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Sierra Club Insider October 12, 2004

Debating the Debates

As the presidential debate dust settles, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope writes in his weblog about what last week's face-offs can tell us about the difference between Bush and Kerry on the environment. (Check out Carl this week on the nationally broadcast NPR program "Justice Talking" for a segment on environmental law and policy - "The Future of the Environment.")

Also last week, the Sierra Club polled environmental voters about what they would ask Bush and Kerry in a town hall debate. The number-one question: How would the candidates propose to curb global warming? Other top queries: Whether they support transferring the burden of toxic cleanup from polluters to taxpayers? And should the government base energy policy on secret meetings with energy industry lobbyists?

That's One Mighty Mouse

Six years ago, developers along Alabama's gulf coast were forced to set their luxury condos farther back from the surf in order to protect the dune habitat of the endangered Alabama beach mouse. They fought a legal challenge mounted on behalf of the mouse by the Sierra Club's Alabama Chapter -- but lost.

But when Hurricane Ivan tore ashore in late September, the wider beach front kept the developers from losing everything. "Thank God for the beach mouse," civil engineering professor Scott Douglass told the Birmingham News. "The developers hate that thing, but it saved their developments."

Wrong Global Vision

The Bush administration's energy plan would increase our planet's increasingly dangerous dependence on oil -- while paying only lip service to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Sierra Club, working with the Apollo Alliance, has a plan to create 3 million new jobs by aggressively pursuing energy efficiency and developing wind and solar energy. The administration's ideas are -- well, they're out of this world, as you can see in this online video called Mission 2 Mars.

The new documentary film Oil on Ice offers a more in-depth look at the pitfalls of the administration's energy policy. The film contrasts the stunning wildlife and wildplaces of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with the numbing controversy over U.S. energy policy that continues to put this region at risk. A limited number of free DVDs (which includes an "activist toolkit" to help you get involved in the issues highlighted in the film) are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Bush Record

Need a last-minute reminder of exactly what the Bush administration has done for the past four years? Check out SIERRA magazine's list of more than 300 crimes against nature.

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  Hit the Road for the Environment

Ever been to New Hampshire in October? How about Oregon? Ohio? The Sierra Club’s "Road to Somewhere" program is recruiting volunteers who can visit battleground states to help campaign for the environment. (Check out Minnesota volunteer Christopher Childs' tale of bathrobes and door-to-door voter education -- "I'm Coming to Your Door".)

  Camping with George
Episode 2: "Buyer Beware"

Hard-working, SUV-lovin' President Bush scares the haggis out John Muir in Camping with George, Episode 2: "Buyer Beware."

  Needed: 10,000 New Members by Election Day!

No matter who wins in November, we're going to have a lot of work to do. We're hoping to recruit 10,000 new members online by November 2. Every member sends a message -- environmental protection must be a top priority for our nation.
Join online by Election Day - get a backpack and 10% discount on apparel, gear and gifts!


Photos: Debate (AP) | Alabama beach mouse (Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit) | Mars (Balcony Films) | Road to Somewhere ( | Cartoon (Mark Fiore)