Despite strong affinities, labor and environmental groups have a history of butting heads. In June, however, the Sierra Club—the nation’s largest grassroots environmental group —and United Steelworkers—the largest manufacturing union in America—put aside any differences to forge a new “Blue/Green Alliance” aimed at, in the words of Steelworkers’ chief Leo Gerard, blowing up "the myth that you can't have a clean environment and good jobs."
Working together, the two groups, which claim a combined membership of more than 1.5 million, hope to reach a broader cross-section of Americans than either could alone. Among the goals of the new progressive coalition: ratification of the Kyoto Treaty, the adoption of higher vehicle fuel economy standards, and stronger environmental and worker protections in international trade agreements.
New Club Board of Directors Elected
This spring, Sierra Club members elected five of their peers to the Board of Directors: Bernie Zaleha of Boise, Idaho; Marilyn Wall of Cincinnati, Ohio; Rafael Reyes of San Mateo, California; Robin Mann of Rosemont, Pennsylvania; and Ellen Pillard of Reno, Nevada. The Board officers for 2006 are Lisa Renstrom, president; Jan O’Connell, vice president; Jim Dougherty, secretary; Joni Bosh, treasurer; Barbara Frank, fifth officer; and Greg Casini, vice president, administration.
More than 100,000 people who lost their homes in Katrina are now housed in FEMA trailers in Mississippi and Louisiana. But recent tests by the Sierra Club of the trailers’ air quality show high levels of formaldehyde, exceeding the maximum safety limit recommended by the EPA and the American Lung Association.
Of 31 trailers tested, only two were at or below the recommended levels, and several were three times over the limit.
The A–Z of Hurricanes
With the arrival of the 2006 hurricane season comes a new report by the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network that asks if we’ve learned the lessons of the past, and whether we’re prepared for future storms. You can read “The School of Big Storms: The High Cost of Compromising Our Natural Defenses and the Benefits of Protecting Them” at sierraclub.org/planet/bigstorm.pdf.
Hummer H1 Decommissioned
The original mass-produced, street-legal Hummer is being put to pasture by its manufacturer, General Motors. “It’s one thing if it’s carrying soldiers to and from a fight,” Dan Becker, the Sierra Club’s fuel-efficiency expert, told the New York Times. “It’s another if it’s hauling lattes home from Starbucks.” The Times states, “With diesel fuel prices around $3 a gallon, it costs more than $150 to fill up the H1’s two gas tanks, which together hold 51.5 gallons.” Two other models are still available, the H2 and H3. (Check out the Sierra Club’s hummerdinger.com to learn more.)
Marines photo by Maribeth Oakes; Mercury Mariner photo courtesy Ford Motor Company; caribou photo by Ken Whitten; illustration by Timothy Lesle
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