Posting History for Michael Brune
|The Water of Life
Long before the hydration pack, there was the Sierra Club cup. Generations of Sierra Club hikers and backpackers kept these metal cups hooked to their belts, ready for dipping into a cool mountain ...
I had a terrible nightmare: President Mitt Romney approved Shell Oil's drilling plans for the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. He did it even though his own Department of the Interior calculated ...
|Make Earth Day Count
On its special day, what do you give the planet that has everything? How about some really good news? Last month, the International Energy Agency announced that "global emissions of carbon dioxide ...
|This Was Not a Spill
Today is the anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history: the explosion of Deepwater Horizon and subsequent oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. I don't like to call it a spill,
|Living Wages and a Living Planet
Everyone knows that today is the deadline for filing your tax return. But it's also when Fight for 15 is holding rallies all over the country to demand a living wage. And it's no coincidence that ...
|Zombie Attacks on Rooftop Solar
In the past, I have compared big, polluting fossil fuel companies to zombies. Now I feel bad. Upon reflection, I believe I may have been a little unfair -- to zombies. You might not like zombies, ...
|A Fast Track to Disaster
The United States is at the tail end of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a massive trade deal with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, and seven other countries. The negotiations have ...
|KXL -- The End Game Begins
Surprising nobody, President Obama has quietly followed through on his promise to veto the bill from Congress that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. It's only the third ...
|The Sun Sets on British Coal
Long ago, the expression "carrying coal to Newcastle" meant to do something utterly pointless, because the city of Newcastle-on-Tyne had a monopoly on British coal exports. But soon, though, ...
More proof that good things are worth waiting for. About a year and a half ago, my family and I hiked in Colorado's Browns Canyon, along with some military veterans, Sierra Club volunteers, and ...
|We'll Be There
Earlier this month, almost every Republican in the U.S. Senate went on record that "climate change is real and not a hoax." All but a handful, however, balked at agreeing that humans are ...
|Good News for the Arctic, But...
When you're working toward a big goal, progress isn't always smooth. If you're lucky, though, the breakthroughs outpace the setbacks, even if it's sometimes a close call. For Alaskan wilderness ...
|New Year's Revolution
Welcome to 2015, a year when scientists have documented the hottest global temperatures since record keeping began, analysts have recorded the most solar industry jobs since record keeping began, ...
|New York's Grassroots Triumph
In New York State, at least, sanity has prevailed . By banning fracking, Governor Andrew Cuomo has acted to protect his state's citizens from a rapacious industry whose presence would inevitably ...
|Read the Comments
Riding alone on the D.C. Metro Silver Line late last Thursday night, I shut my laptop in disgust. I had just left my sister's house in northern Virginia. And now, reading some comments on a Facebook ...
|Fracking 101: Two Steps Back
It's incredible that, despite real progress in reducing climate-disrupting carbon emissions, the United States is still charging ahead with a "boom" in dirty fuels and extraction methods. It's like ...
|Why the Sierra Club Cannot Be Silent
During the past week, the Sierra Club has spoken out about Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York City, and President Obama's executive action on immigration. Some have told us that they ...
|From Shadows to Security
Last night, President Obama announced that he will use his executive authority to take the first significant steps toward fixing what has become an increasingly dysfunctional national immigration ...
|Tar Sands End Runs
In a narrow victory for common sense, yesterday the Senate rejected an attempt to legislate approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Senators like California's Barbara Boxer, Hawaii's Brian ...
|Racing to the Top with China
What a difference a week makes. This morning we awoke to the news that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have negotiated a historic joint announcement on climate change and clean energy ...
|That Which Doesn't Kill Us...
Yes, the election hurt. We feared it would be bad -- and it was worse. By now we've all heard the Wednesday-morning quarterback analyses of how and why the Democratic Party gave up control of the ...
|Breaking Big Oil's Grip
Oil prices have dipped lately. In the short term, that's probably good news (unless you're an oil company or a petrostate). If we look at the big picture, though, it's a lot less relevant. That's ...
|Found in the Flood
Two years ago, news broke about a hurricane called Sandy that might be headed toward the East Coast. Ultimately, Sandy would leave more than 180 people dead, thousands homeless, and indelible images ...
|Obama's Lucky Thirteenth
California may be famous for its beaches, but what really defines the state's geography are its many mountain ranges (and I'm not just saying that because the Sierra Club took its name from one of ...
|Why Lisa Cried When Eric Dumped ALEC
Exactly 54 days after Lisa B. Nelson, the new CEO of the American Legislative Council (ALEC), started her job, Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, dropped the bomb: Google� wanted out of its ...
