Saturday, December 20, 2008

They're tryin' to wash us away...Louisiana

The song quoted in the title, Louisiana 1927, by the great songwriter and musician Randy Newman, was originally written about the great Mississippi River flood of 1927 and was trotted out again after the engineering disaster that was Hurricane Katrina, seems to be more prophetic than ever.

New Orleans' daily newspaper, The Times-Picayune recently ran a three-day series that explains in painful detail the potentially dire consequences for South Louisiana if global warming, sea level rise and land subsidence are allowed to continue unabated. We go under. Water that is. A 3 foot rise in sea level means that most of Southern Louisiana goes under and if all the ice on the planet melts, sea levels rise 328 feet and most of the Southern United States goes under along with many other places around the world.

The series offers up some hope for our future as well. Read it here:

Don't think that the Times Picayune has the truth about one very possible future for our state locked up. The excellent blog at ( reports that "scientists have just announced they have found strong evidence to support..." the link between global warming and stronger storms.

Read more here:

The only consolation for us is that the worst case scenario might not happen for another 100 years or more. Then again it might happen sooner. Let's hope we still have time to do something about this.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

EPA sued for not enforcing PVC emissions standards

The three groups that sued the EPA include the Sierra Club, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) and Mossville Environmental Action Now, which is based in Mossville, La., a predominantly African-American town near several chemical plants.

Read the full story here:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

LEAN's 22nd Annual People's Conference to be held this month

We wanted to remind and inform our members that Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) is having it's 22nd Annual People's Conference this month. If you have never gone this is the year to go!

Featured Speaker - Ed Begley Jr.

Please visit the LEAN Website for more information and/or to register for the conference online.

Date and Time:
Saturday, October 18, 2008
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

It is really an amazing experience.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Return to the Forest Where We Live premieres September 23rd on LPB

This high-definition Louisiana Public Broadcasting documentary premieres
Tuesday, September 23 at
8:00 PM on LPB and LPB-HD

Most people will express a sincere appreciation for the trees in their cities; in principle, after all, everyone prefers tree-lined streets, generous green spaces, and abundant park lands. When it comes to the bottom line, however, few of us could arrive at any kind of meaningful estimate of the real value of our urban forests. So among city planners and citizens alike, the absence of hard figures inevitably results in an absence of trees. As pavement replaces shade, cities grow and business expands. Yet, paradoxically, community resources shrink and quality life withers.

That may be changing, though. This program looks at how advances in technology—and changes in priorities—are prompting communities throughout America to reconsider how vital trees really are to the socio-economic well being of our cities. And many are surprised to find that a small investment in trees can reap big dividends.

Beginning with the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, Return to the Forest Where We Live examines how some American cities have begun to calculate the real economic costs that follow the loss of our urban forests. As cities expand and pressure on public services increases, many are discovering that “green infrastructure” provides a highly efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional urban development. Drawing upon examples from Los Angeles, Washington DC, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Charlotte, this program challenges viewers to re-evaluate the critical importance of investing in healthy urban ecosystems.

Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominee Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the narrator for this new public television documentary.

Producer/Director: Liz Barnes
Writer: C. E. Richard
Senior Producer/Project Director: Tika Laudun

This project was supported by the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program on the recommendation of the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council and by the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting.


Monday, August 11, 2008

New "Green" blog launched

Well it's new to us anyway. It is the Green News section of The Huffington Post, that bastion of progressive thought and opinion. The Huffington Post is usually a good read when you are looking for the best in progressive opinion and the Green News section is sure to be just as good in the green arena.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

FEMA trailer resident gives birth to severly handicapped baby

The Delta Chapter and the Sierra Club Gulf Coast Restoration Taskforce continue to advocate for residents of Formaldehyde prone Toxic FEMA trailers, here is one mother's nightmare experience...
Jennifer Donelson (who lived in Gulfport MS before and after Hurricane Katrina) talks about her experience spending the early months of her pregnancy with son Wesley in a FEMA trailer with high formaldehyde levels. Jennifer wants to warn parents that if babies exposed to formaldehyde in the womb or early life start turning blue, they may later stop breathing like her son Wesley. An apnea monitor may save their lives.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Travel's most endangered destinations - see them before they're gone

