March 12, 2010
If the Sierra Club was given $100 million, I feel confident they would save the world. As it stands now, I suspect the Sierra Club will be an integral part of the solution ...doing it the "hard" way, by mobilizing 100,000 creative, passionate, profoundly thoughtful, and deeply caring member volunteers.
To put these comments in context, I need to confess that I became aware of the work of the Sierra Club as soon as I was old enough to realize that the environment was headed for trouble if we didn't change the way we lived, worked, and played. In the ensuing years I worked in parallel on environmental issues leaning more towards the academic and research side of the effort. In that light, it seems ironic to me that it took four decades for me to get around to joining the Sierra Club. That said, in the Sierra Club I have discovered an incredible number of people who I think are like myself: willing to volunteer, able to step up, and largely refusing to walk away saying it -- whatever "it" is -- will be somebody else's problem to deal with. I like to think that Sierrans are always thinking in the back of their heads: "If not us, who? If not now, when?"
Yet the single factor that has me most solidly planted in the Sierra Club today is the compelling daily experience that it is a slice of America quite literally filled with people who solidly stand with me and behind me on the things that are most important: working to make the world a better place than it is, to make it more what it could be. Last year, I gave up a rather comfortable position to teach in a Title I public school (high need, high risk) that is 95% African American and has the region's largest cohort of students in foster care, state custody, and guardianship. I have no shortage of Sierra Club members are coming to the school to talk to my kids. This morning a Sierran who is more authentically in touch with nature than me, led my class and I on a walk through the woods narrating everything we came upon. We ended the day inviting kids from another class on a kayaking trip wotj the Sierra Club's ICO (Inner City Outings) Program this June. In the meantime, my kids and I have started a Sierra Club Environmental Justice Committee and thrown in with the Sierra Club Water Sentinels to do water quality monitoring throughout the watershed. I think the reality of what we are doing and the possibility of making a real difference is transformative for these kids. The Sierra Club is the overarching structure that makes all this possible. It is a well spring of empowerment for these kids, and really, for anyone who cares enough to step up.
And at this very moment, as I sit at my desk writing this reflection, some friends are working just across the parking lot, building raised bed organic gardens so the kids at this school will have greater access to fresh local produce. There is more I could say, but I think it is time to go help move the Earth. Keep the faith! - CTC
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
the Mississippi River Basin Initiative that is mobilizing volunteers throughout the S.E. United States working to reduce the 3,000 square mile "Dead Zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, which is caused by Nitrogen & Phosphate run-off throughout the watershed.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
give it greater resources, funding, and manpower. They get incredible things done for a fraction of what it would cost the government. Perhaps DC should sub-contract to the Sierra Club :) (only kidding, but America really does need more Sierra Clubs!)
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
the fact that it is literally filed with people who care about the Earth & each other. Most important, people who are willing to put their time, talent, treasure, and energy where their mouths are.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
passionate, caring, intelligent, gifted, and devoted to the greater good.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
leverage that into $200 million in field research, environmental monitoring, and community education.
Ways to make it better...
if there were more hours in the day, more days in the week, or I was indenpendently wealthy so that I put 100% of my time into the Sierra Club. Without the work of the Sierra Club and like-minded organizations, I fear for the future of the planet.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
a lack of resources to carry out the immense task ahead. Money is causing us to cut back on staff and programs at a critical time in the history of humans on Earth. We need to get this right folks. Please help.
One thing I'd also say is that...
the work of the Sierra Club is to preserve the natural and wildlife legacy of the nation. At a time where we as a species are at the tipping point of global warming, this is NOT the time to "turn our head from the plow."
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I coordinate and manage student volunteers doing water quality monitoring, air quality monitoring, community education, recruitment, and research.,.