in this issue

Nature Notes
February on the Farm
EPA Petition
Save Forever Wild
Outings and Events

Your Land and Mine

Book Review: Since its founding in 1892, the Sierra Club membership has included many dedicated and effective conservationists, and certainly physician Edgar Wayburn deserves a special place in this group. Beginning in the 1940s physician Wayburn devoted "more than the next half century of [his] life to saving wilderness." Among the lands he had a major part in preserving were Mount Tamalpais State Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California. His efforts, over almost two decades, lead to protection of California's redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) by establishing Redwood National Park. He also lead the fight to protect more than 100 million acres of lands in Alaska. His wife Peggy, who was also devoted to outings and conservation, "quickly embraced the ideas of the Sierra Club and became active in several campaigns."
In his 2004 book, Your Land and Mine (Sierra Club Books), Wayburn stated: "For me, conservation has been a compulsion; I acted because I felt I must. Ultimately, the our Land and Mineexplanation for such life decisions lies beyond reason. Simply put, however, I feel that protecting wildness is absolutely necessary. . . . In preserving wildness, we not only recognize our place in the chain of life, but we also invite ourselves to reach, to explore, to wonder, and to make a difference."

Those who are motivated to act positively for Planet Earth, can profit from the following abridged list of Wayburn's conservation "rules."

submitted by David Newton

February 2010

Protect Forever Wild

The position of the Protect Forever Wild Coalition:

Forever Wild should be reauthorized in its current form because of the success it has accomplished in preserving public lands in Alabama for future generations and the overwhelming public support it has continued to receive since it was approved by 83% of Alabamians in 1992. Two letters - one signed by Rep. Richard Lindsey to all house members and the same letter signed by Sen. Roger Bedford to all senate members - are asking for the consideration of a "Conserve Alabama" amendment, while also asking that no member commit to the reauthorization of Forever Wild. more>>>

Environmental groups call for EPA to take away state’s authority over water permitting program

from the Alabama Rivers Alliance
Birmingham, AL—Fourteen Alabama environmental organizations (list attached), led by the Alabama Rivers Alliance have officially filed a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the state’s authority over Alabama’s water pollution permitting program because it does not meet the minimum requirements of the Clean Water Act. 

“The water pollution permitting program administered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) is fundamentally broken and does not meet minimum federal standards,” stated Alabama Rivers Alliance Program Director Mitch Reid. “This failure is a systemic, statewide problem. From funding to implementation to enforcement, the failures of the current system are leaving the citizens and environment of Alabama unprotected.”

The water pollution permitting program, known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a part of the federal Clean Water Act. Each state is required to implement at least the minimum standards required in the federal law. more>>>

Nature Notes: Only You Can...

by John Ackerman
The famous adage from the Forest Service imploring that “Only you can prevent forest fires” was especially effective when Smoky the Bear made the pitch. Yet the first three words of that famous statement are very applicable to the predicament we find environmentalism in today. Our Sierra Club and other environmental organizations are losing members, money, and movement. We are shrinking, shirking, and sliding into irrelevancy. But there is hope and this hope is Blue and it is you.

The smash hit movie “Avatar” provides a snapshot of what has been occurring all around our blue and green world. The central plot revolves around ravenous, heartless, greedy companies running roughshod over indigenous populations in pursuit of rare natural resources and untold riches. The story unfolds on a make-believe world called Pandora full of wondrous plants, animals, and blue human-like creatures. more>>>

Outings

Don't miss a chance to really get outside, meet like-minded folks and reconnect with old friends. Come join us on the trail, in the water or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>

February on the Farm

October on the Farm: Vineyards in Alabamaby Peggie Griffin
My fondest garden memory from childhood is following my mom to the garden and helping to pick the English peas – then going inside to shell the peas. I’m not sure how much help I was though, as many of the peas went into my mouth.
There’s nothing that tastes more like springtime than that freshly picked, raw English pea!

If you’re itching to get out in the garden, English peas can be planted now! There is a good article on growing English peas in the February/March issue of Organic Gardening. more>>>

Notes from Around Alabama's Sierra Club Groups

Coosa Valley Notes: We had a wonderful time at our Christmas party in December.  There were some fantastic healthy choices on the menu.  When someone says “healthy choices” people usually think, “Ugh, rabbit food.”  Not at this event!  We had the most delicious walnut loaf made by Peggie Griffin which resembled meat loaf but was so much better.  There was a mouth watering lentil casserole and even a low calorie, high fiber sweet potato chocolate cake.  Hope you didn’t miss it. 

After dinner we played our version of “Dirty Santa”.  While this may evoke disturbing images to some, it is simply a game where we get to steal the best presents back and forth.  The gifts this year were amazing.  There was a complete set of origami Christmas ornaments made by one of the members and an entire quart of honey.  Other gifts included home pickled and home made treats.  We all had to make ourselves go home at the end of the evening!  It was a very Merry Christmas!