For the Finanical Report, please read the pdf edition.
Issues that Matter - Our national campaign teams continue to make a real difference to the future of the planet.
SYDNEY TAR PONDS — FINALLY!!! after years of campaigning by Sierra Club of
Canada, 2006 saw a Full Panel environmental
review of the proposed cleanup of the Sydney Tar Ponds,
MACKENZIE GAS PROJECT MAYBE NOT SO INEVITABLE Sierra Club of Canada was one the principal participants in the hearings in the Northwest Territories assessing the potential environmental impacts of the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project. This massive pipeline along the Mackenzie River would transform this immense wild watershed into a petro-industrial landscape, changing Canada’s north forever. The anticipated impacts on wildlife, communities, and the atmosphere continue to accumulate. Having failed to anticipate these impacts or to consider the costs of mitigation, the industrial consortium behind the project now admits that the project is economically unfeasible without billions of dollars in federal subsidies—which we actively oppose. A development that once seemed inevitable has now been delayed by at least five years and may well be abandoned altogether.!
TIME FOR A TIME OUT ON TAR SANDS Our Tar Sands campaign has had a major impact on public opinion. More than two-thirds of Albertans now support a moratorium on new Tar Sands development. The federal government has announced it is phasing out one subsidy to Tar Sands development, the accelerated capital cost allowance, in response to our collective effort with our Green Budget Coalition partners.
GREAT LAKES WATER DIVERSIONS The Ontario parliament has passed legislation to implement the Sustainable Water Resources Agreement to prohibit most diversions of water out of the Great Lakes basin, thanks to the leadership and hard work of the Sierra Club of Canada.
BEARS AND CARIBOU AND MORE We continued our work to improve the recovery of species at risk in Canada. We contributed 79 commentaries on the listing of new species at risk, and published scientific reviews of provincial and federal recovery strategies for species such as the piping plover, woodland caribou, and spotted owl.
NEW ALBERTA PARK ON THE HORIZON We continued to build support for the establishment of the Andy Russell-I’tai sah kòp Wildland Park within local communities, industry and the provincial government. An international water policy forum noted that protecting the area as a park “will pay for itself over and over again in the value of the ecological services it provides alone.” Alberta government plans for logging in the area have been deferred.
SAVING RIVERS IN NORTHERN QUEBEC In 2006 we diminished the ability of Hydro Québec to destroy rivers in quiet anonymity. Working with dissident Cree who continue to oppose the Rupert River diversion project, Sierra Club of Canada did what Hydro Québec refused to do: we tested the soil in the area that would be flooded and showed how the project will contaminate water, fish, and people with mercury. The environmental assessment of the project concluded with a rare minority report from one of the commissioners. Like us, she did not trust Hydro Québec’s proposal to monitor the environmental impacts of their own project as they happen and adapt the project afterwards.
CLIMATE CRISIS BACK ON FEDERAL AGENDA In late 2006 and early 2007 Sierra Club of Canada and other groups achieved nothing less than a complete
The federal government elected in January 2006 was headed by a Prime Minister who questioned the science of climate change. As leader of the opposition he had worked relentlessly against the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol. The new government’s plans could not have been any clearer: take no action on climate change, renege on Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, and pursue an aggressive business-as-usual agenda in collaboration with the oil and gas industry.
Sierra Club of Canada mobilized public opinion on the need to take effective action to avert catastrophic global warming. Polls now show that a strong majority of Canadians are preoccupied by climate change and are looking to the federal government for leadership and action. Sierra Club has been present on Parliament Hill, in the media, and at international meetings to make it clear what the government must do to meet the expectations of Canadians and the needs of the planet.
In autumn of 2006 the government introduced their Clean Air legislation. The cynical legislation was roundly rejected by all opposition parties, and ridiculed in the media as a public relations exercise. The government was forced to try to take more credible action. Within months they introduced a plan to use Canadian law to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, for the first time in history. The regulatory framework includes fuel efficiency regulations for cars, a measure for which Sierra Club of Canada alone has been campaigning.
There are very serious problems with the proposed regulations, and you can be sure that Sierra Club of Canada will be pushing to close the loopholes. We initiated a process to bring together industry, government, and environmental leaders to facilitate the speedy development of regulations that will actually reduce emissions.
