Happy New Year and welcome to our 2005-2006 year-in-review/year-in-preview of the Planet. We're celebrating 16 examples of "what we do best" in the Sierra Club.

For example, we profile Lisa Hellman of Orange County's Inner City Outings group, who led more than half the group's outings for more than two years and now is hard at work recruiting and training new leaders so the program's success doesn't depend on her. See "Why Live If You Don't Have Something to Struggle For?"

And then there's Emily Duncanson, a Seattle-area high school student who's not old enough to vote, but helped persuade her congressman, a moderate Republican, to stand up for the Arctic Refuge. See "Hey, I Can Do This."

You can see all these stories and more on the Planet home page. And don't forget that you can find updated news and features at sierraclub.org. We welcome your feedback.

- John Byrne Barry, managing editor, the Planet

Polar Bear Sightings
in the Lower 48

A Look Back at 2005

Big Easy to Beltway:
Where's the Beef

Faces of the Sierra Club

Getting Somewhere on Alaska's 'Bridges to Nowhere'

Trimming the Fat on Congressional Pork

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but try telling that to Representative Don Young and Senator Lisa Murkowski, whose now-infamous "Bridges to Nowhere" have become embarrassing examples of fiscally irresponsible pork-barrel spending projects. The Sierra Club helped make these boondoggles into household names -- more Americans now have heard of "Bridges to Nowhere" than know the name of their own representative in Congress. MORE

How the Arctic Refuge Was Saved (For Now)

With members in every congressional district in the nation, the Sierra Club picks its targets and focuses its resources where they're needed most. (Polar bears are optional.)

Polar bears have been spotted all over the Lower 48 -- in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, and New York -- outside congressional offices mostly, sometimes carrying holding signs that say "save my home."

Though seemingly everywhere, the bears have been seen mostly in those states and districts represented by Republican moderates, who, in November, forced the House of Representatives leadership to strip Arctic Refuge drilling from the budget reconciliation bill. A big victory, for the moment. A round of applause, please, for those Republican moderates who stood up to protect the Arctic Refuge and our coasts.

But the bear is only the tip of the iceberg, a costumed manifestation of a concerted and coordinated groundswell in support of the Arctic Refuge. MORE

I Can Smell For Miles and Miles

Tours de Stench show decision-makers how factory farming stinks

Ah, western Kentucky -- rolling farmlands, lush hardwood forests, the mighty Ohio River, mountains of chicken poop...that's right, thanks to the recent invasion of factory farming, courtesy of Tyson, Perdue, and their ilk. But locals are fighting back. With the Sierra Club's help, events like the "Tour de Stench" are shining the light on factory farming's dark side. MORE

more stories

First, Build a New Energy Future
At the Sierra Summit, 765 delegates chose energy as the top grassroots priority and in November, the Board of Directors approved a new set of conservation initiatives with "Smart Energy Solutions" as the top priority.

Building Environmental Community One Canyon at a Time
While fighting for wild places in their back yards, San Diegans are getting to know their neighbors.

Sierra Summit Soars
The Summit wasn't just a success because it inspired and energized thousands of leaders and activists, but because it brought together delegates from almost every chapter and group to deliberate on the Club's future and integrate local action with national purpose.

PLANET HOME PAGE -- updated news and features