Friday, December 28, 2007

Will our world become a "Storm World"?

Is the Earth becoming warmer due to human activity? Almost certainly. Are typhoons and hurricanes becoming stronger and more frequent because of global warming? Believe it or not, the jury is still out on that one. In his excellent new book "Storm World", New Orleans born author Chris Mooney presents both sides of the still raging debate about whether human induced global warming is in fact causing stronger and more frequent cyclones.

One reason that there is a debate at all about storm intensity and frequency is that we have only since the early 1970's had the ability to monitor our globe via satellite. Before then the data that we would need to prove conclusively that storms are more frequent and intense, is simply too incomplete to be entirely useful.

The full title of Chris Mooney's book, "Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming", tells you that it is not just about climate science but also about the politics of warming, a topic which is not easily ignored.

The Sierra Club even gets a mention on page 225 where Casey DeMoss Roberts, former chair of the New Orleans Group, is quoted as saying that she became a "climate refugee" because of Katrina.

This book is important because it lays out both sides of the debate for the reader to come to his or her own conclusion. Which is interesting in that the author himself begins the book as a neutral observer but by the end seems pretty convinced that storms are getting stronger and more frequent even though the evidence is still inconclusive.

A review of the book on

Other books by the author: "The Republican War on Science".

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Hummer that gets 60 miles per gallon!!?? You must be joking!

No we aren't. This interesting tidbit comes from and tells the tale of Johnathan Goodwin dubbed the "Motorhead Messiah" because he takes the largest, heaviest vehicles available and retrofits them to increase the gas mileage of these monstrous behemoths to match their physical size. LARGE.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Predictions for our warming planet are coming true

The recent increase in wildfires in California are just one of many predicted effects of a warming planet.

Industry goes after Leslie March

Clearcutting cypress cannot be justified

Timber industry spokesperson Buck Vandersteen's inaccurate data and personal attacks demand that I set the record straight ("Best practices used in managing our forests," Oct. 4). There is no justification for clearcutting cypress, our state tree, because nearly 80 percent of the trees will never regenerate once they are cut. Indeed, many cypress swamps logged up to 100 years ago have not regrown. These trusted data come from scientists and the U.S. Global Change Program. Big Timber often claims growth based on the controversial data that compared cypress "apples" in 1991 to "oranges" in 2005.

The Save Our Cypresses Coalition - of which Sierra Club is a member - supports conservation easements and other ways of compensating landowners for protecting cypress. Cypress forests are our best natural storm protection, and they are the natural legacy we will leave for future generations. Instead of mocking my passion, Vandersteen should help lead our state toward responsible stewardship of our cypress forests.


The letter that started it all:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dirty Power coming to a power plant near you

Louisiana Environmental Action Network Louisiana Environmental Action Network
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper
LMRK logo

For Immediate Release

For more information:

Leslie March, Sierra Club, (985) 249-1160

John Atkeison, Alliance for Affordable Energy (504) 208-9761 or (302) 345-0607

Aaron Viles, Gulf Restoration Network, (225) 615-0346

Marylee Orr, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, (225) 928-1315

Polluting $1.5 Billion Entergy Plan Challenged:

Little Gypsy Project Will Mean Big Pain for Ratepayers

BATON ROUGE - Today community groups rallied in opposition to Entergy's plan to pass the costs of its "Little Gypsy" re-powering project on to Louisiana's ratepayers. Entergy plans to replace its current power plant, which burns natural gas, with a plant that burns coal and petroleum coke, a refinery waste product.

The Alliance for Affordable Energy, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Sierra Club, and Gulf Restoration Network challenged the proposal at a Louisiana Public Service Commission hearing in Baton Rouge. The groups are opposed to the plant's greatly increased contribution to global warming, its higher toxic load on the environment, and the high costs the plan will impose on ratepayers.

"Burning coal produces twice as much greenhouse gas pollution as burning natural gas," says John Atkeison, director of Climate and Clean Energy Programs for the Alliance for Affordable Energy. "This means that Entergy will be imposing the hardship and costs of accelerating global warming on Louisiana and the world if they switch from natural gas to coal and coke."

