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How to Stop the Bush Administration? Start Talking.
Going Beyond Green
  Partnerships Program Builds Bridges
Victories to Savor
Is Your Relationship In Trouble?
The Energy Plan That Could Be
  (If only they’d allow some environmentalists to help write the rules.)
How to Protect National Forests When Your President Won’t
Family Planning Yields Results In Ecuador
2003 Year in Review Calendar
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The Planet

Fishing with Lewis and Clark

Washington—In connection with the Lewis & Clark Wild America Campaign to preserve lands and habitat along the Lewis and Clark Trail , the Club has been forming alliances with anglers and sportsmen in Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. In 2003 the campaign published a fishing guide, "Fishin’ Along the Lewis and Clark Trail," by professional guide Drew Winterer, describing 10 spectacular places to fish along the Lewis and Clark trail.
Club staff and volunteers tabled at fly-fishing shows during the summer, and two Seattle-area events—co-sponsored by the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Washington State Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers, and Orvis Company Store, Inc.—were held in June to promote the guide. Local water issues were discussed, and participants, including many anglers, signed postcards urging protection of Washington’s rivers and streams. "These events provided the opportunity to initiate relationships with anglers and outfitters," says Mary Kiesau of the Club’s Seattle office, "and the Club has since been invited to local fly fishing meetings and encouraged to table during Orvis’ fishing workshops to promote our conservation message."

Green Buildings, Clean Energy, Worker Safety

California—The Club has been working on the California Labor/Environmental Solar Energy Project, a joint project of the Sierra Club, Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and UNITE!, the Union of

Tim Frank

Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, to install solar panels on union buildings and the homes of Sierra Club members and union families across California. "In California, unions and environmentalists are working together for a safe energy future, while the Bush administration is trying to take us backwards to the failed polluting policies of the past," says Tanya Tolchin, Partnership Program Rep. "We hope to expand this partnership in other communities across the country to show the administration that there is a better way."
The Club has also been working with labor and the building trades on a variety of projects, ranging from clean power plants to transit villages. The Club supported the building trades in litigation opposing a Bush administration order to ban the use of federal funds on any project covered by a project labor agreement. Project Labor agreements are usually negotiated between a contractor or government agency and a labor union to establish a common set of workplace rules. In addition to protecting workers rights, these agreements help ensure that skilled workers conduct essential environmental projects like cleaning up toxic sites. "It was a great opportunity to expand our dialog with the building trades," says Tim Frank, above, of the Challenge to Sprawl Campaign. "And we won. The administration was overreaching and needed to be challenged; we helped do that."

In January, the Club is sponsoring a major conference bringing together union leaders and Club activists to form a statewide coalition that fights for good jobs, safe and healthy working conditions, renewable energy, and environmental protection.

’The Difference Between Winning and Losing’

Colorado—In Denver, the Club has stood with the building trades in promoting an initiative to fully fund the transit build-out of the Denver metropolitan area. In Colorado Springs, the Club recently organized a joint training for environmental and labor leaders. "Mutual interests converge more than you might think," says Rocky Mountain Chapter leader Ross Vincent, left, who organized the event. Vincent, a Pueblo resident, also helped form Better Pueblo, a coalition of environmentalists, labor leaders, farmers, ranchers, and businessmen who successfully fought an army plan to incinerate chemical weapons in Pueblo; under pressure, the army converted the facility to employ a safer disposal technology, liquid neutralization. "In the future, these kinds of partnerships will mean the difference between winning and losing," Vincent says.

Tribes, Club Partner to Save Zuni Salt Lake

Arizona and New Mexico—Sierra Club activists partnered with several southwestern Indian tribes to protect Zuni Salt Lake, a spring-fed body of water in western New Mexico. The lake is a sacred gathering place for the Zuni and other tribes, who make pilgrimages to collect salt for religious ceremonies. The Salt River Project, the nation’s third-largest electrical utility, had wanted to build a massive coal mine ten miles from the lake and a rail line across Zuni burial grounds. In 2001, a coalition of tribes, environmental groups, and citizens joined the Zuni in publicizing the issue throughout Arizona and New Mexico, gathering signatures in opposition to the mine. Zuni runners ran 350 miles from the Zuni Pueblo to SRP headquarters in Phoenix to deliver the coalition’s message. In August 2003, SRP cancelled its plans for the mine.

Anglers on Board

Minnesota—The Club organized a November anglers summit in Minneapolis to promote a dialog between anglers, environmentalists, and state agencies on mercury and its effects on fish and health. Attendees included manufacturers of fishing equipment, the editor of a flyfishing magazine, several fishing writers/authors, the Minnesota Conservation Federation, the Bass Federation, the state Public Pollution Control Agency and the Departments of Health and Natural Resources. Midwest field staffer Eric Uram says a larger event embracing the entire Midwest is in the works for the spring. "It’s important to have anglers groups on board if we hope to have an impact on mercury rules and regulations," says the Club’s Matt Little, an organizer of the state summit who also foresees an increasingly active partnership with Native Americans. The Sierra Club is currently working with local tribes to get fish consumption advisories posted across Minnesota.

Club, Steelworkers Organize Broad Coalition

Iowa—In preparation for the January presidential caucuses and candidate visits, the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers of America organized a meeting in September with 20 other environmental, labor, religious, farmer, minority, and advocacy groups to discuss the formation of a Blue/Green Coalition. The coalition’s core members have now held five meetings and developed four major resolutions—on energy, factory farms, worker rights, and trade. Members will use these resolutions as models for questions as they encounter candidates from both parties. "We want to maintain an ongoing collaboration into the future," says the Club’s Lyle Krewson, who organized the September meeting along with Steelworkers rep David Foster.

Blues and Green Warm Up

Missouri—Jill Miller, Missouri organizer for the Club’s Global Warming and Energy Program, took part in a three-day labor/environmental workshop in February with 13 Sierra Club organizers and 30 Steelworkers. Participants explored labor and environmental issues, with an emphasis on global warming. "It was incredibly rewarding to discover just how much we have in common," Miller says. "Steelworkers and Sierrans are great natural allies in holding corporations and lawmakers accountable in order to protect jobs and the environment." The train-the-trainer format led Miller to develop a small-group workshop in St. Louis in June, which brought together a dozen Sierra Club leaders and a dozen Steelworkers to explore ways to fight global warming, and the labor/environment rapport has since grown around trade issues. Miller addressed the "March to Miami" rally in St. Louis in October, protesting Bush’s FTAA, in which foreign corporations can sue over environmental protections they deem "burdensome to trade." There are plans for future collaboration with Steelworkers, including op-eds, teach-ins, and more workshops.


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