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GCA’s 41st Annual NAL Conference – March 17-20, 2024


April 03, 2024

Events in Washington, D.C. and online spur advocacy

The GCA’s National Affairs and Legislation (NAL) conference took place March 17-20 in Washington D.C. More than 280 delegates from GCA clubs around the country attended in person and 153 watched virtually while 228 people tuned in for the virtual Advocacy Day the week before. Over the past 41 years, the GCA has convened annually in our nation’s capital to advocate for a wide number of environmental legislative priorities with a shared goal of “working for a beautiful, healthy planet.”
Keynote speakers Peter Byck and Wendy Millet kicked things off at the opening session on Sunday night with a wonderful presentation on regenerative agriculture and ranching, including clips from Byck’s upcoming documentary series “Roots So Deep: You can See the Devil Down There.”
On Monday, Spencer Glendon educated advocates about making climate science more accessible and Katharine Hayhoe talked about climate solutions and sparking change. Ben Franta spoke of the Climate Litigation Lab at Oxford and Becky Rom discussed saving the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. Advocates learned about work to halt new petrochemical plants and heard from environmental groups including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Southern Environmental Law Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the National Wildlife Federation.
On Tuesday, Ali Zaidi, Assistant to the President and White House National Climate Advisor, discussed President Biden’s climate agenda in the beautiful Caucus Room of the Cannon Office Building on Capitol Hill. He was followed by Katherine Currie, Deputy Infrastructure Coordinator for the Department of the Interior. Representatives Garret Graves (LA), Jim McGovern (MA), Debbie Dingell (MI), and Senators Mazie Hirono (HI), Edward Markey (MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) then addressed the group. In addition, delegates heard from Kathleen Biggins about the10th anniversary of C-Change Conversations, as well as experts from The Center for Plant Conservation and Just Zero, a non-profit organization that focuses on anti-plastics initiatives.
On the final day of the conference, delegates were seen all over Capitol Hill, meeting with their legislators to advocate for the GCA’s legislative priorities. These include healthy ecosystems, sustainable agriculture and soil health, and legislation against plastics, toxins, and pollution. Leveraging the power of the GCA’s collective voices, delegates urged their representatives to act now and advocated for bipartisan legislation to address the impacts of the changing climate. Delegates concluded the conference, ever more aware of the importance of the work given that future generations depend on it. 
The conference chair applauded the cumulative efforts of the dedicated NAL/Conservation Committee.




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