Author Bill Bryson to Speak in Huntsville

Best-selling author Bill Bryson, author of A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country among other books, will speak in Huntsville on November 11, 2010 at the annual fundraiser for the Huntsville Madison County Public Library. Bryson has written over twenty books with more than six million copies being sold in the United States. His newest book, At Home: A Short History of Private Life, is being released October 5, 2010 by Doubleday. At Home: takes a look at the history of the world without Bill leaving his house.

Bill Bryson will be speaking at the 24th annual Vive Le Livre, a celebration of literature and libraries through the ages. Proceeds benefit Huntsville Madison County Public Library. The event will be held in the Von Braun Center South Hall at 6:00pm. For tickets, go to or call this number for the library: 256-532-5954.

Facts About City Parks

from The Trust for Public Land: The total area covered by urban parkland in the United States exceeds one million acres, with parks ranging in size from the jewel-like 1.7-acre Post Office Square in Boston to the gargantuan 490,125-acre Chugach State Park in Anchorage. And their usage dwarfs that of the national parks—the most popular major parks, such as Lincoln Park in Chicago receive upwards of 20 million users each year, and New York's Central Park gets about 25 million visits annually—more than five times as many to the Grand Canyon. learn more

The EPA Steps Up for Appalachia

On October 15, Lisa Jackson and the EPA sent a clear message to those who would destroy Appalachia's mountains.

Back on September 27, the day of the Appalachia Rising events in Washington, D.C., I said this during a DailyKos livechat: "'s up to Obama's EPA to put a halt to any further blasting in Appalachia. The biggest test of the Administration's commitment to coalfield residents, Appalachia's mountains -- and basic environmental sanity -- is whether the Administration will approve Arch Coal's Spruce mine MTR mining permit." read more

Take Action: Drive away from oil

Our changing climate, the hundreds of billions of dollars sent overseas to pay for imported oil, and the devastated shores of the Gulf and the Kalamazoo River demand that we have a plan to break our oil dependence. The EPA has announced that 60 mpg in 2025 is not only possible, it will save consumers money and reduce our dependence on oil. There is no reason to aim lower.

Ask the President to put us on a path to breaking our addiction to oil by setting the strongest possible standards for cars

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November 2010

Sierra Club 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>>>

Six Month Oily Eye Checkup

by David Underhill
(Dual mysteries haunt the gulf coast.  The greater one is how the immense volume of oil that geysered from BP’s busted well could have magically disappeared so completely that drilling, fishing, and touristing can safely resume and the media can find a new sensation elsewhere.  The lesser one is how the Mobile Press-Register could cover an October 20 rally-press conference on the Mobile waterfront marking the sixth month since the well exploded and not mention the only Mobile group involved.  Photos and text showed the participants from coastal Alabama and New Orleans.  But the Mobile Bay Sierra club, chief local organizer of the event, appeared nowhere in the story.

This report rectifies that omission by presenting the remarks of David Underhill, environmental chair of the club.  They are reconstituted from his sketchy notes and faulty memory.  A video of the proceedings might differ in some particulars from the account here.  If the daily newspaper can omit him entirely, such journalistic standards should surely allow him to reveal his full intent, regardless of what he actually said and did.)

If I close my eyes so I can’t see you all (closes ‘em), you disappear.  This means you don’t exist.  That makes sense—if you’re three years old.  But for anybody older than that, it doesn’t (opens). more>>>

Auburn-Opelika Activists Participate in Global Work Party

Tree Planting

Sierra Club members Rita Kempf (rear, center) of Auburn, Gene Hunter (right) of Opelika, and six students of Auburn's Drake Middle School observed a tree planted (October 8) on the campus of Auburn's DMS.

In conjunction with the Global Work Party of October 10, concerned citizens in Auburn and Opelika participated in local events similar to those undertaken at almost 7400 locations, in at least 188 countries. (The local events occurred just prior to, on, and just after October 10.) The object of these events was to call attention to climate change in communities worldwide and to motivate citizens and policy makers to act. These global events were promoted by, the mission of which "is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet." Local efforts were organized by the Sierra Club, assisted by Save Our Saugahatchee and Friends of Chewacla Creek and the Uphapee Watershed (CHEWUP).


