The National Audubon Society hosted a Virtual Policy Town Hall on January 31 to review the progress we made in 2021 and share the major policy priorities for 2022. We were joined live by 6,000 participants, with more than 300 questions submitted to speakers including myself, Justin Stokes, deputy chief conservation officer; Dr. Elizabeth Gray, Audubon CEO; Marshall Johnson, chief conservation officer; Melinda Cep, vice-president of natural solutions and working lands; Sara Brodnax, policy director of public lands; Michael Obeiter, senior director of federal climate policy; and moderator Robyn Shepherd, communications director for advocacy.
Last year, more than 78,000 Audubon supporters took action and led to the Biden Administration to restore protections for birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We galvanized a bipartisan group of policymakers to pass the Growing Climate Solutions Act in the Senate, which, if passed in the House, will provide critical assistance to working landowners. We were part of a broad, bipartisan coalition that won the largest investment in infrastructure in American history with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, securing much-needed funds for habitat restoration, watershed protection, clean energy development, and clean transportation. Our Natural Climate Solutions report highlighted landscapes that are critical to both bird habitat and natural processes to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Lastly, Audubon members won victories at the state and local levels, securing clean energy wins, lights out ordinances, campus chapter expansion, and climate and energy justice.
This year, we are doubling down on our advocacy efforts to protect birds and the places they need. We are committed to preserving bird habitat around the country, including in the Tongass National Forest – a critical bird habitat that also stores 44% of the carbon stored by the national forest system. We are working with members to ensure the Greater Sage-Grouse and its habitat is protected, building on our success in establishing a comprehensive plan in 2015 and defeating attacks to dismantle that plan in 2019. And we are committed to addressing the single biggest threat to birds in North America – climate change – by ensuring unprecedented federal investments in clean energy, habitat protection, and ecosystem conservation.
Audubon chapters and members were asked to encourage members of Congress to co-sponsor the Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA) and support the climate provisions of the Build Back Better Act.
We will continue to share updates and opportunities to take action, and provide regular advocacy trainings. Our next webinar will be on February 17, and will focus on wind power and clean energy transition.