The most common question asked at our outreach and tabling events is, “What is the Sierra Club?” This is actually not an easy question to answer. I usually start by saying, “The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.” However, that answer hardly begins to scratch the surface. If you were in the High Sierra on April 5th, you would have seen dozens of Sierra Club members enjoying the peace and beauty of Lake Sabrina. On the other hand, If you were in downtown Los Angeles earlier this year on February 17th, you would have seen hundreds of angry Sierra Club members marching towards City Hall, banners flying, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, XL pipeline has to go!”
What ties these two scenes together is the Sierra Club motto to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet! John Muir’s famous exhortation is to “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, nature’s peace will flow into you!” And when people explore wild places, they will naturally want to protect them. When John Muir brought President Teddy Roosevelt to Yosemite Valley in 1903, the President declared "There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite…our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred." Three years later, in 1906, the federal government assumed responsibility for protecting Yosemite, and shortly thereafter it became one of our first national parks.
The Sierra Club is actually many things to many people. On the one hand it is about helping people enjoy being outdoors safely with like-minded nature lovers, on the other hand it is about protecting wild places for future generations. On the one hand it is about working to elect politicians who are brave enough to defy special interests and protect the environment, on the other hand it is about teaching people how to live more sustainably and reduce our impact on the planet. On Thursday, May 9th, at 7pm at the Culver City Veterans Memorial Auditorium in the Uruapan Room, we will cover the amazing range of things that makes the Sierra Club what it is today, and how you can get involved and make a difference.
This free educational event is sponsored by the West Los Angeles Group of the Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter. Plenty of free lighted parking. Refreshments are served and there is always a lively talk accompanying the program. Feel free to bring a friend; all meetings are open to members and non-members of the Sierra Club.