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The Planet


Fish 'n Chips–Hold the Fish!

Is It Better to be Loved, or Feared?

Ah, the age-old question, first posed by Mr. Machiavelli in 1513. Well, if you’re the Sierra Club’s Global Warming Team, and they’re the auto industry, may we suggest the latter?

It looks like the folks in Detroit have taken our advice. Automotive News rated Dan Becker, director of the Club’s Global Warming program, as one of the “Top 10 People who Matter to the Industry in the Nation’s Capital.” Becker not only made the list, but garnered only one out of five possible stars in the magazine's rating system—which is highly indicative of his ability to act as a thorn in their side. (To our surprise, John Dingell, representative from Michigan, and the industry’s long-time crusader in Washington, got only two stars!)

Wrote the editors: “Environmental advocates...consider the increase [in fuel economy] adopted by the Bush administration to be little more than tokenism. But environmental lobbyists earn points for persistence. No one has been more persistent than Becker, a 15-year veteran of the Sierra Club.”

Congrats, Dan! And thanks to tipster Dave Hamilton.

Dude, Where’s My Hybrid!?

Switching gears, but sticking with automotive news, it has not all been smooth sailing for our summer roadtrip teams. While criss-crossing the country in hybrid cars to let American consumers know that there is a better, more fuel-efficient way to drive, one sometimes hits a pothole. Or gives away one’s keys to a reporter.

Hybrid tour summer staffer Rebecca Van Damm did just that with her only set of keys, forcing her to spend the weekend at a Club leader’s house in Jacksonville, Florida, while waiting for the keys to arrive via FedEx. She went boating and hiking with the group that weekend and ended up leaving with a whole town of new friends—so all was not lost.

After joining her partner in crime, Stephanie Powell, the two had a second mishap—a fender bender—in Philly. Unfortunately, there was not a hybrid rental to be had in the entire New York/New Jersey area. So the resourceful team placed a big banner strategically over the big dent for the Manhattan press events in Battery Park.

But don't worry, accounting staff, it was all covered by Toyota.

Bleeding Heart Liberals vs. Bloodthirsty Conservatives.

Sound like a fair description of AM radio in your town? It is in Erie, Pa, where two stations—one on the left and one on the right—gladly agreed to lock horns for a “bleeding heart liberals vs. bloodthirsty conservatives” blood drive, benefitting the Community Bloodbank of Northwestern Pennsylvania. On the morning of July 7, as fans of both stations lined up and rolled up their sleeves, Heidi the Hybrid pulled onto the lot. She’s the Sierra Club’s environmental education answer to the Republican National Committee’s Reggie the voter-registration Rig. No word yet on which political faction proved more compassionate that day, but hopefully it was an instance of a little friendly competetion benefitting all. Learn more about Heidi here.

Fish ‘n Chips—Hold the Fish:

In Cleveland, Sierra Club organizer Jennifer Lenhart reports that the only fish at the fish fry was her husband, though he was merely in costume. Hosted by the Club and the League of Conservation Voters, the fishless fish fry highlighted the danger posed by eating mercury-contaminated fish caught in Ohio’s rivers and lakes and featured fishless fish sticks, mock tuna salad, and two games for kids—“Finding Clean Nemo” and “Pin the Mercury on the Human.”

Meanwhile, the Club used the image above to get the word out on how mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants get into fish and how the Bush administration’s mercury policy comes up short For more, go to

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