When Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at the end of 2007, it capped off an incredible year. At all levels, from individuals to global organizations, there's been a massive mobilization to combat climate change and protect the natural world.

From Portland's biodiesel mandate, to state-level efforts to limit carbon emissions, to the United Nations climate change conference in Bali, resolutions have been made - and not just symbolic ones.

States, counties and cities across the country are stepping up, passing laws, creating programs and providing incentives, and giving their citizens the tools and motivation to protect green spaces and reduce waste.

2007 was the year that the business world really took notice, investing money along the way. Innumerable small businesses have cropped up around sustainable products and alternative transportation.

Companies as large and mainstream as Wal-Mart have realized the marketing potential for organic products - and for projecting a green image.

This was the year, I believe, that the environment became a bipartisan issue. Moving beyond politics, the shared threat of climate change is bringing people together.

There are all kinds of unanswered questions and bumps in the road. But in 2007, I saw only one glaring exception to the heady momentum of the green movement: the federal government, which this year has fought change every step of the way.

No one knows what 2008 will bring. But we do know one thing: It's an election year.

- Anne Marie DiStefano

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