While emissions reductions have yet to happen in Canada, we must note this: in one year we went from a Prime Minister who questioned the science to a federal government introducing regulations.
A Message from the Vice-President
Please allow me to re-introduce myself. I am 27 years old, pursuing my Masters in Urban Planning, and I am honoured to be the Vice-President of the National Board. We will be selecting our next President at the November 24/5 Board meeting (which is also the date of the Club’s Annual General Meeting—you are all invited!).
Sierra Club plays three key roles within the Canadian environmental movement. We are astute and strategic political lobbyists. We are successful communicators through the media. And we are accountable to and grounded in our grassroots membership. Our effectiveness rests on our ability to offer viable and progressive solutions to all Canadians—politicians and regular citizens alike—and to communicate those solutions so they are clear and empowering. Political non-partisanship in campaigning remains a fundamental element of how we operate.
A shift in public consciousness occurred over the last year. There has been a mass awakening to the reality that climate change is one of the most pressing threats to our society. Quebec is leading the way for the other provinces.
Sierra Club has an opportunity to promote rigorous and thoughtful policy platforms through the media. We can and must shape the debate to focus first on energy conservation, second on increasing the efficiency of our homes and lifestyles, and lastly on developing alternative energy technologies.
Thanks to the Club’s commitment to grassroots activism and community organizing I have learned how to plan campaigns, run meetings, lobby politicians, present coherent and (sometimes) visionary solutions, fundraise...in short, I can change my world. Most importantly, I’ve learned that thousands of our members are doing the same. But our time and our world asks for more—more of our ideas, our energy, our skills, our visions, our time, our money, ourselves.
As we build on our strengths, we are also looking inward. And so, without further ado... it is my pleasure to present...our 2008 Sierra Club spring gathering!
We want this to be as fun as a circus, and as educational as a conference. It will be an assembly for all Sierra Club of Canada family—members, campaigners, volunteer leaders and staff—to come together as one Club to set collective priorities.
Please participate! We would love to hear your ideas for the spring gathering and our Club. Keep your eye on the website for more information. Or send questions, comments and ideas to email@example.com.
Message de la Vice-Présidente
permettez -moi de me présenter à nouveau. J’ai 27 ans et je vise une maîtrise en urbanisme. C’est un honneur pour moi d’avoir été choisie comme vice-présidente du Conseil d’administration national. Notre prochain(e) président(e) sera choisi(e) durant la réunion du Conseil le 24/5 novembre à Ottawa (qui sera aussi notre réunion générale annuelle — vous y êtes tous invités!).
Le Sierra Club joue trois rôles clés dans le mouvement environnemental canadien. Nous faisons du lobbying avec un sens de stratégie aigu. Nous employons les médias pour bien communiquer. Et nous sommes tenu responsables par nos membres.
Notre organisation est efficace parce que nous offrons des solutions pratiques et progressives pour tous les canadiens —
Au courant de la dernière année, il y a eu un changement dans la conscience publique. Les gens, en général, ont réalisé que le changement climatique est devenu le danger primordial qui menace notre société. Et le Québec mène le reste du pays.
Le Sierra Club a l’occasion de promouvoir des programmes politiques rigoureux et attentionnés. Nous pouvons, nous devons influencer le débat public qui se penche premièrement sur la conservation d’énergie, puis en augmentant l’efficacité de nos maisons et de nos styles de vie, et enfin en développant les technologies d’énergies de substitution.
Grâce à l’engagement du Club, l’action au niveau local et à l’organisation communautaire j’ai appris comment organiser une campagne, influencer le processus de décision politique, organiser des réunions, présenter des solutions pratiques et parfois même visionnaires, lever des fonds...bref, je suis capable de changer mon monde. Mais le plus important, ce sont les milliers de nos membres qui font de même. Cependant la situation dans laquelle nous sommes présentement exige encore plus — encore plus d’idées, plus d’énergie, plus de compétences, plus de vision, plus de temps, plus d’argent, plus de nous-mêmes.
Tout en bâtissant sur la base de nos points forts, nous prenons pause pour réfléchir et pousser plus avant...Sans plus tarder, c’est avec plaisir que je présente le rassemblement de printemps 2008 de Sierra Club!
