Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's new executive director, started work on Monday with words of praise -- and a challenge -- for volunteers, supporters, and staffers alike. He acknowledged the Club's "pivotal role in many of the most important environmental victories over the past century." And then he added, "As effective as the organization has been over the past 118 years, we need to do our best work in the years ahead. The challenges -- and opportunities -- are too great."
For many of us, rising to meet Michael's challenge will mean trying to follow more closely in the footsteps of Dr. Edgar Wayburn, the former Sierra Club president, who died on March 5 at his home in San Francisco at the age of 103. When awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Wayburn in 1999, President Clinton said, "He has saved more of our wilderness than any person alive." He wasn't exaggerating.
If you don't know about Dr. Wayburn's astounding conservation achievements -- he led campaigns that preserved more than 100 millions acres of wild lands -- be sure to read the profile written for his 100th birthday. And this volunteer superhero did it all while also working full-time as a physician. He left an amazing legacy for us to live up to.
Photo of Dr. Edgar Wayburn by Anne Hamersky
Annie wants to test her mind, body, and spirit. Jonathan will share his skills as a natural-born leader. Sarah wants to connect with the enlightenment one finds in the natural world, Madeleine will inspire others to help the planet, and Christian will introduce youth to outdoor places they might not otherwise see.
All five -- and dozens of others -- have submitted video applications for "The Best Internship on Earth" -- eight weeks of hiking, paddling, and enjoying the outdoors with the Sierra Club's youth programs. The job comes with a $2,500 stipend and $2,000 worth of gear from The North Face and Planet Explore. The intern will spend the summer adventuring and video-blogging about the experience while the rest of us follow along.
If you're 18 to 25 years old, apply before March 31! If you're not, pass it along to someone who is. Either way, the video applications are playful, earnest, and inspiring -- see for yourself.
Right now, 127 million Americans are at risk for respiratory problems because they live in counties that don't meet at least one national air-quality standard. The EPA has taken steps to change this by proposing tougher standards for ozone pollution -- the main component of smog, which can reduce respiratory function, aggravate asthma, and cause permanent lung damage. Unsurprisingly, Big Oil and Dirty Coal are fighting hard to protect the unhealthy status quo.
But Sierra Club volunteers are fighting back today at "I Heart Clean Air
" rallies and events across the country to give the EPA the public support it needs to stand up to big polluters. You can add your voice to the movement for strong standards that will protect our air and our health. Take a deep breath and send your public comment to the EPA now
Green-colored beer may be a slightly cheesy St. Patrick's Day tradition, but a brew that's crafted and distributed with respect for the environment is the kind of green we're happy to toast. We've distilled just about everything we know about truly green beer (and beer-drinking) into our latest "How Green Is My?" quiz. Think you're up to the challenge? Then hop to it!
Don't like beer? Sample one of our other quizzes.
A new book called Hispanics Living Green, by Sharon T. Freeman, details fourteen inspirational stories about people taking steps to live in harmony with the earth.
Several Sierra Club staff and volunteers are featured in the book, including bilingual columnist Javier Sierra (follow his new Twitter feed at Javier_SC), youth activist Juan Martinez, Florida activist Blanca Mesa, Albuquerque staffer Kristina Ortez, and El Paso activists Ximena and Priscila Chew. Sierra Club chairman Carl Pope contributed the book's foreword.
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