Peak & Prairie
April / May 1998
Earthweek Kicks Off Sierra Club Voter Education Campaign
by Brian Mohr, SW Regional Office
"Sentiment without action is the ruination of the soul" - Ed Abbey
Earthday is April 22, 1998, and this year the Sierra Club will be organizing activities in Denver and around the state in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our environment, but also to challenge the rhetoric that so often accompanies this important day.
Many of our members of Congress continue to vote against the environment (and there is plenty of evidence out there), but later try to claim publicly that they are working hard to ensure greater environmental protection for their constituents. At the same time, Coloradoans have indicated time and time again that protecting our public lands, clean air, clean water, endangered species and the health of our communities should be an utmost priority going into the 20th century. There is an enormous discrepancy between what Coloradoans care about and how our "representatives" act.
For this reason, the Sierra Club in Colorado this year is carrying out a statewide Environmental Voter Education Campaign (EVEC). EVEC is designed to do the following:
1. Increase the debate over environmental issues during the 1998 election cycle;
2. Hold members of Congress accountable for their environmental voting record and provide positive, public support for members of Congress who consistently vote to protect Colorado's environment;
3. Build the strength of the Sierra Club in Colorado by providing opportunities for our local Sierra Club groups, the Rocky Mt. Chapter and the SW Regional Office, to work more closely.
These goals will be accomplished by informing and educating our members, Colorado citizens and the media about the environmental voting records of our members of Congress. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell is the main target of EVEC because he not only has a relatively poor voting record, (in 1996 and 1997, he received a 19% and 29% environmental voting record, respectively, according to the League of Conservation Voters), but is also running for re-election in November 1998.
Throughout the year, the Sierra Club will be calling on all of its members
and loyal volunteers to help make EVEC a major success, and we need everyone's help. In
order to get the word out about the environmental voting records of our members of
Congress, we will be carrying out a variety of activities - many of which will be geared
toward getting the Sierra Club in the media, in front of people as they sip their morning
coffee. Here is a run down of some of the tactics we'll be using:
Letters to the editor/Opinion pieces - and lots of them
Press conferences/meeting with editorial boards - to release the latest and greatest
Bird-dogging - showing up at public meetings to hold our members of Congress accountable for their environmental record
Distribution of voter education postcards - we will send these to Senator Campbell
Distribution of environmental voter guides - with side by side comparison of where our candidates stand on the environment.
The EVEC campaign will make its first big splash during Earthweek 1998 (April 17 - 26). We hope that all Sierra Club groups throughout the state can help out during this week. We need everyone's help getting out 10,000 voter education postcards to members and citizens across the state - at fairs, in front of grocery stores, outdoor stores, at the mall, wherever.
During Earthweek, the SW Regional Office will also be organizing a major outreach event in Denver with the help of school kids, in an effort to distribute several thousand of these postcards, but also, to gain as much media attention as we possibly can.
This event will involve the unveiling of a giant environmental report card marked with a big "F" to indicate Senator Campbell's environmental voting record. Why is it that our members of Congress can consciously vote to gut the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, or support bills that would open up our last remaining wild places to logging and development? There are many reasons, but the more we can reach out to our members and citizens with this information, the more pressure we can exert on Congress to refrain from threatening Colorado's natural heritage and the health of our communities.
To get involved in this year's EVEC campaign and Earthweek activities or
if you need more information about anything mentioned in this article, please contact
Brian Mohr or Tina Arapkiles at the Sierra Club SW Regional Office at (303) 449-5595,
(303) 449-6520 (FAX) and firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you.