Sierra Club Sellout Worse Than Ever

[The Story So Far:


Democratic caucus member
Brenda Walker
observed the Sierra Club`s drift from genuine
environmentalism from the inside, as a member starting
in 1984. In the late 1990s, she became involved with a
reform group, known initially as Sierrans for U.S.
Population Stabilization (
For her concern, particularly her

tough reports
in, she was castigated as an
evil outsider and

threatened with a Stalinesque expulsion
from the

Though she recently
re-registered as a Republican, in order to vote for
patriotic immigration reformer Duncan Hunter in the
California Presidential primary, she assures Sierra Club
Central that she is still the same tree-hugging defender
of borders as ever.


The top organization allegedly protecting America`s

magnificent natural heritage

vital resources
does nothing of the kind.


Sierra Club
has evolved from being a nonpartisan
defender of US land, water and wildlife to being
left-wing globalists in

plaid shirts and hiking boots,
crippled by a failed
ideology of progressive utopianism and a leadership
increasingly corrupted by money and power.

That`s bad news for our planetary home, which needs all
the help it can get right now. Even if you discount the
idea of climate change, the problems of pollution and
resource overuse are

becoming extreme

  • The

    Great Pacific Garbage Patch
    is particularly
    repellant. It`s a noxious floating stew of mostly
    plastic trash that has accumulated somewhere between
    California and Hawaii, is twice the size of Texas and
    weighs 3.5 million tons. There`s so much that

    cleaning it up
     "isn`t an

  • Improved technology has spawned a level of environmental
    destruction unimaginable just a few decades ago. Thus
    factory fishing has caused the


    `s Grand Banks off Canada`s east coast,
    once the

    richest fishing grounds on earth.
    Now the cod have
    been wiped out with no sign of when, if ever, they will

But Establishment environmental awareness is oddly
selective nowadays. There`s hyper-concern with

climate change
in the media. But there`s almost no
attention given to other issues that are more immediate,
e.g. the

loss of a fishery
that was a major food source.

As a result of ignoring the central issue of
overpopulation, both global and domestic, the Sierra
Club has painted itself into an intellectual corner: It

ever-stricter controls on consumption
—but increased

population growth
quickly wipes out any advantage
gained by reducing resource consumption.

The Sierra Club favors an expanded nanny state to cope
with rapidly expanding population and its effects. But,
as author Isaac Asimov

, "Democracy cannot survive
overpopulation… The more people there are the less one
individual matters."

Sierra Club Executive Director

Carl Pope

bragged on his blog
about his recent trip to India,
which included dispensing a cash prize—a new annual
award of $100,000 to be given to an Indian organization
creating green livelihoods. The Sierra Club is

developing its own foreign policy.
Pope is spreading
money around like some

Chicago ward politician
looking for votes and

That comparison is all too inappropriate. Recent actions
from the Sierra Club`s home office show a disturbing
uptick in Pope`s pursuit of power by suppressing
democracy within the organization.


Sierra Club
has a membership of 1.3 million. Most
are not engaged in its internal politics. They
participate in the organization`s many activities,
ranging from hikes and local habitat restoration to

political action.
The Arizona Chapter has people
getting active on

right-of-way law
s, the

Arizona Game and Fish Commission
, and

many extremely boring legislative issues
, but
nothing at all about the

biggest threat to Arizona`s environment.

There is a yearly Board election where one-third of the
15 Directors are chosen. It has been a point of pride
that the Sierra Club is a rare non-profit organization
that has some degree of membership influence—at least on

But even that pretense of democracy is increasingly
battered. One sign of things to come

occurred in 1999
, when Sierra management sought to
make referenda more difficult by more than doubling the
number of petition signatures required to place an issue
before the membership in the annual elections. The
effort followed a bitterly fought ballot initiative in
1998 around the idea that immoderate immigration poses
an environmental threat to the United States. (But the
proposed changes to bylaws that would have lessened

went down to defeat

Pope and his management cronies have moved to
consolidate power in several instances. Even
"establishment types were horrified"
at Pope`s
arrogance, according to one plugged-in member.

  • Project Renewal
    was launched in February to replace
    local committees with management-chosen activists who
    are presumably good at doing what they`re told. [PDF]Such
    a basic restructure of power violates the whole
    foundation upon which many hard-working volunteers have
    participated for years. At recent count, 26 chapters had
    voted against Project Renewal.

