Dear Sierra Club California Members and Friends,
John Muir, the Sierra Club’s founder and the intellectual touchstone of California’s environmental movement, realized early that it takes more than a strong appreciation of nature to protect the state’s natural heritage. Seventeen years before he founded the Club with a few friends in 1892, Muir wrote a letter to a state Senator urging action to protect the state’s forests.
Many, many more letters, articles and visits to state and national elected officials would be among the weapons Muir used later in life to persuade lawmakers to create Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, and to unsuccessfully fight the dam that destroyed the Hetch-hetchy Valley. He left a legacy of advocacy that resulted in great wins and some depressing losses.
Muir established early the Sierra Club’s important role in lobbying for nature and environmental quality. Today, Sierra Club California lobbyists, and the volunteers who support our work by writing and talking to legislators to persuade them to protect California’s environment, are the clearest evidence that Muir’s legacy can’t be ignored in the state Capitol.
Throughout the year, we send action alerts via email to Club members like you. Without fail, thousands of you respond. We know this not just because we get the reports from the Club’s online staff. We know this because we hear from legislators about the impact those calls and letters and emails have had on them.
Once a year, we ask volunteers to join us for a day of lobbying. If you’ve joined us before, we’re asking you again to consider spending a Sunday and Monday in Sacramento in August. If you’ve never lobbied with us, we’re asking you to join us for the first time.
On Sunday, August 19, we’ll provide training about best lobbying practices, information about the bills we need pushed or defeated, and some of the inside information about Capitol politics that will help you and your chapter members be more effective here and from your home base. On Monday, August 20, we’ll create teams among the volunteer lobbyists and send you out together to meet with legislators and their staff members.
We’ll pick up the tab for a bed at the local hostel, within walking distance of the Capitol Building. Otherwise, we can suggest other places to stay near the Capitol. We can also provide some travel assistance for people coming from targeted legislative districts.
By the time you’re finished on Monday afternoon, you’ll have earned at least two things: One is the sincere gratitude of all of us who work at Sierra Club California; we know our influence at the Capitol is only as strong as your voice. The other is the right to say you’ve walked in John Muir’s shoes and pressed legislators to do the right thing for California’s forests, meadows, air, water, wildlife, and people.
You can sign up for lobby day here. Please hurry! We have space for 50.
Kathryn Phillips, Director
Sierra Club California is the Sacramento-based legislative and regulatory advocacy arm of the 13 California chapters of the Sierra Club.