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In This Section
pdf November/December 2006


The Future's So Bright...
Election Elation, Roadless Redux, and More
Smart Energy Solutions (pdf)


Studying for the Midterms
Renewables in Action
Just Transition
Blue and Green in Ohio
Battle of Blair Mountain, Again
Unseating an Environmental Foe
Gaining Ground
America's Wild Legacy
Car Talk, Sierra Club Style
Sierra Club Insider
Who We Are:
Loyd Cortez
Christine Williamson
Erica Langenbahn
Search for a Story
Back Issues

The Planet
The Future's So Bright...

The Swan Song of the Planet—Good News Only

by John Byrne Barry


Welcome to the “good news only” issue of the Planet. We know there’s bad stuff going on, but you’ll have to go elsewhere for that. We’re all about solutions, victories, hope, and promise.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of good news, starting with the greenest Election Day in memory. You can read about that and other grassroots victories starting on page 2.

I’m sad to report, however, that this is the last issue of the Planet -- in this form as a printed and mailed newsletter.

But the stories that have filled the Planet’s pages for 13 years will live on in other venues. We will continue to report on our grassroots victories, our best campaign practices, and our volunteer leaders in Sierra magazine, the Web site, chapter and group newsletters, and e-mail publications like the Insider.

I was part of the conception and launch of the Planet in July 1994, have been the lead designer since the beginning, and took on the managing editor role in 1995. So for me this is poignant, like saying goodbye to a long-time friend.

Since those first months, I have talked on the phone and met many Planet readers, as well as many of the admirable leaders and activists whose stories have appeared in these pages. What has resonated most for me has been how the Club’s strength derives from the tens of thousands of active members who devote part of their lives to bettering the environment for the rest of us, and for our children and grandchildren and more.

In our first issue, we led with a story headlined, “Ronald Reagan’s Revenge,” about how the takings movement was threatening to undermine environmental protection. Just this month, more than a dozen years after that first issue, California voters rejected a takings initiative strongly opposed by the Sierra Club. Times change. But the threats keep on coming.

We’ve made big strides in awareness, however. In our third issue, we called on then-President Bill Clinton to act decisively on global warming. At the time, most Americans didn’t know what global warming was. Most Sierra Club members didn’t either.

We launched the Planet in July 1994 as part of an effort to reinvigorate the Club’s grassroots base as well as meet financial challenges. We are sunsetting the Planet for some of the same reasons.

More and more of our activist work has migrated to the e-mail and Web arena. These communications vehicles allow us to save money, save trees, and talk with our leaders in a more timely and targeted way.

Over the years, we have been heartened by readers’ support for the Planet. “The Planet has been a great vehicle to give voice to the work of Sierra Club leaders,” says Mississippi Chapter Chair Becky Gillette. “I’ve personally seen that have a big impact on activists here, particularly with the DuPont campaigns.”

“The Planet does such a good job of highlighting the work of our volunteers,” says Alabama field staffer Peggie Griffin. “It’s always a ‘star in your crown’ to get mentioned in the Planet, the national Sierra Club’s most personal publication.”

We’re repackaging our stories and photos of grassroots activism in Sierra Club Grassroots at

Grassroots will include weekly reporting on grassroots victories, innovative campaigns, provocative coalitions.

We’ll also be posting in Grassroots daily updates in Sierra Club Scrapbook. Scrapbook is exactly what is sounds like -- photos of Club activists at a rally, excerpts from newspaper stories quoting a Club spokesperson, and imaginative outreach efforts.

We’ll also gather hundreds of “Who We Are” profiles from the Planet, as well as similar profiles from Sierra and chapter and group newsletters and Web sites, in Faces of the Sierra Club. We’ll add at least one new profile every month. See page 12.

For links to Grassroots features, as well as the latest environmental news, green living tips, and more, sign up for the twice-monthly Sierra Club Insider at

So enjoy this last hurrah of the Planet. It’s all good news. And keep in touch.


P.S. I’d also like to thank all those Club staff and volunteers who have contributed stories to the Planet over the years. There are so many I have to reduce the type size to fit them, but I’m sure I still missed a few:

Chris Ballantyne, Mary-Beth Baptista, Dan Becker, B.J. Bergman, Rebecca Bernard, Bob Bingaman, Shepherd Bliss, Larry Bohlen, Julian Bond, Barb Boyle, Merrik Bush, Nick Cain, Paula Carrell, Ralph Clark, Sarah Clusen, Johanna Congleton, Bill Corcoran, Sean Cosgrove, Orli Cotel, Robbie Cox, Bill Craven, David Danzig, John DeCock, Karin Derichsweiler, Aloma Dew, Dominique Dibbel, Marie Dolcini, Scott Dye, David Edeli, Henry Egghart, Kyra Epstein, Larry Fahn, Sarah Fallon, Laura Fauth, Camilla Feibelman, Jennifer Ferenstein, Dave Foreman, Wayne Freeman, Jean Freedberg, Becky Gillette, Melanie Griffin, Kim Haddow, Bruce Hamilton, Marge Hanselman, Melinda Harm, Sarah Heim-Jonson, Ananda Hirsch, Susan Holmes, Joan Jones Holtz, John Holtzclaw, Raena Honan, Glen Hooks, Vicky Hoover, Ed Hopkins, Kathryn Hohmann, Lisa Hudson, Brett Hulsey, Jen Jackson, Pat Joseph, Dave Karpf, Sarah Kelch, Craig Kelley, Mary Kiesau, Kurt Koepsel, Caroline Kraus, Judy Kunofsky, John Lawrence, Alex Levinson, Sherman Lewis, Lawson LeGate, Tim Lesle, Traci Liard, Li Miao Lovett, Michael Lynch, John Lyons-Gould, Robin Mann, Mark Mardon, Mari Margil, Drusha Mayhue, Ellen Mayou, Mike McCloskey, Emily McFarland, Melissa Meiris, Ken Midkiff, Lillian Miller, Louie Miller, Stephen Mills, Bill Morris, Dave Muhly, Mike Newman, Eric Olson, Liz Pallatto, Sam Parry, Steve Pedery, Christine Phillips, Carl Pope, Alejandro Queral, Margrete Strand Rangnes, Julia Reitan, John Rosapepe, Zachary Roth, Preston Schiller, Dan Seligman, Debbie Sease, Gayle Sheehan, Ryan Silva, Daniel Silverman, Marilyn Berlin Snell, Sonny Sorensen, George Sorvallis, Becky Steckler, John Stauffer, Rose Strickland, Dan Sullivan, Kim Todd, Tanya Tolchin, Brian Vanneman, Pat Veitch, Edgar Wayburn, Marceline White, Delbert Williams, Larry Williams, Alita Wilson, Amy Wilson, Julie and Larry Winslett, Anne Woiwode, Mark Woodall, Dan York, Carl Zichella, Jon Zilber.

And special thanks to Tom Valtin and Jenny Coyle, whose reporting and writing celebrating Club activists have given the Planet its heart and soul.

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