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In This Section
  January/February 2003 Features:
'Aren't We the Lucky Ones?'
Becoming a Player
The Energy Bill that Wasn't
Unmasking Pretenders
We Know How
We the People
Higmans Awarded for Outstanding Philanthropy
Ten Reasons Things Aren't as Bad as They Seem
By the Numbers
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The Planet

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Face Time with the President
Portland, Oregon - Portland firefighter Ed Hall, who helped with recovery efforts at the World Trade Center, is one of four local firemen invited to welcome President Bush at the airport when he visits Oregon. Hall uses his face time with the President to shake Bush's hand and say, "Mr. President, it really is an honor to meet you, but you don't have to drill for oil in the Arctic."

Honk for Clean Streets
Bettendorf, Iowa - Janet Latchow (right), Gerald Neff, and other members of the Eagle View Group picket the HY VEE food store on a blustery day to protest the store's vocal support of efforts to repeal a cash redemption law that reduces litter and encourages recycling of aluminum, glass, and plastic beer and soda containers. Activists also flooded legislators with letters and phone calls, resulting in the sound defeat of a bill to repeal the cash redemption law.

Auto State Supports Fuel Efficiency
Washington, D.C. - A poll finds that 77 percent of voters in Michigan-epicenter of the American auto industry-favor increasing fuel-economy standards to 40 miles per gallon over the next 10 years. The percentage is even higher-84 percent-among Michigan households with a United Auto Worker member.


Drive Clean, Save Green
Tampa, Florida - To drive home the difference between hybrids and SUVs, Sierra Club organizers Darden Rice, right, and Joe Murphy take two cars on the road-a 52-mpg Toyota Prius and a 14-mpg GMC Yukon. By the time the trip ends in Tallahassee on February 8, the SUV has used 43.01 gallons of gas-at a total cost of $60.21-compared to 16.24 gallons and a mere $22.84 for the Prius.

Health Hazard
Louisville, Kentucky - The Sierra Club announces that it intends to sue food giant Tyson Foods for failing to comply with the Superfund law. The suit alleges that Tyson has failed to report hazardous releases of ammonia from four animal factories under its supervision. Breathing ammonia can cause respiratory problems and in some cases can be fatal.

Greens and Blues Unite for Clean Air
Washington, D.C./Miami, Florida - "We don't need to choose between blue skies and blue collars," says Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, as environmentalists and labor team up in a ground-breaking "blue-green" alliance. The coalition-which includes the Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and representatives of the industrial and textile trades-releases a report showing that efforts to reduce global warming pollution can boost the economy and create jobs.


Proteja el Agua Potable
New York, New York - Activists from Sierra Club and other groups turn out for a public hearing on whether a proposed costly chemical filtration plant is needed for the city's drinking water. Their almost unanimous message: ditch the filtration plant and instead protect the land that supplies the city's drinking water. The Club produces a Spanish-language postcard as part of its campaign outreach.

Next Generation Speaks Out
Washington, D.C. - More than 150 students descend on the Capitol to lobby officials on issues ranging from protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to preservation of wild forests. The students spent the previous weekend at the Sierra Student Coalition's Fourth Annual Public Lands Action Summit, learning about the issues and people that surround our public lands.

Free At Last
Washington, D.C. - Recently freed Mexican environmentalist Rodolfo Montiel, winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, visits the United States to talk about the link between environmental advocacy and human rights violations. Montiel and a colleague, Teodoro Carbrera, spent 30 months in jail on trumped-up charges resulting from their work to halt rampant logging in the Mexican state of Guerrero.


Status Report
Seattle, Washington - The Sierra Club releases "What's Lost, What's Left: A Status Report on the Plants & Animals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition". The report examines the current status of more than 40 species of plants and animals first studied and documented almost 200 years ago by Lewis and Clark.

Earth Day in Kentucky
Owensboro, Kentucky - Sierra Club volunteers set up an energy display and let people test drive hybrid cars and other alternative modes of transportation, including a recumbent bike, in honor of Earth Day. The next day, they teamed up with another local group for a "Clean Sweep" trash pickup in Calhoun, Kentucky.

A Portrait of Ansel Adams
Boston, Massachusetts - "Ansel Adams," a documentary film produced by Sierra Club Productions and Steeplechase Films, premieres on PBS. The film explores the meaning and legacy of Adams' life and work.

Senate Rejects Oil Savings
Washington, D.C. - The Senate rejects a plan to raise fuel-economy standards. By a vote of 57 to 42, senators reject an amendment requiring the Department of Transportation to reduce oil consumption from our cars and light trucks by 1 million barrels of oil per day by 2015.


Mountaintop Removal Mining Legalized
Washington, D.C. - The Bush administration legalizes the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining, whereby mining companies blast off the tops of mountains, then dump the waste into rivers and streams. Five days later, a federal court stops the Bush administration in its tracks when it rules that mountaintop removal mining violates the Clean Water Act.

Small Family Farms Day
Birmingham, Alabama - The Alabama Sierra Club honors Alabama's small family farmers with "Celebrate Small Family Farms Day." Participants visit two area farms and feast on a special lunch of locally grown produce.

Java Gets Green
Washington, D.C. - The Sierra Club, in partnership with Sacred Grounds Organic Coffee Roasters, launches a line of certified organic, shade-grown, fair-trade coffees (

Rally for Rail
Washington, D.C. - A coalition of state and local government officials, business, labor, and environmental leaders, and others join together to rally for rail, expressing support for the national Amtrak system and calling on Congress to fully fund Amtrak in 2003.

Protecting Wild California
San Francisco, California - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) unveils the California Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which would protect more than 400 miles of wild rivers and approximately 2.5 million acres of wilderness.


