A year of progress for the environment

As we come together with family and friends at the end of the year, we can be thankful for some real progress for environmental protection and conservation in 2022.


Ricky Mackie Photography | Used by permission
Environment California's Laura Deehan calling on California lawmakers to go big on offshore wind.

Here are five advances that we’re celebrating this season:

More states are placing a higher value on wildlife over waste.

In 2023, New Jerseyans and Coloradans will be able to use new laws we helped win this year to use less new plastic and less plastic packaging in their states, reducing threats to the natural world. Colorado joined Maine and Oregon in holding plastic producers financially responsible for their products, even after the products’ “life” is over. California legislators passed a producer responsibility law that also reduces single-use plastic foodware and packaging. As we canvassed over the summer in these and other states telling the stories of these campaigns and the hard work of winning against entrenched ideas and interests, we felt a rising tide of support for leaving behind our most wasteful products and habits.

Wildlife and wild places are getting new chances.

In October, President Biden designated his first national monument — the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado. The U.S. Senate passed a bill to protect Chiricahua National Monument in Arizona as America’s next national park. And more than 80,000 Americans signed our petition in support of protecting Chaco Canyon in New Mexico from oil and gas drilling. We built a coalition of more than 100 organizations to stand up for mature and old-growth forests, and on Earth Day, President Biden issued an executive order directing federal agencies to develop policies to protect them. And we championed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to passage in the U.S. House of Representatives and helped win statewide bans on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides in New Jersey and New York.

Renewable energy is really on the rise.

At the start of the year, Rhode Island became the 10th state to commit to 100% clean electricity. An October report by our research partners at Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group found that our country’s production of renewable power tripled over the past decade. And New Jersey and California set bold new goals for offshore wind power, with California adopting the nation’s largest goal of reaching 25 gigawatts by 2045.

America invested big in action against climate change. In 2022, our nation moved to address climate change, giving people and local and state governments crucial support for a transition to a climate-friendly future. Environment America focused on tax credits for clean energy, building support in key congressional districts. We delivered a letter to Congress signed by 250 government officials, health professionals, small business owners and more. By the end of August, Congress passed and President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, our country’s largest-ever investment in clean energy and climate solutions. Environment Massachusetts also helped win a major statewide climate law in August that will reduce energy waste and help transition buildings and transportation away from fossil fuels in the Bay State.

Alaska got a new advocate for the environment.

At the start of 2022, Alaska Environment became the 30th state-level group within Environment America. Our long-running campaigns to protect the Tongass National Forest from logging, save Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine, and keep oil drilling out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are all benefiting from a new on-the-ground advocate, State Director Dyani Chapman. And this new presence creates the opportunity to build support for issues that have staunch support on both sides of the aisle, like our waste-reducing Right to Repair campaign. Alaska Environment is building support for Right to Repair legislation to reduce the negative environmental impacts of electronics manufacturing and e-waste.

We’re thankful for the dedicated work of our staff and the generosity of our supporters. With your continued support, we’ll win more environmental progress — and maybe even bring folks a little more joy — in the new year.

On behalf of the entire Environment America team, we want to wish you a happy New Year.

Wendy Wendlandt
President, Environment America

Douglas H. Phelps
Chairman of the Board, Environment America


Douglas H. Phelps

Chairman, Environment America; President, The Public Interest Network

Doug is President and Executive Director of The Public Interest Network. As director of MASSPIRG starting in 1979, he conceived and helped organize the Fund for the Public Interest, U.S. PIRG, National Environmental Law Center, Green Century Capital Management, Green Corps and Environment America, among other groups. Doug ran the public interest careers program at the Harvard Law School from 1976-1986. He is a graduate of Colorado State University and the Harvard Law School.

Wendy Wendlandt

President, Environment America; Senior Vice President, The Public Interest Network

​​As president of Environment America, Wendy is a leading voice for the environment in the United States. She has been quoted in major national, state and local news outlets for nearly 40 years on issues ranging from air pollution to green investing. She is also a senior vice president with The Public Interest Network. She is a founding board member of Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizers, and Green Century Funds, the nation’s first family of fossil fuel free mutual funds. Wendy started with WashPIRG, where she led campaigns to create Washington state’s model toxic waste cleanup program and to stop the nation’s first high-level nuclear waste dump site. She is a 1983 graduate of Whitman College. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and dog and hikes wherever and whenever she can.

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