We devote part of this issue to our issues, like keeping the Endangered Species Act strong and the rest to our vision for the next five years and the new organizational structure that will help us achieve that vision.

We've also committing ourselves to post at least one new feature or story on the Planet home page every week. So come on by. No need to call.

--John Byrne Barry, managing editor, the Planet

Stitch and Bitch About Exxon

Why the Endangered Species Act Works--and Why We Need to Keep It Strong

Discharge sick patients from the hospital before they've recovered? Sound like bad medicine, but that's what Congressman Richard Pombo is proposing in his changes to the Endangered Species Act, which passed the House last fall. Pombo claims the act is like "a failed managed care program that checks species in but never checks them out." But the Endangered Species Act works -- it's prevented the extinction of 99 percent of all species ever listed under its protections. What's more, it has enabled once-endangered species like the American alligator and peregrine falcon to recover.

But it only works if we let it work, and Pombo's legislation would "gut" the act. In fact, it's "all about funneling taxpayer subsidies to big developers," according to the Sierra Club's Bart Semcer. MORE

Tell Exxon It's Time to Pay the Valdez Settlement

Sierra Club's New TV Series Exposes Exxon

Sierra Club Chronicles -- our new monthly TV series -- takes on Exxon, and you can too when you host a house party. In January, ExxonMobil announced a record-breaking annual profit. Yet the world's largest oil company has yet to pay a penny in the damages owed to the Alaskan fishermen from the Exxon Valdez oil spill almost 17 years ago. After a January hearing at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the fishermen are awaiting a decision about whether the 30,000 plaintiffs affected by the spill will get the $4.5 billion in punitive damages they were awarded.

Help send Exxon a message. Host a house party on Friday, March 24 -- the anniversary of the spill -- to screen the episode, "The Day the Water Died." After watching the episode, you can host a discussion and take action through our Web site. You can even call-in toll free to listen to Sierra Club's Alaska Representative and special guests provide more background on the fight with Exxon. For details on hosting a house party, like the recent "Stitch and Bitch" in Atlanta and to order your free DVD, go to www.sierraclubtv.org.

Largest-Ever Mercury Study Finds One in Five Women With Dangerous Levels

Direct Relationship Found Between Mercury Levels and Fish Consumption

Researchers in North Carolina released results in February of the nation's largest study ever on the effects of mercury on the U.S. population. It analyzed hair samples from more than 6,600 women representing all 50 states and found that one in five women of childbearing age exceeded the EPA's recommended limit.

The hair samples came from public mercury-testing events sponsored by the Sierra Club and Greenpeace and individuals who ordered testing kits online and mailed a couple inches of hair to the lab. The samples were analyzed by Dr. Steve Patch and fellow researchers at the Environmental Quality Institute at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. "We found the greatest single factor influencing mercury exposure was the frequency of fish consumption," says Dr. Patch. He found a direct relationship between people's mercury levels and the amount of fish they consumed.

Find out more about mercury contamination and which fish are most likely to be contaminated.

more stories

Stop the North Shore Road Through the Great Smokies
The Sierra Club fights a proposed road through the largest tract of undeveloped mountain forest in the eastern United States.

The 'New, Improved' Sierra Club*
*with 20 percent more renewable energy and half the pollution
Where we're going in the next five years and how we get there

Structure of Leadership in the Sierra Club
Sure, it may look like a bureacracy where we're all in our own boxes, but we like to think of it as community. (pdf)

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