Annual Letter ~ 2014

Members: this is a copy of the annual letter you should have received with a ballot.

November 2014

Dear Sierran,

2014 has been a challenging year of fighting for a cleaner, healthier Northeast Ohio. Our activists rode buses Pittsburgh to give EPA testimony about greenhouse gas emission regulation and to New York to encourage the United Nations to act on Climate Change. We marched in all kinds of weather for better energy policy and responsible environmental policies. All of our members’ contributions help further our cause. Thank you for your membership and commitment to “explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.”

Please save the date of Saturday, March 7 for our Annual Retreat. Join us to instate the newly-elected Executive Committee and help plan the group’s strategy for 2015. Final details will be sent via email and posted to our website: NEOSierraGroup.org.

What is the Northeast Ohio Sierra Club Group working on? Take a look and get involved:

The Rainforest Committee has met most months to discuss a variety of rainforest conservation issues. A year ago, we met with representatives of the Rainforest Action Network to discuss their campaign to curtail the expansion of oil palm plantations that threaten rainforests around the world. Different members of the committee made presentations on rainforest conservation in Guyana, Costa Rica, and Ecuador and we learned about the diversity and conservation of rainforest butterflies. In March we helped to promote Sierra Club issues at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and in September we sponsored two events dealing with the impact of mining on tropical rainforest countries. One event was an exhibition of photographs and drawings done by Steve Cagan and Mary Kelsey concerning gold mining in the Choco region of Colombia. That exhibit ran at Baldwin Wallace University from September 2 through September 23, 2014. The second event was a public lecture on September 15, 2014 at Baldwin Wallace by Dr. Glen Kuecker. Dr. Kuecker is a historian from DePauw University and he spoke about the impact of copper mining on rural communities in northern Ecuador. The Rainforest Committee welcomes new members interested in rainforest conservation issues. For meeting times and places, contact Michael Melampy at 440-826-2263 or mmelampy@bw.edu.

Members of the Water Committee attended lobby days at both state and national levels, educating and petitioning our elected officials on issues affecting Lake Erie and our watersheds. Sierra Club, along with over 2,000 of its members, issued comments to the Army Corps of Engineers in favor of separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi basin to protect against invasive species. We hosted a geological hike of West Creek with Dr. Roy Larick and partnered with other groups on river cleanups at Black River and Mill Creek. Members participated in a specially convened statewide joint committee to address concerns about cyanobacteria affecting Lake Erie and other sources of fresh drinking water. In support of the statewide Clean Water Campaign, NEO trained 50 new Water Sentinels and 30 WARN (Water Alert Reporting Network) participants. The state chapter also collaborated with NEO to produce a basement flood survey, to gather data and feedback from Northeast Ohio residents about which communities face the toughest challenges stemming from storm-vulnerable infrastructure. Also this past year, Water Committee members participated in the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit, hosted a table at the 9th Gay Games rowing regatta, organized speakers including Dr. Sam Mason, plastics pollution researcher at SUNY and Iowa State Senator and climate activist Rob Hogg, and spoke at or organized film screenings including Cowspiracy and Bidder 70. To get involved with our Water Committee, please contact Dr. Ted Nichols at nicholste@hotmail.com.

The Hydraulic Fracturing Committee made presentations in Greater Cleveland to groups who asked for information about fracking. We participated in meetings with local, state, and federal legislators about issues such as the disposal of toxic, radioactive fracking waste, the global warming effects of fracking, and the negative effects of SB310 on jobs, utility bills, and global warming. We worked with other committees to organize buses and carpools to important events outside of Cleveland. Among these was a bus to Washington, DC to participate in the Cowboys and Indians protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline; a bus to Washington, DC to protest the industry proposal asking FERC to approve the Cove Point natural gas import terminal transformation into an export terminal; a bus to Pittsburgh, PA to present comments on the proposed carbon rules to the EPA committee; and a bus to the historic People’s Climate March in NYC. We tabled at Earthfest, the West Short FACT Speakers Series, and other events. We also supported regular “No Keystone XL Pipeline” protests in various locations to help keep the issue before the public. In the coming year we look forward to presenting a speaker series on fracking, global warming, and sustainable living choices. Please contact Anne Caruso at reanneca@yahoo.com to get involved with this committee.

The Agriculture Committee has been like a busy bee. Unfortunately, honeybees, a major pollinator, are in significant demise. We hope everyone called their Congressperson to sponsor H.R. 2692, the Save America’s Pollinators Act! We marched against Monsanto, a multinational corporation remaking life by artificially combining genes from completely different species. We’d rather preserve biodiversity by stopping the outdoor release of these corporate-patented life forms. Then there are the bedbugs, which were unfortunately spotted at the Justice Center and who knows where else. We hope our letter to the editor about using a new technology which freezes the insects or heats the building to a high temperature is used, to avoid unnecessary use of toxic pesticides. Our new project is the Meat-Free Monday campaign. Raising animals in factories requires staggering amounts of water and energy and wreaks havoc on the Earth. To get involved, contact Laurel Hopwood at lhopwood@roadrunner.com.

To summarize what the NEOSC Conservation Sub-Committees (Wetlands, Human Rights, Population, Political, & Outings) have worked on in 2014: Wetlands Committee networked with the Ohio Wetlands Association and lobbied legislators. Human Rights Committee networked with the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity & Resistance, the American Indian Movement, and the Native American Rights Fund to stop stereotyping of Native American cultures. Our Population Committee networked with Population Connection (Zero Population Growth) and lobbied legislators. The Political Committee interviewed Cleveland Councilperson Joe Cimperman and encouraged him to work on the global warming issue. In addition, we did two outings: a canoe/kayak trip on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Trail in Maine and a kayak outing on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. For more information on the above committees contact Dennis Michael Plank at 216-939-8229 or dennislakeerie@aol.com.

Thank you for helping to elect next year’s Executive Committee by returning the enclosed ballot.

Sincerely,

NEOSC Executive Committee

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