March 18, 2010
As two long-term volunteers with the Sierra Club, Joan and I spend much of our time with the Club’s Trade and Workers’ Rights Team, a national committee. Our introduction to Sierra Club’s trade campaign occurred in the late ‘90’s when a group of volunteers gathered near San Francisco for a training on globalization.Â This experience was a real eye opener for all of us. Back in those days the terms “WTO” and “NAFTA” had a ring of respectability.Â Even our Democratic president whole-heartedly supported these trade policies. But we learned about what we could really expect to see happen, and,Â unfortunately, it all came true:Â jobs leaving our country as corporations seek cheaper and cheaper labor markets, deforestation, species extinction at a rate never before seen, and poverty and human rights violations.Â The Sierra Club played an important role protesting the WTO in Seattle and at other demonstrations against an undemocratic global economic system.
Our Trade and Workers’ Rights Team has the daunting task of keeping abreast of current trade policy and educating others on the resulting environmental and social impacts.Â We work closely with impressive and dedicated Club staff and trade and environment issues. Together we have accomplished a lot by pointing out the inequities caused by flawed trade policies to our fellow Sierra Club members, congressional offices, and those interested in learning more on these issues. Just a few highlights of our work over the years include:Â organizing a weekend campout on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation in Arizona to highlight the attempts of a gold-mining company to destroy native lands, and bringing several Mayans from Guatemala who testified what that mining company had done to their lands; coordinating two international “Border Tours” in Tijuana, Mexico to highlight the effects of NAFTA on Mexican workers; organizing speakers to address issues of environmental degradation and trade (such as the impact of illegal logging in Indonesia); and producing materials making the connections between trade, climate and the need for green jobs and clean energy.Â Â
The Sierra Club is unique among environmental organizations.Â We are involved in a myriad of issues which we must tie together to show that all of our many campaigns are really interconnected.Â
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
trying to educate the general population and congressional offices on the impacts of global trade on our environment and human rights.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
All the amazing people I have met over the years.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
I've worked with volunteers all over the country and appreciate the dedication they have to the goals of the Sierra Club. And the same appreciation goes to the incredible staff members who have been great to collaborate with on so many projects.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & member of a national committee/team on responsible trade and workers' rights.