2022 was a year of expansion, transformation, and evolution – and building on our most powerful tool as a movement: solidarity.
As partners around the globe confronted new challenges and increasing threats to their lives, livelihoods, and environment in 2022, the demand for CIEL’s expertise, analysis, strategy, and support expanded dramatically. From Colombia to Uganda, Ukraine to the US Gulf Coast, CIEL attorneys and advocates connected movements working at diverse angles of interrelated issues in defending the right to a healthy planet. We provided analysis, crafted arguments, and built cross-movement partnerships whose enduring collaboration far outlasts specific campaign objectives and strengthens our movement for the long haul.
To meet the moment, we expanded our capacity to scale our effort. Together with foundation partners, we helped mobilize funding – not only to support our own work, but also to channel those funds directly to partners on the frontlines, where timely resources enable communities to attend a critical meeting, obtain key technology, and access information in time to mobilize against a new polluting plant nearby. We also grappled with resuming in-person meetings and events, often leading efforts to reclaim and expand participation for civil society and Indigenous partners after the pandemic decreased access to participation. Whether at the international climate talks, the UN Human Rights Council, World Bank, or numerous other multilateral institutions, we advocated for expanded digital access to enable meaningful, direct engagement by affected communities for whom travel is not possible.
Outside the halls of power, we used our voices to amplify hard truths and demonstrate our solidarity with frontline partners. We mobilized more than a thousand organizations demanding real solutions to the climate crisis, calling out “net-zero” greenwashing, and exposing dangerous techno-fixes. In September 2021, Carroll and I, with a dozen CIEL colleagues and thousands of others joined Indigenous leaders and frontline communities leading a week of civil disobedience at the White House. Together, we were arrested as we demanded that the Biden administration honor Indigenous sovereignty, declare a climate emergency, stop pipelines, invest in environmental justice, and build back fossil free in the wake of the pandemic.
And as CIEL worked for systemic change in 2022, we also invested in the deep, difficult work of examining how our internal systems, structures, and processes need to evolve for CIEL to deliver the greatest impact. We began a strategic planning process – driven by the entire staff and in consultation with movement partners and our board – that will articulate our collective vision for 2030 and create a four-year plan to deliver and evaluate our impact across key result areas. We grew our staff to scale our campaigns, add expertise, and support the larger CIEL ecosystem so that we protect our staff against burnout and overwork, and avoid replicating the harms of the extractive economy in our own daily labor. With great care, we held a full-staff in-person retreat to dive into strategic planning, invest in ourselves and each other, foster personal connection, and replenish our collective energies for the critical work ahead.
The past year demonstrated once again that solidarity – and justice – is work for the long haul. Systemic change requires holistic strategies and intersectional approaches. As this report highlights, we have made important progress and won landmark victories in 2022. Yet there is much further to go to secure a just, sustainable, and inclusive future for all. We are grateful for your support in that work, and more grateful still that we can count on you to speak up, take action, and be an active partner in the hard work that lies ahead.