The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the first grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our mission is to build a diverse movement powerful enough to put our region on the path to climate stability, while using our proximity to the nation’s capital to inspire action in neighboring states, regions nationwide, and countries around the world.
We envision an equitable energy future where truly clean sources of power — efficiency, solar and wind — sustain every aspect of our lives, and dirty fossil fuels are phased out; where communities now sacrificed to the fossil fuel industry – from South Baltimore to Southwest Virginia and beyond – have won the freedom to decide where their energy comes from and how it’s used; and where we’ve kept the increase in the global average temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius, protecting the most vulnerable communities in our region and the world from the worst impacts of climate change.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network was founded by Mike Tidwell, a long-time journalist dedicated to creating a regional grassroots organization committed to climate action. CCAN officially launched on July 1, 2002 with a seed grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Since its inception, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network has been central to groundbreaking climate and clean energy victories in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Working with a large and growing network of allies, the group has helped pass strong renewable electricity laws for 50% in Maryland and 100% in Washington, D.C., a carbon cap in Virginia, and landmark greenhouse gas reduction legislation in Maryland. Through grassroots resistance and litigation, CCAN has helped keep two massive fracked-gas pipelines in Virginia at bay, as well as a pipeline proposed under the Potomac River in Maryland. In 2011, working with partners in Virginia, we stopped the nation’s largest proposed coal-fired power plant in Surrey County, Virginia. CCAN has also helped pass a ban on new oil train terminals in Baltimore and an historic bill to ban fracking throughout Maryland.
How We Work
1. We take on the big fights: We are committed to tackling issues that will have the biggest impact in reducing the greenhouse pollution destroying our climate. We strive to widen the spectrum of what’s “politically possible,” knowing the physics of our climate won’t compromise.
2. We believe that people are at the center of change: Building a powerful grassroots movement is the ultimate answer to overcoming the power of polluting industries and holding our leaders accountable. We organize, educate, and mobilize so that, even if we lose one battle, we are constantly building a bigger and stronger movement for change and long-term success.
3. We use every tool available: We are committed to creativity, both to win campaigns and to inspire action. While we put organizing at the center, we use every tool at our disposal — including media outreach, policy analysis, lobbying, and the law — to achieve results. We support strategic, nonviolent civil disobedience to underline the moral urgency of climate action and to spotlight morally unacceptable current laws and practices.
4. We’re stronger when we build a diverse movement: Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced, and we won’t solve it by sticking to traditional silos. We seek out and foster relationships with nontraditional allies — including students, faith groups, business owners, military leaders, and movements for social, economic, and racial justice — to advance shared values and goals.
5. Solving climate change means fighting for justice: From South Baltimore to Appalachia to coastal Virginia, people of color and low-income people are often hardest hit by climate change and the polluting industries driving it. We are committed to a transition to clean energy that builds a better future for everyone. That means supporting the leadership of communities on the front lines, supporting policies rooted in both science and justice, and supporting other fights for racial, economic, and environmental justice in our region.