NOTES FROM ALL OVER
Music to Our Ears
Songs to Save the Seashore: In June, the Lone Star (Texas) Chapter hosted a musical benefit in Austin for the Club’s Padre Island Campaign (that’s Ruthie Foster, singing above). Padre Island National Seashore, the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier island on earth, is home to 17 endangered or threatened species, including the Kemp’s Ridley, the world’s most critically endangered sea turtle, whose nesting habitat is threatened by ongoing oil and gas drilling and the associated big rigs and support vehicles that ply its beaches.
Between ticket sales, CD sales, and a silent auction, Songs to Save the Seashore raised several thousand dollars and attracted extensive local media coverage. “It was a fabulous success,” says Lone Star Chapter organizer Donna Hoffman. “The room was full of Club members, former members who we believe will now renew, and new folks. It was a great party and an important movement-builder.”
Texas honky-tonk rocker Dale Watson said from the stage that a reporter asked him why a redneck like him was playing a Sierra Club benefit. “Because I have children. That’s why I’m here,” was his reply. Learn more about what the Sierra Club is doing to protect Padre Island.
Paddling Upstream: The Oregon Building Environmental Community campaign organized a two-day Willamette River canoe relay in July to promote a clean-up of the river (six of the participating boats are pictured above). Volunteers paddled 72 miles from Portland to Salem, the state capital. The message, says Oregon Sierra Club organizer Erica Maharg, was simple: “Oregonians are paddling upriver against the current of polluters and the decision-makers who protect them.” The event involved more than 140 volunteers, plus Club staff.
“We couldn’t have asked for better press coverage of the Portland send-off and the Salem arrival,” says Maharg. “Based on the readiness of Governor Kulongowski’s Deputy Chief of Staff to accept the public’s comments, it was obvious the Governor’s staff knew about the event, when we were arriving, and what we were focused on. We definitely got the message across that this issue is not going away.” Find out more about the canoe relay and to take action to clean up the Willamette.
EDO Yes! The Rio Grande Chapter and the Central New Mexico Group celebrated when the Albuquerque City Council unanimously approved resolutions that will make the East Downtown (EDO) area more walkable and transit-oriented. The master plan for the area, developed in conjunction with hundreds of local residents, was strongly supported by the Sierra Club. Central Group activists donned “EDO Yes!” buttons and testified in support of the plan along with neighborhood residents, property owners, activist groups, and representatives of the building trades and realtors’ associations. Under the plan, the Broadway and Central Ave. corridors will be lined with trees, sidewalks will be widened, historic structures will be protected, and mixed-use buildings of up to five stories will be encouraged, with reduced on-site parking requirements. Light-rail transit is also being proposed for Central Ave.
Incineration Up in Smoke: Responding to months of pressure from the Sierra Club, in June the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill declaring a 1-year moratorium on incineration of construction and demolition waste. The state Department of Environmental Services had been seeking permits for such burning at nine or more sites. The New Hampshire Sierra Club led a coalition of citizen groups to implement the moratorium and create a study committee to deal with the threat of the Granite State becoming the Northeast’s incineration capital. Meanwhile, Club activists lobbied Governor Lynch to issue an executive order for the moratorium and study. Lynch thanked the Sierra Club for its work, adding that he would have issued the order had the legislature not acted.
Hanging Loose to Stop the Toll Road: In June, 35 surfers from south Orange County presented a surfboard signed by about a thousand activists to Governor Schwarzenegger in Sacramento. They are working as part of the Sierra Club’s Friends of the Foothills project and the Orange County Building Environmental Communities campaign to block a toll road through the headwaters of San Mateo Creek, near Trestles Beach, otherwise known as the “Yosemite of Surfing.”
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