Living Lightly: Sierra Club Annual Retreat

Alabama Sierra Club
Annual Retreat

Fort Payne, Alabama

November 5 – 7
Public Is Invited

Hosted by the
Coosa Valley Sierra Club

Inspiring Speakers include:

more (including Registration) >>>

Council of Club Leaders Report-2010

Council Delegate Robert W. Hastings
The Council of Club Leaders (CCL) met in San Francisco September 22-25 in conjunction with the Sierra Club Board of Directors meeting. The Council is made up of delegates from each of the Chapters nationwide and meets once per year to discuss issues relating to Chapters and to present recommendations to the Board regarding grassroots concerns. I attended as the Alabama Chapter Delegate and Steve Garrison attended as the alternate delegate (and to become more familiar with the National Club organization).

As might be expected given the continuing financial concerns of the Club, much of the discussion at the meeting was related to finances and the recent reorganization. Reports by President Robin Mann and new Executive Director Michael Brune emphasized the need to increase and diversify membership and to increase activism among members. Repeated reference was made to the club’s clean energy campaign, and the need to reduce (or eliminate) our dependence upon coal and oil (Alabama needs to be more involved with this campaign). more>>>

Shepherd Bend Receives Mining Permit but Opposition Continues

(from Black Warrior Riverkeeper) On October 19th, the Alabama Surface Mining Commission ("ASMC") issued a permit to Shepherd Bend, LLC ("Shepherd Bend") to begin mining the first increment of Shepherd Bend Mine. Black Warrior Riverkeeper is disappointed by that decision, which we believe is not in the public interest.

According to information furnished in the application to the ASMC, that initial increment is approximately 34 acres of land wholly owned or leased by Shepherd Bend. Assuming Shepherd Bend chooses to mine that first small increment, Shepherd Bend then will have to obtain leases from other property owners, including the University of Alabama System.

In a letter emailed and mailed today to the UA System's representatives, Black Warrior Riverkeeper reiterated an earlier request that the UA System's Board of Trustees carefully consider any decision to lease land or mineral rights to Shepherd Bend. As a practical matter, without the consent and full participation of the UA System, it may not be cost effective to mine Shepherd Bend. From the application, the University appears to own approximately 4/5 of the land proposed for the mine, including a portion of the next segment to be mined after the initial 34 acres. Black Warrior Riverkeeper encourages citizens to continue sharing their views about the Shepherd Bend Mine proposal with the UA System's Tuscaloosa Office: (205) 348-5861. more>>>

AHTS 10th Annual Conference in Huntsville

The Alabama Hiking Trail Society will be holding a conference in Huntsville at the Monte Sano Lodge the weekend of February 25-27, 2011. Mark the date on your calendar now. The theme of the conference will be Building Trails to Our Past and the Future. There will be three tracks of speakers, presentations, hands-on demos, hikes, entertainment, food, prizes and a special key note speaker.
More details will be available later at

The Alabama Hiking Trail Society and its members are dedicated to planning, building, and maintaining safe hiking trails for all to enjoy and educating the public of the careful use and enjoyment of Alabama's great outdoors.

American Trails Symposium in Chattanooga

The American Trails National Symposium is a great opportunity to network with the nationwide trails community and learn state of the art trail planning, development, and management techniques. The Symposium addresses both non-motorized and motorized issues and our vision for trails and greenways nationwide. Dozens of speakers and keynote presenters will join us from the trails community across America, November 14-17, 2010.

Hosted by American Trails, the Symposium is the largest gathering of trail enthusiasts and professionals in the country. American Trails champions the development and care of all trails (including rail-trails!) by fostering cooperation and communication among trail builders, planners, advocates and users. REGISTER TODAY!

The National Trails Symposium is an excellent opportunity for those in the trails community to learn best practices, share experiences and network with others from across the country. There will be educational sessions and workshops on topics including rail-with-trail, trail safety and patrols, trail counts and economic development, and urban trail programming. In addition to these events, the Symposium provides you with the opportunity to:

Keynote speakers are Dayton Duncan, co-writer and co-producer of the documentary National Parks: America's Best Idea, and Chris Balish, author of How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Out of Life. They will address the Symposium's theme, "Trails: The Green Way for America."

For more information and to register, go to or call 530-547-2060.