April 27, 2005: U.S. Sierra Club Member Challenges Sierra Club Decision To Not Oppose High Immigration
Subject: Immigration vs. Sierra Club
Re.: “Sierra Club members say no to immigration-limit policy”, Kim
Curtis, AP, April 26, 2005.
I agree with Larry Fahn, it's time to get back to our ecological bases, “time to get back to basics”.
There are two overarching issues: First, the Sierra Club in many
respects has lost its environmental and ethical compass, and second, it is false to say the Sierra Club is “neutral” on immigration. To defend their position, Club administrators are reduced to non-environmental positions, primarily name-calling and insulting those who advocate a return to former Club United States population policies.
Despite inflammatory articles, it is grassroots Sierra Club democracy
and a sustainable America that are the central issues. The targets of
the Administration caused ferment were Sierra Club members whose only
ambition was to return the Sierra Club to the identical
ecologically-based environmental and population policies the Club wisely advocated for decades.
Previously, environmentalists, lead by the Sierra Club, understood the
fundamental environmental science equation that Impact = Population x
Standard of Living (or I=PAT, where A= affluence, T= technology). Since 1996, the Club eliminated population as a part of the United States environmental puzzle. Subsequently, it has steadfastly refused to deal with U.S. population.
Now subject to ridicule by non-environmentalists, Club's actions made
the environmentalist's job more difficult; losing their science
underpinnings was to lose political and public influence.
Although the Club ignores it, the U.S. is in a critical resource
situation. For example, the U.S. continues the status quo only by
drawing down North America's and much of the world's remaining natural
capital: natural gas, oil, fertile soils, and fossil water.
Environmental damage has increased in the process.
More Americans means more resources consumed and more environmental
assaults. It also implies that competition for what remains may reach a stage where might makes right.
“Neutrality” on the growing U.S. population means that, contrary to what Club administrators' maintain, oil and gas development in the ANWR, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Rocky Mountains will follow. When the current Club administration lost its environmental compass, it opened the development road.
Reminding members of the current Administration, Elbert Hubbard,
American journalist, summarizes it well, “if you can't answer a man's
arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.”
The administration is acting in a self-serving manner rather than for
the U.S. environment or its members.
As suggested above, it is actively manipulating Club members, the media, and Sierra Club elections. A clear example was evident in the previous election when Carl Pope, Larry Fahn, and Drusha Mayhue said the Club was being taken over by outside interests. The “takeover” statements were, and are, completely false.
Another outrageous example is found in the actual balloting materials
mailed to each Club member this year. Evidently against Club Bylaws and certainly voting ethics, an administration letter was made a part of the actual ballot materials. The letter made several vicious insinuations regarding non-administration candidates. There is no Club provision to refute the statements.
Focusing on the Club's neutrality and takeover positions, let's review
developments leading to the brouhaha. It is clear the administration
gives twisted meaning to the terms take-over or “neutrality”.
Takeovers? Without prior knowledge of the membership, in February 1996
the Board of Directors suddenly ended its long-held ecologically based
population policy. The Board now implemented its infamous “gag order”
–the Club and its members were ordered to take “no position on U.S.
immigration levels or policies.”
A coincidence perhaps, but massive secret funding appeared at
approximately the same time. By 2004 the amount had grown to $100
million a year according to a Los Angeles Times newspaper report.
Reports were that the amount was contributed conditioned that the Club not address or mention U.S. immigration.
In his 1992 Centennial Address, Michael Fischer, then Executive Director of the Sierra Club, said that the Sierra Club's central goal for the next 100 years was to have a “friendly takeover of the Sierra Club by people of color.” The novel “environmental” tactic was to form separate cultural and ethnic coalitions to assist in achieving its objectives, including controversial non-environmental objectives.
Hidden from Club members' and public view and, perhaps, not well
understood at the time, however, because most immigration involves
“people of color”, one could rightly conclude in 1992 the Sierra Club
administration secretly began to implement drastic non-environmental
changes within the Club. In the same year, Zero Population Growth (now Population Connection) surprisingly reversed policies and ceased promoting the U.S. two-child family and little U.S. immigration.
“Neutrality” IS a position –it freezes existing policy and practices in place. With its frightening growth induced environmental consequences, “neutrality” meant quietly encouraging the highest legal and illegal immigration caused population growth in U.S. history.
The gag order meant no member was allowed to publicly express an
immigration position. Today, the administration is hell-bent on doing
practically anything to continue the 1996 Club revolution!
