2020 Year-end Report – Climate Emergency Mobilization Team

by Richard Rollins




01/01/2020 – 12/31/2020

This was the first year for the Grassroots Network Climate Emergency Mobilization (CEM) Team. The following are excerpts from our formal report to the Grassroots Network Support Team.


As a new team in 2020, establishing our identity and building awareness of our mission at the grassroots level was our most significant accomplishment this year. In spite of the challenges forced upon all of us by the COVID pandemic, in our first year as a GN Team the Climate Emergency Mobilization (CEM) Team, we made significant and steady progress on our 2020 Goals. We have:

  • grown to 64 team members in 21 states.
  • utilized Sierra Club’s digital Volunteer Connection to recruit 20 new volunteers (from 39 candidates) to broaden and diversify our connection with activist volunteers.
  • established a social media presence with over 725 followers; we post two to three times per week on four different social media platforms.
  • published over 15 Team Documents and blog posts on our Grassroots Network webpage.
  • created a template climate emergency resolution for use by all Sierra Club entities. In October and December, we utilized Sierra Club’s Chapter Bulletin to reach Club leaders, inviting them to consider adopting our climate emergency resolution. (6 Chapters have now declared a climate emergency.)
  • empowered local activists in 10 different Sierra Club Groups by soliciting applications for Community Climate Action Grants; 5 micro-grants were awarded using repurposed Grassroots Network funding.
  • updated the Climate Actions Toolbox with over 45 updated or new actions that will be added to our online “toolbox” spreadsheet in January 2021, and
  • repurposed a portion of our 2020 Grant funding to produce 3 new Climate Basics videos as educational resources for climate activists. These videos draw a portion of their content from the new Club policy document “Climate Resilience, Carbon Dioxide Removal, and Geoengineering Policy.” The videos are to be published on the Sierra Club YouTube Channel in January of 2021.

During an election year and in the midst of a pandemic, we’ve been able to begin delivering on our mission of engaging and supporting activists who are acting locally to address the climate crisis.


Our Team’s work for 2021 will be focused on maintaining and growing the momentum achieved in 2020. We will prioritize advancing some of the work from 2020 that remains incomplete and will seek opportunities to give voice to marginalized communities and build relationships with allied organizations. We plan to continue our practice of All-Team meetings with guest speakers and webinars on topics of interest.

Challenges abound, including uncertainty related to the COVID pandemic and real limitations associated with leadership and volunteer capacity. Additionally, because some of our proposed work (see the following paragraph) is dependent on GN Grant funding, we may need to reprioritize our 2021 tasks to align with available resources.

Our 2021 GN Grant proposal will support three critical initiatives that will expand on the work of our Team and leverage our efforts across a much larger activist network:

  1. Develop an outreach newsletter that will allow us to reach activists who are not already members of our team. This newsletter will share reports of local climate actions, provide recognition for allied organizations and climate activists, and help create a “buzz” around emergency-level responses to our climate crisis.
  2. Develop a user-friendly, web-based platform for our “toolbox” of example climate actions. This will greatly increase the utility of our existing “spreadsheet” of actions and remove barriers to access (for those unfamiliar with spreadsheets).
  3. Award Climate Action Micro-grants to Club entities that are planning or implementing projects which have local climate impacts, advance environmental justice, engage otherwise marginalized communities, and support community-wide engagement and collaboration.


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