2023 Showed Us We Can Win

Despite some dark days, 2023 still showed us glimmers of a world rooted in equity, justice, and liberation.

2023 Showed Us We Can Win
Photograph by Hollie Fernando / Instagram

LISTENING: to my tunes
FEELING: ready for the holidays
SEEING: no holiday snow, just sun

I have this tradition. Every year, I write a list of all the climate and environmental justice successes throughout the year. There are plenty of lists out there that look at climate wins writ large, but I like to focus mine on the wins felt among the communities most vulnerable to environmental disaster.

Where are neighborhoods rising up despite the oppression they face? Where is change happening to boost Indigenous sovereignty? Where are the Global South leaders charging the path forward? Where are the intersections of environment and climate with everything else?

This tradition started in 2017 when I was a staff writer for Earther, the environmental vertical of Gizmodo. That year, I needed that list. Donald Trump had just ended his first year in the White House. The future was feeling quite bleak — but then I researched and remembered all that had been won. It's funny looking back at that list now. So many themes that I wrote about still ring true today. Indeed, the folks who were leading the charge then still are now. The last time I wrote this list was for Atmos in 2022. Every year, a similar pattern forms.

Now, I'll be writing this annual list for you all, here. Now's as good a time as any to upgrade your subscription to paid if you're a free member. It costs as little as $3 a month! Only paid members get to read this one.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I'm delighted to see another year of bright spots despite how awful the world has felt as of late.

Right now, Gaza remains under attack. The Israeli military—with U.S. tax dollars—is killing thousands of innocent Palestinian people. It doesn't feel like an appropriate time to celebrate any wins when so much suffering is happening, but I believe that, in moments like these, we need these reminders even more. We need to remember that another world is possible. That the people have the power to win. That this world cannot be left to fester under the rule of evil people.

This year's list is long. It's also hopeful. Let's get into it.

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