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In This Issue of the Sierra Club Insider:
Cast Your Vote: What Should the President Say?
Endangered Species Act -- On the Verge of Extinction?
Choo-Choo-Choosing Better Transit in Atlanta
Victory for Farmland Preservation in California
San Francisco Chronicle Investigates Global Warming Impact
EXPLORE: New Sierra Club Trips for 2006
ENJOY: Former Club Exec. Dir. Take on Environmental Movement
PROTECT: New Video - Grizzlies Sing and Dance for Petition Signatures
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Sierra Club InsiderJanuary 24, 2006
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Cast Your Vote: What Should the President Say?

Ted Rall on State of the UnionGlobal warming. Mercury pollution. Oil dependency. Those are some real problems on the eve of the President's State of the Union Address next Tuesday. But will President Bush even mention the environment in his State of the Union address?

We'd like to hear him talk about some of those problems -- and, better yet, real solutions for them. How about you? Take our poll on which environmental issue you'd most like to hear President Bush discuss in this State of the Union Address.

Endangered Species Act -- On the Verge of Extinction?
Late last year, the House of Representatives approved legislation that, if it becomes law, would eliminate the requirement to protect "critical habitat" for endangered species -- delivering a potentially fatal blow to the recovery of wildlife facing extinction.

pantherWe cannot let this happen -- we need your immediate support to help the Sierra Club and its efforts to maintain a strong Endangered Species Act.

That's why now we are focusing our efforts on inspiring our allies in the Senate, where approval is required before it becomes law, and where pro-wildlife forces are stronger.

Please sign the petition to Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Chairman of the Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee, telling him that you support protection for endangered species.

Your donation today will help the Sierra Club and its efforts to fight this bill in the Senate, as well as our other critical efforts to protect our wild lands, air, water and wildlife.

Choo-Choo-Choosing Better Transit
choo chooInside Atlanta's Fox Theater, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and other state transportation bigwigs dined on flatiron steak and enjoyed a private concert with Travis Tritt, courtesy of the road-building lobby. Outside, a human train made up of Sierra Club advocates and Atlanta transit employees union wound its way back and forth under the sparkling marquee waving signs that read, "Get on Board -- Better Transit for Georgia," and carrying a banner proclaiming, "I choo-choo-choose better transit."

Georgians for Better Transportation, which hosted the $10,000 a table event, claims to be a multi-faceted transit and transportation backing organization, but in fact is mostly composed of concrete and highway-building lobbyists. While the demonstrators outside demanded more state funding for MARTA, the Atlanta-area mass-transit system, the crowd gathered inside pushed for more highways.

"The gathering at the Fox was Georgia's cornpone version of the corrosive influence-peddling environment of the K Street lobbyists in Washington, D.C.," writes Doug Monroe in Creative Loafing. "K Street is at the heart of the Jack Abramoff/Tom DeLay corruption scandal. But that's just a street. Georgia has 12-lane highways."

Sierra Club Victory to Preserve Farmland
Two years ago, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against the city of Stockton, CA claiming it had illegally annexed farmland on which developers were planning to build 7,000 homes.

Last week, the developers agreed to settle the suit for $17.5 million, which will be used to preserve farmland elsewhere. The deal also requires the city to vote within six months on whether to charge developers fees for farmland preservation.

Dale Stocking, chair of the Club's Mother Lode Chapter, says he will "ride herd on the city" to adopt the development fees. Last October, partly due to Club pressure, the nearby cities of Manteca, Tracy, and Lathrop agreed to charge developers $2,000 an acre to preserve farmland in California's Central Valley.

What a Difference a Degree Makes
polar bearThe San Francisco Chronicle last week ran a series of global warming articles by environmental reporter Jane Kay, who traveled from the Arctic Circle down the California Coast to the Sea of Cortez to investigate the impacts of a warming world. She recounts how, as arctic ice floes have thinned, polar bears are spending more time on land, further from the ice seals that they feed on, and how sea life in Central California has become more like Southern California.

You can read - or watch - her report -- "A Warming World: The Difference a Degree Makes."

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Make 2006 Your Year for Travel

Maybe one of your New Year's resolutions is to go on an exciting and adventurous vacation this year? Sierra Club Outings offers more than 350 choices. Always wanted to see Africa? We'll take you there. Itching to explore the wilds of Arctic Canada? We've got you covered. Want to tackle your very first backpacking trip? We do that too.

Check out the 350 vacations this year -- around the world or in your own backyard.

New 2006 Trips
In the Thick of It

"In the 1950s, the conservation movement at the national level was described by one observer as 'small, divided and frequently uncertain.'" So begins In the Thick of It: My Life in the Sierra Club, by two-time Sierra Club Executive Director Mike McCloskey.

Between the time McCloskey joined the Club staff in 1960, when the organization was a California-oriented outdoor club with 16,000 members, and his retirement as Club chairman in 1999, the environmental movement came of age -- "Of all the social movements that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century in the United States," he writes, "the environmental movement is perhaps the most durable and well rooted."

As the Club's first field organizer, McCloskey helped pave the way for the original Wilderness Act of 1964. As the Club's first conservation director, he spurred the designation of new national parks and wilderness areas, including North Cascades and Redwood National Parks.

In the Thick of It, available at, or at a bookstore near you, describes McCloskey's 40 years as an environmental activist, documents the great environmental battles waged on his watch, and reveals the inner workings and politics of the Sierra Club during his long tenure, including the ouster of his mentor, the charismatic but controversial David Brower.



Those Incredible Singing Grizzlies

The Endangered Species Act has protected Yellowstone's grizzly bears for 30 years. Now, the Bush administration wants to remove them from federal protection.

So what are the grizzlies doing about it? They're putting a show -- singing and dancing as if their lives depended on it. And they do. Check out the grizzly revue, the grisly facts, and sign our petition to help save the grizzlies from extinction.

Grizzly Song
Photos: Bush Cartoon (Ted Rall) | Atlanta Train (Colleen Kierna) | In the Thick of It (Shearwater Books)