by John Byrne Barry
Joy Oakes was too happy to come up with any fancy soundbite. "It's a great day.
It's just a great day," she told The Washington Post. "We won."
Oakes, the Club's Appalachian field director, was overjoyed because the plan to create
Chapman's Landing - a 4,600-home development along the Potomac River just 20 miles south
of Washington, D.C. - was officially dead. The Club had been fighting this proposed
development since its inception a decade ago.
On Oct. 28, the Pittsburgh-based Mellon Foundation paid $3.2 million for 375 acres of
forest on the shores of the Potomac River - then gave the land to the state of Maryland.
At the same time, the state purchased another 1,850 acres for $25.3 million.
A small group of local activists, says Oakes, including Bonnie Bick, Alex Winter, Jim
Long, Debi Osborne and Rod Simmons mushroomed into a network of more than 80 organizations
and thousands of people across the region.
"No one, not even our friends, thought we would win," says Oakes.
No on Pies, Says Club
On the day before Halloween, 20 environmentalists in London threw cream pies at Renato
Ruggiero, the director of the World Trade Organization.
He had just given a speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London
defending a WTO decision to overturn U.S. attempts to protect endangered sea turtles from
Dan Seligman, director of the Club's Responsible Trade campaign, says that even though
the Club opposes the WTO decision, we "strongly disavow pie throwing as an
According to the Associated Press coverage of the incident, the first thing Ruggiero
said was, "This is not a bad cake."
I Clean Beaches and I Vote
Lisa Carter reports from Honolulu on the Hawai'i Chapter's successful "Make a
Difference Day" on Oct. 24 - a combination beach cleanup and voter-education drive.
More than 130 volunteers showed up early to pick up litter - there were Boy Scouts,
Schofield Army infantrymen, Club members.
"The most surprising addition to our volunteer crew were the fisher
families," says Carter, vice chair of the Oahu Group. "They came early to help
set up. Their spokesperson told me they were 'supposed to hate the Sierra Club,' but when
they discovered we sponsored the event, they changed their tune."
After collecting 500 bags of trash, volunteers received voter guides.
Club Executive Director Carl Pope was impressed with this combination of activities.
"Cleanup events can generate thousands of volunteers. By including distribution of
voter guides, we can provide a more political perspective on protecting the
Race for the Cure or Cure for the Race?
Former Sierra Club Board Director Joni Bosh was perturbed the first time she
participated in the Phoenix, Ariz., Race for the Cure, a benefit for breast cancer
"I was outraged that petrochemical giant Chevron, a major race sponsor, was
boosting its image while it was supporting attacks on our environmental health laws in
Congress," she says.
Bosh, a breast cancer survivor, was also disturbed that the event was focused only on
detection and treatment while ignoring prevention or environmental factors.
Second time around, she came prepared to participate, Sierra Club-style, with a
pollution prevention theme grounded in the ideas of Rachel Carson. Carson, who died of
breast cancer at the age of 56, wrote "Silent Spring" in 1962, a landmark book
exposing health hazards of DDT and other petrochemical-based pesticides.
Bosh tabled at the Sierra Club booth directly opposite Chevron's, gathering signatures
for a petition to support the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to test chemicals
suspected of being endocrine disruptors, likely cancer promoters.
Bosh, public education coordinator Kristen Felan and other Grand Canyon Chapter
volunteers collected 500 signatures and passed out 1,500 bookmarks with information
linking environmental pollution and breast cancer.
"Our message was to fight cancer by stopping pollution," says Bosh, a mother
of two. "I want to reduce cancer threats to my children so they grow up in a
healthier world than mine."
Yosemite. 1980. Remember?
The way Joyce Eden reads it, the National Park Service's current plan to develop the
Yosemite Lodge Area in Yosemite National Park is in violation of its own 1980 General
That plan, she says, grew out of an unprecedented level of public participation. It
took a decade, and an estimated 20,000 citizens filled out and returned detailed
workbooks. Now, the Club has filed a lawsuit against the Park Service. Eden, publicity
chair of the Club's Yosemite Committee, is seeking those people who worked on the 1980
plan in the hope that "they will lend their names to help prevent the perversion of
the plan's preservation intent."
If you were involved, contact her at (408) 973-1085; email@example.com.
Go on to the next article, "In Mexico: The
Sierra Club, 85 Second St., Second Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-3441,
USA. Telephone (415) 977-5500 (voice), (415) 977-5799 (FAX).
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