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From the President

The Club After September 11

By Jennifer Ferenstein, Sierra Club President

Jennifer Ferenstein

Along with much of the world, Sierra Club volunteers and staff have struggled to come to terms with the tragic events of Sept. 11. I am proud of how our members have reached out to comfort one another and to regain a sense of meaning and hope. As individuals and as an organization, we share in an awareness of the pain and suffering that directly touches many, and indirectly touches all.

Recently, the Board of Directors met by phone to discuss how these events might affect the Sierra Club, and I'd like to share some of that conversation with you because it reflects our common vision for how to proceed in these times of uncertainty.

Sept. 11 is being called "the day that changed the world." Even if much is different today, the core values that define us as Americans - tolerance, generosity, freedom and love of country - have not changed. Nor has the mission of the Sierra Club changed. Now is the time for these values to emerge stronger than ever as we pull together to heal the wounds and ensure that appreciation for community and our living planet endure.

As our nation makes plans for the future, environmental issues will continue to arise. The Sierra Club will engage in these discussions; we believe that protecting our air, land and water is a critical part of protecting our homeland. As policy-makers take up the nation's environmental agenda, we will continue to be vigorous, forceful and effective advocates for environmental protection.

And we will conduct our advocacy in a fashion and tone that helps Americans unite around our common environmental values. We can, and will, disagree without being disagreeable, but our public lands, waters, air and wildlife must not be sacrificed by those who would choose to exploit the recent tragedies for short-term gain. Now is the time to put aside our narrow differences and work to create a legacy for the world's children that is safe, healthy and just.

Preserving and protecting the quality of our natural and human environments has been the Sierra Club's mission for 110 years. Today we re-affirm our commitment to this mission. Now, more than ever, we are dedicated to the defense of "America the Beautiful" - our communities, our forests, wetlands and wilderness - and to the values infusing our international work and human rights campaigns. As we redouble our commitment, I ask you to share our resolve and to join us in our vigilance as we stand watch to protect the environment - for our families, for our future.

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