"Little Gypsy is already a financial boondoggle," says Karen Wimpleberg, chair of the Alliance for Affordable Energy, "$500 million more since the original estimate they gave the Public Service Commission. Yet they want ratepayers to prepay the bill. This is a terrible risk for ratepayers but a sweet deal for shareholders."

While utilities normally can recover the costs of a plant after the project is complete, Entergy is seeking to pass the costs of Little Gypsy on to its customers before it even begins construction. In the months since Entergy's announcement of the project, the estimated cost has already increased by 50 percent. Long-term costs for the ratepayers will likely increase as well since the proposed fuel switch will increase the plant's emissions of the pollutants responsible for global warming - just as Congress prepares to penalize such pollution.

Louisiana stands at particular risk from global warming; if such warming continues unchecked, rising sea levels are projected to increase flooding and accelerate the loss of the state's coastal wetlands. Such risks have prompted Florida's Public Service Commission to reject proposals for new coal-fired power plants. "Louisiana should follow Florida's lead," says Aaron Viles of the Gulf Restoration Network. "We've seen what global warming means for the Gulf; it should be clear we need action to address global warming, not more pollution to make the problem worse."

Leslie March, chair of the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club says, "The PSC is composed of elected officials, and it's time for them to consider the best interests of their constituents. We've jointly launched so the public can remind the PSC that South Louisiana is ground zero for climate change impacts, and it is time to shift away from dirty energy sources like coal."

Coke and coal are vastly dirtier fuels than natural gas, contributing to smog and other pollution that causes asthma and a variety of other respiratory diseases. "Louisiana has cheaper, cleaner, better alternatives to satisfy its energy needs," says Marylee Orr of Louisiana Environmental Action Network, noting that simple, inexpensive measures to increase energy efficiency could sharply reduce Louisiana's need for electricity and that investment in renewable energy could boost the economy and create jobs.

# # #

Atchafalaya Basinkeeper
Dean Wilson
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper
Paul Orr

Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper | P.O. Box 66323 | Baton Rouge | LA | 70809

Cypress Trees of the Gulf - are getting some press

More specifically the destruction of the Cypress Trees of the Gulf is getting some press. The following blog post is from the Huffington Post.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We can't argue with this great idea

How about a blog devoted solely to clean technology, electronic or otherwise? As our world gets more enamored with all things technological, we burn a lot more fuel to power it all. Good Clean Tech . com bills itself as "The Independent Guide to Ecotechnology" for a good reason. They "aim to provide you with news, tips, advice, and ideas about how to do more with less." Now that's an ideal that we ought to all aspire to.

Chew on this little fact you filthy Americans.

If you think that all of your do-gooder environmental choices actually do any good, read this little piece from Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. It is slightly disheartening, but no reason to give up the good fight. In fact it is all the more reason to fight even harder.

Read the whole story here >>

The full URL... >>

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thank you Dean... for not coming here.

Now we see why the ancient Mayans built their cities inland from the coasts.

Early on the morning of August 21st, 2007, Hurricane Dean slammed the Yucatan peninsula as a still-intensifying Category 5 storm with sustained winds upwards of 165 miles per hour. Dean required some troubling readjustments of our hurricane records, and as a result, we may hear some serious chatter about the relationship between these intense storms and global warming.

Read more on the Huffington Post:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Safe Energy For the Gulf: Hold the Line on Fish-Killing Machines

After a veto from the Governor of Louisiana, threats from the Governor of Alabama, and multiple projects abandoned by the energy industry (remember that big announcement from Shell a few months back?), you would imagine that the message would be clear: We won't allow open-loop liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in the Gulf of Mexico!

Unfortunately, TORP Technologies (a Norwegian energy corporation) must have missed the memo. They are currently seeking a permit to develop the Bienville Offshore Energy Terminal in Gulf waters off Alabama's coast. While the terminal is pretty far out (63 miles) it is smack-dab in some of the most important off-shore habitat for species like red snapper, groupers, amberjack and other popular recreational species. That makes the 127 million gallons of Gulf seawater that they would like to suck up, chill, chlorinate and dump back into the Gulf every day pretty important, as it is teeming with the highest concentration of grouper larvea you can find in the Gulf.