"Travel's most endangered destinations"

"Put these special wonders on your must-visit list before they disappear"

Those are the headlines of an article in the Travel/Destinations section on MSNBC's Website. The article lists ten of the world's most endangered travel destinations and recommends that you see them before they cease to exist. The destinations range from the Alpine glaciers of Europe to the Taj Mahal. Destination number 9 on the list is Louisiana's coastal salt marshes of the Atchafalaya Basin. While the coastal salt marshes are mostly the final interface between land and sea, the article does get the details mostly right.

When the article gives readers an option to learn more about the Atchafalaya Basin, it cites a page on your very own Delta Chapter Website. The page it refers to is the "Introduction to the Atchafalaya Basin" page written by our very own Atchafalaya Basin expert, Charlie Fryling.

The original article came from the Website but you can be sure that it enjoyed a much larger audience on the MSNBC site. It is certain that the widest possible exposure of the problem of coastal erosion can only help us fight it before it truly is too late.

The 2 page article on

The page on specifically about the Louisiana coastal salt marshes:

The original article on

The authoritative article written by Charlie Fryling:

And please, no autographs!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Conserve Energy at Home Made Simple

Hey all maybe we should start a contest for who reduced their energy use at home the most. I have to brag... our bill for June 2008 is 620 KW less than our bill for June 2007.

How do we do it? Keep the air conditioner at 80 and run ceiling fans! I am so used to it that I have turned it to 82 in the evening while watching TV. What's next?

Turn off the HD energy hog TV two days a week? Use my induction burner more and make salads more?

Read this great article from the WSJ!


No New Coal Plants! (

This should get the utilities' knickers in a twist -- conservation getting noticeable.
My electric bill shows we use 46% less juice now than we did last year (we turned off the hot tub and replaced all bulbs, etc).

Pulling the Plug: Summer of '08 Sparks Creative Conservation With Temperatures -- and electric Bills -- High, Families Face Meltdown; Bourbon Cubes

July 14, 2008; Page A1

There are days -- just the most stifling and sticky of days -- when Reba Kennedy misses the blissful sensation of walking into a house chilled to 72 degrees.

With energy prices soaring, Ms. Kennedy has made the ultimate sacrifice. She's turned off the central air conditioning.

"A lot of my discretionary income was...going into air," says Ms. Kennedy. She lives in San Antonio, Texas. It's hot. She endures. More >>

Here is the URL to this article: mod=most_viewed_day

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Plastic bags suck.

If you have ever wondered why it is a good idea to use your own canvas grocery bags when you shop, take a look at this slide show.

It comes from the Pocono Record, a newspaper that covers Northeastern Pennsylvania.

One thing that I do if buying small items is to leave the plastic bag in the store. That way, it causes none of the environmental problems shown above and I don't have to deal with the bag at all. Just say no.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Orleans City Council energy smart program

Contact: John Atkeison, Alliance for Affordable Energy at 504-428-6996
Casey Roberts, GRN at 504-525-1528 ext. 212
Leslie March, Delta Chapter at 985-871-6695, 985-249-1160
Marylee Orr, LEAN at 225-205-1438

On Wednesday, June 25th, The Utility Committee of the New Orleans City Council is poised to set a new tone for recovery with the Energy Smart program. “Recommending the Energy Smart program to the full council sends a strong message to the city and beyond that New Orleans is committed to rebuilding sustainably.” says Karen Wimpelberg, Board President and Director of Regulatory Affairs of the Alliance for Affordable Energy. “The Energy Smart Program makes it possible for residents and small business owners to be more energy efficient by just picking up the phone and calling the Energy Smart Program.” “As residents of New Orleans, we are all concerned about our rising utility bills,” says Casey DeMoss Roberts, a new homeowner, who works on Global Warming issues for the Gulf Restoration Network. “With help from this program, you can update your home to be more energy efficient and the upgrades are paid for by your utility savings. The cheapest kilowatt hour is the one not used.”

