A woman holds up a sign that reads, “Divest from Fossil Fuels.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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…

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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