Ceci sera aussi amusant que le cirque, et aussi éducatif qu’une conférence. Ce sera une réunion des membres, militants, bénévoles et employés prêts à décider communément nos priorités stratégiques.
Participez! Nous aimerions connaître vos idées pour le Cirque et pour le club. Ne quittez pas de vue le site internet. Pour de plus amples informations, donner des commentaires ou proposer des idées, écrivez au conseil d’administration à firstname.lastname@example.org ou écrivez-moi directement à 950 Jervis St. Apt.702, Vancouver BC, V6E 2B4.
Chapter Updates - British Columbia Chapter
This was a year of many triumphs. For the first time, we saw provincial and federal governments awaken to the reality of global warming. The response to our climate change maps, postcards and public outreach was massive —loud enough to register with the government and influence new provincial initiatives to slash emissions.
We strove to be a strong voice on behalf of our supporters, calling for policy and legislative changes. We ramped up our endangered species campaign, and we drew attention to lesser-known environmental impacts of the mountain pine beetle infestation. Our media profile heightened, and we made inroads in our government relations while maintaining our position as environmental watchdog. With the government’s new direction on climate change, we feel hopeful but not complacent. The provincial commitment to reduce emissions by 33 percent by 2020 is a tangible benchmark, and we will hold the government accountable.
There is no doubt that Alberta’s Tar Sands poses one of the largest ecological challenges in North America’s history. Next to Saudi Arabia, Canada has the second largest deposits of oil in the world,and the dirtiest. We have seen a new public attitude around Alberta’s future as an oil baron province. There appears a new willingness in the region to voice significant concern around the pace, scale and plans for Tar Sands development. The public mobilization, communications and internal efforts of Sierra Club of Canada have been a tipping point in creating this movement.
With tar sands production anticipating a three-quarter-fold growth, and with Alberta contributing 31% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions (and 39% of industrially-based emissions in Canada) the Prairie Chapter placed the bulk of our efforts towards our Energy Solutions program. We transitioned to a new level of engagement in provincial energy discussions including focus areas such as tar sands, electricity export, the Mackenzie Gas Project and climate change.
We are uniting the Prairie region through water campaigns that reflect the concerns of our members, not only in Alberta but in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. This has culminated in a coordinating role for a Prairie Water Coalition to advocate for sustainable management of water resources across the region.
Our SchoolPool.ca program aims to reduce the number of vehicle trips to and from school zones(a partnership with TransCanada Carpool.ca and the Alberta Motor Association). The Prairie Chapter was a central organizer for the establishment of the Alberta Capital Airshed Zone and we continue our efforts around pesticides reduction, and sustainable agriculture.
In addition, the Prairie Chapter continues to build capacity, train volunteers, do research and educate the public. Our Environmental 911 program offers on-call research on your environmental questions and we look forward to building our grassroots advocacy training.
Atlantic Canada Chapter
From tackling the climate crisis to stitching far trade coffee burlap into re-useable grocery bags, the Atlantic Canada Chapter succeeded in linking local action to global problems.
Climate Change. As a member of the Atlantic Canada Sustainable Energy Coalition we have been promoting action on climate change through the adoption of renewable, green energy and improved energy efficiency rooted in community economic development. We have also started a bicycle sharing program pilot for Memorial University.
Wild Spaces. We have been working to protect wild spaces by pushing for completion of our protected areas network, reducing clear-cutting, and eliminating herbicide use in forestry. We have also engaged a coalition of Sierra Club groups in Northeastern US to protect wilderness north and south of the border.
Digby Quarry. We provided expert advice on the implications of NAFTA and international agreements, impacts on the right whale, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the proposed 120-hectare Digby quarry.
Our groups tackled challenging problems and offered solutions:
Ontario Chapter conservation work emphasizes climate change as a core component of our campaigning. An important aspect of dealing with this issue is the need to create environmentally sustainable communities.
To that end, we must stop sprawl development with its inherent car dependency and waste of water and other resources. Communities should incorporate primary principles that include intensification, preservation of natural areas, waste diversion and options to the private car. Ontario Chapter groups in Ottawa, Peel Region and Toronto are hard at work transforming this vision into reality.