What will the Energy Smart program do?
* Provides education and informational resources that are needed to make your home more energy efficient and lower your bills.
* Provides a list of certified contractors with the training to do reliable work and quality assurance to ensure the job is done right.
* Serves 2,800 homes and businesses per year.
* Includes a special program for low and fixed income residents which saves these citizens even more.

Who pays for Energy Smart?
* A small 1 mil charge on your electric bill (1 tenth of a cent per kilowatt hour) establishes the informational resources, personal energy efficiency consultations, and quality assurance for the program.
* For the average residential costumer (using 1,000 kilowatt hours per month) the cost will be about $1 per month – which can be saved by changing just one frequently used light bulb to an efficient compact fluorescent bulb.
* Additional private capital financing for the energy efficiency improvements is leveraged through the energy savings.
“We need this Energy Smart program now, particularly as people are still rebuilding,” says Leslie March, Conservation Chair for the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This program saves the average person money and it creates good jobs. Please pick up the phone now and call your city council person and let them know that we need this program.”

The Say Yes to Clean Energy Coalition’s mission is to promote clean energy sources for Louisiana by advocating for energy efficient solutions and clean alternative energy resources like wind and solar. The Coalition wants our public officials to protect our families and communities by saying No to generating power with dirty coal and nuclear.

Our member organizations are:
Alliance for Affordable Energy- Creating fair, affordable, environmentally responsible and community based energy policies for Louisiana and the nation since 1985.
Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club- Over 3,000 of your neighbors supporting the work of the Sierra Club in Louisiana. We advance the cause of protecting Louisiana’s environment in a variety of ways, in addition, we encourage our members to get outside and enjoy our beautiful planet.
Gulf Restoration Network (GRN)- is a network of environmental, social justice, and citizens’ groups and individuals committed to restoring the Gulf of Mexico region to an ecologically and biologically sustainable condition.

Louisiana Environmental Action Network- LEAN is a statewide umbrella organization which networks with over one hundred member organizations and several thousand individual members. It works to improve the environment by providing support and resources required to accomplish environmental goals.

McCain switches position

Hi all, Rene has been harassing me to post stuff on this blog for two years now. I am fed up enough to sound off to you. Let me know if you agree or even if anyone actually reads any posts to our Blog.

How is it that all of the Sunday pundits were preoccupied by Obama deciding not to take public financing instead of a bigger flip flop on the part of McCain. A few years ago I went to Alaska Wilderness week in DC and the group gave McCain an award for preventing offshore drilling. Another thing in this article is that he thinks that there were no offshore oil spills after Katrina??
What happened to McCain the independent maverick?

Leslie March

By Steve Holland Tue Jun 24, 10:20 AM ET
SANTA BARBARA, California (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain is defending his decision to switch position in favor of U.S. offshore oil drilling as he seeks votes in environmentally conscious California.

In appearances in coastal Santa Barbara and inland Fresno, McCain said on Monday he believed he had made the right decision at a time of record-high gasoline prices but that it would be up to individual states to choose whether offshore drilling is right for them. McCain was challenged on his position reversal at an unlikely event -- a fundraiser in his honor in Santa Barbara. A participant, Dan Secord, questioned whether he could compete in California against Democratic opponent Barack Obama by advocating drilling for oil off its shores. "We're really kind of goosey here about oil spills, and we're goosey here about federal drilling and oil lands, which are abundant offshore," he told McCain.

