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Note: Contributions, gifts, and dues to the Sierra Club-Alabama Chapter are not tax deductible. They support our effective, citizen-based advocacy and lobbying efforts here in Alabama. Thank you in advance for supporting the Sierra Club's conservation programs in Alabama.

Grassroots Activism: Georgia County Wins on Public Transit

Sierra Club activists and thousands of others are cheering a great election victory in Clayton County, Georgia. On Election Day, they approved a measure that increases public transit in the county after the county cut bus service the previous year.

Learn more about this victory from a powerful coalition of groups.

(from Sierra Club Currents)

Alabama Chapter ExCom Elections Coming Soon

At the end of each year, we call on all members of the Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club to vote in electing members to the State Board of Directors (commonly called the ExCom). Our ExCom consists of fourteen voting members. Eight members are elected-at-large and serve a two-year term. That means that each year there are four positions up for election. In addition, each of the six groups within the state selects a person to represent their group on the ExCom.

You will soon receive a ballot via mail. Please review and return the ballot as soon as possible! You can review the current slate of candidates here.

Keystone Pipeline: from Michael Brune, Sierra Club's Executive Director

The U.S. Senate came closer than ever to approving the Keystone XL pipeline in November.

Just 1 vote stood between us and losing one of the most important battles yet on climate change.

Simply put, the vote came Way. Too. Close. And with the new Senate being sworn in in January, you can bet this fight is about to get even harder.

I do have a small -- no, enormous -- piece of good news. The White House has indicated that it will veto any attempt by Congress to force approval of Keystone XL.

So far, President Obama's held the line. Will he continue to do so? That's the big question that our actions today will answer. Learn more and learn how to take action here.

The Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge

September 2014 — September 2015
Do you have what it takes to complete the Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge? Presented byThe Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, this challenge is a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act, discover new places or revisit favorites, and have the chance to win prizes!



Many thanks to Roe Hyche, Bob Hastings, Lucina Horner, and Peggie Griffin for agreeing to be the new newsletter committee.

The newsletter is put together monthly, and material for the newsletter should be sent to, with a subject line of "For the Editorial Board" no later than the 15th of the month.

Group newsletter editors may continue sending group meeting information and calendars of events to Joe Watts at, no later than the 25th of each month.

Guidelines for Material:

Join the Alabama Chapter on facebook! (just click the logo below to join the group page)

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December 2014

Straight Talk about Climate Change

(from David Newton) Reports of climate change continue to be issued with language that express increasing concern. For example, on October 13, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a Republican, issued a statement which read, in part:  “Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.”

Subsequently on November 1, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report, CLIMATE CHANGE 2014: Approved Summary for Policymakers was issued.  (Recall that 195 countries are members of IPCC.  Its reports are created, with rigorous review, by volunteer scientists from around Planet Earth.)  The following quotations are from that report.

Often climate change is viewed by some as a partisan political issue.  In fact, it is about physics.  Deniers notwithstanding, increasing greenhouse gases are detrimental to our health, the economy, and Planet Earth.

Here is a quote from an August 31 opinion piece by Alabama House of Representatives Speaker Mike Hubbard that will provide additional motivation to act.  “The fawning liberal media and left-wing posse that protect Obama claim that his job-killing actions are necessary in order to combat ‘climate change,’ which is a meteorological theory built upon the spongy foundation of snake oil science and crystal ball predictions by gypsy fortunetellers wearing lab coats. I remember when they used to call their flawed theory “global warming,” but when data proved the planet is getting cooler, not hotter, they changed the name to “climate change.”

Sierra Club members are urged to express their views to policy makers at all levels.  It is important.

Many thanks to all that volunteer for the North Alabama Group

Our Outings Committee recognized the following as 2014 Outstanding Hike Leaders:
Patricia Wales, Suzanne Cawthon, Pete Luther, Carolyn Brooks, David Jackson, Steve Jackson, Michael Stewart, Sandy Kiplinger, Desiree Kiplinger, Charlie Cohen, Bob Eastburn and Liz Poleretzky.

As chair, I would also like to thank all the people serving on the Executive Committee for their time and energy. Without them the club would not thrive. A special thanks to:
Steve Jackson for wonderful programs in 2014
Sandy Kiplinger for her youth outreach
Michael Stewart for posting our events on Meet-up
Charlotte Buening for representing us at Earth Day and other local events
Jack Drost for putting together our newsletter every month
Tom and Judy Burley for their support of our outings program and for the superb First Aid classes they conducted earlier this year.
---Thank you all, Liz Poleretzky

Save the Date: 17th Annual Alabama Water Rally
February 27-March 1, 2015. Lake Guntersville State Park

The Alabama Rivers Alliance is pleased to announce that our next annual conference, Alabama Water Rally, will be February 27 - March 1, 2015 at Lake Guntersville State Park.

Please contact Alabama Rivers Alliance if you would like to contribute in any way to this year's conference. Below you will find all the needed information to begin your flow towards Lake Guntersville.

What is Alabama Water Rally?

Alabama Water Rally is the annual conference of the Alabama Rivers Alliance. For over seventeen years, this event has brought together over a hundred individual attendees from a variety of backgrounds to share, network, and learn. Participants include agency employees, teachers, elected officials, scientists, lawyers, engineers, concerned citizens, nature lovers, and other eco-minded folks.
What to expect at Alabama Water Rally?

Alabama Water Rally offers workshops from experts on the newest ideas and issues around water and the environment in Alabama. It offers opportunities for life-long-learning as well as a chance to get together to socialize, celebrate our victories, share our challenges, and have a good time. Days are packed with informative education sessions and each night features a different form of entertainment. Learn more>>>

Oak Mountain Master Plan, is it good or bad for the users?

photo from Alabama Department of Conservation, Billy Pope

(submitted by Ken Hyche) Oak Mountain State park has some big plans for the park. There is a study going on now about building a hotel and Conference center inside Oak Mountain State Park. There are several articles in that you can read for more info on the plans. Please make your opinion known.

You can attend a meeting, "The government partners are hosting an open house from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 8 in the Community Room of the Shelby County Services Building in Pelham, located at 1123 County Services Drive. A short presentation will start the meeting and another will happen at about 7 p.m." or there is a web site to make comments about the plans until Jan 17; Shelby County Tourism, AL - Official Website is

The survey will be available until Jan. 17. A direct link to the survey is here.

The Year in Review from National Sierra Club

Is Coal Smarter than a 5th Grader?


Sierra Club Outings

Winter is coming! Well, it feels like it is already here. It's time to get out! Take a great hike. Or just enjoy gathering with friends to discuss environmental issues!

Come join us on the trail or just out for a stroll in the park! Great outings and meetings from North Alabama all the way to the Gulf! more>>>