What was your call to action?


Chapter director’s column by Camilla Feibelman

Most Sierra Club members can tell about a time when they were overcome by awe induced by the natural world. And in the best of cases that awe becomes a dedicated passion for the environment.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, on his family trip through the Southwest, told a crowd of 40, as we sat at the junta of the Red River and the Rio Grande to celebrate the newly declared national monument, of a road trip he took when he was 8. He and his family were headed to Yosemite and passed a large array of wind turbines. “That is the future,” his dad proclaimed.

Norma McCallan, Rio Grande Chapter vice chair, told me on our drive back from La Junta of her first trip to the Grand Canyon as an assistant cook on a Sierra Club outing. She cried as they climbed to the top. She’d never seen or experienced anything like it before.

For me it was summer camp. Thanks to my mom I spent most summers of my young life at the Rancho del Chaparral Girl Scout camp, where we learned the difference between a prado (meadow) and a bosque (forest); where we contemplated life in the dappled sun of the aspen grove; where we took map-and-compass backpacking trips and saw bears from afar; and where I first experienced wilderness in the San Pedro Parks.

Not everyone experiences a transformation to action in nature. Maybe it’s reading a story about the impacts of global warming. Maybe it’s the birth of a child or grandchild. Whatever your reason, it’s why you are part of the Sierra Club family. I am just so proud and happy to be part of the Rio Grande Chapter and to work with people who are so deeply dedicated to protecting New Mexico and the planet.

We need you now more than ever. The Rio Grande Chapter’s local groups are establishing flagship campaigns to make a real, tangible difference for the environment.

In Las Cruces, through our Southern Group, members are working to protect the Organ Mountains and Desert Peaks as a National Monument. In the Central Group, based out of Albuquerque, members are campaigning to protect the Bosque. In Santa Fe, members are working to implement community solar. How might you fit in? Could you help give a school presentation? Attend to an information table? Write a letter to the editor? Lead an outing?

The Sierra Club is a place where passion is transformed into action. Our work is meant to attain real change in people’s lives for the good of the environment, it is meant to give you a sense of your own power to achieve this change, and it is meant to establish before the powers that be the importance of protecting the environment for our families, for our future.

Please let me know how you’d like to get involved! Contact me at camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org.