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Council Leaders Report continued

(from Council Delegate Robert Hastings)

Julia Reitan reviewed the availability of Chapter and Leader Support Teams. These include the Leadership and Organizing Training Team; Bylaws, Standing Rules, and Elections Team; Fundraising Team; Communications and Information Technology Team; Conflict Resolution Team; and Chapter Assessment Team. These teams can be contacted through Clubhouse (http://clubhouse.sierraclub.org/  - Username-“clubhouse” and Password-“explore”)..

Sarah Hodgdon led a discussion of current National campaigns and the new “Strategic Brief” for 2011, which is available on Clubhouse. The over-arching priority of these campaigns is Confronting Climate Change, which will be addressed through three primary strategies: 1) Confront the dominance of coal and oil; 2) Cultivate our activist base; and 3) Build new powerful alliances.

Greg Casini presented a document describing several successful strategies used by various Chapters for effective outreach and engagement. Most of these could serve as models for events and activities by other Chapters and Groups. They can be seen at http://connect.sierraclub.org/project/Success_Stories.

Allison Chin reviewed the Club’s commitment to and current activities relative to Diversity Outreach and training. Additional diversity training sessions will be available starting in January, 2012.

Members of the Nuclear Issues Action Team presented a PowerPoint presentation on nuclear issues, which is also posted on the Activist Network. The official Sierra Club position on Nuclear power is opposition.

Executive Director Michael Brune then gave his perspective on the State of the Club. He emphasized the frustration that the Club experiences with the current situation in Washington – An environmental president but impossible to get much done because of the roadblocks in Congress. However, he did note some very positive progress, such as 153 coal-fired power plants either shut down or blocked. He described three major priorities that National staff would be working on: 1) Increasing diversity in the Club; 2) Increased fundraising; and 3) Improving cooperation of National staff and Chapters. He also noted the recent donation of $50 million that the Club received from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the clean energy campaign.

A regular function of CCL is to receive and evaluate proposed resolutions from Chapters to be submitted to the National Board of Directors. Six resolutions were approved this year and submitted to the Board of Directors: 1) Increase Club resources for the population campaign; 2) Elevate the anti-nuclear energy campaign; 3) Amend zero waste policy to include unsolicited publications; 4) Review Club policy on civil disobedience;  5) Allow local discretion regarding hydrofracking bans; 6) Increase resources for natural gas hydraulic fracturing policy work. Full text of the resolutions can be seen on Clubhouse.

For the second year Chapters were asked to submit information for the State of the Chapters Report and an overview of these was given by Greg Casini (available at http://clubhouse.sierraclub.org/people/chapters/chapter-assessment/2011-state-of-chapters-overview.pdf). The assessments are quite interesting in that they allow comparisons among different Chapters, as well as assessing the current status of the Chapters. Several Board and staff members have emphasized how useful these data are.
A Political Committee Briefing was presented by the Club’s new National Political Director Tony Cani. He emphasized three defining events for the up-coming elections in 2012: 1) The Citizens United decision; 2) Redistricting that may result from the recent census; and 3) The continuing imbalance in Congress. Ten priority states were identified for grassroots activism: Colorado, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. National political training is being planned for March, 2012.

A special event during the annual meeting was the annual Awards Ceremony at which Carol Adams-Davis (Mobile Group) was given the Environmental Alliance Award for her outstanding work with various organizations along the Gulf coast, including the Mobile Bay Earth Day event (Additional information is given in another article in the newsletter). Congratulations, Carol!
Another highlight of the meeting was our participation in San Francisco’s Moving Planet: Global Day of Action. The theme of the event was “Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy”. Our Sierra Club group joined with several hundred marchers from other organizations to march several blocks down Market Street to the rally at Civic Center Plaza. Among the speakers at the rally were Michael Brune (Sierra Club Executive Director) and Bill McKibben, environmental author and founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org. He was also given the Club’s highest honor at the Club’s awards banquet, the John Muir Award.
San Francisco’s Moving Planet: Global Day of Action March

Moving Planet marchers (from left to right) – Sierra Club Board member and former President Robby Cox; Current Board President Robin Mann; Mississippi CCL Delegate Linda St. Martin; Alabama CCL Delegate Bob Hastings; Missouri CCL Delegate Jim Turner.