Conservation Policies

The Sierra Club Board of Directors establishes conservation policy for the entire Sierra Club.

National policy is high level and succinct. Chapters are empowered to develop more detailed positions that apply to specific situations within their geographic boundaries as long they are consistent with national policy. When California chapters find themselves facing a conservation issue that encompasses more than their chapter, the conservation policy must be determined by the CNRCC. Having one California policy maintains consistency between chapters and provides direction to Sierra Club California advocacy staff and California Legislative Committee, who decide Sierra Club California’s position on legislation.

Understand National Sierra Club Conservation Policy

Before chapter leaders take a position on a local conservation issue, they should first understand relevant Sierra Club conservation policy. The policy will be more general than the specific chapter situation, which provides the chapter activists flexibility in interpreting the policy. If you are not sure whether existing policy covers your situation, consult with the Sierra Club Vice President of Conservation. 

Often more than one conservation policy is involved.  For example, a proposed solar installation might involve energy, endangered species, and wilderness policy.  The chapter should consider the involved policy as it occurs it their situation, and take a stand.

Research Existing CNRCC Conservation Policy

Next the chapter leadership will want to find out whether the CNRCC has taken a position on the conservation issue or a relevant issue. It is important for all California chapters to have the same position on statewide issues such as twin tunnels or high speed rail or parking. 

You can find out what CNRCC positions have been taken by consulting the Resolutions Summary Matrix.  

Create New National Sierra Club Conservation Policy

A chapter may want to modify existing national conservation policy or create new policy. For example, a few years ago California forest activists urged the Board to modify the End Commercial Logging policy. Various activists testified and the policy was changed. 

If that situation were to arise now, the activists would need to justify why new policy is needed.  If it were decided that new policy is needed, a task force would be formed to draft policy, solicit comments, and write the final language for the new policy.  The final language must then be approved by the Board of Directors.

Create New State Conservation Policy

New state conservation policy is created by the CNRCC at one of their four annual meetings. New policy is especially useful when staff or advocates want to take a public position or action.  Approximately two month prior to each CNRCC general meeting, the chapter ExCom or CNRCC issue committee should submit a formal resolution to the CNRCC chair or one of the vice chairs using the CNRCC template <here>.  Instructions on how to fill out the form can be found <here>.