Sierra Club
The Insider: The official newsletter of the Sierra Club
November 3, 2009: In This Issue
  • Don't Miss Coal Country
  • Enter the Trails Photo Contest
  • Dinner at the White House
  • Parques Nacionales
  • Senators Playing Hooky

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  • Today's green tip
    The greenest choice is to stick with that old black box until its end, but when it's time to switch, opt for an Energy Star TV.

    More tips | Subscribe!

    Pedal Power

    Time for Pedal Power
    Ever wished you could commute by bike at least some of the time but weren't sure how to get started? Do you really have to wear those shiny shorts? Over at the Bicycle group on Climate Crossroads, you'll find some great blog posts that tell you everything you need to know to be a bike commuter. Even experienced cyclists will pick up a pointer or two.

    Join the group and we'll get rolling!

    Clothes Swap

    Swap 'Til You Drop
    Clothing swaps are a great way to be kind to your wallet, the community, and the planet. And kids love them, too! For tips on how to host a successful kids clothing swap, check out this tip sheet from Clorox Green Works, which recently hosted a swap for hundreds of kids in New York City. 

    On the Radio
    This week on Sierra Club Radio:
    1) Doug Wildman from Friends of the Urban Forest talks with us about urban trees. 2) Allison Forbes on weatherizing homes to save energy this winter. 3) Political commentary from Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. 4) Tim Dee, author of A Year on the Wing: Four Seasons in a Life with Birds.

    Listen | Subscribe

    Save the Polar Bear

    Help the Bears Survive
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating more than 128 million acres of Alaskan coastline and waters as critical habitat for the polar bear. Please submit a comment to let them know you agree that polar bears need all the help they can get as they adapt to a warmer Arctic. 

    Coal CountryCoal Country: Playing at a Party Near You
    What would you do if you knew that ancient mountains were being destroyed and communities torn apart to produce the electricity in your home? That's the reality of mountaintop-removal coal mining, where entire Appalachian mountaintops are blown off to reach seams of coal, and the waste is dumped into nearby streams and valleys.

    Coal Country, a documentary that tells the whole story, will sweep the nation later this month. Working with the filmmakers, the Sierra Club has organized more than 800 house parties around the country -- most of them next week -- where a sneak-peek DVD of the film will be shown and participants can listen to a call-in conversation with actress Ashley Judd, a local Appalachian coal activist, and a leader of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.

    You're invited to attend one of these parties and learn how you can take action to bring a halt to this devastating form of mining.

    Find the house party nearest you.

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    Sierra Club Trails

    Trails Photo CotnestAnsel Adams Might Be Jealous
    Sierra Club folks were taking pictures on the first High Trip to Yosemite in 1901, and they've never stopped. (Some, like Ansel Adams, got pretty good at it, too.) In that spirit, we're announcing a new monthly photo contest in our Trails community. This month, we're looking for images that fit an "Orange" theme, and the winner will get a camera that's ideal for hitting the trails: Canon's new PowerShot G11.

    You can see the photos that have been entered so far (and vote for your favorites) by joining the Trails Monthly Photo Contest group. Have a shot you think might be a contender? We'd love to see it!

    Join the group and see the photos.

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    Pepi KochharAn Outing to the White House
    When President Obama and the First Lady host their first-ever State Dinner this month (honoring the Indian prime minister), it will be the most coveted D.C. invitation since the inauguration. One guest of the Obamas will be Sierra Club volunteer leader Pritpal Singh (Pepi) Kochhar, who was invited in recognition of his work with New York City's Sikh community and with the Sierra Club. Pepi Kochhar's a long-time Sierra Club Outings leader as well as a member of the Club's India Advisory Council.

    Born in the foothills of the Himalayas, and a New Yorker since 1976, Pepi Kochhar has led trips to Nepal, Iceland, Costa Rica, Russia, India, China, and Turkey. This spring he'll be returning to Scotland to lead a Highlands outing "In the Footsteps of John Muir." As Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope says, he's "the kind of volunteer leader who makes the Sierra Club so great." Whoever sits next to him at dinner is sure to hear some great stories.

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    Exploring Our National Parks -- En Espaņol
    2dirty4collegeMany of us enjoyed watching the Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea, last month. Now the series is returning to TV screens -- in Spanish!

    Visit to see a trailer for the film and find Spanish-language materials that complement the documentary, including a clickable map of highlighted national parks, a guide to some Sierra Club Outings, a tip sheet for first-time visitors to national parks, and profiles of park visitors.

    The Sierra Club is proud to be working in partnership with V-me, the nation's fastest-growing Spanish-language TV network, to promote Parques Nacionales. For local times and channel info, visit

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    Senators Who Play Hooky? Empty Chair
    As the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee begins marking up the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, almost all of the committee's Republican members have refused to show up for work and are boycotting the meetings.

    What might these missing members be doing that's more important than finishing work on this historic bill? We aren't sure, but we've started a list of possibilities.

    Possibility #10: They are hiding in the attic with Balloon Boy.

    To see the rest of the list (and add your own conjectures), visit Climate Crossroads. 

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