2020 has been a whirlwind year for the climate. We are seeing the impacts of the climate crisis in our community more and more every day. This year, we saw unprecedented fires sweep Australia and California, we witnessed the most storms that hurricane season has ever had, we saw higher than average temperatures across the Globe. Here in New Hampshire, we had an extreme drought, wildfires, and increased levels of flooding along our coast.
This year also brought along a lot of pain. Racial injustice, mass unemployment, and the COVID-19 pandemic lead to preventable deaths, evictions, loss, and mass protest. The pandemic is now the worst it has been in the United States because our elected leaders failed to contain the virus and keep people safe. Despite the hardships we all faced, 350NH took our programs online and continued to fight for climate, economic and racial justice.
Here’s what 350NH accomplished in 2020:
We started off the year by running our campaigns around the primary elections in New Hampshire. We went to over 30 candidate events, and got Joe Biden on the record saying he would “end fossil fuels.” When March came around, we adapted to COVID-19 conditions and ran a virtual training series to prepare our community for organizing online and messaging during a pandemic. We advocated for a People’s Bailout instead of a bailout for corporations as the House and Senate worked to pass COVID-19 relief bills, and supported mutual aid efforts in our communities. We launched new remote volunteer teams to support our campaigns and mission. In May, we stood with Black Lives Matter organizers in NH by attending rallies, donating, and volunteering as de-escalators.
This past July, we won our campaign to stop the Granite Bridge pipeline! After more than two and a half years of grassroots community organizing, we stopped the pipeline and showed Liberty Utilities that fracked gas has no future in New Hampshire. We sent a clear message: if utility companies plan to expand fracked methane gas in New Hampshire, they have to get through us.
In July, we also saw the Schiller coal plant in Portsmouth shut down. The company that owns Schiller also owns Merrimack Generating Station in Bow which proves that our campaign to end the use of coal in NH is working!. Our campaign to shut down the coal plant in Bow will continue until we have a shut down date, and we will do what it takes to stop burning coal in New Hampshire once and for all.
In August, we hired two new staff to work on elections, and welcomed in five new high school fellows to our Youth Organizing Team! We advocated for mail-in voting, and our political arm launched a Get Out the Vote effort for the State Primary Elections, and then again for the General Election. We contacted over 130,000 voters and elected dozens of climate champions. When the election ended, we stood in solidarity with people across the country to ensure every vote was counted. Now, in December, we are raising money so we can continue to do this important work to end the undue influence of the fossil fuel industry and bring about renewable energy for New Hampshire.
To all the volunteers, donors, community members, and allies who have made our work possible: THANK YOU. While there have been obstacles in our path, our organization continues to grow, defeat new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, and advocate for the needs of our community. We look forward to taking on the next challenge in 2021 to fight for clean energy and a more equitable future for all of us.