Sierra Club
The Insider: The official newsletter of the Sierra Club
Feb. 21, 2012: In This Issue
º Coal Victories Pile Up
º Solar Synagogue
º Tomorrowland
º Funny Videos Wanted
º Greener Grass Without Gunk
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Sierra Club Outings
Looking for Something Exotic?

Step outside yourself on one of the Sierra Club's newest international itineraries. Just don't count on "everyday life" looking quite the same when you return.

Visit aboriginal elders on the wild island of Tasmania, spend Holy Week with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyon, search for wild tigers and learn about ancient mysticism in south India, or embark on a literary walking tour of Ireland.

Eco-Comedy  Video Competition
Funny Videos Wanted

The Eco-Comedy Video Competition for spring 2012, sponsored by the Sierra Club and American University's Center for Environmental Filmmaking, is looking for short, funny YouTube videos that communicate a clear message about green jobs and clean energy.

Entries must be received by March 2. More info and official rules can be found here.

Plastic bags outside the Hawaii state capital builidng
Going to Hawaii? Pack Your Bags

Hawai'i Chapter members recently strewed hundreds of plastic bags across the lawn outside the state capitol building in Honolulu to show support for a proposal to enact the nation's first statewide bag fee.

If the proposal is passed, shoppers would pay 10 cents a bag and about $20 million a year would be raised for eco-restoration projects. Don't like the idea of a bag fee? No problem. BYO bag.

Photo by Amy Brinkley
Just Say No to Liquified Natural Gas Exports

Just Say No to Liquified Natural Gas ExportsAs if the natural gas industry hasn’t done enough damage, now it's looking for new ways to further profits while sacrificing our clean air and water. Its new trick is exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). This would mean more destructive fracking, more pipelines, and more carbon pollution.

The Sierra Club is challenging a proposed LNG export facility in Maryland on the grounds that LNG exports would raise gas and electricity prices nationally and expand fracking.

We need to tell President Obama that exporting dirty LNG is dangerous, environmentally destructive, and unacceptable. Sign our petition urging the president to put the brakes on LNG exports.

Coal Victories Pile Up -- Now Let's Create Green Jobs

Coal Victories Pile UpIn late January, a Georgia utility canceled funding for two proposed coal-fired power plants. Two days later, FirstEnergy Corp. announced that it will retire six of its dirtiest coal plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland by September. Then on February 5, the company said it will be shutting three more coal plants in West Virginia.

"All this news means cleaner air for thousands of Americans, and it's the result of years of tireless advocacy by hard working local residents and volunteers," says Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "But the transition from coal to clean energy needs to happen in a way that protects workers and communities."

Solar Synagogue

Los Angeles Sierra Club member Jan FreedLos Angeles Sierra Club member Jan Freed had a vision: He wanted his synagogue to go green. Two years ago, he began a campaign to have solar panels installed atop Temple Sinai in Glendale, California.

The temple's new solar array was dedicated on January 29. "We are all here because of the vision of one man who started us on the path of true environmental sustainability," Rabbi Richard Schechter said at the dedication. Read more in Scrapbook.

Photo by Leonard Coutin
Visit the Activist Network
The Condensed Appalachian Trail

Kevin GallagherThe Appalachian Trail ran through Kevin Gallagher's childhood backyard in Virginia, and he and his family regularly hiked sections of the trail near their Shenandoah Valley home. Those hikes inspired him to complete the entire 2,181-mile trail from Georgia to Maine.

On his six-month trek, Gallagher took 24 photos of 24 steps along the trail each day, and he returned home with more than 4,000 slides. He has just released a video that strings together the scanned slides and takes viewers on a journey down the entire trail in less than five minutes. Read more about Gallagher's journey and watch his video Green Tunnel.

Photo by Kevin Gallagher

Future cities slideshow in Sierra magazineDuring the 1964 World's Fair, General Motors' Futurama ride predicted a metropolis replete with fossil fuel–powered modes of transportation that would take humans to space, to the Arctic, and into the deep oceans. With fossil fuels, new technology, and unbridled human spirit, the city of the future would know no bounds. 

Thankfully, our notion of what a city can be has changed a bit since 1964. But the question remains: In 2025, when 80 percent of Europeans, North Americans, and South Americans will be urban dwellers, what will our cities actually look like? Will they be sustainable? Sierra magazine considers the possibilities.

Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

When You Speak, Your Voice Is Heard

Keystone XL petitions delivered to legislatorsLast week more than 800,000 Americans called, emailed, wrote letters, and even sent videos to tell the Senate to let the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline die. The Sierra Club worked with many partners to generate what some have called the biggest day of environmental action since the first Earth Day in 1970. A few days earlier, 86,000 Sierra Club members delivered the same message to the U.S. House.

We know what an impact that has. But it's nice to get some outside perspective on the effectiveness of our grassroots mobilization against Keystone. So we were thrilled to see Forbes magazine credit the Club, our large coalition, and YOU who have taken action with showing how a "well-integrated grassroots initiative driven by superior digital strategies can trump the conventional inside-the-Beltway politicking of even so formidable a presence as the oil industry."

National School Lights Out Day

National School Lights Out DayNew Jersey high school student Victoria Pan wants to turn the lights out at her school. And she wants other schools to go dark too.

Winner of the Sierra Club's Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award in 2011, Pan created an organization called Students Saving Energy. She is following that up with "National School Lights Out Day" -- inspired by Earth Hour 2012 -- encouraging schools to turn off classroom lights on March 30 to teach the lesson of electricity consumption and where it comes from. If you're a high school student or know one, pass this along.

Photo by Natalie Brasington

Sierra Club Getting Vets and Their Families Outdoors
Stacy Bare and vets on Grand Teton"When you're outside, you can just focus on what’s around you. You're reminded, this is America, this is what I fought for." So says Stacy Bare, an Iraq War veteran who is now the Sierra Club's Military Families and Veterans Representative.

Last fall, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Bare led a group of veterans on an ascent of the Grand Teton. "I think every veteran and military family experiences stress relating to deployments and the day-to-day realities of being a service member," Bare says. "Sierra Club outings have the potential to be one of the greatest resources for military families and veterans."

Grassroots Help Grass Grow Greener Without the Gunk

0221-fl.jpgWhen a bill that would have gutted local fertilizer bans during the rainy season came before the Florida legislature recently, the Sierra Club pulled out the stops, holding five press conferences in 11 days and mobilizing citizens and elected officials to speak out against the bill.

The Florida Senate killed the measure "after it faced continued opposition from environmental groups and counties." Read about the victory in Scrapbook.