Sierra Club Announces 2007 National Awards
A former vice president, a New York Times reporter, and a California Assemblyman who have helped raise awareness of global warming are among those receiving awards from the Sierra Club this year.
Former Vice President Al Gore, who has spent 30 years making the world aware of the dangers of global warming, will receive the Sierra Club’s top award, the John Muir Award.
Between his earliest political career in 1976 as a representative of Tennessee’s Fourth District, and his two-term vice presidency beginning in 1993, Gore helped set the political and popular stages for prime-time environmentalism. He was one of the first politicians to grasp the seriousness of climate change and to call for a reduction in emissions of
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. He held the first congressional hearings on the subject in the late 1970s.
Since then, he has presented the science behind global warming and its predicted catastrophic effects more than 1,000 times. His message finally reached the broad public consciousness with the 2006 documentary, An
Inconvenient Truth. The film has won numerous awards, including two Academy Awards. His paperback book of the same name also reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.
On July 7th, 2007, Gore reached a record-shattering global audience with his Live Earth Concerts, when he orchestrated 24 hours of concerts on seven continents asking for each person watching to make a pledge to take action
for the environment. He has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change.
"Al Gore is the embodiment of the principles for which John Muir passionately devoted his life: to protect a place for its own sake, for our sake, and even in spite of us; a place we call Earth," said Sierra Club President Dr. Robbie Cox.
Tom Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, is receiving the David R. Brower Award, which recognizes a professional journalist for stories pertaining to the environment. In the past year, Friedman has devoted many of his columns to the environment, particularly international environmental issues such as global warming.
Fabian Núñez, who serves as speaker of the California Assembly, is receiving the club’s Distinguished Achievement Award for pushing through the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the strongest measure ever enacted in the United States to curb global warming.
Another California legislator also will be honored by the Sierra Club this year. Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents California’s first congressional district, is receiving the club’s Edgar Wayburn Award. Thompson helped pass national legislation in 2006 that guaranteed protection for 431 square miles of wilderness in Northern California.
Others receiving 2007 Sierra Club awards include the following:
Ansel Adams Award (honors excellence in conservation photography): Wilbur Mills of Sammamish, Wash. Mills was one of the first photographers to document the area now known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
EarthCare Award (recognizes individuals who have made a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation): Center for Human Rights and Environment in Argentina. The group has fought a polluting
pulp mill under construction on the Argentine-Uruguayan border, from which has emerged their global advocacy to promote human rights, environmental protection, and corporate accountability in international development finance.
Electronic Communication Award: Lacinda Athen of Madison, Wisc. Athen developed a Web site titled "Solve Global Warming in Wisconsin" (www.solveglobalwarmingwisconsin.org).
Environmental Alliance Award (recognizes individuals or groups that have forged partnerships with other non-Sierra Club entities): Rochelle Becker of San Luis Obispo, Calif; and Leslie March of New Orleans, La. Becker has helped raised awareness of issues related to nuclear power and March has worked to help rebuild the Gulf Coast area in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Denny & Ida Wilcher Award (recognizes excellence in fundraising or membership development): The Sierra Nevada Group. The group has raised funds to help sustain the Sierra Club’s Clair Tappaan Lodge outside Truckee, Calif.
Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund Award (recognizes a club member under the age of 30): Tyler Dawson of Athens, Ohio. Dawson is a student at Ohio University is currently organizing the Campus Climate Challenge for the State of Ohio.
He also is an executive committee member of the Sierra Student Coalition. The Barbosa Award includes a grant of $1,000 from the Joseph Barbosa Earth Fund to help the recipient continue his or her work.
Madelyn Pyeatt Award (recognizes working with youth): Larry Volpe of San Jose, Calif. Volpe is a 5th grade teacher at Seven Trees Elementary School in San Jose and a volunteer with the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings (ICO) program.
Newsletter Award: The Cumberland (published by the Cumberland Chapter).
Oliver Kehrlein Award (for outstanding service to the club’s outings program): Don de Fremery of Alamo, Calif. De Fremery has led outings in the Mount Diablo area for more than 35 years.
One-Club Award (recognizes people who use outings as a way to instill an interest in conservation and protecting public lands): Paul Carlton of San Clemente, Calif. Carlton has encouraged conservation task force leaders in his Sierra Club group to become trained and certified outings leaders to ensure that outings enhance the group’s conservation program.
Special Achievement Awards (for a single act of importance dedicated to conservation or the Sierra Club): Harriet Sayuri Iwamoto of Brookfield, Wisc.; Susan Reske of El Jobean, Fla.; and the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club. Iwamoto published a Kids Guide to the Outdoors, which has been distributed to 10,000 children in her area; Reske is the first chair of the Greater Charlotte Harbor Group of the Sierra Club; and the Illinois Chapter led a statewide campaign to approve new regulations on mercury pollution.
Special Service Awards (for strong and consistent commitment to conservation over an extended period of time): Anna Holden of Detroit, Mich.; Wallace McMullen of Prospect, Ky.; and Lynne Plambeck of Newhall, Calif. Holden has been involved with waste and recycling issues in Detroit; McMullen has been involved with energy issues in Missouri and Kentucky; and Plambeck has worked to preserve the Santa Clara River in Los Angeles County.
Susan E. Miller Award (for outstanding service to Sierra Club chapters): Dean Amel of Arlington, Va. Amel has been treasurer of the Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter for 16 years.
Walter A. Starr Award (recognizes the continuing active work and support of the Sierra Club by a former director): Ted Snyder of Walhalla, S.C. Snyder has spent more than 35 years fighting a proposed 37-mile road through Smoky Mountains National Park that would slice through the largest roadless tract of mountain land in the east.
William E. Colby Award (the club’s highest honor for administrative work): Jan O’Connell of Grand Rapids, Mich. O’Connell served as secretary, treasurer, and vice president for conservation during her tenure as a member of the Sierra Club Board of Directors.
William O. Douglas Award (recognizes those who have made outstanding use of the legal/judicial process to achieve environmental goals): Richard Duncan of Minneapolis, Minn. Duncan has handled critical pieces of litigation in the Sierra Club’s fight to protect the Boundary Waters, as well as other lawsuits relating to Wild and Scenic Rivers issues, wildlands, wildlife and land use.