McCain told Secord he believes in a state's right to make such decisions and pointed out that Texas and Louisiana had weathered hurricanes in 2005 that did not lead to oil spills at nearby offshore facilities. "I think the environmental situation is today -- that we could probably do that," McCain said. "But I don't want to override the state of California." The U.S. energy crisis has taken center stage in the presidential campaign as Americans, who are used to inexpensive fuel, struggle to pay for $4-a-gallon gasoline that has not only made the daily commute to work more expensive but also increased the price of goods and services on down the line. McCain believes he has a chance to win Democratic-leaning California in the November election and is courting independent voters to help him. But Democrats are trying to use his policy reversal on offshore drilling to portray him as a Republican who, if elected president, would simply continue the policies of unpopular President George W. Bush. The issue is following McCain as he emphasizes environmental issues in California. On Monday, he held a news conference in Fresno with a couple of sleek two-seater, electric-powered cars parked behind him. And on Tuesday, he is to take part in an environmental briefing at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. McCain says the United States should tap some 21 billion barrels of proven oil reserves that are left untouched because of a federal moratorium on offshore exploration and production.
(Editing by Patricia Zengerle)

(To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at )

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More "Louisiana is doomed" blog posts from

The links below take you to more posts on written by Dr. Phil Plait who is an astronomer and a skeptic of all things that aren't scientifically provable. They refer to the creationism/intelligent design bill recently passed by our Legislature and eagerly approved by our creationist governor, Bobby Jindal.

Why is this an environmental issue? Why is it posted on an environmental blog? Because it is hard enough to convince certain people that environmental issues are real, even when faced with literal mountains of evidence, think global warming. Imagine how much more difficult it will be to educate and convince citizens of Louisiana that an environmental issue is real, when they can be taught in school nearly anything that anyone with any agenda can dream up. That is scary stuff. This issue is simply too important to ignore.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not exactly a scary environmental issue - but scary nonetheless

"Well, that’s that. Reality-based Louisianans, it’s time to move out of the state."
That's how a post on Dr. Phil Plait's excellent blog, begins. He is referring to the fact that our State Senate has just passed a bill that will allow the teaching of creationism in our classrooms. This news comes as no surprise after seeing some of the anti-environmental bills that routinely come out of Baton Rouge.

He goes on to state that, "Louisiana is screwed." Yeah we've heard that one before but this time the repercussions will be felt far outside of our borders and far into the future if this bill goes back to the House and passes, which it is expected to do. Why, you ask? Because by passing as Dr. Plait describes it, "an unconstitutional law to allow teaching fundamentalist religion in the classroom", we are opening a Pandora's box of lawsuits as well as national and possible global ridicule that will only cement our reputation as an ignorant backwater.

Religious "theories" belong in religion classes and schools. The doctrine of separation of church and state guarantees this. As Dr. Plait says, "Creationists are trying — and succeeding — in kidnapping the minds of other peoples’ children. This type of legislation must be stopped." It has been stopped everywhere else it has been tried, except here.

If you think that this law is a bad idea, contact the Louisiana Coalition for Science who is working to have this ill-advised bill killed. Since the Senate has already approved it, the next chance lies with the House. If the House approves it, it is doubtful that our right leaning Governor Bobby Jindal will veto it. If this law does pass, it will very likely be challenged in court. Then a large amount of our tax dollars will be spent by the state to defend an unconstitutional, fundamentally flawed law. Hopefully it won't get that far, but if it does, it will be challenged, it will be ruled unconstitutional and it will then be overturned. Hopefully. Just like everywhere else.

And we thought bad environmental bills were troublesome. Sometimes it feels like we really are doomed.

Here is the post:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Louisiana Environmental Briefing Book is now available.

The Louisiana Environmental Briefing Book has just been released. It was produced to educate Louisiana legislators on environmental issues in our state that affect us all. Even if you are not in the Louisiana legislature, it is worth reading because it is chock full of timely information about environmental issues in our state that every concerned citizen needs to be aware of.

