Smart, Safe, Clean Energy Future Top Goal
by Bruce Hamilton
In November, the Sierra Club Board of Directors, taking its cue from the 765 Sierra Summit delegates who met in September, declared that the Club’s top goal in the next five years is to “advance a smart, safe, clean energy future in the next decade.”
The board approved a new set of three conservation initiatives for 2006-2010—Smart Energy Solutions, America’s Wild Legacy, and Safe and Healthy Communities.
At the Summit in September, the delegates voted “building a new energy future” as the top grassroots priority. While focusing on energy marks a significant change for an organization founded to protect public lands and wilderness, in fact, the greatest threat to wildlands these days comes from energy extraction such as oil drilling and coal mining.
The Club’s direction-setting processes started early in 2005 with a survey of chapters, groups, national committees, strategy teams, and staff, and then, before and during the Summit, deliberation and voting by delegates representing all levels of the Club. The Conservation Governance Committee and other relevant governance committees then reviewed and distilled the direction-setting results, and submitted their recommendation to the board. (For more, see “Sierra Summit Soars.”)
Executive Director Carl Pope noted at the conclusion of the process that the board acted with a clear understanding that “the Club’s major challenge for the next several years is not to influence short-term environmental policy, but to shape long term public sentiments and to regain power for environmental values.”
This agenda reflects the need for the Club to rebuild its influence. We do not expect to see major federal policy shifts in the next few years, given the anti-environmental leadership in the White House and the Congress and the growing anti-environmental slant of the federal courts.
The board also ratified the delegates’ picks for “capacities” to develop in order to build power and deliver conservation victories: (1) seek new allies and build coalitions, (2) create media visibility, (3) connect and build our communities to take action together, and (4) enlist public support by framing our messages around solutions.
In December, the Conservation Governance Committee appointed volunteers and staff to three Conservation Initiative Committees to oversee the new initiatives and develop more specific work plans. These new committees want to work with chapters and groups to develop programs that will help promote our agenda at the local, state, federal and international level. Please contact the chair or staff leader (just click on the underlined names below) if you have ideas or questions.
Smart Energy Solutions Committee members are:
Assigned staff include Dave Hamilton (Washington, D.C., voting member), Bruce Nilles (Wisconsin), and Melinda Pierce (Washington, D.C.). Paul Craig is the liaison from the Sustainable Planet Strategy Team, Dave Scott the liaison from the CGC.
Assigned staff are Ed Hopkins (Washington, D.C., voting member), Anne Woiwode (Michigan), and Emily Green (Wisconsin). Elaine Geissel is the liaison from Environmental Quality Strategy Team, Doris Cellarius the liaison from the CGC. A chair will be appointed by CGC.
America’s Wild Legacy Committee members are:
Assigned staff are Maribeth Oakes (Washington, D.C., voting member), Kathryn Hohmann (Montana), and Lyndsay Moseley (Partnerships Program, Washington, D.C.). Sharon Stephens is the liaison from the Wild Planet Strategy Team, Rene Voss the liaison from the CGC.
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