Send a message to the Maritime Administration, the Coast Guard and Gulf Governors that we can't allow this technology in the Gulf. The comment period for Bienville Draft Environmental Impact Statement closes on August 20th, so please take action today:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hurricane Katrina - Two Years Later

"The most important thing to remember about the drowning of New Orleans is that it wasn't a natural disaster. It was a man-made disaster, created by lousy engineering, misplaced priorities and pork-barrel politics. Katrina was not the Category 5 killer the Big Easy had always feared; it was a Category 3 storm that missed New Orleans, where it was at worst a weak 2..."

That's how a newly published article in Time magazine on the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina begins.
Read the entire article from the August 13th, 2007 issue:,28804,1646611_1646683_1648904-1,00.html

The above article is also featured in Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog on the Weather Underground's Web site:

The two year anniversary of the storm and the region's recovery is also featured in a thoughtful article in National Geographic magazine. Read more From the August 2007 issue:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The World Clock is in a word - fascinating

When we first saw the World Clock Web site, we were taken aback by how fast most of the statistics being presented are changing. Particularly alarming is the number of deaths versus the number of births. No wonder there are over 6 billion of us.

While the actual numbers cannot be precise the rates of change are what is most interesting.
The data is taken from WHO, UN, Internet World Stats, and other official sources.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hotter oceans causing more hurricanes and tropical storms? ... Duh!

Science has once again proven what many of us already knew to be true. The number of Atlantic hurricanes in an average season has doubled in the last century due in part to warmer seas and changing wind patterns caused by global warming, according to a study released recently. Read more here:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Learn the Dirty Truth About Coal

Take Action against dirty coal plants in Louisiana

There is a permit pending to expand the Big Cajun I generating plant near New Roads, LA. The proposed Part 70 air operating major modification, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), and Acid Rain permits, statement of basis and the associated Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS) {also know as environmental impact questions} are available for review at the DEQ, Public Records Center, Room 127, 602 North 5th Street, Baton Rouge, LA. Viewing hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). The available information can also be accessed electronically on the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) on the DEQ public website at

An additional copy may be reviewed at the Pointe Coupee Parish Library, 201 Claiborne Street, New Roads, LA.

Inquiries or requests for additional information regarding this permit action should be directed to Dustin Duhon, LDEQ, Air Permits Division, P.O. Box 4313, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4313, phone (225) 219-3057.

Persons wishing to be included on the LDEQ permit public notice mailing list or for other public participation related questions should contact the Public Participation Group in writing at LDEQ, P.O. Box 4313, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4313, by email at or contact the LDEQ Customer Service Center at (225) 219-LDEQ (219-5337).

Permit public notices including electronic access to the proposed permit and statement of basis can be viewed at the LDEQ permits public notice webpage at and general information related to the public participation in permitting activities can be viewed at

Alternatively, individuals may elect to receive the permit public notices via email by subscribing to the LDEQ permits public notice List Server at

All correspondence should specify AI Number 11917

Permit Number: 2260-00007-V1 – PER20040001 - Part 70 Air

PSD-LA-660(M-1) – PER20040002 - PSD

2260-00007-IVI – PER20040003 - Acid Rain

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dick Cheney runs the country - who knew?

The blog entry from the Washington Post below recounts how Vice gets himself personally involved with many of the environmental decisions that should be made by the EPA and others who are more well versed in the discussed topics than he is.

Several of the incidents recounted here contributed to the resignation of Christine Todd Whitman as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Canon tops list of climate-friendly companies

By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Canon, athletic gear leader Nike Inc. and food and consumer goods giant Unilever Plc topped a list rating climate-friendly companies released on Tuesday.

There was a cluster at the bottom of the list of 56 companies. Six tied for last, with a score of zero on a 100-point scale -- Jones Apparel Group Inc., CBS Corp., Burger King Holdings Inc., Darden Restaurants Inc., Wendy's International Inc. and

Read more on>>

Building Partnerships to Help Rebuild the Big Easy

On June 14, members of the Sierra Club and the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association gathered for a Friendship Dinner. Read more about it at the Sierra Club's Grassroots Scrapbook blog:

New "Say Yes to Clean Energy" Web site launched

Say YES to Clean Energy and NO to Coal and Nuclear!