Our chairperson for the Challenge to Sprawl program, Janet Pelley, works with key volunteers Bernadette Zubrisky and David Kempton in Durham Region and particularly to protect the Duffins Creek watershed. Peel Group Chair Peter Orphanos took the lead in organizing his group’s successful effort to amend a local land use plan in 2006.
The Ottawa Group’s work to protect the LeitrimWetlands is a primary campaign focus for its land use work. It is currently supporting a legal challenge to the development of the wetlands. It is also trying to protect the Carp River watershed, in coalition with Ottawa Riverkeeper, Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital and Friends of the Carp River. Thanks to Ottawa Group’s record of environmental teamwork, developers have made some concessions.
Our transportation work has led to International Car Free Day in Ontario. More than 50 Sierra Club volunteers managed a Car Free Day event in Toronto on September 22, 2006. A portion of Yonge Street was closed and thousands of residents experienced a city not dependant on cars.
Rod Muir coordinates Waste Diversion work across the Club. Rod’s expertise on the totality of waste diversion as a necessary component of addressing climate change has allowed him to reach an international audience.
Water is life and the Ontario Chapter is a key part of the Sierra Club team that prevented diversion schemes from sucking the life and water out of the Great Lakes. Our stunning success in turning the McGuinty Government away from supporting diversions to a leadership role in preventing them resulted in a binational agreement that is essential to the preservation of the largest fresh water lake system in the world.
The issues of the Quebec Chapter reflect the needs of the people of Quebec, the interest of our supporters, and the passion and dedication of all our volunteers and members.
Our presence in the media and within the francophone community increased tremendously; most of the credit goes to Daniel Green and his very effective Wave-Net campaign.
The school program on climate change is an adaptation to the Quebec reality of an excellent program developed by the BC Chapter. Our program includes a comprehensive in-class program, a teacher’s training program and an activity booklet.
The Quebec version of Cool Cities gained allies across the country and we are now a driving force behind the development of Cool Cities’ national platform. This program is designed for municipalities to take ownership of the greenhouse gases in their territories and to minimize the causes of climate change. It deals with urban development, climate change, energy and transportation.
Groupe Hog is a large coalition of local citizens’ groups demanding a moratorium on new industrial hog farming and the revision of provincial policies on water management. The campaign works on water pollution and farming practices, in tandem with the Wave-Net project of Daniel Green.
We are proud of Green Life, our outreach to the Chinese community in Montreal. This program works in coalition with other agencies to break down cultural and language barriers and to position the Chinese community as environmental leaders. The achievements include workshops in Chinese on climate change and waste management, showings of documentaries in Chinese (An Inconvenient Truth and others) and a consistent street level awareness campaign. A dozen volunteers from the Club also showed support by participating in clean up activities in Chinatown.
Section Régionale du Québec
Les questions auxquelles s’intéresse la section du Québec reflètent les besoins de la population québécoise, l’intérêt de nos partisans et la passion et le dévouement de tous nos bénévoles et membres
Le programme éducatif à l’intention des écoles sur les changements climatiques est une adaptation à la réalité québécoise d’un excellent programme élaboré par la section de Colombie-Britannique. Il comprend un programme complet pour la classe, une formation des professeurs et un livret d’activités.
La version québécoise de Cool Cities a gagné des alliés dans le pays et nous sommes maintenant les plus actifs dans l’élaboration de la plateforme nationale de Cool Cities. Ce programme est conçu pour permettre aux municipalités de prendre la responsabilité des émissions de gaz à effet de serre sur leur territoire et de réduire les causes des changements climatiques. Il s’occupe de développement urbain, de changement climatique, d’énergie et de transport.
Le Groupe Hog est une grand regroupement de groupes de citoyens demandant un moratoire sur l’installation de nouvelles fermes porcines industrielles et la révision des politiques provinciales sur la gestion de l’eau. La campagne vise la pollution de l’eau et les pratiques d’élevage, en tandem avec le projet Wave-Net de Daniel Green.
Nous sommes fiers de Green Life, (le verdissement) notre programme d’animation auprès de la communauté chinoise de Montréal. Ce programme travaille en partenariat avec d’autres associations pour supprimer les barrières linguistiques et culturelles et faire de la communauté chinoise un leader en environnement. Les activités incluent des ateliers en chinois sur le changement climatique et la gestion des déchets, le visionnement de documentaires en chinois (tel Une Vérité qui dérange et autres documentaires) et une campagne continue de sensibilisation au niveau de la rue. Une douzaine de bénévoles du Club ont aussi montré leur appui en participant aux activités de nettoyage de la ville chinoise.
