign that says “END.”
Two union members stand in front of an oil pump and a bright-yellow sign that says “END.”
Photo courtesy of the United Domestic Workers of America

The climate crisis has already come to Kern County. In August, when wildfires raged across California, the county was choked with smoke, resulting in the worst air quality the region had seen in years — in a county where the air is regularly so unhealthy that it earns an F rating from the American Lung Association.

Kern residents experience the “slow violence” of the fossil fuel industry every day, not just during wildfire season. About 80 percent of California’s oil and gas production happens in Kern County. Those living amid its 78,000 oil and gas wells are exposed to a…


Photo courtesy of Rachel Rosenfeld

In late February, the fracked gas industry had yet another one of its increasingly frequent bad days. After years of advocacy from thousands of residents, Sierra Club organizers, and numerous partners, the governors of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware unanimously voted to permanently ban fracking in the Delaware River Basin. Nearly half of the basin sits on top of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, and industry was anticipating blasting up to 4,000 wells into its soil.

The recent ban is just one more piece of bad news for an industry that seems to have little to celebrate recently —…


Texans line up outside a grocery store during the winter storm that knocked power offline.
Texans line up outside a grocery store during the winter storm that knocked power offline.
Photo by iStockphoto.com/PorqueNoStudios

Last week, a blast of bitter cold knocked out power across the country, hitting Texas especially hard. It left millions without heat in the coldest temperatures seen in those regions in decades. Grocery store shelves were bare, and water treatment plants went offline. In Texas alone, more than 30 people froze to death, suffered carbon monoxide poisoning after running cars or gas appliances to stay warm, or died on account of other impacts of the storm. I’ve been horrified by the first-person accounts from Sierra Club staff and volunteers and other members of our extended community.

This unprecedented deep freeze…


Photo by iStockphoto.com/SDI Productions

Voters cast their ballots at the highest rate in 120 years in the 2020 election. In response, anti-democracy Republicans have launched what’s being described as “the most concerted attempts to roll back voting rights since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.” Across the country, conservative legislators have already put forth 165 bills that make it harder for people to vote — nearly five times as many as in February of last year.

Rather than seeing 2020’s record voter turnout as something to be celebrated, extreme conservative politicians are frightened by the prospect of being voted out of…


The US has just rejoined the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. Now what?

World leaders raise their hands in celebration after signing the Paris Climate Agreement.
World leaders raise their hands in celebration after signing the Paris Climate Agreement.
Photo courtesy of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

The Paris Agreement represents the global community’s best shot at averting the worldwide crisis of climate change. Signed by nearly every country, it aims to limit global temperature rise to “well below’’ a cataclysmic 2°C (3.6°F) above preindustrial levels, and preferably below 1.5°C (2.7°F).

And now the US is back in, just over four years after Donald Trump declared his intention to abandon it. Starting the month-long process of rejoining the Paris Agreement was a Day-One priority for the Biden administration. …


After the Trump years, it’s time to build the EPA back better, with a stronger focus on equity and justice.

A photo of President Biden’s pick to lead the EPA, Michael Regan.
A photo of President Biden’s pick to lead the EPA, Michael Regan.
Photo courtesy of whitehouse.gov

Tomorrow, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on Michael Regan, President Biden’s pick to lead the EPA. Regan, who prioritized environmental justice as the leader of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), is just the person to build the EPA back better after the Trump years, with a stronger focus on equity and justice.

As the head of North Carolina’s DEQ, Regan worked to ensure that every North Carolina resident, regardless of race or income, had access to clean air and drinking water. Under his leadership, the agency brokered the biggest coal ash cleanup…


Finally, we have an administration whose actions reflect the fact that we are in a climate emergency.

President Biden stands in front of a podium with a sign reading “Climate leaders summit behind him.”
President Biden stands in front of a podium with a sign reading “Climate leaders summit behind him.”
Photo courtesy of whitehouse.gov

Yesterday, the Biden-Harris administration showed that it was serious about using every tool at its disposal to tackle the climate crisis and environmental injustice. Just a week after Inauguration Day, it unveiled its second major set of executive actions and presidential memoranda. Finally, we have an administration whose actions reflect the fact that we are in a climate emergency, with just a few years left to avert catastrophic climate change. What a breath of fresh air!

These new executive actions make addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustice a priority in every government agency, as well as in our foreign…


After months of intense work to elect climate champions up and down the ballot, we finally have leaders committed to climate action.

A diverse group of young women hold up signs about climate justice.
A diverse group of young women hold up signs about climate justice.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Weatherbee for The Luupe, the luupe.com

On Wednesday, we learned that Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock had won their Senate races, clinching Democratic control of the House, Senate, and presidency. After months of intense work to elect climate champions up and down the ballot, we finally have leaders committed to climate action in the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, President-elect Biden can carry out the big promises he made during his campaign to supercharge our clean energy economy, green our infrastructure, clean up environmental injustices, address racial inequities, repair our democracy, and ensure a just and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Trump administration is rushing to turn Indigenous peoples’ sacred lands into a vast, earth-scarring mine.

Don’t let the Trump administration turn it into a vast copper mine.

A large snowy cliff hangs over the Oak Flat campground.
A large snowy cliff hangs over the Oak Flat campground.
Photo courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture

In its waning days, the Trump administration is rushing to transfer thousands of acres of Arizona public lands that are holy to the Apache and other Tribes so a copper company can develop a vast, Earth-scarring mine. And not just any copper company: One of Resolution Copper’s parent companies, Rio Tinto, is responsible for the destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site in Australia.

Rio Tinto promised to change its ways. But the Apache, along with their Native and non-Native allies, have serious doubts that this project can be…


Dawn over the Washington DC’s landmarks.
Dawn over the Washington DC’s landmarks.
Photo by iStockphoto.com/Ultima_Gaina

The climate crisis isn’t a single issue: It’s an everything issue. To solve it, we’ll have to change how we get around, how we grow food, how we heat and cool our homes, how we create electricity, and much else. We’ll need an economy-wide, and society-wide, transformation that will create millions of family-sustaining jobs in clean energy, energy efficiency, and more.

To achieve that economy-wide transformation, we need every part of our government working toward it, as well as a powerful movement pushing officials to be even more ambitious and inclusive. …

Michael Brune

Dad, husband, executive director of the @sierraclub, writer, Jersey Shore native, Little League coach, #Yankees fan, climate hawk. Optimist. Love the Bay Area.

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