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Sierra magazine
Spout | Rant, React, Chat, Blather

Energized by Oil | Letters

Energized by Oil

Forty-one years ago an oil-drilling rig off the coast of Santa Barbara began retching brown slime. A couple of my high school friends and I, outraged that the salt-scented waves we surfed smelled like poison, pitched in on a campaign to stop offshore drilling. It was grunt work. And fun.

That Santa Barbara spill helped inspire the first Earth Day. This spring, days before Earth Days 40th anniversary, a gusher of crude erupted 5,000 feet beneath the Gulf of Mexico. As I write, hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil a day are flowing into the sea. I dont want to imagine how vast the toxic mess will be by the time you read this. But I do think the disaster may rally another generation.

To coincide with Earth Day this year, the Sierra Club cooked up something called the Best Internship Ever. More than 800 college-age people created 90-second videos discussing why they want to roam the country this summer documenting Sierra Club trips that introduce kids to nature.

Applicants strummed guitars, nuzzled goats, rapped, kayaked, and rode camels. One guy waggled with a sexy Statue of Liberty on a New York City rooftop while overlays of John Muir, Thoreau, and other eco-icons pranced across the screen Monty Pythonstyle. I watched clip after clip. I couldnt stop.

The energy in these videos reflects the power of a generation. One finalist filmed herself running, leaping, then skittering down a dirt trail on a pink Big Wheel. Gazing out along the wave-bashed California coast, she said, When you love something, you protect it. —Bob Sipchen, editor in chief


I was glad to see not only a story about shing in Montana but also an article on duck hunting ("The Longest Haul" and "Cattail Commute," May/June).

I have already told several of my hunting buddies about the Sierra Club and the latest issue of your magazine. If conservationists and environmentalists could overcome the stereotypes we have of each other, together we would wield an amazing amount of power and be able to accomplish incredible acts of environmental preservation.
Jackie Pratt
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Pro-hunting/killing translates into destroying our environment and eventually our Earth. Shame on the Sierra Club for the promotion of hunting!
Joan S. Weaver
Chatsworth, California

If more of my fellow Sierra Clubbers knew that my dog and I come home empty-handed from most of my hunts, they might be more forgiving.
Richard Gunn
Norman, Oklahoma

I would like to express my displeasure at the caption to the Maine wilderness photo on the table of contents page (May/June). It read, Do you hear banjos? This is very insulting to the people of Maine. It belittles us and serves no purpose in telling the story. When I open my Sierra magazine, I do not expect to be ridiculed.
Patricia Claus
Orrington, Maine

A Bigger Boom Box hit the nail on the head ("Grapple," May/June). The Citizens United v. FEC decision is preposterous. The Supreme Court argues that, since corporations are collections of people, they have the same rights as people. Will this concept be extended to allow corporations to run for ofce? I dread the day when I wake up to nd that Goldman Sachs has been elected president of the United States.
Tom Schuppe
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Thank you for printing John McPhees reminiscences of canoeing at Camp Keewaydin ("Swimming With Canoes," May/June). I was a camper at Keewaydin in the early 1950s, and the article brought memories ooding back. We werent allowed to use the seats because paddling while kneeling is more efcient, and even a rolled-up towel didnt keep those wooden ribs from taking their toll on our youthful but bony knees.
Alan Eckert
Santa Fe, New Mexico

"Grapple," page 23 (May/June), referred to the pika as a rodent, when in fact it is a lagomorph. Because of an editing error, "Ask" (May/June) erroneously compared the energy potential of wood to that of oil. Wood yields about 8,600 British thermal units per pound, and oil about 21,000. All the wood burned worldwide each year for energy generates less than 2 percent of the annual energy derived from oil.

E-mail or write to us at 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105. Please include your name, city, and e-mail address or daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Illustration by iStockphoto/ryccio



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