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Sierra Club Insider June 21, 2005
The True Meaning of Patriotism
Golden EagleTwenty years ago, Georgia Chapter volunteer Sam Booher saw a newspaper photo of three cowboys cradling rifles in front of three piles of dead golden eagles. "The cowboys, who grazed their stock on public land, thought eagles were killing their lambs and calves, and they got Interior Secretary James Watt to give them permits to shoot all the golden eagles they could find.

"I was mad. Those were my eagles living on my land. I wrote my senator, Sam Nunn, who established a study that found that eagles' talons are so weak that they can hunt only rabbits, but that they also feed on animals that are already dead. Nunn got Watt to withdraw the permits."

Booher told that story as part of a speech to the Atlanta Rotary Club the week before Memorial Day about why it's patriotic to fight for the environment. "I spent two and a half years fighting in Vietnam, but I know there are other ways to love and support our country." See Booher's complete speech.

Want to Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet? Join the Club!
Join Today!It's almost summer and you probably want to go hiking, or get out your camping gear, bike or kayak and meet others who enjoy the outdoors as much as you do. But maybe you need a little help getting started...

If you love to hike, camp or explore the outdoors, then join the Sierra Club today.

As a member, you will have access to more than 350 national and international trips -- from hiking and backpacking to rafting, biking, kayaking and family trips. Plus, you'll learn about great outings and hikes available right in your local area.

But before you get outdoors, take our outdoor adventure online poll and vote for your favorite summer activity.

Remember, if you haven't already done so, please make the most important investment in protecting our natural world for this and future generations -- by becoming a full-fledged member of the Sierra Club today. Join the Sierra Club today and get outside!

Arianna Huffington Never Runs Out of Gas
Arianna Huffington"The only bad thing about my Toyota hybrid," says author, columnist, and erstwhile political candidate Arianna Huffington, "is that I'll run out of gas because I forget that I need to fill it up. Before I gave up my Navigator, filling the tank was practically a daily occurrence -- it wasn't something you could forget."

In an interview with the Sierra Club's Tom Valtin, Huffington, a keynote speaker at Sierra Summit 2005, talks about the newly launched Huffington Post, the failure of public and private leadership in this country on energy policy, and what environmentalists need to do to put their message across. You can read the complete interview at -- and you can get a taste of other Summit speakers like Robert Kennedy, Jr., comedian Bill Maher, filmmaker Ric Burns, and former poet laureate Robert Haas.

If you haven't registered yet for Sierra Summit 2005, which runs September 8-11 in San Francisco, please sign up now. Register by June 30 and save $75.

Global-Warming Censorship: The Full Story
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported on how a former oil-industry lobbyist, Philip Cooney, had been censoring climate research reports by government scientists in his role on the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Readers of Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope's weblog, "Taking the Initiative," however, got a much more complete picture of how a lawyer like Cooney came to be rewriting scientific reports. If you'd like to get Carl Pope's firsthand analysis of environmental news and policy, you can subscribe to his weblog by using a newsreader like MyYahoo! or Bloglines. Get instructions here.

Burning Money on the White House Steps
global warmingThe Bush administration contends it's taking global warming seriously -- Last week, President Bush told a reporter that "we lead the world when it comes to millions of dollars spent on research about climate change."

Carl Pope's response on the "Democracy Now" radio program: "You can spend a lot of money on research, but if you let the oil industry censor the research after you complete it and if you don't act on the findings, you might as well burn the money on the White House steps." If you agree that there are better ways to solve our energy problems and curb global warming, now is the time to take action and let your Senators know before they vote on the Bush administration's energy bill.

Birds without Borders?
heronKudos to the LA Times for running a story coauthored by the Sierra Club's James Wechsler on Mexico's Ciénega de Santa Clara wetland -- an important stopover on the Pacific Flyway that serves as "a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds as they travel from Mexico and points south to their summer grounds from California to Alaska." Will drought and mismanagement of the Colorado River's water silence their songs?

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Bad Wraps

Which are worse? Styrofoam peanuts or plastic blister packs? Visit our online poll to help us pick the "worst of the worst" in our Packaging Hall of Shame.

Packaging waste may not be the most urgent environmental problem facing the planet, but it is a serious one nonetheless. As author Daniel Imhoff reports in Paper or Plastic, a new title from Sierra Club Books: "About one-third of the gross weight and half of the volume of America's solid-waste stream is composed of packaging materials -- at least 300 pounds per person per year."

Take the poll and find out how you can buy Imhoff's book at a 25 percent discount and, while supplies last, get a free "Paper or Plastic" tote bag. Then, next time you get the question, "paper or plastic?" you could answer "canvas."

Paper or Plastic
Guilt-Free Grilling

Researchers at Rice University in Houston have found that barbecuing meats contributes a small but significant amount of pollutants to Houston's already smoggy skies. And though barbecuing is a way of life in Houston, that's not the only place where firing up the backyard grill can contribute to air pollution.

Not all cookouts are created equal, though. Find out how you can keep enjoying to barbecue but minimize adverse environmental effects in Sierra magazine's "P's and Q's of BBQ," a guide to guilt-free grilling.



Blowing Up Mountains

Knowing that mining companies blow off the tops of mountains in Appalachia to get at coal seams is one thing -- seeing a movie of them actually doing it is something else entirely.

"You can't alter the landscape that dramatically without doing tremendous damage to the whole area," says local resident Denise Giardina.

You can help put an end to this practice by signing our petition to stop mountaintop removal, and if you haven't already seen it, check out Mark Fiore's animation "Mining Gone Wild" and pass it along to your friends.

mountaintop removal
Photos: Golden Eagle (Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences) | Arianna Huffington (Courtesy of Sierra Summit) | frying pan (Charlie Powell) | Heron (Jim Bradbury) | Paper or Plastic (Sierra Club Books) | barbecue ( | mountaintop removal (Sierra Club Productions)