I joined because I was interested in volunteering. If you do so, expect to be inundated with junk mail. I receive 5x as much junk mail as before I signed up. So much for the environment! And they sell your info to other groups like the World Wildlife Fund. Expect junk like old paper calendars and mailing labels (who uses that stuff any more?). And even though I opted out of the free backpack offer, they still sent me one.
I belong to many scientific, clean energy, and nature groups. The Sierra Club is by far the most informed, well organized, and well focused group. If I could belong to only one group, it would be them. The awareness that they provide on Tar Sands, Fracking, Clean Jobs, etc. is invaluable.
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. Â 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 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 have volunteered for the Sierra Club as an international trip leader and as a member of the India Advisory Council. I cannot think of a better way to spend my time; the organization is fantastic, the staff dedicated, and fellow volunteers inspiring. It is such a pleasure to feel your efforts are helping to produce a positive outcome in environmental conservation in the world.
Last year, I went through the training to become a leader in a very specific chapter of the Sierra Club. I believe that the training that I went through equipped me with the skills that I need to fulfill my roll in taking kids out into the wilderness and keep them safe. I especially love the organization for it's diversity in age; there were people in my training class there were as young as 14 all the way to their mid-40's. The organization helped me build a friendship with many different people, and helps me reach out to many different types of people. I love the organization that I belong to, and I am glad that it is sponsored by the Sierra Club.
I worked as a volunteer as chair of the Mississippi Chapter of Sierra Club for a number of years working on issues like wetlands protection and toxics when we were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Soon after people starting receiving FEMA trailers, many people were getting sick. After one couple tested their trailer and found high formaldehyde levels, we were able to get funding to purchase test kits to see how widespread the problem was. What we found was shocking. About nine out of ten trailers initially tested were over recommendations for even 15 minutes of exposure. Sierra Club helped us publicize those testing results, and we followed up with testing over the next four years that confirmed a continuing problem. Sierra Club also helped us bring witnesses to Congressional hearings on this to put a personal face on the problem. And, very significantly, Sierra Club followed up with major campaigns to encourage EPA to develop standards to protect Americans from toxic formaldehyde exposure. The club has also supported legislation now in both the House and Senate to adopt formaldehyde regulations that should have been in place decades ago.
I have been in leadership roles at both the local and national levels of the Sierra Club for ten years. My capacities include chair of MA Chapter Local Outings (5 years), chair of the Northeast Subcommitte for National Outings (5 years), and member of MA Chapter ExComm and Boston Group Excom (multiple terms during this same period). The Club is unique for a structure and volunteer philosphy that empowers folks to self-fulfill in the capacity that each is comfortable and qualified for, for its legislative activism, for the community that it brings given its national and local presence, and for its history that dates back to John Muir. When I became a life member in 1988, I evaluated all the options and found the Sierra Club to be the most worthy of my support. I still do.
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 am from a lumber company-owned town, so you can imagine how I felt about the Sierra Club! My opinions have changed over the years, as I have learned more about non-profit conservation organizations. I have become involved with trips led by Sierra Club members and have had long discussions about what is right and what is wrong with how we, as a country, treat our lands. I believe that the Sierra Club is on the right path towards giving our grandchildren a country they can be proud of.
I have served as a volunteer for almost a year with the Oregon Beyond Coal Campaign. As this is my first venture as a public activist, I have been impressed with the excellent coaching, support, and encouragement I have received from the Club's staff. The staff is extremely capable and enthusiastic, and have the ability to pass on their enthusiasm. Beginning with the rally at the EPA hearing in Seattle last spring, each event has been very well planned and choreographed. It has been rewarding and fun to participate in this important campaign.