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The Planet

by Jenny Coyle

Best Burger, Best Pie - Best Greenie

Club organizer Glen Brand in Cincinnati might be hard to work with for a while: The alternative weekly Cincinnati City Beat just named him "Best Friend of the Environment" in its annual "Best Of" issue.

The newspaper gives Brand credit for his work on sprawl, pollution, and state and national legislation. "It's a daunting task to get Cincinnati's conservative politicians, corporations and populace to buy into his environmental agenda," the write-up said, "until he reminds everyone that he's the ultimate conservative - conserving our air, water and green space."

Best Buffet for Yosemite Bears?

The last time Hawai'i Chapter Director Jeff Mikulina made this space it was because he was pictured bare-chested and holding a surfboard in Details magazine.

Well, he's done it again - only this time he's in the March issue of Honolulu magazine and he's fully clothed with his shoulder-length hair pulled back. The article is respectable, too, until the end, when the reporter chronicles Mikulina's recent experience on a radio talk show.

A caller, angry with him and the Sierra Club, suggested that the Wisconsin native go back to the mainland and feed the bears in Yosemite. But, Mikulina replied, it's illegal to feed the bears there.

"No," said the caller, "I mean feed you to the bears."


Best Outdoor Web Site?

If you haven't checked out the Outing department's Web site on the Sierra Club home page lately, you should now: It's so good that it's been nominated for a Webby Award in the "travel" category. Winners will be announced May 11.

Other nominees in the category are Lonely Planet's CitySync, Discovery Travel Channel, Outside Online and Preview Travel. The Webby is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and is billed as the preeminent honor for Web sites.

Congratulations are in order for the Club's Web team of Mike Papciak, Lisa Reiser, Steve Edwards and Tony Rango who have worked to redesign the site and build the Get Outdoors content. And, congratulations are also in order for volunteer Outing leaders who make the Outdoor Activities program a compelling component of the Club's mission.

You Gotta Love Click and Clack

It's someone else's turn to take shots at the Ford Excursion.

In 1998, the Sierra Club's Global Warming Campaign held a contest to name the behemoth SUV, and chose "The Ford Valdez: Have you driven a tanker lately?"

Now Tom and Ray Magliozzi, hosts of "Car Talk" on National Public Radio, are making fun of it. As The Planet went to press in early April, "Car Talk's" Web site included a less-than-flattering analysis of the Excursion. First they gave the Club credit for dubbing the beast the Valdez, and then they "translated," line by line, a Ford press release expounding on the merits of the Excursion.

Here's a taste:

Ford: Nearly one-fifth of the vehicle is made from recycled materials, including various steel, aluminum, rubber and plastic parts.

Translation: There aren't enough mines in the world for the raw materials we'll be needing.

Ford: Will produce up to 43 percent less tailpipe emissions than permitted by law.

Translation: The law needs updating.

(That's what the Sierra Club's been saying for years.)

Read it in full.

Not Exactly Kissin' Cousins

Sierra Club canvassers in Salt Lake City have been pounding the pavement on behalf of the campaign to stop the proposed Legacy Highway, an ill-conceived, sprawl-inducing pet project of Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R).

Canvass program manager Angela Marks reports that canvassers have distributed thousands of action alerts and generated hundreds of letters to the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency, asking them to deny the permits needed to begin construction.

"Two of them really struck gold," said Marks, "when they knocked on a door and happily recruited two new donors - cousins of Gov. Leavitt."

Can You Say It In Chinese?

Using English to get a message across to non-English speaking people just isn't going to cut the mustard. That's why, in their outreach materials for Chinese, Vietnamese and Hispanic communities, the staff of the Club's new Youth In Wilderness program got the help of the Northern California Translators Association.

Youth in Wilderness is a grant-making program that supports environmental-education opportunities for low-income kids in Northern California.

"We got our press releases translated, and sent them to Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish newspapers," said project assistant Jenny Harbine. "We also translated a fact sheet that went to Asian community centers in Northern California."

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