1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell reflects upon the failure of the Senate to advance climate legislation

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“There were Democratic majorities in the Congress and a president who clearly understood the issue,” says Gillian Caldwell, head of the national climate change advocacy campaign 1Sky. “We had a better shot than we've ever had. The environmental community was better-funded and more coordinated than we have ever been on this issue.”

Although 1Sky’s Caldwell sees many reasons for the failure of climate legislation—lack of engagement by the White House, the power of Big Oil and coal industry money—she thinks another cause is paramount.

“I think we saw the results of a chronic and historic underinvestment in grassroots mobilizing,” she says. “There was a relative under-investment in engaging, activating and mobilizing grassroots communities to support this effort.” The lawmakers heard plenty from the lobbyists, in other words, but not from the people.

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