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NFC: Sierra Club

 Dear Editor Sierra Magazine,

It is with sadness that I write this note. I will not be renewing my membership or furthering any advocacy of the Sierra Club.The Sierra Club has sadly become so entrenched, in politics each issue of Sierra magazine now reads like the liberal manifesto. So much for enjoying, exploring and protecting the planet. How about changing the motto to exploring, enjoying and protecting the liberal agenda.

The typical response to such a comment is that only liberals care about the environment. Nothing is of course farther from the truth. I am a republican and a bit of conservative who has spent most of his adult life working for and caring about conservation. What do I mean by care? I spend 20 plus hours a week volunteering with organizations that do conservation work, I donate my money to conservation causes. Basically I am the grassroots hands on type of guy that makes things happen locally like so many others are. Folks who work for love, not money. We clean the streams, pass out the fliers, educate the kids and do all the dirty little jobs because we believe conservation matters. Yet, you belittle us because we don’t follow the political winds of the Democratic Party. I was so offended to see the Sept/Oct issues waxing on about the virtues of Ru486. Please! Where in the world is it written that you must be pro abortion to be a conservationist? How offensive. If an article about creationism appeared in the Sierra magazine exposing the point that only those who believed in a creator could be conservationist the Sierra Club would be up in arms. Instead of moral and social commentaries perhaps we could discuss the science and ways to make a difference.

Somehow or another folks leading the Sierra Club have made the mistake to so align themselves with a particular party that they have become nothing more than a pawn of the democratic party. Claiming that republicans want dirty water and air as part of their legacy is just foolishness. Most likely the "offenders" as you call them are ill informed, not malicious, however being called vile names in a national publication does nothing to help the conservation cause.     How do I know? I have sat across the table with many supposed evil republicans senators and congressmen discussing conservation issues in my home state of Florida. Did I get all I wanted? No, did we make progress YES. Better, not perfect laws were passed, dialogs were started and relationships formed.

 Being rude and insulting will not help the conservation cause. It will however start fights and make enemies. Take our pupfish’s for example. Most of them have no intact conservation plan because of the type of name calling silliness you guys are engaged in. Lets demonize the other guy so that he becomes so entrenched that the fish goes extinct. Follow your motto instead of an article on RU486 in the Sierra Club magazine, how about an article on one of the pupfish’s and their conservation. Perhaps the Blue Pike, or the Shasta trout, or the black-footed ferret, or greenway laws or examples of local efforts etc 

Have you ever considered that most folks love the natural world we have been given and are willing to support its conservation? This unpleasant cycle of constant bickering is very unproductive and I am sure Mr. Muir would be aghast at your wasting of precious print resources to espouse partisan politics and RU486 propaganda. Please do better.


I write this with sadness because the Sierra Club could have been so much more.

Robert Rice
President of the Native Fish Conservancy