A Book of Interest

The Climate War:
True Believers, Power Brokers, and The Fight to Save The Planet
by Eric Pooley
Hyperion, New York, 481 pages (2010)

"In this epic tale of an American civil war, Pooley takes us behind the scenes and into the hearts and minds of the most important players in the struggle to cap global warming pollution -- a fight in which trillions of dollars and the fate of the planet are at stake."

Pooley states that around 1988 the "Denialosphere" began their open opposition to the scientific community, lead by James Hansen of NASA and Michael Oppenheimer of the Environmental Defense Fund, who were actively promoting the idea that "climate change was real, caused by man, and a potentially grave threat." Recall that on a very hot day in June of 1988, Hansen, in testimony before a committee of the U.S. Senate, stated "the greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now."

Among many other significant occurrences, Pooley recounts events associated with U.N. meetings that considered the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming: Rio de Janeiro in 1992, Kyoto in 1997, Bali in 2007, Copenhagen in 2009. There are also extensive comments on the various organizations and individuals on both sides of this protracted struggle, which, as we know, still rages.

There is an interesting discussion of the origins of what has become known as "cap and trade," which employs absolute limits, rather than rates of emissions, of undesirable gases. The author reminds the reader that this model has been employed, with significant success, in limiting emissions of sulfur dioxide to reduce acid rain. (As we know, when speaking of limiting carbon dioxide emissions, the deniers currently often refer to the model as "cap and tax.")

Readers with an interest in politics and the environment should benefit from this book, which indeed documents this "fight to save the planet." Submitted by David Newton

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 http://hmcpl.org/friends or call this number for the library: 256-532-5954.

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September 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>>>

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) >>>

Gulf Coast Region Oil Disaster Response Team

submitted by Carol Adams-Davis, Alabama Chapter, August 11, 2010

Long Term Recovery Plan
The devastation caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe will continue to unfold for many years and many generations. This disaster in our Gulf’s deep waters and on our fragile coastline is the most painful and powerful reminder yet, that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. We can't afford not to change how we produce and use energy, because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.

The offshore oil industry will not solve, and hasn't solved, our economic woes. The building of a massive clean energy industry would!! Ideological leadership can come from the people, right here in our Gulf coast states, who understand the need now to put our environmental health above and beyond the oil industry.

A long-range Gulf Coast Restoration Plan should be coming in a matter of weeks. We should be engaging with President Barack Obama and his Gulf Restoration Plan’s appointed director, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, about the development of this broad plan, which is intended to address the region’s economic, environmental and mental health challenges caused by BP’s oil disaster.


The Push for Climate and Energy Legislation Continues

submitted by David Newton
As suggested in the August issue, the passage of a comprehensive climate and energy bill at the national level will be very difficult. In fact in early August, the Majority Leadership in the U.S. Senate decided against debating the proposed climate-energy legislation. Given the time remaining in this session of Congress, the Senate may not debate it in 2010.

Of course, a major reason that enacting comprehensive climate and energy legislation is very challenging is that climate and energy issues are very complicated and they impact everyone. It is more difficult than the health care reform struggle we experienced earlier in this session of Congress. The amounts of money and the numbers of lobbyists on all sides are huge. However, those in opposition currently have more resources and they have used them effectively.


David NewtonStorm Water Phase II Permit Hearing

submitted by David Newton

Photo taken by Elizabeth Salter, Watershed Organizer, Alabama Rivers Alliance

In Montgomery on July 23, Sierra Club members Carolyn Carr (left), David Newton (center), and Clara Clothiaux (right) of Save Our Saugahatchee, all from Auburn, discuss their testimony after the public hearing on ADEM's proposed Storm Water Phase II Permit.

Meeting Report from the Coosa Valley Sierra Club

In July we had a speaker with some good tips on local herbs and their many uses. Jim Smith, co-owner of at Apple-A-Day Health World in Gadsden presented "Herbal Medicine in Your Backyard" and talked about plants you see every day that you may not know can be valuable to your health. If you missed Jim’s presentation you can hear his radio program on herbs and nutrition every Friday at 9:30am on WMGJ AM 1240.

American Trails Symposium in Chattanooga

Every other year American Trails brings together trail enthusiasts for a weekend of workshops and outings. This year the conference will be in Chattanooga, November 14-17, and it will be a while before it is in our area again. There will be many opportunities for networking with trail enthusiasts from all over the country.
 The American Trails National Symposium is your best 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.

The theme for this year’s symposium is Trails, The Green Way for America. This symposium's theme evokes the benefit of trails to America’s economy and environment. As we evolve toward a green economy, trails are the way for outdoor recreation and alternative transportation. Trails provide access and connections to many of this nation’s most incredible green spaces: parks, forests, and wildlands. Trails are a critical component of green infrastructure within communities, tying homes to businesses, schools, and workplaces, and empowering clean human-powered mobility. Trails support the new American dream which is built upon environmental and economic efficiency. Trails are, very simply, the green way for America.

For more information and to register, go to http://www.americantrails.org/2010 or call 530-547-2060.