Imagine kids coming up and
thanking you for the opportunity to pick up garbage. Hard to believe? Ask Ritchie Israel, a
member of the Sierra Club's Water Sentinels
in Rockland County, New York.
Most Water Sentinels more typically wade into creeks with boots on to
collect water samples, but Israel decided to help organize a series of cleanups on dry land
-- transforming neighborhoods beset by crime and used as dumping grounds for junked cars,
tires, and other debris.
More than 100 local residents took part in the first cleanup, in Clarkstown, above, and more
than a dozen have followed in neighboring communities. "Kids tell me how much fun they're
having picking up trash," says Israel. "If you ask me, that's miraculous." You can read the
full story in The
Planet or learn more about Water
Sentinels program, which is active in seven other states.
A longtime associate of the Sierra Club's Human Rights and the Environment
campaign, Wangari Maathai was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in October for her work leading
the Green Belt Movement in Kenya. Maathai, who gained recent acclaim for a campaign planting
30 million trees to stave off deforestation, was jailed in 1992 for organizing a rally
opposing former President Daniel arap Moi's plan to build a skyscraper monument to himself
in Nairobi's last city park.
"Wangari Maathai is the quintessential grassroots organizer," said Sierra Club International
Program Director Steve Mills. "This award speaks not only to her outstanding achievements
but also to the Nobel committee's recognition that protecting the environment is often a
vital way to promote peace."
Mills and Maathai are pictured above at Lake Nakuru; the pink band behind them is a flock of
thousands of flamingos.
Over time, evolution can make things better. Fish grew gills, birds
sprouted wings, and the Red Sox got the pennant. "I Will Evolve" is more than a cool t-shirt -- it's a
Sierra Club campaign that explains how we can evolve toward producing energy without
destroying the planet -- using technology that's here today. Learn about hybrid cars, how
vehicles affect the environment, and why the Bush administration's energy policies are
View previous editions of the Sierra Club Insider at the Insider
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