Car Campaign Launched
Detroit, Michigan - The Sierra Club announces the launch of a three-year campaign to convince the "Big Three" automakers to improve the fuel economy of their vehicles. The campaign urges consumers to ask auto dealers for the "Freedom Option Package," a set of fuel-saving components which could be added to most standard model cars and light trucks. For more information, go to

Lewis and Clark Revisited
Owyhee River Canyon, Idaho - In commemoration of the Lewis and Clark expedition nearly 200 years ago, more than 100 people attend the Owyhee Canyonlands Rendezvous, a four-day group campout and gathering in the Owyhee desert canyon country. Meanwhile, South Dakota and Nebraska chapter members kayak and canoe a stretch of the Missouri River and hike to Spirit Mound, a historic Native American spiritual site that Lewis and Clark visited. All together, hundreds of people participate in activities to call for protection and restoration of the lands traveled by the Corps of Discovery.

Bienvenidos Puerto Rico!
San Juan, Puerto Rico - Fishermen, professionals, students, and others concerned about uncontrolled development that is contaminating their air and water and destroying Puerto Rico's natural areas, pack an auditorium to participate in the Sierra Club's first ever meeting on the Island.


Restoring America's Forests
Washington, D.C. - The Sierra Club releases "Restoring America's Forests: Protecting Habitat, Saving Streams and Generating Jobs in our National Forests," a report that highlights the benefits, as well as the challenges, of restoring our nation's treasured forests. For more information, go to

Population Aid Withheld
Washington, D.C. - The Bush administration announces that it will not contribute to the United Nations Population Fund, withholding a previously approved $34 million in aid. The administration claims that the fund provides aid for forced abortions in China, although a State Department investigation found no evidence to support the claim.

Smart Choices, Less Traffic
San Francisco, California - The Sierra Club releases "Smart Choices, Less Traffic," a report/map highlighting the best and worst local plans for alleviating traffic congestion and air pollution. For more information, go to


Wrong Track for Trade
Washington, D.C. - President Bush signs "fast track" legislation giving U.S. presidents broad authority to negotiate global trade accords. Fast track will allow the Bush administration to extend NAFTA across the Western Hemisphere, and will prevent Congress from fixing future trade deals, even when they threaten the environment.

Balloons Banned
Setauket, New York - A class of Long Island third graders, with support from the Sierra Club, succeeds in getting legislators to ban the mass release of balloons in Suffolk County. The students took up the cause after discovering that stray balloons can be accidentally ingested by whales, dolphins, and other wildlife, leading to digestive problems and sometimes death for the animals.

Animal Factories Exposed
Washington, D.C. - The Sierra Club releases the "The RapSheet on Animal Factories," documenting convictions at corporate animal factories for animal cruelty, bribery, records destruction, fraud, worker endangerment, and pollution violations. See


Communities At Risk
San Francisco, California - The Sierra Club releases "Leaving Our Communities At Risk," which profiles 25 communities being left at risk by Bush administration policies that expose Americans to asthma-triggering soot, growth-retarding lead, cancer-causing arsenic, and other contaminants.

Common Cause
San Francisco, California - On the 31st anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day, the Sierra Club launches a Web page dedicated to exploring the allied interests of environmentalists and hunters and anglers, all of whom are interested in conservation and habitat protection.

Community Power
Atlanta, Georgia - The Club's Georgia Energy Project launches its Community Green Power Program with a party celebrating a new solar photovoltaic system at a local community-owned natural foods market. The event generates 70 signed postcards asking the governor to clean up dirty power plants and 12 new prospects for Community Green Power Programs.


Club Praised
New York, New York - A PRWeek article calls the Sierra Club "the most powerful and influential solutions-based nonprofit environmental organization in the country."

Wild Places, Open Spaces Auction
Denver, Colorado - The Rocky Mountain Chapter holds its 3rd Annual Wild Places/Open Spaces Auction, attracting 175 guests and netting $24,000 for the chapter. (Larry Mehlhaff, left, and Greg Casini, now the proud co-owners of a Pike National Forest sign, pose with Sierra Club President Jennifer Ferenstein.)

Trick or Vote?
Denver, Colorado - Ten thousand Denver children go trick or treating, but instead of just asking for candy, they also ask their neighbors to vote. The event, along with massive canvass walks across the country on November 1, is part of Vote for Children, a non-partisan initiative sponsored by the Service Employees International Union Education and Support Fund and the Sierra Club to involve kids in the political process while striving to increase voter participation.


Hogs on Drugs
Shawnee Mission, Kansas - The Sierra Club submits a shareholder resolution requesting that the Board of Seaboard Corporation review and report on the company's use of antibiotics in its hog production facilities and those of its suppliers. The resolution further calls for a plan to produce and source livestock grown without the nontherapeutic use of medically important antibiotics.

Anniversary Party
Concord, New Hhampshire - The New Hampshire Chapter celebrates its tenth anniversary. Chapter member John Schlosser volunteers his doo-wop band, the Fondtones, to entertain the crowd during a party held in the courtyard of the chapter office.

Detroit, Michigan - A delegation of religious leaders delivers an open letter to Ford, GM, and Chrysler, urging them to build cleaner, more efficient cars. The Pennsylvania-based Evangelical Environmental Network attracts national attention to the cause by asking the question, "What Would Jesus Drive?"

Wal-Mart Day of Action
Washington, D.C. - The Sierra Club lends its support to a Day of Action against Wal-Mart, organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Participants call on Wal-Mart to be a responsible corporate citizen that shows respect for the environment and the rights of workers, consumers, and communities.


Give Peace A Chance
Washington, D.C. - The Sierra Club announces the creation of a coalition of civic, environmental, and faith organizations in support of a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the Iraq crisis. Members of the coalition, called Win Without War, include the National Council of Churches, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Organization for Women, Working Assets, and

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