Louisiana has been targeted by the energy industry to build more polluting coal plants and more expensive and dangerous nuclear power plants.

What can you do about it? Surf on over to the newly created Say Yes to Clean Energy Web site.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's are driving destruction of the Gulf's best natural storm protection by selling cypress mulch all over the country.


As leaders of the Save Our Cypress Coalition, you all know clear-cutting cypress trees solely to decorate gardens and flower beds is crazy. It becomes even worse when you realize that these trees are the Gulf Coast's best natural storm and flood defenses, and they just might be where some of the last ivory-billed woodpeckers are surviving. It all sounds like the plot of a cartoon, doesn't it?

The GRN is releasing Corporate Low Down Depot Mart Clearcuts the Gulf Coast, a short video clip that tells the ridiculous (and unfortunately true) story of the cypress forests. Cypress swamps are being clear-cut and entire trees are being used solely to produce cypress garden mulch. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's are driving destruction of the Gulf's best natural storm protection by selling cypress mulch all over the country. It's time they stopped.

You can watch the video at

One of the most important actors in this tragic comedy is you. Once you've seen the cartoon, please help ensure a happy ending to the story by using our action system to send an email directly to the CEO's of all three companies. Then, if you show the clip to five friends, we'll send you a little token of thanks.

For our Forests and Our Future,

Aaron Viles

p.s. If the voice doing the intro sounds familiar, you're probably thinking of Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, and Smithers, among others. Harry Shearer, voice of many characters from The Simpsons, is a supporter of the GRN and lent his talents to this project. You can help us thank Harry by taking action today!

The Gulf Restoration Network is a diverse network of local, regional, and national groups and individuals dedicated to protecting and restoring the valuable resources of the Gulf of Mexico. The GRN has members in the five Gulf states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The GRN will not sell or share your information.

**Visit our new website at**

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Looking for Owners of Personalized Plates for Documentary

Dear Sierra Club Members,

Cleveland, OH filmmakers are looking for participants for a documentary about personalized (vanity) auto plates in the United States. We thought that members of your group may have some very interesting and thought provoking plates. Participation would mainly consist of an interview on film discussing your personalized plates. We will travel for the interview. If you would pass this message on to members in your group we would be grateful. If anyone is interested in perhaps being a part of this documentary please email us at with the following information.

The exact text/numbers on your plate (interpreted if it needs to be)
Your state
Any information about why you picked your plate. Feel free to elaborate.
Your email address

If we are interested in getting more information we will contact you by email.

Contact us at


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Sierra Club Energy Film Festival

The Sierra Club is bringing the excitement of film festivals to cities across the country. Launched in the fall of 2006, the festival is continuing until the end of 2007. You can find out more information at the National Sierra Club:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Toxic Trailers

Living in a Toxic Trailer?
Are you or your neighbor living in a FEMA Trailer that may be a health time bomb? Check out and tell us your story.
If you would like to have your trailer tested contact or call 225- 925-8650.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nation exploited our coast; now it's the nation's job to fix it

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
John Barry

There has been much debate in the past 20 months over protecting Louisiana from another lethal hurricane, but nearly all of it has been conducted without any real understanding of the geological context. Congress and the Bush administration need to recognize six facts that define the national interest...

Read more from

Or read more from the Washington Post.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club Announces Green Tie Award winners

First Club Award Ceremony Post Katrina and Rita Highlighted Environmental Hurricane Response Leadership

In the spirit of John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and Father of our National Park system, local Sierra Club members and community volunteers acts as stewards of our environment. The Delta Chapter presented awards to celebrate this good work on April 21st, at a reception at Boutin’s restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA.

“We felt that it was fitting to give awards to deserving club members and our community partners on John Muir’s birthday, the eve of Earth Day” says Delta Chapter Chair, Leslie March. “ We want to recognize that the dedication of these people preserve our environment and make Louisiana a better place to live.”

Awards presented to our community partners and members include:


Joel Waltzer of the Walzer Law firm and Adam Babich, Director of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic for their excellent work in protecting communities from hazardous waste post-Katrina. Adam Babich photo at right.


