Time to Go Big: From Our Chair

The dedication of NRDC and our allies—and the support of our members—has resulted in noteworthy steps toward winning the climate fight.

A California redwood forest


Chris Zielecki/Stocksy

 ›   2021  ›  For Our Supporters

What a year of change it’s been!

Looking back on 2021, I’m struck by both our progress and the challenges of navigating the ongoing pandemic, even as climate impacts hit close to home for many in the form of devastating floods, storms, and fires. But in the face of the most daunting challenges, I’m determined to fight harder than ever alongside you all—our most dedicated supporters and members—to make strides in guarding and defending this home we all share.

This past August, we welcomed our new president and CEO, Manish Bapna, who has taken no time at all to get up to speed on all things NRDC. With decades of experience in sustainable development and economics, as well as a strong international approach to climate, Manish brings a fresh, equity-focused perspective on how NRDC can tackle interrelated challenges at both national and global levels. I’m thrilled to have him at the helm of this organization as we take on the planet’s most urgent environmental and climate fights.

In the past year, with a pro-climate administration back in office, we’ve been able to take significant steps toward our goals for a more sustainable and equitable future. President Biden has not only set ambitious climate goals but has also returned the country to the negotiating table on the world stage and has employed an all-of-government approach to the climate crisis, appointing climate champions to leadership positions in every part of the administration.

That commitment, in conjunction with the dedication of NRDC and our allies, has resulted in some noteworthy steps toward winning the climate fight. We’re proud of the definitive end of the Keystone XL pipeline—a win more than a decade in the making that President Biden helped tip over. We’re also proud of Build Back Better passing the House and our role in pushing for the most ambitious climate package of our lifetimes. Finally, we’re thrilled that NRDC was able to play an instrumental role in winning back protections for Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bears Ears, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, three national monuments that were under grave assault during the Trump presidency.

A view of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from Bryce Canyon National Park


Udo Siebig/Alamy

But there is still much work to be done. We must press harder than ever and hold the Biden administration to continue to fulfill the president’s campaign promises. In this critical year—when every second of climate delay matters—we need to ensure that the progress we make will be lasting and durable. And we must continue to ask the rest of our leaders to deliver the ambitious climate policy that we know is possible. We need this bold action to exhibit the true leadership that is demanded of us, as a country, and as citizens of the planet. 

With this momentum and NRDC’s track record of success, grit, and creativity, there is so much more we can and must achieve. Every day, I am heartened by the strength and dedication of this community. Thank you for all you’ve done in standing with us and for your continued support. We’re millions strong, and we’ll keep working together to create and secure our climate future. 

Kathleen Welch

More for Our Supporters

2021 Highlights

Time to Go Big

Check out the rest of our annual report for an overview of what we've accomplished in 2021.

Time to Go Big

Check out the rest of our annual report for an overview of what we've accomplished in 2021.