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The Planet
Club Beat

by Tom Valtin and Brian Vanneman

Sierra Club Wins An Emmy | Get Noisy About Boise | Organic Pedal Power | In Memory | Disenchanted | Real Red Rock Canyon Saved

Sierra Club Wins An Emmy

On August 3, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored Sierra Club Productions’ first public television program, Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film, with a News and Documentary Emmy award in the category of Outstanding Cultural & Artistic Programming (long format).

Ansel Adams was nominated along with programs produced by ABC, CBS, and National Geographic. "We are very proud to have been included in this outstanding group of nominees," says Inness Wei Shadrick, Vice President of Sierra Club Productions. "And to win exceeded our greatest expectations."

The documentary was co-produced with Steeplechase Films, written and directed by Ric Burns, and produced by Burns and Marilyn Ness. Major funding was provided by exclusive corporate donor Hewlett-Packard and additional funding was provided by the Sierra Club Foundation and Rosalind P. Walter. The film first aired on PBS on WGBH Boston’s "American Experience" and is now available on home video and on DVD.

Get Noisy About Boise

The Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) celebrated Boise Cascade Corporation’s September announcement that it would became the first major U.S. forest products company to adopt a comprehensive environmental statement for its operations, including a promise to eliminate the purchase of wood products from endangered forests. "Today, Boise is sending the message that it is no longer acceptable to supply the American marketplace with endangered forest products," says Sequoia Nagamatsu, Forest Protection Coordinator for the SSC. "Young people spoke and Boise listened. We hope other companies follow their lead."

For months, thousands of students across the country generated postcards at local distribution centers, kicked Boise Cascade off their campuses, and educated students and university officials about the company’s unsound environmental practices. "Thousands of students across the country can pat themselves on the back," says SSC Director Meighan Davis. "The forest products industry has relied on logging pristine forests for too long. Boise’s decision shows that there’s a better way."

Organic Pedal Power

The journey of a thousand miles sometimes starts with a single pedal. It did for nearly twenty bicyclists who, with the support of the Sierra Club of Canada’s Sierra Youth Coalition, set out on July 26 to travel from Vancouver, B.C., to Cancún, Mexico, for the World Trade Organization (WTO) conference. (Their human-powered wheels were scheduled to take them as far as Tijuana, where buses took over for the remainder.)

As they hugged the continent’s west coast, the bikers’ goal was to meet with farmers, migrant workers, produce shoppers, and others to highlight the effects of WTO agriculture policies on the food we consume. "It’s better to support local organic farmers and buy fruit grown in the region, and in season," says Geneva Guerin, who dreamed up the "Deconstructing Dinner Caravan" last year. Guerin (pointing, above) and her colleagues want to see trade rules that encourage local organic farming rather than international agribusiness, which they believe is environmentally destructive, energy intensive, and subjects migrant workers to unfair labor conditions.

Their goal upon arrival at the beach resort-turned-finance center was to make as many one-on-one connections with WTO delegates as possible and, says Guerin, "share the stories of our travels."

In Memory

Longtime Club member and supporter Avis Goodwin of Santa Barbara, Calif., passed away in August at age 96. Goodwin was the lead funder for the Club’s wolf introduction program in the Greater Yellowstone region, and she gave generously to help educate the public in the northern Rockies—ranchers, farmers, city folk, and visitors alike—to help change their attitudes and practices toward wolves. In 2002 she followed these efforts with a substantial gift to promote wolf restoration work in the southern Rockies, and she established an endowment providing permanent funding to protect top predators. She believed that if top predators were faring well, the entire habitat would be sound.


Sally Baron of Stoughton, Wisconsin, a waitress, cook, factory worker, mother of six, and wife of a coal miner who was injured on the job, had become increasingly disenchanted with the president of late. When Baron passed away in August from heart surgery complications, her obituary included the request that, "Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush." The Associated Press and MSNBC reported that dozens of people from across the U.S. had contacted the local newspaper vowing to make donations, and that her obit request had started attracting notice nationwide.

Meanwhile, Alan Locklear and Marie Valleroy of Portland, Ore., Sierra Club members since 1981, sent a large contribution to the Club "to demonstrate the depth of our support for your action" to defeat President Bush. "We are not rich and Bush’s tax cuts have not helped us very much," the couple wrote, "but we are very prosperous compared with most of the world and with the poor in this country who have been getting the back of W’s hand."

Real Red Rock Canyon Saved

" Truth is stranger than fiction," writes Southern Nevada Group Chair Karen Hunt, who read "Explore, enjoy, and PROTECT" (on Sierra Club outings) in the September issue of The Planet. As readers may recall, the article included a photograph and caption referring to a fictitious Red Rock Canyon that had been saved through activism inspired by Club outings. But it turns out a real Red Rock Canyon was saved this year (though not the one pictured).

As part of a coalition of citizens and nature groups, the Club’s Southern Nevada Group helped enact state and county regulations protecting the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just west of Las Vegas. (Among other things, the regs precluded a developer from building 5,500 homes proposed for the area.) "We spoke at hearings, wrote to the papers, appeared on TV, gathered signatures at rallies and county events, rode through a hail storm at a bike event wearing Red Rock bumperstickers, and led a hike on which we were joined by a reporter who then wrote an article about the area’s ‘breathtaking beauty,’" Hunt says. "Outdoor Outreach [the Club’s new Conservation in Outings program] is fun and effective!"

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