Mark Schleifstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune is granted this award for his coverage of environmental issues before and after the storms. Mark Schleifstein shown at left.


Stacy Hess - Lafayette Middle School for being an inspiration to all environmental educators. Stacey Hess shown at right.


Sharp Solar Corporation for contributing solar panels to houses being rebuilt in the lower ninth ward.


Father Vien of Citizens for a Strong New Orleans East and Mary Queen of Vietnam, for helping to lead the recovery of his community to develop sustainably and to protect the environment.


Mike Bienvenu, Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association West. The LCPAW has been a strong partner in protecting the Cypress and the Atchafalaya Basin. Mike Bienvenu shown at left.


Suzanne Hawes, Army Corps of Engineers, has been an inspiration to all who work with her. Her dedication to preserving our environment and to encourage citizen participation with government is unsurpassed. Suzanne Hawes is shown at right.


Henry "Junior" Rodriguez , President of St. Bernard Parish is an unfailing opponent of the MRGO, an ecological disaster commonly known as the hurricane highway. He has been a leader among public officials in negotiating the closure of this coastal cancer. Henry "Junior" Rodriguez is shown at left.

We applaud the governor for having the courage to ask for a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) of the Gulf of Mexico, post Katrina. She was willing to stand up to the oil and gas industry and the Minerals Management Service and demand that before they offer any more leases they needed to survey the current damage. Additionally, the Governor stood up for fisheries in the Gulf and opposed open loop liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals proposed for offshore Louisiana.

In addition to community awards, there were awards presented to outstanding club members. Each award winner received a framed plaque with a photograph donated by outdoor photographer and Sierra Member Charles Fryling.

Thanks to Jeffrey Dubinsky for providing the photographs.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Is global warming solar induced?

This lively discussion of the red herring theory that global warming here on Earth is caused by the Sun and not by us humans, is from the most excellent Web site called "Bad Astronomy" by astronomer Phil Plait.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cypress mulch is bad...How bad is it?

Citizens and groups throughout the Gulf Coast region are calling on Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's to celebrate this Arbor Day by saving cypress trees and halting the sale of cypress mulch.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Prez's post


Favorite Photo from "The Step It Up" Event in New Orleans. This is Warren, he came to the Step It Up event. Warren lives with his wife and family in the house behind him in the lower ninth ward, Holy Cross Neighborhood of New Orleans. He moved back post Katrina this January. The lower ninth now has ten solar collector locations and they want to rebuild carbon neutral.

The next best picture, will hopefully be in the New York Times with everyone sitting on the ninth ward levee with their red "Save New Orleans" T-Shirts on spelling out with their bodies STEP IT UP.

Thank you and congratulations Darryl Malek Wiley and Aaron Viles for organizing a hugely successful event.

Below is the outline of the speech I used - entitled - "WHY YOU WILL REMEMBER TODAY."

Lisa Renstrom
Sierra Club

Step It Up
Speech for first "Step It Up" Rally
9th Ward Levee, Holy Cross Neighborhood, New Orleans


Thank you

You are going to remember today!

You are going to remember today because

Being here, in this iconic place, to ask Congress to step up their action to curb global warming is

1) a part of history
2) a part of a movement
3) a turning point

Today is a part of a larger history -

113 years ago, the Sierra Club was founded by men who knew that in wildness is the preservation of the world. This realization was the birth of the environmental movement. The Sierra Club was at its core.

In this first era of the Sierra Club and of the environmental movement, we recognized the value of protecting special places. This recognition went beyond preservation; it spilled over into literature and the arts. It became a permanent part of the American culture.

The next era, the 2nd era of the environmental movement was a reaction to pollution Brown air and burning rivers, Love Canal and Three Mile Island caught our attention. The industrial assault on our air and water quality, and unregulated chemical dumping rekindled America's environmental awareness. The Sierra Club responded. Modern environmental activism was born.

In the 1960's and 70's we took on the responsibility of protecting not only our special places, we took on the responsibility of protecting the health of Americans. The health of the planet.

This challenge, this responsibility, seemed colossal. It was literally and figuratively David versus Goliath. The villains though, were easy to see; the pollution, easy to identify; the cause and effect between toxins and life obvious.

