|Did you walk to school when you were a kid? Uphill? In both directions? In the rain? October is International Walk to School Month and the Sierra Club is encouraging families to relive this definitive childhood moment -- walking to school.
Check out our Back to School Headquarters, where we've got a special membership offer, a kids drawing gallery and green tips for everything from school supplies to lunch.
The Club is also teaming up with the makers of Green Works® and the National Center for Safe Routes to School for the Walk to School Challenge. During October, elementary and middle school students and their families can help their schools win one of five $5,000 grants -- simply by walking (or bicycling) to school. The five schools with the highest levels of participation will be eligible to win a $5,000 grant. Walking uphill not required.
Organizer David Veliz of the Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors Program commemorated 9/11 by hauling bags of soil up to the roof garden of a women and children's shelter in the South Bronx as part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
In a poor community with little green space, Building Bridges to the Outdoors, Get Dirty NYC!, the Horticultural Society of NY, and 25 community residents and youth leaders joined forces to renew and revitalize an urban farm to provide fresh vegetables for the community as well as a place to learn about nature and horticulture. Veliz, who was in New York nine years ago on 9/11, said, "we honored and remembered, but we also got something, by giving back -- hope."
More than 100 Serve Outdoors events took place around the country -- volunteers restored trails, weatherized buildings, planted trees, cleaned up beaches, and more.
For decades, the Western Arctic Reserve, one of America's wildest places, has been threatened by coal, oil, and gas development. Birds from around the globe flock to the reserve to nest and breed on the shores of Teshekpuk Lake. Tens of thousands of caribou forage on the nearby hills. America's largest concentration of the rare wolverine roams across the tundra.
Now the BLM, which oversees the leasing of public lands to energy companies, is developing a management plan for the future of the reserve. Tell the BLM to protect the reserve's special wildlife and wilderness areas.
In Memphis, Tennessee Water Sentinel James Baker had a fortuitous conversation at the dentist's office that led to a new alliance with Great Outdoors University, a conservation education program of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation that serves youth who might not otherwise have the chance to experience nature. The Water Sentinels donated 24 state-of-the-art rods and reels for a mid-August fishing trip, and 18 more to the Army Corps of Engineers for an upcoming event they're sponsoring with Great Outdoors University in Nashville.
James' teeth got drilled in the process, but now he has a new incentive for going to the dentist.
There are so many disasters from the dirty energy industry, it's hard to keep track of them all. In 2008, nearly 1 billion tons of coal ash poured across 300 acres in Tennessee. That's one reason why the EPA is holding hearings around the country. On Thursday, a coal hearing will take place in Chicago. Can't make these hearings in person? Send a message to the EPA by clicking here.
Do you know whether you or any of your friends or family live near one of the 2,000 coal ash dumps across the country? Living near an unlined coal ash wet storage pond is more dangerous than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
Even if the coal ash dump is lined, nearby communities still face heightened risks of cancer, learning disabilities, birth defects and other illnesses. That's why we've developed a site locator on Facebook -- find out how many of your friends live near a toxic coal ash dump.
You may recall that in the last Insider we told you about the efforts of the Club's Borderlands Team and its recent visit to the border wall east of San Diego. Now one team member, Dan Millis, an organizer in Arizona, is in the news because the 9th Circuit Court overturned his 2008 conviction for "littering" -- that is, leaving gallon containers of purified water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge near where he had found the body of a 14-year-old Salvadoran girl.
The Court ruled that "water is not waste," and that Millis was engaged in giving humanitarian aid. Read more in Club Chairman Carl Pope's blog and learn more about the Borderlands Team in the Activist Network.
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