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Sierra Club Insider May 24, 2005
Nuclear Option Defused, But at What Price?
Thank you to the hundreds of concerned citizens who signed our petition asking that our government's systems of checks and balances be preserved in the US Senate. The filibuster and the rights of the minority have been saved -- but at a cost. For more on what yesterday's filibuster compromise means, see the Sierra Club's official statement.

Save $75 -- Sign Up for Sierra Summit by May 31
Sierra Summit 2005Sierra Summit 2005 in San Francisco on Sept 8-11 will be the largest gathering of Sierra Club members in history. In addition to entertainers and speakers like Bill Maher, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Arianna Huffington, there will be educational seminars, environmental exhibits, and 1,000 delegates from Club chapters, groups, and committees coming together for what Club board member Greg Casini calls "the most inclusive direction-setting process we've ever had."

You don't have to be a Sierra Club member to attend the Summit or to take advantage of the early bird special -- you just have to have an interest in the environment. Early bird registration is ending soon, though. Sign up by May 31 and save $75.

Test Your Mileage IQ

30 and upWith gas prices climbing to new highs, Detroit has finally caught on, unleashing a rash of ads touting fuel efficiency. The only problem is that for most of the cars in their line-ups, they don't have anything efficient to tout. (They do have highly efficient advertising agencies, however.)

See if you can tease out the truth: Take our quiz about GM's new mileage claims.

Why It's Worth Tilting at Windmills

windmillsAre there times when it's worth paying an environmental price?

Author Bill McKibben, whose 1989 book, The End of Nature, was the first account of global warming for a general audience, thinks there are. He recently wrote an opinion piece in response to controversial plans to site ten wind turbines on a wild and beautiful ridgeline in New York's Adirondack Park.

In the best of all possible worlds, says McKibben, we could do without windmills. Instead: "Right now, the choice is between burning fossil fuels and making the transition, as quickly as possible, to renewable power."

When Ric Met Ansel

Ansel AdamsBefore the Sierra Club asked Ric Burns to make a documentary film about Ansel Adams, he'd never made a film about an artist. Now it's his passion. "What artists are after is an objective confirmation of their deepest intuitions," says Burns, whose award-winning documentary on the photographer and Sierra Club activist Ansel Adams was released in 2002. His most recent film is about Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, next comes one about Andy Warhol.

Burns, who will be a featured speaker at Sierra Summit 2005 in San Francisco, talked to Planet editor Tom Valtin about his work, the environment, and how making of Ansel Adams affected his views on the role of art in society. Read the full interview here. (Oh, Burns never met Ansel Adams, who died in 1984.)

View previous editions of the Sierra Club Insider at the Insider Archives.

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What Are You Doing on World Environment Day?

San Francisco will be the first North American city to host the United Nations’ World Environment Day (WED) next month (officially June 5, but celebrated with activities all week).

The Sierra Club is participating in a variety of WED events, including the "Green Screen" film festival which kicks off with a Club-sponsored day of films highlighting "The Arctic in Peril." Other screenings will include films on theme of "Slow Food," with Executive Director Carl Pope slated to introduce Vice President Al Gore who will be presenting The Real Dirt on Farmer John, a documentary that profiles how one farmer strives to put the culture back into agriculture.

The Dirt on Farmer John
What's Summer Without Sprogs?

Want to be an environmental leader but figure, "Hey, I'm only 18 -- that'll have to wait till I'm older"? Wrong. The Sierra Student Coalition -- the student-run arm of the Sierra Club -- offers leadership opportunities to students of all ages, from high school through grad school. This summer, the SSC will also train you -- in the issues, in political organizing, in harnessing media, and a whole lot more. Find out more about the "sprog" nearest you -- they're in Tennessee, Illinois, Washington, Pennsylvania, and California.

Sprog is short for s(ummer) prog(ram).



How (and Why) to Get Your Mercury Test

In the last Insider, we told you about how more than 80 New Hampshire legislators got their hair tested for mercury recently and how you can too. We were thrilled that we got orders for more than 740 kits. Meanwhile, last week, legislators in Kentucky parted with a few inches of hair at a Sierra Club-sponsored ice cream social and panel discussion about mercury at Christ the King Catholic Church in Louisville.

Researchers plan to collect samples from at least 10,000 people. We still have several thousand to go. Find out more.

mercury hair test
Photos: windmills (NREL) | Ansel Adams (Sierra Club Productions) | The Real Dirt on Farmer John (Collective Eye) | Sprogs (SSC) | Hair Test (Christina Kreitzer)