|Tigers Don't Want Their Forests Liquidated
You shouldn't have to worry that installing a new hardwood floor in your kitchen will rob Siberian tigers of their home. Since 1900, we've had a law in this country, the Lacey Act, that prohibits ...
|If a Tar-Sands Project Fails in the Forest…
Back in March, I wrote about the Keystone XL "it's not about the pipe," saying that any rejection of new tar sands pipelines serves the purpose of keeping this dirty oil in the ground. Some good ...
|A Shout Heard Round the World
If anyone doubted the existence of a mighty climate movement in this country, then the sight of more than 400,000 determined, joyful, vociferous people marching through midtown Manhattan in the ...
|One Woman's Amazing Work on Wilderness
We're right in the middle of Wilderness Week, and this year it's a special one because we just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act -- which is still a high-water mark for the ...
|The World's Most Ambitious Disaster
I've long known how wasteful, destructive, and dangerous the process of extracting oil from tar sands is. To get one barrel of oil, you have to dig up four tons of dirt and rock. Beautiful old-...
|Who's Cool at School?
For the eighth year in a row, Sierra magazine has dedicated a big chunk of its September/October issue to higher education. So why is the "Cool Schools" issue such a big deal? I'll give you a hint: ...
|Who Needs Clean Water?
With a couple of decisions in 2001 and 2006, the Supreme Court managed to break the Clean Water Act by calling into question what Congress meant by "the waters of the United States." The existing ...
|A Historic Week for Clean Air and Energy
Wow! I was confident that people would turn out to support the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan at last week's public hearings in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Denver, and Washington, D.C., ...
|Idaho at Its Best
Last year, about 900,000 people marveled at the majestic old-growth redwoods of Muir Woods. But if President Theodore Roosevelt had not saved those trees by declaring a national monument, people ...
|"Anywhere So Beautiful"
No matter how much I love my job, being away from Mary and the kids while I travel for work is always tough. Even on a fantastic trip like the one I took to the Arctic last month, I constantly catch ...
Does doing something two years in a row qualify as a "family tradition"? If so, this is shaping up to be a great one. Once again, my wife Mary and I have packed the tent, the camping gear, the bug ...
|America's Arctic: Look at What We Did
I returned from the Arctic last week, and the beauty and peacefulness that I experienced there still occupy my dreams. Sure, the grizzly we encountered in our camp the first night has a starring role,
|An American Moment
You might want to save this date: September 21 . Here's why. Activists working to address the climate crisis have been cautiously cheering President Obama this year -- for telegraphing that he's ...
|The Power of a Plan
In his 19th-century curmudgeon's classic, The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce defined a plan as "the best method of accomplishing an accidental result." When the EPA released its "Clean Power Plan"
|Partners for the Future
I was honored to be invited to speak to the United Auto Workers in Detroit at their convention this week. Even though the Sierra Club and the UAW have been working together for years, some people don'
|Score Another One for Wilderness
For more than a century, presidents have been using the Antiquities Act to save our national treasures, and President Obama's just-announced designation of the Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks ...
|Keep Good Companies
My current column in Sierra magazine ( "Money Talks, Carbon Walks" ), describes how each of us can help build the fossil-free economy by exercising our influence as consumers and investors. Most of ...
|Reject = Protect
On the day that President Obama finally rejects the Keystone XL pipeline, the connection between tar sands development and climate disruption should be only one of the reasons (although it's ...
We all make choices, and some turn out better than others do. But the choices we end up regretting the most are usually the ones we make against our better judgment. Both individually and ...
|Finding Common Ground Outdoors
Someone once said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Blogging about getting outdoors feels a bit like that. Part of me thinks that rather than writing 850 words about getting ...
|It's Not About the Pipe
Soon, President Obama will announce his decision on the permit for TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Since being proposed five years ago, this one pipeline has galvanized protests across ...
The toxic industrial spills in West Virginia and North Carolina over the past weeks have delivered the first hard lesson of 2014: Never take safe drinking water for granted. And yet the natural gas ...
|Moving Cars in the Right Direction
Everybody knows that standing in front of a moving car is dangerous, but what about standing behind one? Currently, four out of ten Americans live in a place where the air is sometimes dangerous to ...
|Keystone XL: Set to Reject
All across America, people are gathering to draw attention to the threat that the Keystone XL pipeline poses to clean air, clean water, public health, and the stability of our climate. Last night ...
|A Compromise We Can't Afford
Yesterday, the Sierra Club and 17 other environmental, environmental justice, and public health advocacy groups sent a letter to President Obama in which we asked him to stop basing national energy ...
|Eyes on the Prize
I've written a lot about the consequences of relying on fossil fuels for energy, but the chemical spill into West Virginia's Elk River still comes as a shock. Almost a week later, thousands are ...
