A group of people plants a tree.
Photo by iStockphoto.com/ISouth_agency

Like most parents, I think carefully about my kids’ future. I want them to be happy and safe and have love and joy in their lives. I also want them to be able to get meaningful work that pays a decent salary and offers healthcare and other benefits. I want them to be protected from the disasters the climate crisis threatens to bring.

But I know that none of this is guaranteed. Today, good jobs are out of reach for many young people, who are unemployed at double the rate of the population at large. Those who do find jobs…

A protestor at a Black Lives Matter rally holds up a sign that reads, “Black Lives Matter.”
Photo courtesy of Martín Witchger

Last week, the Sierra Club commemorated Juneteenth. It’s a day of celebration for some, but a painful reminder for many. A reminder that justice for Black people in this country is never guaranteed — it is an afterthought and sometimes, not a thought at all. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the anniversary of the 2020 Uprisings, and the 50th anniversary of the War on Drugs — all devastating reminders of how this country has perpetually failed the Black community. As an organization that has occupied a privileged position with endless resources to contribute to…

People stand behind a banner reading “Honor the Treaties” at a protest against Line 3.
Photo courtesy of Jake Conroy / Rainforest Action Network.

By Winona LaDuke and Michael Brune

Right now, as the country faces an historic drought, a seemingly endless fire season, and the prospect of yet another treacherous hurricane season, the Biden administration’s bold commitment to tackling climate change and prioritizing the rights of Indigenous communities is facing a significant test. President Biden can and must prioritize his commitments to Native people and climate and environmental justice over Big Oil by taking action on the Line 3 pipeline.

This Friday, the Biden administration can take a stand on a federal lawsuit from two Chippewa and Ojibwe Indian Tribes, Honor the Earth…

A woman holds up a sign that reads, “Divest from Fossil Fuels.”
Photo courtesy of Greenpeace USA

The climate crisis will affect every aspect of our society — the financial sector very much included. We no longer live in the stable climate that our economy was built upon. In fact, economists and major investors warn that the climate crisis already poses a systemic risk to our financial system.

The climate crisis threatens the value of our retirement plans and our homes (and even our ability to stay in our homes). It puts our ability to get decent jobs and afford food and other necessities at risk. …

Biden speaks to Ford workers in front of a banner that reads, “A Future Made In America.”
Photo courtesy of the White House and licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0.

The Ford F-series pick-ups are iconic: “the undisputed heavyweight champion of American roads.” They’ve been the best-selling pickup in the US for almost 50 years.

The company itself lives equally large in the American imagination. Ford was instrumental in creating the mid-century compact between workers and employers. Thanks in large part to the might of their unions, factory workers were paid wages sufficient to vault them squarely into the post-war middle class.

That compact, which often excluded women and people of color, began to unravel in the 1980s and broke down almost entirely in the ’90s. As attacks on unions…

A flag flies outside the US Capitol.
Photo by Gage Skidmore.

The last time Congress attempted to pass sweeping climate legislation was 11 years ago. Democrats held the presidency and both houses of Congress, and were poised to take action to spark a transition to clean energy and get us off the path toward catastrophic climate change. But they were stymied by an obsolete piece of Senate procedure — the filibuster.

Had the filibuster not stood in the way, we’d be so much further along in addressing the climate crisis. From today’s vantage point, we can see the immense cost of not acting on climate change sooner. My state, California, is…

Photo by iStockphoto.com/RyanJLane

In late March, President Biden unveiled a major new infrastructure plan, the American Jobs Plan. According to the White House fact sheet, it “will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race.”

We need large-scale, transformational investments to address the multiple crises this country faces, including climate change, the daily, devastating impacts of racial and environmental injustice, and mass unemployment. It’s not enough to aim to return to a pre-pandemic normal that was unjust, unhealthy, and unstable for so many. …

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.
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…

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.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store