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Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Sprawl and Population

The relationship between sprawl and growth is complex. That complexity, including factors identified by local Sierra Club entities, should be fully and meaningfully reflected in materials developed by the sprawl campaign.

Sierra Club founder John Muir said " when we try to pick out anything in the universe we find it is hitched to everything else." Thus, the actions we take on behalf of one campaign have the potential to affect our other campaigns. Ideally this synergy will result in our campaigns reinforcing and supporting each other.

The potential for this synergy is present in our Sprawl and Population campaigns. Clearly, there are many locations where the impacts of sprawl are greatly exacerbated by population growth. But sprawl is a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions, not only in regions where population is growing rapidly, but also in regions where it is not. Some places are consuming land at record rates, and yet have stable or declining populations.

The Board urges and expects both campaigns to be alert to opportunities for mutually reinforcing messages, campaign materials and efforts.

Passed by the Board of Directors, September 23, 2000.

For more information on the relationship on suburban sprawl and population, please see our report at:

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