Sierra Club
Sierra Club Press Release

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September 23, 2011


Rebecca Silver, 212-791-3600,



Honorees include leading environmentalist Bill McKibben, Congressman Edward Markey, Congressman Keith Ellison, conservation photographer Ian Shive, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert and others


SAN FRANCISCO – Bill McKibben, founder of and world-renowned environmental activist, will conclude his global day of action by accepting the Sierra Club’s highest honor, the John Muir Award.  A worldwide rally to demand solutions to the climate crisis, Moving Planet on September 24th exemplifies McKibben’s efforts to organize local efforts into a global movement.


McKibben inspired and mobilized a generation to fight climate change, translating the complex issues of greenhouse gas emissions in to one simple number: 350.  According to McKibben, “To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million (ppm) to below 350 ppm.  But 350 is more than a number—it's a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.”


In addition to his work as an international environmental leader, McKibben has authored 13 books. His 1989 book, The End of Nature, is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages.  In 2010 the Boston Globe called him “probably the nation’s leading environmentalist” and Time magazine described him as “the world’s best green journalist.”


Sierra Club Board President Robin Mann said this of McKibben: "It's my great pleasure to present Bill McKibben with the Sierra Club's highest honor--the John Muir Award--on the evening of his Global Day of Action. Activists like Bill McKibben exemplify the very essence of the Sierra Club's mission. People working together can change the world. John Muir believed it. Bill McKibben and the 1.4 million members and supporters of Sierra Club live it."


Congressman Ed Markey from Massachusetts is receiving the club’s Edgar Wayburn Award, which honors outstanding service to the environment by a person in government. Since being elected to Congress in 1976, Rep. Markey has been at the forefront of environmental campaigns, pressing for increased fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, defending the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from proposed oil drilling, pushing for tougher clean air standards, advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency proposals, and authoring legislation to tackle global warming.


Congressman Keith Ellison from Minneapolis is receiving the Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes individuals in public service for strong and consistent commitment to conservation. Rep. Ellison has been a strong supporter of the environment and environmental justice since was in the Minnesota state legislature. He has carried forward legislation to protect children from lead poisoning and to ban the use of atrazine, the weed-killing agricultural pesticide, due to its documented toxicity.


Roderick Bremby, the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award, which honors persons in public service for a particular action of singular importance to conservation. In 2007, Bremby was the first public official ever to deny a permit for a coal plant solely on the basis of its greenhouse gas emissions.


Elizabeth Kolbert, a former New York Times reporter who now writes for the New Yorker, is receiving the David R. Brower Award, which recognizes outstanding environmental reporting. Kolbert’s 2006 book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, which was based on an award-winning three-part series for the New Yorker, is one of the most powerful commentaries to date on global climate shift. 


The club’s Ansel Adams Award, which honors excellence in conservation photography, is going to Ian Shive of Los Angeles, Calif. Shive’s 2009 book, The National Parks: Our American Landscape, highlights the rich diversity of the American ecological landscape and Shive has used it in a “wilderness diplomacy” project designed to promote cultural understanding worldwide by sharing images of America’s national parks. Shive also has used his photos to remind lawmakers of the importance of preserving our outdoor resources and to address the environmental impact of the U.S.-Mexico border fence.


The club’s William Douglas Award, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding use of the legal/judicial process to achieve environmental goals, is going to Sharon Duggan of Oakland, Calif. Duggan has litigated on a broad variety of issues, including state and federal forestry, water quality, endangered species and environmental quality. She is perhaps best known for her work on a series of cases involving the ancient redwood groves of the Headwaters Forest in Northern California. In a landmark 1983 case known as EPIC vs. Johnson, Duggan established that California state agencies must consider the cumulative effects of logging in a watershed on water quality, soils and wildlife habitat when reviewing logging plans. Since this victory, the Environmental Protection Information Center in Humboldt County has successfully enforced this ruling in nearly two dozen lawsuits to protect biodiversity, endangered species and the redwood ecosystem.

The club’s highest honor for administrative work, the William E. Colby Award, is going to Edwina Allen of Boise, Idaho. Allen has been involved with the Sierra Club for more than 40 years. She helped establish the Club’s Idaho Chapter and helped earn wilderness designation for Idaho’s Owyhee Canyonlands.


