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Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Urban Environment

The Sierra Club is vitally concerned that the urban environment, in which a majority of this country's residents and a majority of our members live, be healthy and stimulating since the physical state of a city reflects the well-being of its people. The Sierra Club is also concerned that urban areas, which consume the majority of our resources, be highly efficient and non-polluting so as to minimize our impacts upon this planet's resources and environment.

Therefore, the Sierra Club urges planning and policies which stimulate:

Conservation of Open Space

  1. Preservation of hills, coasts, wetlands, other outlying natural areas and agricultural lands by zoning, curbing suburban highway development, control of municipal services and other devices to eliminate "leap-frog" sprawl.
  2. Abundant, convenient public open spaces, including parks, playgrounds and natural "unimproved" areas.
  3. "Infill" residential and commercial development on unused or under-used land within city boundaries and already served with streets, water, sewer and other public services, but excluding parks, park-like lands, agricultural lands, and sensitive and hazardous areas.
  4. Opening up of waterfronts to public access and use.

Protection and Enhancement of the Quality of Urban Life

  1. Protection and enhancement of the quality of urban life by preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage.
  2. Preservation and revitalization of urban neighborhoods, with residents protected from unreasonable economic and physical disruption; rehabilitation of housing and community facilities; jobs creation; a safe and healthy workplace environment; and elimination of "redlining" practices.
  3. Attractive, compact and efficient urban areas; with densities and mixtures of uses that encourage walking and transit use, and encourage more efficient use of private autos in balance with other transportation modes.

Conservation of the Urban Infrastructure

  1. Upkeep and improvement of the urban infrastructure, including water supplies, sewage, rail systems and waterfronts.
  2. Improvement of transit systems, including operating and capital subsidies where necessary to maintain reasonable fares and safe, frequent service.

Wise Use of Resources and Safe Disposal of Waste

  1. Energy- and material-efficient residential and commercial buildings and water-conserving development.
  2. Incentives for reducing the generation of solid waste and for promoting recycling of materials.
  3. Management of toxic and hazardous materials to decrease their use and to assure that public health and the environment are fully protected from any releases to air, water or land (during manufacture, use, storage, transport or disposal).
  4. Full public disclosure of the uses, emissions, and potential effects of all hazardous and toxic materials.

These development patterns and transit improvements would conserve energy, water, land and building materials while enhancing the pleasure and safety of urban life and reducing travel distances. This and the control of toxic substances would improve air and water quality and make better use of existing urban infrastructure. Additionally, these patterns would reduce developments in forest lands, on coasts, in coastal wetlands, and other natural areas.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, February 1, 1986


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