Dallas Sierra Club
#########Dallas Sierra Club News

May, 2010: In This Issue. . .


Notes from the Chair

A Lesson in Science and Technology
Many of our members were born, raised, and indoctrinated in the era of "Science and Technology." We were taught that you could always trust those level headed objective slide rule types to solve any problem, create new products or energy sources, and then tell the truth about any real risks to the public. Of course, this time period also taught us the government never lies and that the welfare of the American people is always a first priority.

Unfortunately, the multiple revelations of the last 40 years have shown government is as fallible as the humans who are elected or appointed. Likewise, a series of environmental disasters from the Exxon Valdez to the current massive Gulf oil spill are sober reminders that high risk (for the environment) and high reward (for the oil companies) operations are a fundamental part of our oil addiction.

Upon hearing about the spill, my first thoughts were about the suffering it would cause to the coastal animals and the family businesses that depend on clean water for their livelihood. My second thought was about the death of the electric car many decades ago. It was a new technology crushed in its infancy. If it could have been allowed to compete head to head with gas and diesel, would we have even needed off-shore oil drilling?

The point I labor toward is that technology and the profits it can produce are a two-edge sword. While we must continue to battle the unacceptably high risks of off-shore drilling, the 'green energy' world must rise up and take the lead in our economy if we ever hope to beat our addiction to oil.

If successful, the World will follow our lead and the environmental disasters of the past will be in their proper place… the history books as lessons for future generations faced with similar technological choices.

Your Dallas Chair, Wendel Withrow


General Meeting Program - May 11, 7:00 pm - Refreshments at 6:30

Our May Program Looks at Two Things We Can't Live Without - Water and Air

Our May program features two informative programs you won't want to miss.

First up, we will have Carole Davis, Water Conservation Division Manager for Dallas Water Utilities, who will give a presentation on the City of Dallas' water conservation program accomplishments and the proposed Five-year Strategic Plan on Water Conservation Update. She also will talk about the annual Water-Wise Landscape Tour, which this year is Saturday, June 5, and is something you shouldn't miss.

SmokestackOur second presentation will be by Jim Schermbeck of Downwinders At Risk.  Jim's presentation looks at is The Big Push for Safe and Legal Air. It examines the "perfect storm" of industrial pollution caused by coal plants, cement kilns, and now the Barnett Shale drilling that keeps D/FW from being able to comply with the Clean Air Act, and what citizens can do in the next clean air planning cycle to break up that storm. Air quality in North Texas has been deemed unfit for breathing by the Environmental Protection Agency. The largest industrial polluters lie just south of Dallas in Midlothian, Texas. All North Texas residents are "downwind" of the Midlothian Industrial Complex, hence the organization's name: Downwinders at Risk. Downwinders at Risk is working to clean up these industrial sources and improve regional air quality.

Visit our website for complete information about our General Meeting, including a map.


Conservation News

City of Dallas - White Rock Lake Dog Park Survey (Mockingbird Rd.). The City of Dallas is requesting feedback which will help them identify and prioritize improvements to the dog park. Results are anonymous. Areas of interest: safety, improvements, potential revenue generating concepts, permit fees, permanent facility development, full-time vendor operations and frequency of park use. It might be beneficial to suggest that the city holds a public meeting on the subject so citizens better understand the initiative. More information here.

Screening of GASLAND at Fort Worth - Modern Museum of Art - May 12th. Join a few of us at the screening of GASLAND next Wednesday evening in Fort Worth. Proceeds benefit the TX OGAP. The Fort Worth Basin Province/Barnett Shale extends under Dallas County. Urban gas drilling has already begun in western DalCo. Does the current production process for NG in North TX reflect the clean transitional fuel source we've all been sold? Anyone interested in getting a little more educated is welcome to join us. More Info/Tickets


Sierra Celebration 2010

Mark your calendars now for the Lone Star Chapter’s annual state-wide outing – A PERFECT FALL GATAWAY. Three days and two nights under the hill country stars. Cool nights! Sunny mild fall days! Campfire socialization with fellow Sierrans! Great hiking! Paddling opportunities nearby! Observatory! Fishing pier! Bird watching! Vanishing River Cruise! RELAXATION, FUN and, OF COURSE, EAGLES! This year’s annual Sierra Celebration will be held over the school holiday weekend of October 9, 10 and 11 at Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park on Lake Buchannan near Burnet, just a short drive from Austin. The Lone Star Chapter has reserved the group camp area with plenty of space for tents, pop up campers and small trailers. Restrooms and showers are nearby. The cost is only $5 per person. We’ll have more information about the event in a few months.


Outings Highlights

Wilderness Navigation Class, May 18 and 20
Learn the fundamentals of finding your way in the wilderness in this two evening class. Among the subjects covered are: purchasing maps, how to read maps, how not to get lost, what to do if you do get lost, GPS, different kinds of compasses, and how to use your compass. If you have a compass, bring it to the class. If you don't have one, we will show you what to look for when you purchase one. The class will be held at REI (second floor program room). REI is at 4515 LBJ Freeway, north side, between Midway and Welch. This two-night class will start promptly at 6:30 PM and will finish at about 8:45 PM. The fee for the class is $15 for Sierra Club members and $20 for non-members (cash or check). No reservations are necessary; just show up.

