The Climate Movement’s August Roar: Recess was dominated by a clarion call for climate action

To: Interested Parties

From: Climate Action Campaign, Climate Power, Green New Deal Network, and League of Conservation Voters

Date: September 16, 2021

Re: The Climate Movement’s August Roar: Recess was dominated by a clarion call for climate action

This month, President Biden and the Congressional majority have the opportunity to make history by passing legislation that will allow us to build a nation powered by clean energy. Once the Build Back Better Act is passed into law, America will have the critical investments that put our clean energy economy into hyperdrive, cut pollution that is fueling climate disasters, and move toward justice for frontline communities. 


Last month, there was much speculation and discussion about how the Build Back Better Act would fare when members heard about it from their constituents. The verdict is in: the legislation came into August popular, and now has entered this critical time period more popular than ever


The climate movement was ready for August. Together, more than 100 organizations of all sizes organized over 875 events across the country, spent more than $20 million on paid ads, generated hundreds of thousands of calls and petitions to Members of Congress; reached millions of people on social media and drove back attacks by fossil fuel interests and others trying to drown out the voices of the people. 


It will be remembered for the time when every corner of America echoed loudly that this is the make or break moment to properly confront the costs of the climate crisis and unleash a new era of economic opportunity and job creation. 


The success of August is a loud and clear signal that the political momentum in Washington D.C. is on the side of climate action


This memo overviews the highlights of the historic undertaking the climate movement took on, and carried out during the 2021 August recess


Climate Movement Events: More than 875 Events in over 30 states 

From the start of August recess, more than 100 organizations across the climate movement engaged with millions of people, state and local elected officials, community leaders, Members of Congress, and Biden administration officials to show support for climate action, create good paying, clean energy jobs, and bring justice to communities on the frontline of the crisis. Here is a snapshot of what the climate movement accomplished: 


  • Total Number of Events: 875+ climate events in communities across the country. With more than a week still remaining in the recess, the Climate Action Campaign has already recorded more than 10,000 local constituents showing up to ask their members of Congress to #ACT Now. 
  • States Where Events Took Place: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, 
  • Types of Events: Electric School Bus Tour; Large Climate Jobs Rallies; On-Site Solar Tours; Town Halls with Members of Congress; Honk and Waves; Extreme Weather Events; Climate Justice Panels; Canvasses; and many more. 


Citizen Outreach: Business Outreach and Canvassing

The climate community reached people wherever they were all throughout the August recess in every part of the country. LCV’s canvass program knocked on 195,000 doors this summer while over 10,000 households and 6,000 businesses put up “Climate Action Now” signs in windows and yards in their neighborhoods.  


People also raised their voices to press their lawmakers for action at this moment. That includes over 240,000 petition signatures from constituents, over 160,000 calls from constituents to members of Congress led by 14 different organizations, and tens of thousands joining together to listen & speak up at events and community conversations. 


Paid Media: More than $20 million in 32 Districts/States, plus D.C.

In addition to hundreds of events, the climate community had a coordinated, aggressive paid media strategy both nationally and in key states and districts across the country. Climate Power and LCV invested $14 million in paid media during August, including a Climate Power buy calling out Republicans in California and Florida for their hypocritical votes against their constituents, along with LCV and Climate Power ad buys thanking House members and Senators for passing the budget resolution. 


Right after Labor Day the groups announced another $6 million push in DC and key states and congressional districts specifically calling for passage of the Build Back Better Act. All told, these efforts added up to an investment of $20 million since the start of August recess in national, state, and district level paid media campaigns that encouraged Congress to invest in clean energy jobs, environmental justice, and slashing pollution by passing the Build Back Better Act. 


These television and/or digital ads were seen in: AZ-01 (Rep. O’Halleran), GA-06 (Rep. McBath), IA-03 (Rep. Axne), IL-14 (Rep. Underwood), KS-03 (Rep. Davids), MI-08 (Rep. Slotkin), MI-11 (Rep. Stevens), MN-02 (Rep. Craig), NH-01 (Rep. Pappas), NJ-03 (Rep. Kim), NJ-11 (Rep. Sherrill), NJ-07 (Rep. Malinowski), NV-03 (Rep. Lee), NV-04 (Rep. Horsford), NY-19 (Rep. Delgado), OR-04 (Rep. DeFazio), PA-07 (Rep. Wild), PA-08 (Rep. Cartwright), VA-02 (Rep. Luria), VA-07 (Rep. Spanberger), WA-08 (Rep. Schrier), WI-03 (Rep. Kind). Senate ads also ran on TV in Georgia (Ossoff and Warnock), New Hampshire (Hassan and Shaheen), and Nevada (Cortez Masto and Rosen) and went up in Arizona (Kelly and Sinema).


The Climate Action Campaign invested nearly $2 million on radio ads and a highly targeted digital campaign focused on 19 competitive House districts sponsored by member organizations like EDFAction. The digital ads focus on elevating public support for the climate provisions in the BBBA and reached 33.2 million impressions. A series of 24 radio ads touting the economic and health benefits of taking bold action on the climate crisis are running in states and districts represented by 25 senators and representatives.


Along with other spots on airwaves and screens from groups like the Environmental Defense Fund, climate groups came together to invest more than $20 million in support of the largest climate action legislation in history: the Build Back Better Act. 


Town Halls: Ready in Every State and District 

The climate movement was ready to support members of Congress and their teams in every state of the country, kicking things off with Cindy Axne’s (IA-03) first in-person town hall of August, where LCV turned out climate action supporters. Climate groups put together a toolkit that included talking points, social media guidance, best practices, and how to recruit volunteers to attend town halls. The climate community focused on recruiting a lead for every key district event to make sure town halls had a climate presence and that members are supported in the work they are doing for big, bold climate investments.


Additionally, climate action activists attended nearly 60 town halls across the country including in states like: Colorado, California, New Mexico, Washington state, Hawaii, Iowa, Texas, and Illinois. 


Social Media: Driving the Conversation Online

The climate community reached millions on why the Build Back Better Act was so important. A coordinated digital strategy was carried out to deploy content and creative assets across platforms and drive earned content from trusted voices, surrogates, influencers, and content creators.


Across the movement, organizations uplifted key events and actions in order to “flood the zone” with climate action throughout recess. The social media toolkit created by CAC was updated in real time to help synchronize messaging around the events, deliver the most up-to-date information to partners and influencers, and explain the impact of climate change happening now. These activities were essential to communicating the historic nature of this effort and make clear that inaction this summer is not an option.