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Sierra Club Insider August 31, 2004

Environmental Voters Make a Difference
For one in ten voters, according to a Yale Survey in May 2004, the environment is their single most important electoral issue. Unfortunately, many of these "environment-first" voters don't always make it to the polls. So, getting them there is one of the Sierra Club's top priorities this November.

Here are ten ways that you can help make the environment matter on November 2.

1. Tell your friends.
The biggest single reason that an infrequent voter decides to vote is because someone asks them to. You can be that person. Forward this e-mail to 1,000 of your closest friends. Urge them to learn more about the environmental records of the candidates.

2. Educate yourself.
Check out SIERRA magazine's go-for-broke election issue. Paul Rauber does the math to show how environmental voters could swing the 2004 election.

3. Walk your talk. Or dial it.
Join a voter-education walk or voter-education phone bank in your community. For example, every weekend in Philadelphia, environmental advocates go door-to-door to educate voters about the candidates' records on clean air and clean water. And four days a week Club volunteers staff phone banks in Montgomery County or downtown Philadelphia. The Club's voter-education program is contacting thousands of voters in Philadelphia and ten other communities. Visit to learn more.

4. Give money.
Every $50 donation creates 30 more direct contacts with environmental voters in critical battleground states. Find out how you can support the Club's voter education campaign.

5. Hit the road.
You can travel to a nearby state through the Club's "Road to Somewhere" program or, even simpler, talk to residents of battleground states on the phone. For example, in early August, forty San Francisco area volunteers took a bus to Reno and talked to 1,000 Nevada voters about Bush and Kerry's environmental records. Almost a quarter of the people they spoke with signed up to volunteer!

On the weekend of Sept. 18 and 19, similar opportunities will occur all over the country to travel to a nearby state and talk one-to-one with environmentally minded voters. To sign up and learn more about the road program, e-mail:

Or contact your local chapter and ask how you can get involved.

6. Register to vote.
If you are not yet registered to vote, you still can. Get your national voter-registration form and send it in today!

While you're at it, encourage five of your friends and neighbors to do the same. Remember, millions of people move every year, and many of them neglect to register at their new homes.

7. Pick up a pen.
Write an editorial to your local paper urging readers to get the facts before they vote and contrasting the candidates' records on environmental protection. Letters to the editor are one of the most widely read parts of the newspaper. The Sierra Club provides tips on writing an effective letter and information that you can use to make your points including a side-by-side comparison of Kerry's and Bush's records.

8. Open your mouth.
Call a radio talk show to talk about the candidates' record on protecting the environment.

9. Host a party.
Have fun. Invite your friends, family, and neighbors. Talk about how the candidates' environmental priorities affect your community. Contact your Club chapter for mailing lists and house-party tips.

10. Vote. And urge others to.
Make sure you get to the polls and vote on Nov. 2. Also, consider ways you can help friends and family to vote, like calling to remind them or offering to drive them to the polls on Election Day.

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  Sierrans at the RNC

As the Republican Party converges in New York this week, the Sierra Club has been on the scene, as President Larry Fahn reports. The main activity has been organizing residents, workers from the Ground Zero area, and visitors to participate in a daily vigil to call on the Bush administration to help the people affected by Ground Zero pollution. Participants are gathering daily on the corner of Liberty and Broadway until the convention ends on Sept. 2. Two ads about the vigils have run in the New York Times.

  Never Misunderestimate George W.

While the president's malapropisms are often the stuff of comedy, there's nothing funny about the Orwellian phrases the White House employs to conceal its anti-environmental agenda. Click on these Bush administration phrases and watch as they transform into their real meanings.
  Mercury Warnings Soar

EPA Chief Mike Leavitt said last week that 48 states--all but Wyoming and Alaska--have issued warnings about limiting intake of fish caught in local lakes and rivers because they are contaminated with mercury. In 2001, the EPA estimated that a 90 percent reduction in mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants was possible by 2008 through strong enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

But the Bush administration is pushing a weak plan that would clean up only 70 percent of emissions and give utilities a decade longer to do it. Tell the Bush administration to issue the strongest possible limits on mercury emissions.


SIERRA cover (Tim Bradley) Philadelphia voter education (Elise Annunziata) road to somewhere (Eric Wesselman) Ground Zero ad (Sierra Club) Health Forests (Scott Kim) smokestacks (Royalty-Free/Corbis)




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