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In This Issue of the Sierra Club Insider:
Top Five Green Cities
Eye to Eye with a Humpback (Audio Excerpt Included)
Supreme Court Ruling Weakens Clean Water Protections
Who Killed the Electric Car? -- New Cartoon!
BlogWatch: A Blog to Embrace
EXPLORE: Sewage Stories
ENJOY: Got Questions? Umbra's Got Answers.
PROTECT: Congress Votes On Offshore Drilling This Week
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Sierra Club Insider June 27, 2006
Top Five Green Cities
NYC's Central ParkCities across the country once competed to see who could build the tallest high rises. Now they're scrapping over who's the greenest. The mayors of Austin, TX, Chicago, and Los Angeles have each declared their city will be the most environmentally friendly. San Francisco and Columbus, OH, both claim to be working on the nation's largest green building. Even Charlotte, NC, a fast-growing, pro-business, new South city, has gotten into the mix, with pedestrian-friendly development, a city fleet of hybrid cars, and an ambitious plan to clean up and refurbish old industrial sites.

See Sierra magazine's "Green Streets" to learn more about the "Top Five Green Cities." Is your city not on the list? You can help. Check out our Cool Cities campaign and see how you can nudge your city into the top five.

Eye to Eye with a Humpback
humpback whaleShortly after dawn, in the calm Au'au Channel between Maui and Lanai, wildlife biologist Douglas Chadwick watched a colleague lower a hydrophone over the side of the boat so they could listen to a humpback singing, and then followed his guide into the Pacific, where he found himself treading water less than a yard from the nose of a curious and garrulous forty-ton leviathan. So began his first "interview with a whale."

The just-published book that resulted, The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye with Whales, includes detailed portraits of five whale species that represent a cross-section of the forms and lifestyles of cetaceans worldwide -- the humpback, northern bottlenose, blue whale, minke whale, and orca. You can hear Chadwick read from his book and discuss why he chose to write about whales (and how little we still know about them) in this free audio excerpt.

An Insider Deal
The Grandest of Lives: Eye to Eye with Whales has a regular retail price of $24.95, but Insider subscribers can buy it for a special price of $19.96 by using the special offer code "INSIDER" when ordering online.

Supreme Court Ruling Weakens Clean Water Protections
Almost 35 years ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to protect our lakes, rivers, tributaries, and wetlands from pollution. But now the landmark legislation responsible for cleaning up our water is in jeopardy.

Clean Water ActA recent Supreme Court ruling threatens the federal government's power to enforce the Clean Water Act and puts more than half of America's river miles at risk by making it harder for agencies to determine what bodies of water qualify for protection.

This ruling puts enforcement of the Clean Water Act on a case-by-case basis that works in favor of polluters. Additionally, this ruling will undoubtedly slow protective action and lead to endless administrative proceedings and multiple legal challenges in the courts.

We need your help to safeguard vital clean water protections from the anti-environmental direction of the Supreme Court.

That's why we are asking you to support our efforts to ensure that Congress passes the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act (HR. 1356 & S. 912), and help us reaffirm the broadest possible protections for our nation's waters.

We can protect our nation's lakes, rivers and wetlands -- but only with your help.

Donate Now

Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car?It's hard to imagine a world where $5 could completely fill a car up, where driving could cause no harm to air and lungs, where an addiction to fossil fuels could be cured... For six years, thousands of electric vehicle drivers in California lived in such a world. Now, virtually all of those cars are gone. What happened?

This summer, you'll be able to find out by going to see Who Killed the Electric Car?, a documentary feature from filmmaker Chris Paine.

"As we put the whole chain of events together, I realized our tale was a lot more than just a car story," says Paine. "It demonstrated why America is having such a tough time getting out of the 20th century and breaking its addiction to gasoline."

For theater listings and to view the trailer and more, go to:

Ted RallMaybe It Was These Guys?
Perhaps General Motors killed the electric car as part of a master business plan that would enable it ultimately to end up paying part of the fuel bill for some of its customers? What other crazy plans might automakers have for keeping gas guzzler sales up? Cartoonist Ted Rall has some ideas.

BlogWatch: A Blog to Embrace
HuggFrom the same people who brought you Treehugger comes a new eco-blog called Hugg. Hugg taps into the power of user-generated content by inviting readers not only to comment on but also to post environmental stories, which get queued up for review by other registered readers. Those readers may in turn choose to "hugg" a story, and the stories with the most "huggs" eventually become front page news. Hugg is still in beta, so not all the kinks are worked out yet; that said, it's off to a promising start.

Not a Club Member? Join Now and Help Protect Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Preserve the Places You Love

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Sewage Stories

When we think of water pollution, we tend to think of toxic chemicals, like PCBs or mercury. But the most common threat to the health of waters across the United States is nutrient pollution -- from animal waste, fertilizers, storm water runoff and, yes, human sewage. Every year, millions of Americans get sick from contact with inadequately treated sewage that ends up in water they swim in or drink. But in communities from coast to coast -- and beyond, in Hawaii -- Sierra Club volunteers and staff are fighting sewage overflows with postcards, billboards, videos, and old-fashioned community pressure. Check out "Sewage 101" and our colorful infographic "How Nutrients Poison Waterways."

Sewage Infographic
Got Questions? Umbra's Got Answers.

Ever stumped on how to convince a particular friend that global warming truly is a problem, or a little skeptical that the chicken you're cookin' up is really "free range," or perhaps worried how much damage the weed-killer your husband just sprayed on the lawn is going to do to your kids and the family dog?

Well, wonder no more. Umbra over at Grist has the answers. Check out her answers to various environmental questions and, while you're there, sign up to receive an email whenever a new "Ask Umbra" column comes out.

Ask Umbra


Congress Votes on Offshore Drilling This Week

Congress is expected to vote on an offshore drilling bill Thursday. The bill, sponsored by Big Oil ally Richard Pombo (R-CA), completely revokes the 25-year moratorium on drilling, makes states fight to regain their coastal protections, and won't address America's energy needs. Call your Representatives TODAY and urge them to oppose the Pombo offshore drilling bill!

Offshore Drilling
Photos: Who Killed the Electric Car? (Sony Classic Pictures) | Cartoon (Ted Rall) | Sewage Infographic (Tim Lesle) | Umbra (Grist)