People just like us, in fact many of us, faced the enormous challenge of educating Americans and enlisting them in environmental protection. We were bold and aggressive - adept at championing, passing and enforcing environmental legislation.

Today we are entering the third wave of the movement - the climate phase.

You are going to remember today because you are part of a movement.

Think of a movement as a confluence of rivers all flowing toward a gulf that opens to the sea.

Today we are seeing new rivers forming heading to this sea of social change.

The faith community's waters are rising with the moral imperative to care for Gods creation and fight climate injustice.

The business community waters are rising as they use their influence to demand a price on carbon

The tributaries that link these rivers are expanding and flowing.

The waters are rising and the movement is gaining momentum, velocity and power.

You are going to remember today because we are at a turning point.

Bill Moyers movement action plan (MAP) model of social movements indicates that we are in the "take-off" mode where movement groups proliferate, new tactics evolve, and the movement appears to be everywhere.

In the past 6 months we have seen California Governor Schwarzenegger pass the first legislation to reduce green house gas emission in every sector of the economy, COE of major fortune 500 companies call for immediate action to address Climate Change, a Presidential Candidate declare his campaign climate neutral, and a Supreme Courth ruling enabling the Federal Government to regulate carbon from vehicles. Green has become cool. Green has become the new patriotism, the new red white and blue.

You are going to remember today because we are standing in an iconic place.

We are standing on the levee, 20 months after Katrina, in the lower 9th Holy Cross neighborhood in New Orleans, asking Congress to Step It Up.

To take the steps necessary to reduce carbon 80% by 2050.

But - make no mistake about it - the Holy Cross Neighborhood association is not waiting for Washington - they are taking action NOW. They have committed torebuild the lower nine carbon neutral. They currently are producing more energy from renewable sources than the rest of New Orleans.

This neighborhood was devastated by flooding and resident were not allowed to reenter for almost a year. But today dozens of former and current Holy Cross residents are here, joined by 300 supporters.

So that is way we are going to remember today!

We have the solutions,

we are gathering the will.

We are a part of history,

a part of a movement and today is a turning point.

Thank you


That’s the collective sigh of a dozen organizers who made the SAVE NOLA – STOP GLOBAL WARMING – STEP IT UP kickoff happen. We had a brass band (hear Soul Rebels on myspace here:) We had speakers from the National Sierra Club President Lisa Renstrom, to NOLA’s city council President Oliver Thomas. We had 200 people in bright red t-shirts (and 300 hundred disgruntled folks who really wanted a bright red t-shirt - again, sorry about running out, but really, it was a good sign) sitting on the levee in the lower 9th ward, the levees that we rely on to protect our city from two of the biggest climate change impacts, sea level rise and increased storm severity. What each element had in common was our call for action. It was said again and again in the speeches we heard, and said again in the words we spelled on the levee.

In the city that tells the story of climate change impacts better than any other, and in the city where some of the best global warming solutions are being put in place as we recover from Katrina, we can’t wait any longer. We were honored and excited to kick off the event, the moment that we believe will spark a movement.

While we were the first event, I think we were also the first event to get our message directly to our target (and I’m not talking about the coverage on Saturday’s Good Morning America, though that was cool). This afternoon I was at a convening of the Gulf Coast Recovery fund and saw Senator Mary Landrieu in the hotel lobby! Senator Landrieu has supported minimal action on climate change in the past (the Carper Bill) but hasn’t cosponsored ANY of the climate change legislation currently flooding the Senate. I grabbed my computer, sat down on at her table and fired up our slide show. She saw the speakers, the crowd, and the money shot of 200 of her constituents spelling out STEP IT UP on our levees. The message was to her, and I was able to get it to her immediately. She committed to support capping carbon emissions, acknowledging that voluntary measures won’t cut it. I urged her on behalf of the 500 attendees at the rally, the 15 organizations that cosponsored it, and the IPCC report that names the Louisiana coast as the most at risk area in the continental U.S. to climate change impacts to support legislation that does what we need: cut carbon 80% by 2050.

I know she heard me say it, let’s keep pushing to make sure she hears all you too!

