Founded by legendary conservationist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is now the nation's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization - with more than 2.7 million members and supporters. Our successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. More recently, we've made history by leading the charge to move away from the dirty fossil fuels that cause climate disruption and toward a clean energy economy.
The Sierra Club is volunteer-driven with more than 60 chapters, spread across every U.S. state including here in Massachusetts.
This video, created for the 40th anniversary of the Massachusetts Chapter in 2010, offers interviews with ten Chapter Leaders and how the Chapter has made a difference in Massachusetts, everything from restricting development at the base of Wachusett Mountain, to the creation of the Waterfront Park on Boston Harbor, to fighting to expand the Bottle Bill, and more. The passion in their voices and their record of accomplishment brings to mind the iconic quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."--Margaret Mead
Timeline of Accomplishments
1979- Governor King passed legislation to establish inspection and maintenance program for motor vehicles in Massachusetts to include a pollution emission test, with strong lobbying by Sierra Club Massachusetts.
1980- Governor King signed legislation to facilitate and establish regulated hazardous waste facilities. A lawsuit addressed doubling of MBTA transit lines.
1981- Massachusetts Forest and Park Association Environmental Conference worked towards completing Massachusetts’s own program for hazardous wastes handling, treatment, and disposal.
1982- Massachusetts Sierra Club persuade enough legislators to change their votes and so the Massachusetts Bottle Bill was enacted. This bill requires containers of carbonated beverages to be returnable. The Massachusetts Chapter brought MBTA to court leading to legal action that upholds MEPA and leads to better T service. Club endorses Massachusetts Nuclear Referendum that requires a vote on any new nuclear power plant or nuclear waste facility in Massachusetts.
1983- The Massachusetts Sierra Club joins Massachusetts Environmental Alliance again. With strong backing from the Massachusetts Chapter and other environmental groups, the milestone bill was signed into law and Massachusetts Wildlife gets financial boost. Acid Rain Monitoring (ARM) Project with support of environmental groups and the Massachusetts Chapter analyzes and begins to monitor lakes, streams,
ponds, and reservoirs in Massachusetts.
1993- The Sierra Club’s Human Rights and Environment Campaign is established.
2000- Marc Frey is elected as Massachusetts Chapter Chair. The Conservation and Reinvestment Act is passed. Sierra Club wins injunction to stop private development of Mt. Wachusett State Park for ski resort.
2001- The Wachusett lawsuit is won after a seven year effort preventing clearcutting by private developers of Mt Wachusett Forests, an important public parkland, for new ski trails and wider existing trails. Governor Jane Swift cancels development of recreational center at the base of Mt. Greylock state reservation, a plan the Sierra club opposed for a variety of environmental and social reasons, including the destruction of mature forests and taking business away from local businesses. The Sierra Club calls for expanding the Bottle Bill to include drinks like spring water and fruit juices. Marc Frey steps down from Chapter Chair. The Sierra Club starts official campaign to save the Northern Right Whale.
2002- Mary Ann Nelson is elected chapter chair. The Chapter Program on Global Population and the Environment is created. The Massachusetts Chapter joins other organizations like the MA Audubon Society, to form the Forest and Parks Partnership- a statewide effort to improve Massachusetts’ parks and forests. The Sierra Club supports the Coonamessett River Park Coalition and the Coonamessett River Restoration Project is created.
2003- The Cape Cod group supports replacing cranberry agriculture on town-owned lands along the Coonamessett River for native vegetation as part of the Coonamessett River Restoration. The MA Supreme Judicial Court overturns a previous decision to prevent a private ski area development on 12.5 acres of forest on Mt. Wachusett State reservation. The MA Chapter supports the Campaign for Responsible Automakers, collecting hundreds of signatures to send to Ford Corporation, specifying the need for greater energy efficiency of Ford vehicles. The MA Chapter supports preserving the Alewife Reservation forest.
2004- The MA Chapter endorses John Kerry for president. The Massachusetts Chapter’s Boston Speaker series begins. The Cape Cod group reactivates the Barnstable County’s Energy Equity Program to support low-income families and elderly, especially during winter months, by providing information on fuel assistance and energy conservation.
2005- The Massachusetts Chapter helps to stop the New Bedford Airport expansion. Supporters withdrew from the controversial economic development project, saving acres of wetlands and wildlife.The Sierra Club takes action in voicing their opposition to the natural gas facilities proposed to be built for along the Massachusetts coastline, including locations such as Fall River and Gloucester. Even though construction for the Fall River facility has already been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Massachusetts Chapter continues to raise awareness about the potential damage
to be imparted on the local fishing grounds and marine sanctuaries by the facilities.
2006- Volunteers and staff work to thwart countless moves by lobbyists to get legislative approval to place an LNG facility in the Boston Harbor Island National Park. The Cool Cities Task Force attacks global warming by working to get cities and towns to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the number of Massachusetts communities who have signed on as Cool Cities to 13.