For a cleaner, more prosperous world, ACC mobilizes conservatives around environmental issues, fostering collaboration in the pursuit of environmental conservation.
What started as a small idea in Benji Backer’s college entrepreneurship class has quickly transformed into an organization at the forefront of free-market and limited government environmentalism. Today marks the third birthday of that organization, the American Conservation Coalition (ACC), and there is so much to celebrate.
ACC’s incredible staff and grassroots activists have accomplished so much in the past year that no single blog post could possibly pay tribute to every achievement, but we will do our best to point out the major highlights. From Capitol Hill to local communities across the country, ACC has won major victories for this cause in the last 365 days and has no plans of slowing down.
Not long after our last birthday, ACC President Benji Backer testified before Congress about challenges posed by climate change. His testimony demonstrated in a powerful way that climate change can be addressed within a limited government framework and without needless alarmism. That compelling moment, along with many others, led to Backer’s nomination to Forbes 30 Under 30 in the energy category along with ACC Executive Vice President Danielle Butcher.
ACC also expanded its reach as an organization with its membership program relaunch. The new-look program empowers grassroots leaders and has attracted hundreds of student and professional members. These individuals have helped to amplify our organization’s advocacy efforts, which range from contacting Congress on legislative matters to collecting petition signatures on college campuses.
While much of ACC’s third orbit around the sun has looked different thanks to a global pandemic, even these inconvenient circumstances have not stopped us from changing the narrative. Since the onset of COVID-19, ACC has hosted countless virtual events with prominent legislators, including the likes of Senator Cory Gardner and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and thought leaders in the environmental space.
In addition to hosting Zoom conversations with elected officials, ACC brought its biggest project to date—the American Climate Contract—directly to Congress this year. The Contract is the first of its kind: a comprehensive platform formed by a conservative environmental organization and a refreshing alternative to the Green New Deal. Importantly, the American Climate Contract offers an actionable approach to climate change based on innovation and American leadership and looks to serve as a model platform for environmentally-conscious conservatives moving forward.
With the help of our amazing activists nationwide, we voiced our support of the American Climate Contract to Congress, and many members have listened. With a headline—“Top House Republicans rally behind conservative youth climate plan”—that would have seemed paradoxical even a few years ago, it is clear that ACC has moved the needle on climate change and environmental issues within the Republican Party.
Adding to the list of what seemed like impossible headlines is this one from The Hill: “Conservative climate group runs pro-environment ads on Fox News.” That’s right. American Conservation Coalition Campus ran an ad last month calling on elected officials to prioritize environmental concerns in the post-pandemic economic recovery. The ad highlighted the principles of the American Climate Contract and spoke volumes to ACC’s growth as an organization.
While these two headlines are shocking to read for many, we should not be so surprised anymore. The point is that our advocacy efforts are making a difference and conservative environmentalists no longer represent a fringe subset of the population. This has been proven time and time again, like when the Great American Outdoors Act passed overwhelmingly in the Republican-controlled Senate thanks in large part to ACC’s grassroots campaigns. The bill most recently passed the House and is expected to be signed into law by President Trump, delivering the greatest win for conservation in a generation!
To be clear, while proud of our growth and achievements in the past year, we at ACC will continue to work harder than ever to ensure future victories for free-market environmentalism. But on this birthday, every ACC staff member, activist, and supporter should take time to reflect on our progress and consider treating themselves to an item from the ACC shop’s newly unveiled summer collection.