Thanks again,



Delta Chapter

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hey Louisiana - Time to STEP IT UP on climate change

Here in Louisiana, we all know what big storms look like. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed us how vulnerable we are to the impacts of climate change. Now the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report forecasting climate change impacts on people and our environment and the news for the Gulf Coast isn't good, confirming what we already knew.

Our low elevation, and past history with storms and flooding means we won't like the accelerated sea level rise and increased storm intensity that's headed our way. This report means the facts are in, and the scientific consensus is grim.

But all hope is not lost. Green house gas emissions that are causing climate change CAN be reduced if we begin to prioritize action. Everyone from Al Gore to Entergy's CEO agree we can and must act. While we can all help out by replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, and driving more fuel-efficient cars, the nation-wide action we need to cut our CO2 emissions is going to take national leadership.

That's why the Sierra Club is proud to be sponsoring STEP IT UP 2007. Inspired by green author Bill McKibben, SIU is a national day of climate action happening this weekend around teh country. From Shreveport to Baton Rouge, people are rallying throughout Louisiana to send a message to Congress that they need to Step It Up and cut carbon emissions to stabilize our climate. We know that Louisiana is a state with the most to lose due to climate change impacts, yet the least likely delegations in BR and DC to actually address the issue - so Friday (BR and NOLA) and Saturday (Shreveport, Lafayette) rallies really need your support.

There are over 1200 events planned across the nation, and a few to pick from in Louisiana - so check out the website, find an event you can attend, and help us send this important message.

Aaron Viles
Delta Chapter

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Scientific report warns of Louisiana's vulnerability to global warming

NEW ORLEANS – Today, April 6, 2007, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released it’s second of four summaries comprising the Fourth Assessment Report, which describes the current consensus of the world’s scientific community on climate impacts due to global warming. The Working Group II Summary for Policymakers, released six years after the prior assessment by the IPCC, evaluates “Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”. It offers a crucial analysis of how global warming may affect the natural and human systems in each region and how they may or may not be able to cope with the consequences.

Read more in this PDF (99KB) document of the press release.

Warming ruling squeezes Bush from both sides

Top court rebukes administration on warming.

In a defeat for the Bush administration, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a U.S. government agency has the power under the clean air law to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Entergy to offer green power

But customers will pay for the privilege
Sunday, March 25, 2007
By Pam Radtke Russell

Beginning next month, some Louisiana residents will be able to pay more for electricity.

Yes, more.

Under a green pricing program, Entergy Gulf States customers in Baton Rouge and western Louisiana can choose to pay 2.25 cents per kilowatt hour more to buy green or renewable power.

The Rise and Disappearance of Southeast Louisiana

If you ever wanted to learn more about the geography and geology of Southeast Louisiana, The New Orleans Times-Picayune has created a beautifully clear and easy to understand interactive presentation to help you.

The link below takes you to the excellent primer on how Southeast Louisiana was created by the Mississippi River and also why and how it is eroding away.

This was created by TP Staff Artist Dan Swenson and is a supplement on to a printed version that the TP ran recently.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Swell Shell?

What great news! The Gumbo Alliance (the Sierra Club were of course founding members) was finally victorious in our opposition to Shell's fish-killing, off-shore LNG terminal, Gulf Landing. Congrats and great work to all who made this possible - the sportsmen and concerned citizens who flooded Shell and Governor Blanco with faxes, phone calls and postcards; the funders who paid for the banner we towed over the Shell-sponsored Jazz Fest last year (Shell - Thanks for the music, don't kill our fish) and allowed Mike Lane and I to head to the Hague to take our concerns directly to Shell's CEO, President, Board and Shareholders; the fishermen who trailered their boats and circled Shell gas stations and head quarters in New Orleans, Houston and Pensacola; the agency scientists and concerned citizens who sorted through the various, often erroneous environmental impact statement appendices to really get a handle on what kind of fish impacts were at stake; the dogged concerned citizens who showed up at hearing after hearing to speak out in opposition to these projects; the Club canvassers who went door to door throughout New Orleans alerting the public; the Green Corps organizers who went where the fight was and joined us in the Gulf for a few crazy months; Walter Williams, who put Mr. Bill and his wit to work for the cause; the charter boat captains and commercial and recreational fishermen who packed the hearing in Baton Rouge and ensured some political leadership on this issue; the politicians who followed that public outcry; every founding and supporting member of the Gumbo Alliance; and finally, the student attorneys and their instructors who stood in there against the department of justice to challenge MARAD's flawed permit (and likely bought us the time we needed to win).