|2013: A Year to Remember
Although 2013 had its share of tragedies (Typhoon Haiyan), portents (reaching the 400 ppm mark for atmospheric CO2), and absurdities (the shutdown of the federal government), it also was in many ...
|A Monumental Time to Act
Former Sierra Club president Edgar Wayburn once pointed out that, in at least one respect, wilderness was like any other natural resource: "Once it is consumed, it is gone forever." When that happens,
|The Road Ahead (and Some Bumps Along the Way)
Between the devastation in the Philippines, deadly floods in Sardinia and Vietnam, and the COP 19 UN climate change summit in Poland, the last ten days or so have delivered more than the usual ...
|A Single Tragedy, a Global Crisis
There's still a lot we don't know about Typhoon Haiyan and its aftermath, but we know enough: thousands dead and many more still in danger. A staggering 9.5 million people were affected by the storm.
|Winners and Losers
With nearly all the results from Tuesday's election now final, those of us fighting for a healthy planet and healthy communities can claim some major victories all across the country. But it wasn't ...
A year has passed since Sandy, the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, slammed into the Eastern Seaboard, causing $65 billion in damage. On the day of this unhappy anniversary, though, we can't ...
|How to Build a Clean-Energy Future
By now, we know what to expect if we fail to act on climate disruption: more severe storms, wildfires, droughts, and destruction. To avoid that future, we have to make stopping carbon pollution a ...
|Fracking: The Other EPA Shutdown
Positive news stories during the shutdown of government services were scarce, so it was nice to read this one about furloughed scientists from the Water Protection Division of the EPA in Atlanta ...
|A Game Without Winners
As the shutdown of the federal government drags on, Americans are angry. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is watching with nervous disbelief as we edge toward defaulting on our debts. And with each ...
|Coal by Numbers
Great news: In the past three years, 150 coal-fired power plants either have been retired or have announced a retirement date. Plant number 150 was Brayton Point in Massachusetts. Like lots of people,
|Steal This Democracy
America's best idea is in trouble -- but I don't mean our national parks. Yes, the parks are closed, which is inexcusable. It's not only a crushing disappointment for millions of would-be visitors ...
|Let 'Em Blow in New Jersey
Although we're both New Jersey born and raised, Governor Chris Christie and I disagree on many important issues -- not least his misguided love for the Mets. One thing we do agree on, though, is the ...
|5 Things You Need to Know About the Big New Climate Report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up in 1988 by two UN agencies as a way to collect and disseminate the current best science on climate disruption. Since then, it has issued four ...
|Coal's Days of Future Passed
Now that the EPA has released its draft carbon pollution standard for new power plants, coal apologists -- those who are left, anyway -- are doing their best chest-clutching Fred Sanford impressions.
|Time to Draw the Line
Some great things have happened since that freezing day last February when I marched to the Forward on Climate rally in Washington, D.C., with 50,000 of my closest friends. Looking back, it did feel ...
|Hokum and Bunk in the Senate
The ghost of the great cowboy philosopher and political humorist Will Rogers visited me last night. He showed me some new lariat tricks, commiserated about the recent Red Sox sweep of the Yankees, ...
|Yes, Virginia, There Are Climate Solutions
This year, Virginians will elect a new governor (one of only two gubernatorial elections this year, the other being in New Jersey). At the moment, Terry McAuliffe is leading climate denier and ...
|Working on a Dream
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." -- John Muir "We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable ...
|Why Keystone Flunks the Climate Test
In June President Obama set a climate test for his decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. He said he will not approve the pipeline if it would significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon ...
|Protect Public Lands from Reckless Fracking? Yes We Can!
One of the worst consequences of President Obama's reckless "all of the above" energy policy is the blight of oil and gas rigs that has spread across our public lands -- often right next to national ...
|For Coal, the End Is Near
You can still find people who say they believe coal has a future. By and large, though, they're the same people who believe their future is in coal. Perhaps that's just human nature. The more you ...
|Last Stop -- The Grand Canyon
As my family and I finished up our two-week road trip through the American West, our last big stop was one that's made by five million people every year. Forget about Chartres, Giza, and the Great ...
|Obama on Climate: Back in the Game
This afternoon, I had a short meeting with President Obama that left me more convinced than ever that he's serious about tackling the climate crisis. Sure enough, later under a sweltering sun at ...
|A Plateau Under Siege
From Moab, in Utah, we drove for about three hours along the Colorado River to the town of Rifle, Colorado. We came to see Colorado's Roan Plateau, which looms 3,500 feet above the town and is a ...
|From Spectacular to Unthinkable
You're going to have to trust me on this: Dead Horse Point State Park is a lot more scenic than it sounds. It's located just northeast of Canyonlands National Park, and it has the beautiful, ...
