Sierra Club Outings
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The Oil Slick
By David Underhill
Mobile Bay Sierra Club
(editor's note: David wrote this article in late April, before much of the information we now know was available. The slick has reached shore in some spots, and the offshore consequences are just beginning to be talked about, even now. And still, the consequences are still beyond comprehension.)
Dangers of unknown size and character send you ricocheting between complacency and alarmist panic. If attempts succeed to shut the leaking oil well’s valve, or if the magical dome manages to contain the spew on the seafloor, then the life of the waters and the shores will be largely spared, and the greatest tragedy of the BP blowout will be the eleven lives lost on the burned, sunken rig. But if the crude geyser continues erupting for months—apparently a genuine possibility—then consequences could follow that are literally beyond comprehension.
We stand near the mouth of Mobile Bay. Its shores are fringed with marshes, and from its head spreads the Mobile River delta, in the USA second only to the Mississippi delta in extent and in vitality as an incubator of marine life. What happens to that life if the oil gushes for months and if winds and currents drive it into the bay and up into the delta? Perhaps a wall of multiple booms across the mouth of the bay could stop this. But wouldn’t those booms also stop the ships that are the life of the waterfront in Mobile, one of America’s top ten ports by cargo volume?
Terre Lee of the Coosa Valley Group picks up trash on Lookout Mountain for the Great American Cleanup April 26 through May 1.
Making a Difference
April 26 through May 1 was the Great American Cleanup and Renew Our Rivers sponsored by Keep Etowah Beautiful in Etowah County.
The Coosa Valley Group partnered with Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department to pick up trash along the top of Lookout Mountain above Gadsden.
Volunteers picked up 12 bags of garbage consisting of items that had mostly been thrown out of car windows. Aluminum cans were distributed in separate bags to another local volunteer fire department, Highland VFD, which has an active recycling program with the help of local residents.
West Alabama Group donates reusable shopping bags and CFLs to food distribution programby Carol Myers
The West Alabama Sierra Group donated 50 reusable shopping bags and 50 CFLs to Canterbury Episcopal for their food distribution program. Camille Samples from Canterbury Episcopal writes, “Every Tuesday morning, parishioners of Canterbury Episcopal Chapel work with families in the Tuscaloosa community to provide groceries for those in need. We operate with food from donations and through the West Alabama Food Bank. The donation of reusable grocery bags and CFL bulbs from the Sierra Club will be given to the families. We hope they will bring back the reusable bags when they return each month. We would like to thank the Sierra Club for their donation.”
Notes from Around Alabama's Sierra Club Groups
The Coosa Valley Group: In April John Mynard, Apiary Inspector talked about pollinators and pesticides. Apiary inspectors work to prevent the introduction and establishment of honey bee pests and diseases. John had a lot if information on these little pollinators of fruits and vegetables.
Pictured at left: Herbert Morgan of the Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department partnering with the Sierra Club Coosa Valley Group to pick up trash on Lookout Mountain. The group collected trash and recyclable aluminum cans during the Great American Cleanup May 1, in Etowah County.
What, me run for ExComm? (I don’t even know what that means)
Yes, you. You could be a candidate. Or perhaps you know someone who would want to get more involved with the Sierra Club?
ExComms (Sierra Club lingo for Executive Committees) are the teams of people who make the local Sierra Club work. They make decisions, and perhaps even more importantly do the behind-the-scenes work to carry them out. The Bay Chapter has an ExComm, and so does each of our groups. (Groups are the most local level of the Sierra Club within the Chapter.)
If the Sierra Club is the premiere grassroots, democratic environmental group in the Bay Area, it’s because people like you make the decision to put in time and energy to make it that way.
Now is the time to start thinking about running for a Sierra Club Bay Chapter elected position. We’re here to help you figure out how to do it. The Chapter Executive Committee is a role for people with a fair amount of prior experience. Group ExComms, especially for the smaller groups, require primarily the willingness to pitch in and do some work. Even if you don’t win, by running you’re expressing your willingness to get involved.
In the Sierra Club, questions of policy, resource allocation, priorities, or just about anything else are handled by elected volunteer leaders. The Club—especially at the Bay Chapter level—empowers everyday people to make decisions and take on core tasks in the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental group. So, if you want to get more involved, or think that the Club should tackle an issue we’re not yet active on, then you can actually make that change through running for an office within the Club. The bottom line is that to run for our elections (which happen in November), one needs to file paper work starting in July. So, the spring is a perfect time to consider being more involved in the Chapter. Watch the newsletter for more information in the coming months. (reprinted from the Sierra Club Yodeler)
The Environmental Film Festival at Earth Day Mobile Bay 2010 was hosted by the Mobile Bay Group Sierra Club
The Mobile Bay Sierra Club presented 5 diverse and thought-provoking films, which celebrate the wonder of the natural world and illuminate the growing challenges to life on earth. These acclaimed feature length documentary films were shown throughout Earth Day Mobile Bay 2010 under the big tent, at the Fairhope Pier South Park on Saturday, April 24th, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00p.m.
The Film Festival’s featured films included The End of the Line, American Experience: Earth Days, Blue Gold (World Water Wars), Coal County, and The Cove, and the festival’s mission was to raise awareness, and stimulate individual and community action for a more sustainable environment.
Organic popcorn was served to all Earth Day attendees, who enjoyed the film festival. Scattered showers throughout the day ensured large audiences taking shelter and enjoying the film presentations.
The Mobile Bay Group Sierra Club hopes that everyone in our area will join us at all Sierra Club film presentations to gain fresh insights, through the power of film, into the problems and the progress being made to protect life on our planet. The Mobile Bay Sierra Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at 5 Rivers Delta Center on the Mobile Bay Causeway. Please contact 702 496 5050 or email@example.com with any questions that you might have.
Living Lightly On the Earth 2010 Alabama Sierra Club Retreat
Hosted by Coosa Valley Group
Desoto State Park Nov. 5 – 7
Exciting programs and activities! Some meals will feature local foods.
Retreat registration and lodging will be Separate – watch mail & website Alabamasierraclub.org for form.
Limited Space – make lodging reservations by calling 1-800-568-8840 Double rooms $76/night Chalets and cabins (sleep 4) $128/night Camping also available.