Whew. A lot of people put a lot of time and resources into this fight. It really shows what can be done when disparate interests put aside their disagreements to focus on a single issue and bring their passion and expertise to bear.

And whatever reasoning Shell uses to explain this decision, today is an important day for fish and the health of the Gulf. Thanks again for making it happen.

Aaron Viles
Delta Chapter

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hurricane Katrina revisited: a book review of The Storm

Last week's stinging report lambasting the Army Corps of Engineers for its failure to build adequate levees to protect New Orleans was written by "Team Louisiana," headed by Dr. Ivor van Heerden of Louisiana State University. He published a book last year titled, The Storm: What went wrong and why during Hurricane Katrina--the inside story from one Louisiana scientist ($17 at

Dr. van Heerden is cofounder and deputy directory of the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center and director of the Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes. He holds a Ph.D. in marine sciences from LSU, and serves as associate professor of civil and environmental engineering there. Van Heerden had a very unique perspective of Katrina. He worked tirelessly in the decade leading up to the storm to improve our scientific understanding of how Louisiana's wetlands protect New Orleans from hurricanes.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 reads Sierra magazine, do you?

TreeHugger is a fast-growing web magazine, dedicated to everything that has a modern aesthetic yet is environmentally responsible. Their goal is to make sustainability mainstream. If you want doom & gloom, don't go here. They are looking for solutions, constructive developments and positive initiatives, just like we are.

They read Sierra magazine, the magazine of the Sierra Club, and they like it. If you are a member of the Sierra Club, you already get the magazine as part of your membership. If you don't get Sierra, all you need to do is join the Sierra Club. It's easy to join online.

As sea ice goes, so goes land ice?

The Arctic Ocean has a real possibility of becoming ice free for the first time since the last ice age due to rising global temperatures. If oceanic ice continues to melt, how long will continental ice stored on Greenland and Antarctica last before it melts too? Melting ocean ice will not cause a rise in sea levels but melting continental ice will. What would that mean for low lying areas like Louisiana? It would certainly not be pretty.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

U. S. to follow Australia and California's lead on lighting?

As California-and Australia and Europe-goes, so (should) go the nation. That's why it's time for the country to phase out inefficient energy-consuming light-bulbs.

Small idea. Big impact.

Today, I introduced a bill to require all light bulbs produced or used in the U.S. to meet current fluorescent bulb standards (60 lumens per watt) by 2012, 90 lumens by 2016, and 120 by 2020.

Read more by following the URL below.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

LAST CHANCE: The fight to save a disappearing coast

This is the recently published excellent series of articles from the New Orleans Times-Picayune about the fight to save Louisiana's rapidly eroding coastline.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

OUT OF BALANCE: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change

"Out of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change" shows the influence that the largest company in the world has on governments, the media and citizens and what can be done about global warming. While the Earth’s climate is pushed further out of balance by increasing use of fossil fuels, ExxonMobil continues to assert undue influence around the world— making record profits while ignoring climate science for which there has been overwhelming consensus for over ten years.

A useful next movie if you’ve seen Vice President Al Gore’s film, “Out of Balance” does not just critique ExxonMobil, it also offers challenging, large-scale ideas for the global social changes that must take place if there’s any chance of having a livable planet for future generations.

At a recent New Orleans Group program, The Sierra Club, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and film-maker Tom Jackson discussed the movie, recent news attention that ExxonMobil has received for announcing their acknowledgement of human caused climate change, and how we can work effectively to confront an issue that challenges the Gulf Coast as no other region. Tom is touring the country with his film in a biodiesel vehicle to facilitate dialogue and action on this critical issue.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Australia to ban old-style bulbs

SYDNEY, Australia - The Australian government on Tuesday announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs across the country.

California is also considering doing the same thing. Can Louisiana be far behind? We can only hope.;_ylt=An4glEGQlLPjnm2xvXE6dztj24cA