Dr. Joseph Barbosa - Roseville, Minn.
Founder, Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award
Dr. Joseph Barbosa's contributions to the Sierra Club are financial, and by publicizing
them, he hopes to encourage other members to give the way he does - providing prize money
attached to activist awards. A native of Portugal, Barbosa moved to the United States in
1964 after completing medical school. An endocrinologist, he has been teaching and
researching for nearly 30 years at the University of Minnesota.
Barbosa says he is a believer in God and in evolution, and that God wanted humans to be
good stewards of the earth. "Instead, we are being thieves," he says,
"robbing God's creation. It's a crime against evolution to be destroying
He researched and joined numerous environmental organizations, and now chooses to make
a special annual contribution to the Sierra Club: The Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award,
which honors activists under age 30 who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment.
It comes with a $2,000 prize to help the recipient continue his or her good work. (See
page 7 for this year's winner.) "I think they're the future," Barbosa says of
young activists, "and I think the future is more hopeful than the present."
Mary Lou Campbell - Mercedes, Texas
Conservation Chair, Lower Rio Grand Valley Group
Is it possible that someone who has worked on environmental issues in south Texas for
three decades is hopeful for the future, and believes prospects for saving the planet have
actually improved? Yes, it's true - just talk to Mary Lou Campbell.
Campbell's love of the earth came from her Native American grandfather - a Shawnee
adopted into the Cherokee Tribe - who stargazed with her and taught her to appreciate the
fragile cycle of life. She harkened back to some of his teachings in the mid-1970s when,
as a resident on South Padre Island at the southern tip of Texas, she found herself in the
midst of a building boom. People and cars began to take over the island. Sand dunes were
destroyed for condominiums, and air and water quality began to deteriorate. Campbell went
to work to save wetlands.
Since then she has helped stop a power line that could have killed endangered brown
pelicans. She is also working to establish a wildlife corridor along the Rio Grande by
helping the Fish and Wildlife Service to obtain federal funding to purchase land.
"Early on we were known as the lunatic fringe," says Campbell. "But
we've been educating the public, just as the schools and others have, and in that way
people have become sympathetic to what we're doing - or least don't actively engage
against us as much."
David Frankel - Volcano, Hawaii
Chair, Hawaii Chapter
Who'd imagine someone in Hawaii lives in a house with a wood stove and feeds his
2-year-old son hot oatmeal for breakfast? David Frankel explains that his home is at 4,000
feet on the slopes of Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, and it does indeed get
He and his wife, Tanya Rubenstein, live in a native forest and work to rid the area of
invasive species. Their neighbor does the same, and one day was using a chainsaw to cut
down some large alien trees when little Jacob Frankel took notice. "For about four
months after that, Jacob would pick up every stick he saw and make chainsaw noises while
sliding it against a tree," Frankel says. Could cause some embarrassment at a Sierra
Frankel, former Hawaii Chapter director and now the volunteer chapter chair and a
stay-at-home dad, has a law degree that he's used only once - to legally challenge the
setback of a development that encroached on an otherwise wild beach. He was successful in
pushing the development back. He's currently fighting a proposal to build 125 luxury homes
and a golf course near Kealakekua Bay - a plan that threatens the aquatic environment.
"I'm sick and tired of losing beautiful places to development," Frankel says.
"The wilderness experience is so important, we've just got to protect it."
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- Jenny Coyle
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