The Sierra Club Is Evolving
If you’ve heard of the Sierra Club but haven’t paid us a lot of attention, chances are your idea of what we’re all about may be a bit outdated. Our motto has always been, “Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet.” Clearly, that word protect carries a heavier meaning today than in 1892 when John Muir founded the Sierra Club. Nor does calling us a “club” completely convey who we are, unless an organization with 2.4 million members and supporters is your idea of a club. The national organization’s “About” page says we’re “the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.”
In January, 2010, the Sierra Club intentionally hired an activist, Michael Brune, as its new Executive Director. For the previous seven years, Brune had been the Executive Director of the Rainforest Action Network. Before that, he was an organizer for Greenpeace. Both organizations are international in scope and famously activist by disposition.
In February 2013, Brune was among 48 protestors arrested in front of the White House for demonstrating against the Keystone XL pipeline. Amy Goodwin of Democracy Now interviewed Brune after he was released on bail the next day. The interview begins at the 16-minute mark on the video. Goodman introduced Brune by calling his arrest “historic.” Her first question was, “In its 120-year history, you are the first leader of the organization to get arrested in a civil disobedience. Why?”
It might sound a little surprising that an organization like the Sierra Club, that’s been around for so long and has been a part of so many important fights, that it’s the first time we do civil disobedience. But we look at this project, the tar sands pipeline, and it’s a boondoggle. It’s such a—it would contribute to such a climate disaster that we realize we have to use every single tool of democracy in order to fight this thing. We’ll fight it in the courts. We’ll fight it in statehouses and here in the Beltway, in the streets. But we realize that we have to do every single thing that we can to make sure that instead of putting $7 billion into a dirty oil pipeline, that we’re investing in clean energy instead.
He later clarified. “It’s not just about the pipeline.“
It’s making sure that we’re turning away from fossil fuels—the most extreme sources of dirty energy—everywhere: Drilling in the Arctic, blowing the tops off of our mountains in Appalachia, building this tar sands pipeline. All of those would just deepen and extend our dependence on fossil fuels.
Recently, Michael Brune adopted a new heading for his weekly email. It looks like this now.
Check out these Sierra Club Campaigns.
Our State and National Leaders
Check out these pointless questions:
In June, 2010, we had the biggest inland oil spill in U.S. history right here in Southwest Michigan. It took more than four years and $3.2 billion to clean it up.
That was no hoax. It was real.
That wasn’t natural. It was man made.
About 125 years ago, the Sierra Club started working on protecting—to make sure that we, today, can continue to explore and enjoy. Please join us in that same mission—for our own great grand-children’s sake.
Whether you “believe” in climate change or not…
Pipelines break, oil rigs blow up, hulls crack, rail cars explode, clean land gets dirtied, drinking water gets contaminated, and mountaintops belong on top of mountains. The Sierra Club is on it. We could use your help.