GPS Navigation for the Outdoors, May 26
This class will introduce you to the basics of what a GPS is, what it can do, and how to use it to assist you finding your way in the Wilderness. We will not teach you how to use a specific brand or model of GPS, but rather help you understand the capabilities and limitations of the Global Positioning System. We will give you some idea of what to consider selecting a GPS. We will also discuss the maps that you must have to actually use your GPS. Finally we'll show you how to use your GPS in the woods. Graduates of our Wilderness Navigation Class will have a better understanding of some points we will discuss but while it is recommended it is not a prerequisite. The class will be held at REI (second floor program room). REI is at 4515 LBJ Freeway, north side, between Midway and Welch. This class will start promptly at 6:30 PM and will finish at about 8:45 PM. The fee for the class is $10 for Sierra Club members and $15 for non-members (cash or check). No reservations are necessary; just show up.

Bandelier National Monument Bus Trip, May 28-June 1
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend by joining us as our sleeper bus takes us to this scenic area west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. There will be a variety of hikes tailored to allow backpackers of all skill levels to explore and enjoy this great area. New for this year we're also trying to plan an easy option for those who want a base camp in the developed camping areas, with day hikes instead of backpacking. Special adventures will include learning about Native American history and exploring their ruins in this unique area. Complete trip details and reservation information is posted at www.dallassierraclub.org/outings.

Fourth of July Holiday Bus Trip to Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico, June 30 - July 6
Pecos WildernessGet packing! This is the year for New Mexico's high country--The Pecos Wilderness! Draw a triangle between Santa Fe, Taos and Las Vegas, New Mexico. In its center is a backpacking paradise--the Pecos--New Mexico's second-largest designated wilderness. If your image of the Pecos is an alkaline river in west Texas and southern New Mexico, you'll get a new perspective when you see mountain streams, forests and green meadows in this lush basin at the River's mountain headwaters. Hikers may see hawks, marmots, elk and bighorn sheep. Pecos flora includes piñon pines, aspens, firs, corn lilies and wild iris. It's been a snowy year, so snow patches on the tallest peaks and ridges are possible in July. It's easy to see why the Pecos was set aside as one of the country's original wilderness areas by the Wilderness Act of 1964. The trip leaves Dallas on a chartered sleeper bus after dinner on June 30 and returns before breakfast on July 6. Complete trip details and reservation information is posted at www.dallassierraclub.org/outings.

For a complete list of our outings, visit our outings page.


Recycling Round-Up
by Rita Raccoon

Recent Recycling News - May 2010

 DID YOU KNOW? Pepsi-Cola is teaming up with Waste Management to place several thousand recycling containers at gas stations, convenience stores and other areas. To encourage use, some machines will be computerized to give users points for each bottle or can they recycle. Points can be redeemed for movie tickets and other rewards at Waste Management-owned Greenopolis.com.

Selling Green
There are few of our constituents, and fewer of our colleagues, who do not generally support "Going Green" with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The importance of environmental sustainability is literally incontestable – there is no rate of growth in demand that will not exhaust the earth's resources in a finite time period. (viz. "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man." Thomas R. Malthus, 1798, An Essay on the Principle of Population).

Why then is it so difficult to 'sell' sustainable projects and practices? As illustrated by the quote above, the concept of sustainability has been around a long time, and was already ancient in Malthus' time. Farmers retain a portion of their crop for seed (at least traditionally), and preserve their produce to feed them until the next harvest. What is 'sustainable' now was 'prudent' for previous generations. The difference now is that we can measure many of the effects of our own and others' imprudence on a global scale.

Knowing what to do to promote environmental sustainability at work and in your city is not as great a hurdle as convincing or 'selling' the decision-makers to do it. Municipal governments, like most organizations, need to be conservative in managing their affairs. Because many sustainability 'upgrades' involve an initial expense, the return on investment must be made clear up front. Although sustainability is literally 'conservative,' the decision-maker must be convinced that conserving environmental resources long term is worth more than conserving the budget today. Although the decision-makers don't want to be sold, they are generally anxious to be well-informed.

  • To successfully promote environmental or sustainability initiatives within an organization, your enthusiasm and personal example ("be the change") are an important prerequisite.

  • In any appeal for a change to established practices, always lead off with return on investment. Search out examples of changes implemented in similar organizations, and demonstrate their savings first (see sources cited at the end of the article).

  • After presenting positive budgetary reasons to proceed, allay any concerns over risks – make sure that any risks perceived by the decision-maker are discussed. Spell out a clear path from the current situation to the desired outcome. Most concerns over change are short-lived if alleviated early.

  • Make sure that your description of the project involves benefits and engagement throughout the organization. Change requires general participation and enthusiasm, and managers know it. When the project is implemented, be prepared to follow through with all the 'stakeholders.'

