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The Planet
Natural Resources:
What Was Your First Action as an Activist?

Editor's Note: This Q&A feature is a combination of how-to tips and activist experiences. Sometimes we'll consult an expert in the field; other times we'll solicit expert advice from our readers.

"I testified at the hearings for what became the 'Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness' held by former Idaho Sen. Frank Church in Salmon. Outside the auditorium, there were logging trucks decked out with anti-wilderness banners; inside, loggers and other extraction-minded folks heckled pro-wilderness speakers. It was intimidating, but I and many others testified in favor of official wilderness designation for this wondrous piece of our planet. Today, when I hike in this nearly pristine country, I thank Frank Church and the many individuals who kept it wild."
- Rob Jones, Utah Chapter

"I stood at the entrance of the auditorium in Chicago where the 'Our Underwater World' festival was being held and gathered names on a Sierra Club petition to oust Secretary of the Interior James Watt. In no time I got about 130 signatures, which were hand-carried to Washington along with over one million others. How proud I was!"
- Geza Csapo, Hoosier (Indiana) Chapter

"I was the youngest of three children. My mother always bought plastic disposable cups for us so she wouldn't have to wash glasses constantly. At ten, I noticed our garbage can would fill up fast. This was during the infamous days of the New York garbage barge, and I worried we were making the problem worse. So I bugged my mom every day to stop buying disposable cups, telling her that I would even wash the glasses myself. Eventually, she relented. Every journey begins with one step."
- Stephanie Argamaso, Atlantic (New York) Chapter

"While living in Park City, Utah, in the late 1980s, I went to Salt Lake City to speak in support of designating more BLM wilderness than the Utah legislature had proposed. After waiting all day my turn at the podium finally came and I spoke right after the governor. I was on TV that evening! It was such a rewarding day."
- Shirley Phillips, Capitol Group, North Carolina Chapter


Want to contribute?

Send us your answers to the following questions for upcoming issues: How do you avoid burnout? Who is your hero or role model in the environmental movement? To share good advice or stories, send them to "Natural Resources," The Planet, Sierra Club, 85 Second St., Second Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94105 or planet@sierraclub.org.

Deadline: June 15


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