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In This Issue of the Sierra Club Insider:
Gas Prices: Learn the Facts Then Take Action!
Why it Pays and Where to Find Locally Grown Food
Birdwatching Adventures in the Sunni Triangle
Endangered Species Day: Sign the Petition and Send an E-Card
Mercury Quiz and Pocket Guide
New Cartoon: Ted Rall on Global Warming
EXPLORE: New Sierra Club Chronicles Episode: "Breathless in L.A."
ENJOY: Al Gore, Superstar?
PROTECT: Stop Plan to Increase Logging Under Guise of Fire Protection
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Sierra Club Insider May 9, 2006
Flailing at High Gas Prices
By the NumbersTo assuage voter anger over mounting gas prices, Republican leaders in Congress offered Americans a paltry $100 rebate. To add insult to injury, the money was tied to drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

When voters balked at the bribe, talk turned to revoking the billions in subsidies Congress gave the oil industry last year. That went over like a lead zeppelin with Big Oil.

Gas PricesIn truth, there's no quick fix for high gas prices. Instead, we need to cut our dependence on oil by making our cars and trucks go farther on a gallon of gas. New legislation sponsored by Rep. Boehlert (R-NY) and Markey (D-MA) would modernize fuel economy standards to start saving families money at the gas pump while cutting America's oil dependence.

Tell your representatives it's time to raise fuel economy standards!

Miles per Calorie
Miles to Go Before You EatSpeaking of gas, did you ever stop to consider how much fuel was consumed getting last night's dinner to the table? It's a question Sierra magazine's Paul Rauber ponders in "Miles to Go Before You Eat," an instructive look at the distance our produce travels to get to market.

Sierra wins a MaggieAfter you've checked it out, find out what delicious fruits and veggies are grown near you -- locate your local farmers market! (Just click on "Farmers Markets" and enter your zip code.)

Congratulations to all the staff of Sierra on winning a Maggie award from the Western Publications Association for the best public service article in 2005: "American Idylls" celebrated the Arctic, the Green Mountains, and the Gulf Coast in words and images, while urging readers to help protect them.

The Audubon of Camp Anaconda
Sargeant Jonathan Trouren-TrendA soldier in fatigues, rifle slung over his shoulder, is standing on a truck, peering through binoculars. He's not looking for Iraqi insurgents. He's scoping a black-crowned night heron.

Add one to the life list.

Say hello to Sargeant Jonathan Trouren-Trend, a national guardsman who served a year-long tour in Iraq and blogged about his birdwatching adventures in the Sunni Triangle. Sierra Club Books has now published a book which the New Yorker described as a "slender, handsomely illustrated distillation" of that blog. To learn more about Birding Babylon, A Soldier's Journal from Iraq, read Tom Valtin's interview with Trouren-Trend.

May 11 is Endangered Species Day!
Endangered Species DayIn April, the U.S. Senate passed a unanimous resolution in support of "Endangered Species Day" to celebrate our nation's commitment to protecting and recovering endangered species. The Endangered Species Act has been the principle tool in that effort, but that hasn't stopped opponents from attacking it.

You can help help protect the Endangered Species Act by signing our petition. When you're done, spread the word to with an Endangered Species e-card.

Momentum on Mercury
Mercury Fish GuideEarlier this month, Minnesota joined Illinois and Michigan to become the third state this year to pass stricter mercury emission standards than are required by federal law. Idaho, too, has gotten in on the act: the state just passed a two-year moratorium on building any new mercury-emitting coal-fired power plants.

This is a great step in the right direction since mercury from those coal-burning power plants falls into lakes, streams, and oceans, and concentrates in fish and shellfish. Mercury contamination is especially dangerous for women of childbearing years because mercury exposure in the womb can cause neurological damage and other health problems in children.

Do you know enough to avoid toxic mercury? Take our quiz and test your "mercury I.Q." After, find out how to download our handy pocket guide to mercury-safe fish.

Rall on Global WarmingDrowned Alive!
President Bush just keeps stalling on climate change, spewing more hot air even as the planet warms and sea levels rise. What will it take to make him face facts?

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Breathless in L.A.

Wilmington, California may be on the water, but it's no beach town. As the next-door neighbor of the Port of Los Angeles, predominantly Latino Wilmington is plagued by pollution from oil refineries and trucking and shipping traffic. Now, groups like the Wilmington Coalition for a Safe Environment are fighting back. "Breathless in L.A.," episode five of Sierra Club Chronicles, tells the story.

You can watch the show on Link TV (DIRECTV ch. 375 or DISH Network ch. 9410) on Thursday, May 11 at 8:30 pm Eastern and Pacific. Better yet, agree to host a screening and we'll send you the DVD, free. Go to for details.

Breathless in L.A.
Al Gore, Superstar?

Al Gore stars in An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary about global warming that grew out of Gore's PowerPoint presentation on the subject. Doesn't exactly have "blockbuster" written all over it, does it? But hang on a sec. Gore may have a reputation as Mr. Stiff, but as a man on a mission to educate the masses about climate change, the former veep has his star turn. The movie has earned raves from reviewers and was the runaway hit at the last Sundance Film Festival.

Watch the trailer and help raise awareness of the movie by showing up on opening weekend. A big turnout will help keep the movie in cinemas and call greater attention to the crisis facing us all.

An Inconvenient Truth


Stop Plan to Increase Logging Under Guise of Fire Protection

Oregon Representative Greg Walden (R) and Senator Gordon Smith (R) claim that their bill, H.R. 4200/S. 2079, will reduce fire risk in national forests that have already been ravaged by fires, windstorms or other natural disturbances. In fact, the legislation would allow more aggressive logging with little or no public input.

Tell your representative to oppose the Walden and Smith bills and support Representative Tom Udall's bill, instead. The latter would protect old-growth forests without compromising public safety and participation.

Protect Old-Growth Forests
Photos: "Miles to Go Before You Eat" (Lori Eanes) | Birding Babylon (Jonathan Trouren-Trend) | "Breathless in L.A" (Sierra Club Chronicles) | An Inconvenient Truth (Paramount Classics and Participant Productions)