ABOUT the Chesapeake climate action network

The mission of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) 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, around the country, and across the world. CCAN is the largest and oldest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to fighting for bold and just solutions to climate change in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. We also know that a vibrant democracy is central to our success and we work to defend democratic integrity wherever we can.

We envision an economy where energy efficiency and truly clean sources of power sustain every aspect of our lives and dirty fossil fuels are phased out; where all communities share equitably in the promise of a clean and healthy environment; where millions of family-sustaining jobs form the backbone of our economy; 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. 

As we build this movement, and work together to keep global temperatures from rising, we know that some climate impacts are already locked in. These impacts are felt most by those least responsible for them. That’s why we’re also helping the communities in our region already experiencing the terrifying impacts of climate change to adapt to a warming planet. 

Now that world governments, including our own, have begun to make commitments that match the scale of the problem, we’re making sure we do our part right here in the Chesapeake region. We’ll continue to build a people-powered movement for bold and just solutions to climate change in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, and on Capitol Hill, while also acting as “first-responders” to federal action on the climate crisis and inspiring climate action across the country.


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.

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 both Virginia and Washington, DC. Through litigation, CCAN has helped reduce mercury pollution from a coal plant in Wise County by 94 percent, forced the clean up of three coal ash dump sites in Maryland, and delayed construction of two massive fracked-gas pipelines in Virginia. It has also helped pass a landmark bill to ban fracking in Maryland, as well as one of the strongest statewide carbon caps in the country.

How We Work

  1. We take on the big fights: To make systemic change, we believe you need to change the law and the power to make that change comes from the people. We are committed to tackling issues that will have the biggest effect measured by pollution reduction and community impact.  We are driven by results and we take into account the political context. But we always strive to widen the spectrum of what’s “politically possible,” knowing the physics of our climate won’t compromise.
  2. We believe that solving climate change means fighting for justice: The structures that perpetuate and exacerbate climate change are the same ones that have created related economic, racial, and intergenerational injustices. These structures must be transformed in order to build 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.
  3. 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 provide on ramps for people to take action on the major climate issues in the region and we partner with and support grassroots leaders. 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.
  4. We believe we will win by building the biggest and broadest coalition possible: 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, labor, business owners, farmers, and movements for social, economic, and racial justice — to advance shared values and goals.
  5.  We use every tool available: We are committed to creativity, both to win campaigns and to inspire action. We use every tool at our disposal—combining grassroots organizing with media outreach, policy analysis, lobbying, and the courts—to achieve results. We support strategic, nonviolent civil disobedience to underline the moral urgency of action and to prevent immoral wrongs.

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