Membership in the Community starts with voting as a Sierra Club member – TAKE ACTION NOW

  • Posted on 1 November 2021
  • By Everette Phillips
CHECK YOUR EMAIL – VOTE (even for no one) or CALL (213)387-4287 FOR YOUR BALLOT
There are more than 100,000 people who have expressed interest in the environmental activities of our organization in LA and Orange Counties and of them roughly 40% of them value what our organization does enough to become a dues paying member for $15 per year. Of the roughly 40,000 members 4% participated in our internal leadership elections in 2019, then 1% in 2020 and  unless you take action during the next week less than 3% will participate. PLEASE REVIEW YOUR EMAILS, FIND YOUR BALLOT AND PARTICIPATE IN THIS ELECTION DURING THIS WEEK.
Not all democratic communities are “government” – some, like the Sierra Club, are membership-based communities. If you find our work interesting and valid, you should join…we set the bar to join at $15 per year to allow inclusion. However, paying dues is not enough for our community to survive. We need your participation to validate that we have a community. Our community is a community of action. We walk and hike and have an interest in engaging with the outdoors or environment around us – we build awareness through our own actions and through sharing with others. Like paying dues, awareness is not enough as awareness without action is worse than ignorance. Action will preserve the planet for future generations. Action will improve our own health and happiness. Action, even small steps, when consistent makes a difference.
Some environmental organizations are judged by the amount of money they can raise, and some are judged by the number of lawyers they have on staff. Our organization is judged simply by how many people in our community can be motivated to act on any specific call to action. Politicians seek our endorsements because we claim to have the ability to motivate our community to act and vote in an election. Government agencies listen to our voice because we have a history of motivating our community to get hundreds to attend a meeting or thousands to send a letter or sign a petition.
Our community is in decline even though the need to act on climate change is increasing. COVID19 has put a big dent in our outings and other in person activities that help people feel a connection to the environment – to feel a constituency with environmental issues and to feel a constituency with the Sierra Club.
If we, as a community, are so apathetic about our constituency that less than 3% even bother opening a ballot and voting, how can we convince politicians that we can motivate members to sign a petition or take an interest in an oil spill or landfills or recycling or sustainable transportation or clean air or clean water?
The simple act of opening your ballot and voting shows you feel a constituency and indicates that you are willing to take action in other areas.
You can open your email, open your ballot and vote for no one, yet still make a difference by showing the world you care about the environment enough to open the email and demonstrate a sense of being part of our community.
However, I would like to suggest that the people on the ballot should be interesting to you. Often that have years of service and are willing to extend this service to an elected leadership position. The world would be a better place if you randomly selected candidates and voted than not voting at all.
Each candidate has written something about their interests, so you will most likely be able to identify with at least one candidate.
The Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club covers Los Angeles and Orange Counties and with the chapter are geographic groups based on zip codes. These groups are the cornerstone of the Sierra Club. They have leadership for making decisions about local activities and local conservation priorities and the elected leadership of the group provide voices into other aspects of the Sierra Club. The elected leadership on the group level are organized into what is called a “Group Executive Committee”. You will be electing members of this committee for your local geographic group. Someone from your “Group Executive Committee” will represent your local group in the larger chapter governance on the “Chapter Executive Committee”.  In addition, you have the opportunity to vote on some independent candidates for what is called “at large” seats on the Chapter Executive Committee.
Our organization is designed around our motto: EXPLORE, ENJOY and PROTECT. Our chapter engages with the world through four pillars of action: 1) Outings, where we arrange for opportunities for certified volunteer leaders to lead hikes, camping trips and other opportunities to experience the outdoors and environment – even the environment of your backyard. These are designed to help our members and larger community to EXPLORE and ENJOY the outdoors and the Environment. We cannot motivate people to PROTECT unless they appreciate and value public goods that need protection. We PROTECT through the other three pillars of our organization: 2) Conservation, where volunteers identify and takes action on issues determined a priority by the Executive Committee 3) Political/Policy, where volunteers interview candidates for endorsement or review legislative actions aligned with priorities determined by the Executive Committee and 4) Service, where volunteers provide the skills, training and knowledge to help our chapter be successful in achieving goals outlined by the Executive Committee.
Please review your emails, find your ballot, click on the link, check out candidates and follow the instructions to vote. If you cannot find your ballot just call our Chapter office in LA at (213) 387-4287 and ask for one between 9am and 5pm or leave a message after hours. Your participation is important!
#chapterelections #groupelections #communitymembership
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