Nos nombreuses sorties de plein air sont très populaires. Nous adaptons nos sorties à tous les niveaux; elles sont devenues une excellente activité sociale, et une bonne façon de revenir vers la nature. C’est aussi une bonne façon pour nos membres de faire connaissance.
Sierra Youth Coalition
The Sierra Youth Coalition is looking to the future with great enthusiasm. The youth we are engaging have taken the culture and empowerment of sustainability to new levels.
Our Sustainable Campuses project, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary next year, has expanded to reach over 60 universities and 500,000 students! Through it, students lead multi-stakeholder sustainability assessments of their learning establishments in cooperation with administrations, faculty, staff and local communities, to collectively implement solutions. The success of this approach has lead to the creation of the pilot project Sustainable High Schools, in which high school students take on the same challenge with the help and mentorship of their teachers and administrators.
We continue our advocacy work and have teamed up with a variety of organization including the Energy Action Network and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. The Sierra Youth Coalition is in full expansion, with more staff than ever, a full and dynamic Executive Committee and hundreds of dedicated volunteers and activists across Canada. We are investing in the future and spreading a progressive and powerful culture among the leaders of tomorrow. The best time to be an optimist has always been and and continues to be the present.
The Last Word - Honouring Our Champions
this was a summer of grief for me and many other environmentalists. Glen Davis, Canada’s foremost wilderness philanthropist and huge Sierra Club of Canada supporter died in late May. Glen’s approach was different in that he supported not so much institutions but campaigners, such as John Broadhead, Monte Hummel, Laura Jackson, Sabine Jessen, Elizabeth May, and Dianne Pachal. With Glen’s support, these activists protected endangered spaces from the Queen Charlotte Islands to the Torngat Mountains. I am proud to say that he supported my campaigns. He was also my friend and mentor.
Another friend, Colleen McCrory, a lifelong activist for forest and wildlife protection in British Columbia, was struck down suddenly by a brain tumour. Winner of the Goldman Prize, the relentless and irrepressible Colleen led many successful efforts to protect old-growth forests, and more recently to save endangered mountain caribou herds.
Dennis Bueckert, the longtime CP environment reporter, was one of the few journalists who wrote about environmental issues even when they were not trendy. He understood ecology as well as environmental politics, unlike so many other journalist-dilettantes content to parade the views of flat-earthers as news. The terrible truth is that Dennis’s solid journalism was needed more than ever as evidence of human destruction of the global ecology deepens. He will be greatly missed.
Finally, there is Jeevan Mykoo, who drowned in a fast-flowing river near Ithaca New York. Jeevan had just completed his articles of law with me two years ago and joined Environment Canada to help develop climate change and air quality legislation. His death is perhaps most tragic of all given that he was only 30 and had such a bright future.
Personally, these losses are hard to bear. It will be impossible to replace these colleagues any time soon—Canada’s environmental community is a small band with a tiny fraction of the resources available to those whose activities are destroying wild nature.
Sierra Club of Canada has suffered two other significant departures. Louise Comeau, former Sierra Club of Canada president and long-time Sierra Club of Canada climate campaigner, accepted a position with the B.C. government working the provincial climate strategy. Louise has been a national leader and key strategist in the struggle to convince federal governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Finally, John Bennett, Sierra Club of Canada climate change campaigner and savvy media operative, joined Climate for Change this summer. John will no doubt continue to be a very public thorn in the side of the Harper government and others not sufficiently committed to stopping global warming. Best wishes to Louise and John in their new jobs.
After 25 years working on environmental issues, I am convinced that little progress will be made in saving ecosystems unless environmental groups are pushing. In the absence of such pressure, governments rarely make dramatic moves due to bureaucratic inertia and special-interest lobbying, while industry rarely moves due to pressures to maximize profits.
I am sure that Glen, Colleen, Dennis and Jeevan would want us to put aside grief, recruit new colleagues, and redouble our efforts to save nature on earth. That is my plan. Sierra Club of Canada’s job is more important than ever and I am counting on you to help.