  • The Sierra Club agreed to endorse Clorox`s new

    Green Works
    cleaning products—for an undisclosed
    sum. This is the first product endorsement ever in the


Executive Director Pope was quoted defended his decision
in the New York Times [Clorox
Courts Sierra Club, and a Product Is Endorsed
by Felicity Barringer, March 26]:

" `I won`t pretend it`s not internally controversial; it
is. But we decided it was more important to try to
create this marketplace` than to keep the peace.

“The major task, he said, was ensuring that the
products` ingredients met the Sierra Club`s requirements
for being called `natural`, a term that has no federally
approved definition when it comes to cleaning products.”

There is big money for product endorsements in today`s

green marketplace
. In March, the Audubon Society
signed a deal with Toyota worth $20 million to

"fund conservation projects"
. readers know that this latest Sierra
money-grubbing episode is not the first. In 2005, I

an LA Times story explaining the
reason for Carl Pope`s surprisingly shrill response
beginning with the 1998 Club election where mass
immigration considered by the membership. It said in

“[Hedge fund entrepreneur] David Gelbaum insisted that
he played no role in the election. He dismissed
allegations that he is calling the shots at the club in
any other way.

" `None of that is true," he said. `I`m not some
Svengali. I`m not that engaged.`

“But he said Pope long had known where he stood on the
contentious issue. `I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995
that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would
never get a dollar from me.`

“Gelbaum, who reads the Spanish-language newspaper La
and is married to a Mexican American, said
his views on immigration were shaped long ago by his
grandfather, Abraham, a watchmaker who had come to
America to

escape persecution of Jews in Ukraine
before World
War I.

"`I cannot support an organization that is
anti-immigration. It would

dishonor the memory
of my grandparents.` "

Man Behind the Land
, By Kenneth R. Weiss, Los
Angeles Times
, Oct 27, 2004]

After putting the atavistic anti-American impulses of a
wealthy plutocrat
above America`s environment, the
Sierra Club received over $100 million from him. To
protect the secret as they pursued more money, Pope and
his henchmen

accused insurgents of being racists
for advocating
the same position that had been the Club`s official
policy in 1989:

"Immigration to the U.S. should be no greater than
that which will permit achievement of population
stabilization in the U.S."

So the Clorox arrangement had its precedent. What`s the
big deal about a little product endorsement when Sierra
management has already demonstrated it can be bought?
Show Carl the money!

The Clorox deal did cause an uproar within the Sierra
Club. The controversy was apparently responsible for the
suspension of the entire Florida chapter:

biggest environmental group in the US has expelled the
leaders of its Florida chapter weeks after the local
activists accused the group`s directors of selling out
in a corporate endorsement deal with a bleach

Sierra will receive a portion of the sales from the new
Clorox products, called Green Works and made from mostly
plant-based ingredients.

“However, Clorox has a history of being hit with
environmental violations for its less green products –
in December, just before Sierra agreed to its
endorsement, the company was fined $95,000 by the US
government for donating illegal Chinese pesticides to
environmental group expels Florida chapter amid
endorsement row
, By Elana Schor, Guardian,
UK, April 7 2008. ]

Bad luck in timing there. But more importantly, what a
tawdry spectacle to see a once-honorable organization
selling the good name that took a century to build. And
it gets worse:

“In addition, the Sierra executive director sent a
letter to activists saying the Green Works cleaners
`have been vetted by` the group`s

committee, suggesting official approval was

“However, Jessica Frohman, who chairs the Toxics
committee, said it did not officially sign off on the
products. `I don`t want people to think we approved this
when we did not,` she said.

“After the Floridians` removal, leaders of other state
Sierra chapters got a letter from national president
Robert Cox
] warning them not to `seek public media
coverage` of the fight using the group`s name.”



John Muir
founded the Sierra Club in 1892 with other
friends of wilderness "to make the mountains glad."

Sadly, today`s Sierra Club is

welcoming foreigners
who have no such love of
nature, but show their

for America and its natural heritage by

the border areas with

piles of garbage
as they

enter illegally
from California to Texas.

John Muir would be disgusted by

what the Sierra Club has become.

Brenda Walker (email
her) lives in Northern California and publishes
two websites,
Her Sierra Club membership is
currently in self-imposed suspended animation.