A Keystone Victory and Beyond Oil Breakthrough
On January 18, President Obama stood up to Big Oil when he denied a federal permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would carry toxic tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries and ports in Texas.
According to Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, though, that's only the beginning of the good news this year for ending our addiction to oil. By 2030, we could be using 1.5 million fewer barrels of oil every day -- as much as we imported from Saudi Arabia and Iraq combined last year.
What will it cost? Nothing. Consumers will actually save money, thanks to a historic breakthrough.
Beyond Coal in the Carolinas
Last week the Sierra Club, and other groups that value healthy air, announced an agreement with Duke Energy to phase out more than 1,600 megawatts of dirty, old coal-fired power in North Carolina. Not only will this make breathing a little easier for North Carolinian families, it will add to the state's long legacy as a clean air leader.
Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, knows all about that legacy. Growing up in the Smoky Mountains on the other side of the state line, she recalls that clean air was not just an environmental issue but an economic one, too.
We've Got Game
As the college basketball season heats up, the Sierra Club has gotten in on the action by sponsoring major conference games at Indiana University on January 12 and the University of Kentucky on January 17. The Sierra Student Coalition is working to retire coal-burning power plants on both campuses.
The SSC's "Clean Energy Match-Ups" connect collegiate sports to the need for clean and affordable energy solutions that protect the health of the players, the students, and the surrounding community.
More than 60 universities around the country still operate their own on-campus coal plants. Since the Sierra Club launched its Campuses Beyond Coal campaign, 19 schools have committed to stop burning coal.
In Search of Orcas
Haro Strait straddles the U.S.-Canada border north of Puget Sound and is home to a pod of more than 80 orcas (sometimes called killer whales). Known as the Southern Residents, these orcas were declared an endangered population in 2005.
In July, the peak season for seeing the orcas, Sierra magazine writer Molly Oleson kayaked into the choppy waters of the strait.
"An eagle with a wingspan as wide as our paddles soars overhead... Stillness. And then suddenly a black speck pierces the surface"
Mapping for Memory
To us, they might look like arts and crafts from the South Pacific. But for a Marshallese fisherman, rebbilib are maps constructed with cowries and palm fronds that echo a time when nature was the guide and wave patterns were the trails.
Sue Fierston, an artist and teacher who lived in the Marshall Islands for a year, writes in Sierra's Explore blog: "It is said that a fishermen would study his charts, leave them behind, and then lie on his back in the canoe, the better to feel the rise and fall of the ocean swells. He interpreted the map with his body memory, not with his eyes."
You drive a green car. Your home is energy efficient. That's great. But did you know that there's also a "greener" way to protect those assets? The Sierra Club is teaming up with The Hartford to offer auto and home insurance plans that reward you for your responsible lifestyle. Features include special rates for Sierra Club members and supporters and discounts for hybrid cars.
This month, The Hartford will launch a new electric vehicle discount in California, with availability in more states soon. For homeowners, there's also an optional Green Rebuilding coverage that increases coverage limits by 10 percent if you choose to rebuild with environmentally friendly materials.
Learn more about the program and request a free quote.