From Anchorage to Atlanta, from Portland, Ore., to Portland,
Maine, thousands of volunteers from the Sierra Club and
hundreds of other environmental and community organizations
braved rain, snow, blistering heat, and even tornado threats
to urge their neighbors to stand up to "Protect America's
Environment: For Our Families, For Our Future."
"We want to make people aware of the concerted effort by
Congress to roll back all the environmental protections we
have put into place," said Bruce Hamilton, Sierra Club
conservation director. Hamilton gave the kickoff speech in
Santa Barbara, Calif., at one of dozens of public education
events the week of April 13. The Santa Barbara rally
featured a poetry reading, an art exhibition and Native
In more than 80 locations, volunteers distributed
doorhangers containing two tear-off postcards, one to
President Clinton, the other to a governor or other local
official. The postcard to the White House urged the
president to protect our families from pollution, protect
our natural heritage and get the polluters' big money out of
In Salt Lake City, before morning sun gave way to afternoon
snow, 500 volunteers blanketed their neighborhoods with
doorhangers containing postcards asking Gov. Mike Leavitt to
intervene with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to protect
5.7 million acres of Utah's redrock wilderness. All four
local TV stations and both daily newspapers gave prominent
coverage to the event.
In what organizers called the largest-ever environmental
mobilization in Arkansas, volunteers reached more than
21,000 Little Rock households on the first day of the "Take
a Hike for the Natural State" campaign, despite the threat
of tornadoes, while the Sierra Student Coalition delivered
doorhangers in Fayetteville.
In Sioux Falls, S.D., East River Group Chair Karen Fogas
organized 135 volunteers to distribute 15,000 doorhangers on
a cold and overcast morning - in a community that has just
87 Sierra Club members. And in Bismarck, N.D., a city with
38 Sierra Club members, Jan Swenson rounded up more than 60
volunteers. "These are places," said Larry Mehlhaff, the
Club's Northern Plains field director, "where building
coalitions isn't an option - it's a necessity."
In Dallas, volunteers "descended like locusts," said
organizer Molly Seay, and delivered 70,000 doorhangers that
carried a message to Gov. George W. Bush, son of the former
president, urging him to fight all attempts to weaken
In Minneapolis-St. Paul, volunteers distributed doorhangers
telling Babbitt to protect Voyageurs National Park and
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, both under recent
attack from anti-environmentalists in Congress.
In Tampa, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Del Ray Beach, Fla.,
volunteers urged their neighbors to send postcards to Gov.
Lawton Chiles telling him to make Big Sugar clean up its
pollution. In Boulder, Colo., the doorhanger postcard was
addressed to Gov. Roy Romer, asking him to find an
alternative to the environmentally destructive Animas La
Plata water project.
On California's central coast, volunteers distributed
doorhangers in Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel. Among the
volunteers, says Jackie McCort, Northern California field
representative, were two senior citizens who wanted to
canvass their neighborhood in the Monterey Hills. She
cautioned them that they had chosen a hilly and apartment-
filled precinct, but, undaunted, they set out and delivered
doorhangers for six hours. "The polluting industries may
have millions of dollars to buy off Congress," said McCort,
"but there's not enough money in the world to buy the kind
of dedication that volunteers demonstrated this Saturday."
In San Diego, one volunteer was trailed by a TV reporter who
wanted to tape the last doorhanging of the day. While
attaching the doorhanger, the volunteer was startled by an
irate-looking woman who banged on her window. She came to
her door demanding to know what he was doing at her home.
The cameras were rolling. He explained what the event was
about, whereupon she said it was "a great idea," and thanked
him for doing it.
Volunteers will keep on doing it throughout April. By the
end of the month, the Sierra Club and its coalition partners
will deliver 2.3 million doorhangers in more than 100
locations across the country.
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