The Environmental Briefing Book was produced by:

  • Sierra Club, Delta Chapter

  • The Gulf Restoration Network (GRN)

  • Coalition to Restore Costal Louisiana

  • Alliance for Affordable Energy

  • The Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN)

  • Louisiana Bayoukeeper

  • The Atchafalaya Basinkeeper

  • The Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper

  • The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation

  • The Green Zone Task Force

  • The Louisiana Audubon Council (LAC)

  • MQVN Community Development Corporation (MQVNCDC)

  • The Land Trust for Southeast Louisiana

  • Say Yes to Clean Energy and No to Coal and Nuclear Coalition

  • Mercy Corps

Read the Louisiana Environmental Briefing Book at the Louisiana Environmental
Briefing Book Website: or download the large PDF file (2.89 Mb). It's a huge file but well worth the download time, only a couple of seconds on a broadband connection.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Environmental Voter Lobby Day held in Baton Rouge on May 19th.

This event featured the kickoff of the the Louisiana Briefing Book (see above). This was an opportunity to meet fellow activists, learn about the legislative process, show our state legislators that we care about the environment and that let them know that we vote.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Louisiana's Mulch Madness

Cypress forests are the state's best defense against hurricanes. So why are loggers clear-cutting the last trees?

Dean Wilson slams forward the throttle on his 18-foot aluminum bateau—a flat-bottom skiff that he welded together himself—and catapults us downriver. It's April and I'm in the Atchafalaya Basin, the nation's largest swamp—1.4 million acres (roughly 10 times the size of Chicago) wedged between the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico in southern Louisiana... Read More>>

So begins an article featured in the March/April issue of Mother Jones magazine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Got You Tube?

The Sierra Club does. Check out the Club's You Tube page. You might even learn a thing or two; like how to install a programmable thermostat, or a low flow shower head or how to compost in your own backyard. Good stuff just in time for Earth Day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Welcome to our new Senior Regional Representative

Sierra Club Friends – On behalf of the staff of the Sierra Club’s Southeast Office, I would like to welcome Jill Mastrototaro as our new Senior Regional Representative – Manager (Northern Gulf Coast). Jill will manage the delivery of our programs within the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. She will begin her service to the Sierra Club effective March 10 and will be based in New Orleans, LA. Our office in Baton Rouge, LA will then be closed.

A native of Connecticut, Jill has also spent the past decade residing in the New Orleans, LA area. Over the past eight and a half years Jill has led advocacy and outreach efforts for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in southeast Louisiana’s 10,000-square mile watershed.

Jill’s experience includes monitoring and lobbying state and federal laws including the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, spearheading a coalition to protect cypress forests, launching a campaign on sprawl using multiple media outlets, leading the state’s first effort to quantify wetland loss from unplanned development, and creating and implementing regional strategic conservation plans.

Her successes include leading a broadly based coalition in getting Wal-Mart to stop the purchase and sale of cypress mulch harvested or manufactured in Louisiana, thwarting proposals such as cell towers, subdivisions, or a 10,000-acre airport in ecologically sensitive areas, protecting already stressed waterways from receiving millions of gallons of wastewater effluent, and mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to protect natural resources.

Jill has authored a myriad of resources such as, A Citizen’s Guide to Protecting Wetlands in the Pontchartrain Basin, and more recently, Growing Smarter: Guidelines for Low Impact Development in the Pontchartrain Basin, which have engaged and trained thousands of citizens. Jill is the founding Vice-President of the Land Trust for Southeast Louisiana, the only grassroots-based, land conservation group active in the state, and she chairs the Land Committee, negotiating land acquisitions and to-date securing $100,000 in endowment funds. She also is working to create a regional Gulf Coast network of land conservation groups. Jill serves on the board of Smart Growth for Louisiana, a non-profit working to encourage responsible land use throughout the state.

She holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Policy from the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse, NY) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY).

We hope that you will join us in welcoming Jill to the Sierra Club family.


Regards – Jim Price, Southeast Staff Director, Sierra Club