Others receiving 2011 Sierra Club awards include the following:


Communication Award (honors the best use of communications [either print or electronic] by a Sierra Club group, chapter or other entity to further the Club’s mission): Ivy Main and the Virginia Chapter. The chapter has made videos on a variety of subjects to help interest people in its work.


EarthCare Award (honors an individual, organization, or agency that has made a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation): Maude Barlow of Ottawa, Canada. Barlow is the head of the Council of Canadians − Canada’s largest public advocacy organization − and founder of the Blue Planet Project, which was started by the Council to protect the world’s fresh water from the growing threats of trade and privatization. She is the author or co-author of 16 books, including the best-selling 2007 book Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, which some have called “the most important book that’s ever been written on the global water crisis.”


Environmental Alliance Award (recognizes individuals or groups that have forged partnerships with other non-Sierra Club entities): Carol Adams-Davis of Mobile, Ala. Adams-Davis has partnered with other environmental groups on a variety of environmental issues along the Gulf of Mexico, including recovery from the BP oil spill.


Francis P. Farquhar Mountaineering Award (recognizes contributions to mountaineering): Royal Robbins of Modesto, Calif. Robbins is a pioneer in American rock climbing and an early proponent of boltless, pitonless clean climbing. He is the author of two classic books on rock climbing.


Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award (recognizes a Sierra Club member under the age of 30): Victoria Pan of Ridgewood, N.J. Pan has created a web site at that shows students how they can launch energy-saving initiatives at their schools. Pan’s Sierra Club chapter in New Jersey will receive $500 in recognition of this award.


Madelyn Pyeatt Award (recognizes work with youth): Anne Carroll of Arlington, Mass. Carroll has been chair of the Boston Inner City Outings program since 2004. The Boston ICO group will receive $500 in recognition of this award.


Oliver Kehrlein Award (for outstanding service to the Sierra Club’s outings program): Marjorie Richman of North Bethesda, Md. Richman has been leading local and national outings for the Club since 1980.


Raymond J. Sherwin International Award (honors extraordinary volunteer service toward international conservation): Michael Gregory of McNeal, Ariz. Gregory has spent more than 28 years working on national and international toxics issues such as the regulation of Persistent Organic Pesticides (POPs).


Special Achievement Awards (for a single act of importance dedicated to conservation or the Sierra Club): Clayton Daughenbaugh of Berwyn, Ill.; Charles Price of Richmond, Va.; and Lonnie Morris of Lombard, Ill. Daughenbaugh is being honored for his work with the Club’s Activist Network Support Team; Price is being recognized for his efforts to establish the Cannon Creek Greenway through inner-city neighborhoods in Richmond, Va.; and Morris is being honored for her work with the Cool Cities program in Illinois.


Special Service Awards (for strong and consistent commitment to conservation over an extended period of time): Rev. Robert F. Murphy of Cataumet, Mass.; Jane Clark of Des Moines, Iowa; and Ken Brame of Leicester, N.C. Murphy has been active with the Sierra Club for more than 40 years, particularly on issues related to human rights and environmental justice. Clark has served twice as Iowa Chapter Chair, many years as Chapter Conservation Co-chair and for the past 10 years as Chair of the Central Iowa Sierra Group. Brame has been involved with the Sierra Club’s political program for 25 years. 


Susan E. Miller Award (honors administrative contributions to Sierra Club groups, chapters and regional entities): Steve Kulick of Syracuse, N.Y.; Marian Ryan of Winter Haven, Fla.; and the Club’s Chapter Treasurer Assistance Support Team. Kulick has served as treasurer of the Club’s Atlantic Chapter since 1986 and Ryan has served the Florida Chapter in a variety of administrative capacities. The Chapter Treasurer Assistance Support Team has worked with chapter treasurers to help them complete their annual financial reporting requirements in a timely fashion and migrate to QuickBooks Online.


Walter Starr Award (Honors continuing service to the Sierra Club by a former member of the Board of Directors): Glen Dawson of Pasadena, Calif. Dawson, who is 99, was selected for his many years of work with the Angeles Chapter’s History Committee.


Most of the awards will be presented Sept. 23-24 in San Francisco. For more information on the Sierra Club awards program, visit www.