Sierra Club Home Page   Environmental Update   My Backyard
chapter button
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet  
Take Action
Get Outdoors
Join or Give
Inside Sierra Club
Sierra Club Store
Press Room
Sierra Magazine
Politics & Issues
Contact Us
Explore, Enjoy and Protect

Tell a Friend about this page
Carl Pope

Carl's new weblog:
Taking the Initiative.

Field Notes Archive

Which is worst?
Vote for the Bush administration's
biggest folly!

Carl Pope's Field Notes

Roads to Somewhere
22, 2004

With November 2 less then 60 days away, perhaps it's appropriate to report on some of work that the Sierra Club's volunteers and staff are doing to make sure that we get the message out on the environmental differences between Bush and Kerry.

The early numbers of our Environmental Voter Education Campaign (EVEC) are rolling in. Already, in less than a month, our volunteers and staff have knocked on 277,317 doors, and we've got a huge mobilization coming up next weekend. Infrequent environmental voters in our eleven EVEC sites are going to be given plenty of motivation to vote.

We've had some help from outside the traditional environmental movement, as well. On Labor Day weekend, Sierra Club EVEC volunteers along with Political Director Greg Haegele, teamed up with SEIU members for a blue-green door-to-door outreach in SW Philadelphia. After coffee and donuts, EVEC volunteer walk captains and staff led four break-out trainings. 118 walkers paired up in teams, and then car/vanloads of people went out to talk door-to-door with working families about the presidential candidates’ environmental records. They knocked on 2,897 doors and recruited 85 new volunteers. After the walk, SEIU invited SC volunteers to their Labor Day picnic and festivities -- they do picnics better in organized labor.

Recently, our Directors and Chapter delegates held our annual meeting, and we introduced them to the latest piece of our Environmental Voter Education Campaign -- the on-line, remote phoning program that enables Sierra Club members (or supporters) anywhere to sign up to run a personal phone bank from their own phone or while waiting for the bus with their cell phone. We've accumulated a list of environmentally sympathetic voters in key states and provided scripts for drawing the contrast between George Bush and John Kerry. Everyone gets ten names at a time, and the system keeps track of who you have called and who you have given up on because you can't reach them.

We gave the program a test drive right there with our Directors -- people were remarkably pleased to get the calls, and our volunteers loved making them. This program is the Sierra Club's boldest foray yet into electronic advocacy -- I hope it works as well for the next seven weeks as it did on the first day!

I Wish I'd Written This

I'm closing with this eloquent cry from Rick Bass, in the fall issue of Orion Magazine.

"Forty years from now, young people will be calling upon us to tell them what it was like, in this crucible-forged time when democracy was attacked not just from abroad, but from within. What was it really like, they will ask. They will want to know how close and intense it was, and how we achieved our victory, their victory.

"We sharpened our knives, we will tell them. We were frightened, and we were fearless. We chose courage rather than silence. We turned our backs forever on the myth of pure self, on the myth of utter independence and disconnectedness. That myth, we will tell them, was no longer compatible with the genius of democracy.

"We were frightened -- terrified -- of the seeds, the sprouts, of dictatorship arising in our own homeland, we will tell them, but we cut it down, just barely in time, by throwing everything we had at it -- body and soul, intellect and intuition, everything. We rose above our fears, we will tell them and chose action.

"It was terrifying, we will tell them. It was glorious."