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Rocky Mountain Chapter

New RMC ExCom Chair faces big challenges

Dave Bryan crop sm

By Carol Carpenter

RMC Communications Team

Dave Bryan has a big job ahead of him. Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter’s (RMC) new volunteer Executive Committee (ExCom) chair, Dave is already making exciting plans for a successful and productive term in office.

A member of the Pikes Peak Group since 2002, the Colorado Springs resident sees his main ExCom chair goals as the following: Using social media for a greater outreach for the Chapter; finding additional funding for a part-time organizer in the Chapter office; and promoting collegiality, cooperation and respect among the Chapter’s many dedicated and passionate activists.


“We need to increase our ‘Klout’ across all age groups using social media tools,” he says. “We also need someone on the RMC staff who would function as both a volunteer organizer and in a Group support role. Perhaps most importantly, I learned early in my career that all people want to feel satisfaction in their endeavors and to be acknowledged by their peers.”

Oh, and, one more “little” thing on his ExCom to-do list—he’s looking for a co-chair to assist him on the board.

Why is Dave taking on these tough challenges?

“I’ve been a political junkie since birth and the Club affords me the opportunity to combine my passion for the environment with my interest in politics,” he states. “I’ve often said that if you are passionate about something that eventually you will need to be political. Good governance and good stewardship of the environment go hand in hand.”

 


Busy volunteer for a decade-plus


A member of Sierra Club for (as he puts it) “only” 11 years, he has not been one to just sit around watching everyone else do all the active volunteering. Not only does he serve on both the RMC ExCom and as an alternate on the Chapter Political Committee, he also is a member of the Pikes Peak Group ExCom and serves as the Group’s Political chair. Previously he served as vice-chair on the Chapter Excom.


He appreciates the fact that Sierra Club takes a “holistic approach” to environmental activism and protection. By this he means that the Club combines the best of grassroots activism with outings, legal challenges, candidate endorsements, education and lobbying. He knows from experience that “in the long run this approach is most effective, and that the Club respects the inherent worth of all peoples and the environment.”


Looking back at his decade-plus with Sierra Club, Dave is pleased to note there have been success stories along the way. For example, he is gratified to have been active in helping get fair-minded, progressive candidates elected in El Paso County.


“We are often told that they represent the difference in the State Capitol,” he states. “Progressive candidates in El Paso County seek out the Sierra Club because they know we are pragmatic, politically savvy, hardworking and can help them get elected. Making a difference where you live for the people you love is very rewarding.”


Dave is also personally proud of the 16,000 commuter miles he has put on his bike in the last six years commuting to work, Sierra Club meetings, movies and dinner. “Living our values is as important as the words we speak. This is a trademark of most Sierra Club members,” he emphasizes.

 

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Bumps in the road

Not that everything has been smooth sailing for this dedicated environmental activist. Increasing levels of harmful oil and gas extraction throughout the state, for example, is a huge frustration.


“It has created a tremendous sense of helplessness in the impacted communities and only recently has there been any hope at the local level. The Club is feeling its way through the morass to hopefully a path of greater effectiveness. It will be a difficult fight; there is so much money involved and the illusion that local production reduces dependency on foreign oil. “   


Yet, he knows that activists like himself will continue to experience frustration at how slow the going can be with some issues that feel urgent—and oil and gas is not the only one. What helps getting through the rough spots is the strong sense of camaradarie with fellow Sierra Club members who share his enthusiasm for working in a united way to protect the health of the planet.


He is pleased to acknowledge the accomplishments of several Chapter leaders and colleagues in recent years. Specifically he points to the hard work and unwavering commitment of Myrna Poticha, a former ExCom co-chair; Will Walters, also a former ExCom co-chair; and Joshua Ruschhaupt, Chapter Director.


“Along with other volunteers’ energy and support, they have quietly created a new Denver Metro Network, giving Denver Sierra Club members a place to belong and participate,” Dave states. “They have also assembled a wonderful Communications Team, revamped the Legislative Committee, formed a new Legal Committee and Conflict Resolution Team, and have the Chapter on solid financial footing.”

Dave understands that every Chapter leader, member and friend at every level of participation is important in keeping the RMC strong and vibrant. He encourages every activist and supporter to not lose sight of why they belong to, financially support and volunteer for the Club.

”We should take time to hike with a friend or a child and acknowledge our partners and family who share us with the Club. We should also tell at least one person a day why climate change is real, who the Sierra Club is and why we can make a difference."


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