|A Contribution is not the Solution to Pollution
Whats next, sneered Virginia Chapter lobbyist Albert Pollard to the
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Saddam Hussein being nominated for the Nobel Peace
Prize? That was Pollards take upon learning that Smithfield Foods, which was
fined $12.6 million last year by the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution
violations, had been nominated for a national philanthropy award. The meatpacking company
is the largest employer in Smithfield, Va.
The fine on Smithfield is the largest ever
levied in a federal water-pollution case. Regardless, town officials believe that
Foods as the company is called to distinguish it from the town
should be recognized for its investment of millions of dollars to spruce up
The company has made money by polluting and has given some of that money back to
the community, he told the Times-Dispatch. We think they should have been
giving clean air and clean water first and money second.
Wimp Walk or Death March? Your Choice
The Kentucky Chapter says its Feb. 29 Wimp Walk (hint, 1998 is not a leap
year) is for all those who have signed up for a hike, but didnt show up
because there was a cloud in the sky, a raindrop was felt . . . or the temperature was
forecast to drop below 72 degrees.
A description of the outing in The Cumberland, the chapter newsletter, says, We
will drive to the main entrance of a local mall . . . take one lap around the mall, then
sit on benches. Rating: very easy, only 300 yards, suitable for beginners.
For something tougher, try the April 4 Superstition Death March Dayhike,
led by Ken McGinty of Phoenix, Ariz. Listed in the Canyon Echo, newsletter of the Grand
Canyon Chapter, this hike for strong, fast, crazy, undaunted and intrepid
hikers only will go up and down the steep, slick, slippery slopes
of Superstition Mountain (3,000 feet in elevation gain) through spiny, prickly,
thorny, barbed and bristly plants.
Gloves recommended, says McGinty.
Have You Ever Been Threatened?
Thats what Ohio Political Chair Richard Clark, a sociology professor at John Carroll
University outside Cleveland, asked more than 500 Club leaders. In his recently released
draft report, Harassment and Intimidation of Environmental Activists, Clark
found that 18.7 percent of the 225 respondents from across the country had been threatened
as a result of their environmental advocacy and 4.4 percent had been attacked.
The leaders in the sample averaged 17 years of involvement in environmental activities
and eight years of leadership.
The issues most likely to lead to threats and intimidation were private-property
related, says Clark, like endangered species protection, wetlands and forests. Harassing
phone calls were the most common threat.
Activists reported being angry about the intimidation and attacks, but more than
two-thirds said that such occurrences would not deter them from future environmental
For a copy of the full report, contact Clark at (216) 397-3341 or
Have You Ever Been Honored?
The deadline for nominations for the 1998 Sierra Club Honors and Awards is June 1. Forms
will be mailed to Club leaders and are available on the Clubs Web site at www.sierraclub.org/history/nomform.html.
Awards will be presented at the annual meeting Sept. 26. Questions? Call Ellen Mayou at
Newt Gingrich, Sierra Club Share a Toast
Its rare that the House speaker and the Club find common ground. But on Feb. 11,
when the states of New York and New Jersey announced the purchase of Sterling Forest, a
rugged, pristine 15,800-acre woodland preserve 40 miles northwest of New York City, both
of these unlikely allies uncorked the champagne.
Gingrichs support came about through a serendipitous phone call about three years
ago. His environmental credentials were badly tarnished then deservedly so
and he needed some green veneer. Ella Filippone, executive director of the Passaic River
Coalition, an ally of the Club, managed to get Gingrichs direct line, and when he
answered, she was so surprised she went right into her spiel and they talked for half an
hour. Gingrich visited the forest several months later.
The federal government ponied up $17.5 million for the purchase, New York and New
Jersey kicked in $16 million and $10 million, respectively, and foundations and hundreds
of individuals contributed the remaining $11.5 million. The new park will not only provide
hiking, fishing and skiing opportunities, it will also protect the drinking-water supply
for 2 million residents of northern New Jersey.
Not everyone in the New Jersey and Atlantic chapters is celebrating. John Gephardts,
executive director of the Sterling Forest Partnership and vice chair of the
Ramapo-Catskill Group, says this is a partial victory. There are still 2,220 acres to
acquire, he says, and many of the forests supporters wont rest until the
remaining acreage is saved.
Name That Gas Guzzler
Next year, Ford Motor Company plans to roll out a 7,000-pound, 19-foot-long sport utility
vehicle the latest in a line of larger, more polluting and more profitable SUVs.
But Fords new personal global-warming machine doesnt yet have a name.
To the rescue comes Steve Pedery of the Clubs Global Warming team in Washington,
D.C. with a contest to help Ford name the new monster.
Entries so far include: The Ford Deluge (What did the future ever do for
you?), Vicki Watson; The Ford Saddam (The truck thatll put America
between Iraq and a hard place), D.B., New Columbia Chapter; and The Ford
Valdez (Have you driven a tanker lately?), Steve Paglieri.
To enter, just visit the Clubs Global Warming Web site at www.toowarm.org. You can fax your entry to (202)
547-6009 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
First prize is a doctored photograph of Saddam Hussein and Ford CEO Alex Trotman holding
hands. Second prize is a five-gallon gas can enough to get the unnamed new Ford out
of your driveway.
April Film Fests
On April 18, the Wisconsin Academy, in cooperation with the Sierra Club, will present the
premiere of the film, The Boyhood of John Muir, as part of a program
highlighting the legacy of the three renowned Wisconsin environmentalists Muir,
Aldo Leopold and Wallace Stegner. Club Executive Director Carl Pope will deliver the
keynote address and Midwest Director Carl Zichella will moderate one of the panels.
For more information, call (608) 263-1692.
On April 1719, the New York City Group is hosting its second film and video
festival at the New School for Social Research. This years event features
Rubber Jungle, a tribute to Chico Mendes. For more information, call Shelagh
Nitze at (212) 869-1630.