|Touring Our Wild America
Talk about mixing business with pleasure. My wife Mary and I have piled the kids into a minivan and are spending two weeks putting the Sierra Club's motto into action: explore, enjoy, and protect ...
|LNG Exports: The Wrong Side of History
Most Americans have probably heard about the "boom" in natural gas, with U.S. production up by one-third since 2005. Besides historically low natural gas prices, one consequence is that companies ...
|The Overview Effect
Few of us will ever venture past the 60-mile boundary that separates Earth and outer space. If you do, though, you're likely to experience something known as "the overview effect" -- a cognitive ...
|Six Months After Sandy
If all goes well, my parents will finally get to return home today. They live on the New Jersey Shore, on Chadwick Beach Island, next to Barnegat Bay. My brother, sisters, and I all grew up in the ...
|The Sun Is Rising in the West
When Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a few weeks ago that his city would be off coal power entirely by 2025, it was both exciting and, as Al Gore put it, "a really big deal." It ...
|A Path to the Future
My coauthor for today's post is Sierra Club President Allison Chin.� In 1849, an eleven-year-old boy moved with his family to the United States. More than four decades later, that boy co-founded the ...
|Earth Day vs. Tar Sands
If you love the Earth, you need to know some things about tar sands crude -- starting with how it would affect the climate of this wonderful planet we all share. Actually, "affect" is probably the ...
|ExxonMobil's Mayflower Mess
It's now been almost two weeks since ExxonMobil's Pegasus pipeline spill put at least 500,000 gallons of tar sands crude and contaminated water into the Arkansas community of Mayflower. Many of the ...
|Tar Sands: A Matter of Time
Forty-five minutes. That's how much time it took a ruptured pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, on Friday to dump at least 84,000 gallons of tar sands crude into a residential neighborhood and force ...
|Who Needs Congress?
Is Congress "sclerotic"? That's the word Al Gore described them last week while speaking at the announcement that Los Angeles will be coal-free by 2025 . "You know," he said, "We can't pass this and ...
|A Big One for L.A.
We are going to get the United States off dirty fuels and onto clean energy. Of course, it won't happen overnight nor everywhere at once. Our success will come from winning hundreds, if not thousands,
|Sally Jewell: From REI to DOI?
Watching the members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources question Sally Jewell, who is President Obama's nominee for Secretary of the Interior, brought to mind John McPhee's ...
|What's That Smell?
You know what natural gas smells like. Or do you? Natural gas is actually odorless. That rotten-egg smell is added for safety reasons. Otherwise, you might not notice a potentially deadly gas leak. ...
|Keystone XL: Cynicism on the Potomac
You know the news is going to be bad when they bury it at 4pm on a Friday. We dealt with this for eight years during the Bush administration. I never thought we'd be doing it again under John Kerry'...
|No Time to Cool Off
Unless you happened to be on a monastic retreat last weekend, you probably know that the Sierra Club, 350.org, the Hip Hop Caucus, and other allies held the largest climate-action rally in U.S. ...
|Doing the Right Thing
My previous visit to the White House was definitely more fun -- I took my dad to the annual Christmas party. Today, I returned on a chilly D.C. morning to get arrested alongside friends and fellow ...
|The Day We Move Forward on Climate
On Sunday, February 17, I'll be joining tens of thousands of Americans in Washington, D.C., for Forward on Climate -- the largest climate rally in U.S. history. Our goal is to convince President ...
|From Walden to the White House
If you could do it nonstop, it would take you six days to walk from Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond to President Barack Obama's White House. For the Sierra Club, that journey has taken much longer.
|It's Not Dark Yet, But…
I'm knee-deep in reading the draft version of the U.S. National Climate Assessment , released last Friday. If last year's record number of wildfires, droughts, and extreme heat days, not to mention ...
|Fix the Senate Now
On December 6, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a piece of legislation in the Senate that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised. Just a few short hours later, McConnell stood up ...
|Smarter Choices for Climate Solutions
Each year, $200 billion of our federal, state,and local tax dollars are spent on our transportation system. That money goes for everything from highways and bridges to public transit and bike lanes, ...
|Time to Stand Up for Families and the Environment
You've probably heard about the "fiscal showdown" in Washington, D.C., but you might not realize how it could affect the environment. The reality is that the entire environmental community has an ...
|Bicoastal Clean-Energy Leadership
Back in the dog days of 2010, when it became clear that Congress wouldn't be passing a climate bill, many people were frustrated and disappointed, including me. But as I wrote in Sierra magazine ...
|The Un-Conservation Congress
If you've seen Lincoln , then you know that a) Daniel Day-Lewis is an Oscar frontrunner and b) Republicans are capable of doing great things. In the film, of course (spoiler alert), they pass the ...
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