In practice, it meant that since 1996 all discussion and actions
regarding U.S. population growth was prohibited, eliminated as a subject in all Sierra Club magazines, newsletters, committees, and programs. It is no wonder current members are uninformed.
Behind the scene, the transformation from an ecologically based
organization was well underway in 1994 when the Sierra Club opposed
California's Proposition 187. The proposition removed benefits funding
for illegal aliens (i.e. the Club supported funding for illegal aliens).
The radical departure from an environmental organization to something
else reached full fruition in the mid 1990s when the ecologically based comprehensive population policy was discarded. In 1989 the Sierra Club's population policy was to “end U.S. population growth”. Indeed, Club policy called for stabilizing the U.S. population by the year 2000.
The reality is that Sierra Club policy still calls for U.S. population
stabilization. However, the administration refuses to acknowledge it and has eliminated any funding, staffing, or practices to achieve U.S.
The following two URLs illustrate United States population trends. These U.S. population trends are what the administration turns their backs to.
United States: < http://www.mnforsustain.org/images/US_Pop_1900-21002.jpg >.
And representing many states, Minnesota:
< http://www.mnforsustain.org/pop_minnesota_population_graph_1850%20-%2021 50.htm >.
Note that all growth above the bottom trendline is foreign derived as
are all associated environmental consequences; more importantly, until
the surprising 1996 reversal, Sierra Club policy advocated immigration
levels consistent with maintaining the lower trendline the critical and traditional environmental goal.
Whatever the environmental, economic, and social concerns now present,
they will be intensified and increasingly intractable as the nation
moves up the higher trendline.
In addition to the above, while talking “neutrality”, the Sierra Club
administration actively took sides sponsoring numerous actions. In
addition to Proposition 187 mentioned before,
1. The administration vigorously opposed California Proposition 209,
legislation that would have reduced some forms of affirmative action.
Similarly, the administration supported legislation raising California's minimum wage, Proposition 210. The intention was to protect migrant workers and illegal aliens and the farmworker union supporting the Sierra Club.
That action was consistent with the Club's novel new “environmental”
position of being “committed to … all within our borders irregardless of immigration status”.
2. Suggested above, to further implement the reversal, the
administration disbanded its U.S. Population Committee, created a new
National Population Committee and staffed it with pro-immigration
Santos Gomez and Cathi Tactaquin were appointed to the Sierra Club
Population Committee in 1997 –and joined the Sierra Club at the time.
Ms. Tactaquin was also the Director of the National Network for
Immigrant and Refugee Rights –a big U.S. legal and illegal immigrant
advocacy organization and the founder of the National Coalition for
Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Tactaquin and Gomez were very active in the pro-immigration radical
“Political Ecology Group” (PEG) where Tactaquin was on its Advisory
Board and Gomez, the organizing Board.
In addition to Tactaquin and Gomez, the administration appointed to the new population committee other members listed as supporters on the PEG webpage.
These included Julie Beezely (at the time, California/Nevada Regional
Population Issues Chair), Sierra Club members Brian Andreiga
(Environmental Justice Task Force Chair), Karen Jones (Baton Rouge
population committee), and Rich Hayes (formerly with the Sustainable
Planet Strategy Team the predecessor to the National Population
Researching the relationships, Dr. Diana Hull wrote that PEG's
literature states that “the Sierra Club is a key battleground in the
greening of hate” and boasts that they “work closely with 'progressive' members of the Sierra Club to resist a takeover by anti-immigration zealots.”
A return to the Club's ecological foundation took on a novel new meaning. Brad Erickson, the Coordinator of the Political Ecology Group, first coined the slogan “the greening of hate.” With PEG Board member Cathi Tactaquin, Erickson authored the vitriolic “Greening of Hate” article attacking all environmentalists who maintained an ecological U.S. population viewpoint.
The attacks continued in 1998 when Sierra Club members advocating a
return to an ecological basis were becoming better known (SUSPS
supported). In response, the leaders of the Political Ecology Group and the Sierra Club, Brad Erickson (PEG, Coordinator) and Karen Kalla
(Chair, Sierra Club National Population Committee) were among a small
group of signers of an advertisement attacking the ecological approach titled, “Think Globally. Act Sensibly. Why immigration is not the problem.”
Today, a similar group, “Groundswell” continues the mean-spirited
attacks on an ecologically-based U.S. population policy.
Sadly, the growth created environmental assaults on America worsen -as
do the unprincipled and anti-democratic attacks by the Sierra Club
It is time for the Sierra Club administration to raise its level of
dialogue. As Larry Fahn says, it is time, past time, for the Club to
return to its ecological fundamentals.