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The Planet

Club Beat

The Planet, December 1995, Volume 2, number 9

  • Local Activist Helps Green Radio Waves
  • Gore Addresses Political Training
  • Serious Fun at Southern Regional Gathering
  • Rallying for the Northern Forest's Future

Local Activist Helps Green Radio Waves

Northeast Ohio Group activist Alan Kuper swears by a simple, fun and cheap way to publicize local Club activities and major conservation campaigns: radio public service announcements (PSAs). Kuper's one-minute messages, "Notes From the Sierra Club," air twice daily on WCLV, the Cleveland-Akron classical music station.

Kuper's PSAs range from local Club program announcements to messages about the importance of wilderness and the dangers of global warming.

Now the Club is hoping to build on Kuper's good work and help chapters around the country run PSAs on their local radio stations.

"If other local volunteers around the nation pick up on this, it could greatly help the Sierra Club," says Kuper, who received the Club's 1994 Special Achievement Award for his radio PSA work over the past 16 years. "The messages educate the community on environmental issues, boost membership and publicize the Club at the same time."

For more information: Contact Alan Kuper at (216) 229-2413.

Gore Addresses Political Training

Vice President Al Gore addressed more than 65 Sierra Club leaders from around the country at an intensive three-day political training workshop this fall in Washington, D.C. In trainings ranging from candidate research to media and fundraising skill development, Club volunteers benefited from the expertise of D.C. political consultants who donated their time to this event. A new focus of the biannual training was money in politics -- and how to use information about that issue to defeat anti-environmentalists and pursue campaign finance reform.

After spending the weekend honing their political campaign skills, many participants headed to Capitol Hill to visit with their Congressional representatives.

For more information about how you can get involved in the Club's political program, contact Steven Krefting at (415) 977-5520.

Serious Fun at Southern Regional Gathering

More than 180 Sierra Club activists from 22 states gathered in the heart of Cajun country for a regional gathering just outside of New Orleans this fall. Whether they paddled canoes past alligators in Louisiana swamps or danced the two-step to a Cajun rhythm, participants got a taste of life in this lush, waterlogged part of the nation. At the same time, they boned up on the serious business of the Sierra Club at a series of trainings whose topics included membership, environmental justice, endangered species, newsletter editing, media and more.

In a War on the Environment training, Club President J. Robert Cox urged activists to take their congressional representatives to task over anti-environmental votes and to publicly thank those members of Congress who are standing up for Americans' right to a safe and healthy environment.

The grassroots gathering, held in a rustic state park setting, sparked networking across generations and cultures, as new and veteran Club volunteers, staff, representatives of the Sierra Student Coalition and New Orleans high-school students got to know one another.

"I was encouraged by the environmental justice training," says participant Dianne McGee, a Mobile, Ala., activist. McGee says she will take back what she learned to the Mobile Group, which is working to build coalitions with communities of color. She adds, "Especially in the Southeast, the Club is reaching out beyond its traditional membership to involve more racial and ethnic communities."

Rallying for the Northern Forest's Future

by Chris Ballantyne Northeast Staff Director

More than 50 Sierra Club volunteers and activists convened in northern Vermont this fall for a joint Northeast Regional Conservation Committee meeting and Protecting our Forests workshop -- and each came away with new energy and ideas for the conservation effort.

Citizen environmentalists active at all levels were briefed on issues facing the Northern Forest region -- spanning northern New England and New York -- and U.S. national forests. They also learned how to spread the environmental message effectively, and got a step-by-step primer on campaign planning. Together, they gained a well-rounded set of tools and tactics for organizing support for the Northern Forest and combating the current assault on all our public lands by the leaders of the 104th Congress.

Former Club staffer Marty Hayden addressed participants about the timber salvage program and issues related to endangered species and forest planning. Sarah Forslund, outreach coordinator for the Northern Forest Alliance, explained the Alliance's campaign to protect the forest through education and coalition-building with local groups.

The weekend culminated with an inspiring session by Bruce Robertson, producer and host of the Environment Show, a public radio program airing in over 200 markets across the country. Robertson gave a masterful presentation on how to best convey the Club's conservation message by using a combination of role playing and evaluation of major stories.

Lowell Krassner, Great Northern Forest Ecoregion Task Force chair, lauded the enthusiasm and ideas of new volunteers at the meeting. "Their perspective illuminates and revitalizes the efforts of all participants -- be they paid staff, veteran volunteer leader or future Sierra Club champion," he says.

For information about more forest workshops planned for northern New England and New York -- or about sponsoring one in your region -- contact Chris Ballantyne in the Sierra Club's Northeast Office at (518) 587-9166.

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