Yesterday was the start of COP15, known more formally as the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference. The Sierra Club has 50 volunteers and staff in Copenhagen to demonstrate strong U.S. support for meaningful domestic and international action against climate change and to push and support the U.S. delegation in its efforts to reach an agreement. For the first time ever, the U.S., India, and China all have specific proposals on the table, and world leaders are aiming for a deal that includes commitments on reducing emissions and on financing for developing countries.
Hopes for a significant agreement are running high: President Obama has rescheduled his own attendance for the last week of the conference when a deal could be struck. But you don't need to go all the way to Denmark to follow the latest developments. The Sierra Club's Climate Crossroads online community is already featuring daily news, blog posts, photos, video, and other dispatches from Copenhagen.
Follow along as we hope to see history made.
A glowing-blue igloo? A bright red cherry encased in ice? A cardinal bracing against a snowstorm? "Cold" is December's theme in the Monthly Photo Contest group on Sierra Club Trails, so if you've got a nature photo that's sure to make the rest of us shiver, join the group and submit your best shot!
If you win, you'll be able to warm yourself up with the prize package of a Marmot sleeping bag, a Pacific Outdoor Equipment sleeping pad, and a Primus camp stove. If you don't have a photo of your own to enter, you can still join the group to check out the entries and vote for those you like best.
Group members receive a bulletin each month alerting them to the theme, prize, and deadlines for submissions and voting.
Be sure to also check out the winner and runners-up from last month's contest on the theme of "Orange."
On December 2, the Obama administration welcomed youth leaders (including some from the Sierra Student Coalition and the Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors program) to a forum on energy and climate-crisis solutions.
In attendance and answering questions were Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and U.S. Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley.
Secretary Chu told the 160 gathered youth, "I'm an old guy, but your future, your kids' future, is at stake" Youth leaders responded that they want to see investments in clean energy technology, renewables, and energy efficiency.
Watch a video of the forum via the NY Times' Dot Earth blog.
Does blasting off the tops of West Virginia's ancient mountains attract tourists to the state?
The West Virginia Hospitality and Tourism Association seems to think this devastating form of coal mining is in keeping with the state motto: "Wild and Wonderful." The association recently sent a letter to its members (river guides, B&B owners, etc.) asking them to join an organization that promotes coal mining. We know coal mining isn't wonderful, so we made our own Top 10 list of wonderful things about West Virginia, from ginseng to hiking trails.
Check it out -- and tell us what you love about West Virginia!
While you're there, check out the blog post and video clip of a Google Earth presentation at the Copenhagen summit this week. It features West Virginia's Coal River Mountain, where activists are fighting a plan for mountaintop-removal coal mining by proposing a wind farm instead.
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