Just One Year Later...

As I was sitting in my environmental entrepreneurship class at the University of Washington a year ago today, I started to think about the environmental movement and the polarization within it. I thought about the radical ideas and misconceptions that had dominated the environmental movement for the past few decades. Even more so, I thought about how Americans had felt left behind on these issues.

At the time, I couldn’t think of a single organization highlighting free-market and limited government solutions on environmental policy. Most importantly, I couldn’t think of any organization attempting bridge the gap or bring conservatives into environmental discussions. 

At that moment in class, I created a website called “Conservatives for Environmental Reform”. I envisioned it as a place where conservatives could garner useful information about legislation, join environmental discussions, and feel as if they had a home on environmental issues.

As it turned out, a common-sense environmental movement needed far more than just a website.

One year later, through many challenges and struggles, I am proud to say that this idea has turned into a national movement, with 40 dedicated team members in over 20 states. In just one year, our movement has had more success than we could have ever imagined.

In July, we launched the American Conservation Coalition (ACC), a nonprofit organization focused on educating and mobilizing Americans on common-sense, limited government environmentalism.

Our movement has recruited a Republican member of Congress to the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, we've met with dozens of congressional offices, and received the endorsement of two former EPA administrators. We’ve reached nearly 3 million people on social media, spoken at three of the largest conservative events of the year, and held eight events in seven different states (and Washington, D.C.). Our team has given millennials a logical voice on environmental issues by sending materials to over 40 college campuses and writing nearly 50 blog posts. Most importantly, we’ve been able to bring conservatives into environmental discussions by working closely with College Republicans, Turning Point USA, and Young Americans for Freedom. In fact, a few weeks ago, we released a coalition of 20 state College Republican chairs who are ready for conservatives to embrace the environment on a large scale.

I cannot say enough about our tremendous team and supporters who have worked to grow this movement into something far larger than my wildest dreams could have planned. Our team has been dedicated to our ambitious plan since day one and is prepared to do remarkable things in 2018.

We’re the boldest conservative effort in a generation and we’re just getting started. It’s been one incredible year of success, growth, and opportunity. Here’s to many more!

Benji Backer