The success of the path described above ultimately depends on your knowledge of the organization that you are trying to change, and of the changes that you are trying to bring about. Examples of sustainability project successes and background are the best resource for promoting your project, and they are widely available on the web. Subscribe to listservs, online publications, Linked-In or even Facebook groups that pertain to your project.

These are some sources consulted for this article:
- The Business Case for Environmental and Sustainability Employee Education. This whitepaper from the National Environmental Education Foundation has numerous examples and rationale supporting employee environmental education.
- How to Create Green Change in a Conservative Culture – This article appears on the site The Green Economy Post which has many articles and examples relating sustainable practices to 'the bottom line' (subscription is available at no charge). The main subject of this article was implementation of 'green' practices at St. Mark's School of Texas, culminating in building two LEED certified buildings.
- Another helpful article linked to the New York Times - IBM Suppliers Must Track Environmental Data.
- LinkedIn groups such as Environmental Services Sales Professionals, Water Resource Management, Compost Network, and Stormwater Professionals may also be useful.

UNT students vote for sustainability fee
University of North Texas students voted in favor of a $5-per-semester "green fee" to fund student-driven, environmentally friendly campus projects. The student vote took place last week during Earth Day celebrations, with 646 responses — nearly 2 percent of the students enrolled this semester.
About 89 percent of participating students supported the $5 per student, per semester fee, with 11 percent — 72 students — voting against the proposition, according to numbers released Tuesday. UNT's Board of Regents must approve the fee before it can go into effect.

The approved proposal could net an estimated $360,000 each year to fund student-driven projects. If approved, the $5 fee will begin in spring 2011 and remain for up to five years.

The initiative stems from a 2009 state law allowing public colleges and universities to establish student-supported fees. Students at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University passed similar referendums supporting "green fees" last month.

UNT joins about 100 higher education institutions nationwide either implementing or voting on sustainability fees — an amazing accomplishment for the university, said Todd Spinks, director of the university's Office of Sustainability. The fund "will definitely be a significant resource to implement a variety of projects that will be more sustainable on campus," Spinks said. "The sky's kind of the limit right now, with the amount of funds and a hard-core group on campus that continues to grow on a daily basis. … These funds will be used directly on projects that will make the campus better," Carter said.

Ideas for student-driven projects include a sustainable university garden, a better recycling program, bicycle lanes, and organic food in the cafeteria, said Cameron Tharp, president of the North Texas Energy and Environment Club, which spearheaded the student-led campaign.


Calendar

Here is our calendar for the next two months. For complete listings, visit us at www.dallassierraclub.org.

MAY 8 (SAT) WHITE ROCK CREEK TRAIL DAYHIKE Come join us as we day hike 7 miles on the northern reaches of White Rock Creek. This is a very urban, paved trail but it is actually very nice as it follows the creek under all the main thoroughfares of north Dallas. No pets, please. Bring water and a snack as we will be walking all morning. We will leave the trail head promptly at 9 AM. To reach the trailhead from the intersection of I-635 and Hillcrest Rd., go north on Hillcrest a short distance turn right on Valley View and turn right into the second parking lot. Remember it's the second parking lot on the right. I'll be near the restrooms and playground. Optional lunch afterwards. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

MAY 8 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

MAY 11 (TUE) SIERRA CLUB GENERAL MEETING Everyone is invited to the General Meeting of the Dallas Sierra Club.  See above for details.

MAY 18 (TUE) and MAY 20 (THU) WILDERNESS NAVIGATION CLASS Learn the fundamentals of finding your way in the wilderness in this two evening class. Among the subjects covered are: purchasing maps, how to read maps, how not to get lost, what to do if you do get lost, GPS, different kinds of compasses, and how to use your compass. If you have a compass, bring it to the class. If you don't have one, we will show you what to look for when you purchase one. The class will be held at REI (second floor program room). REI is at 4515 LBJ Freeway, north side, between Midway and Welch. This two-night class will start promptly at 6:30 PM and will finish at about 8:45 PM. The fee for the class is $15 for Sierra Club members and $20 for non-members (cash or check). No reservations are necessary; just show up. Leaders: Arthur Kuehne 214-353-2927(H) and Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

MAY 19 (WED) OUTINGS COMMITTEE MEETING. Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

MAY 25 (TUE) INNER CITY OUTINGS MEETING Snacks and social starts at 6:45 pm, meeting starts at 7:00 pm. Inner City Outings ("ICO") is an outreach program of the Sierra Club comprised of volunteers who provide wilderness experiences such as day hikes and camping for disadvantaged youth. ICO meets on the fourth Tuesdays at REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch). All volunteers and those considering becoming an ICO volunteer are welcome. Contact the ICO Chair for more information. To receive future announcements and meeting information you may sign up for our email list.

MAY 26 (WED) GPS NAVIGATION FOR THE OUTDOORS This class will introduce you to the basics of what a GPS is, what it can do, and how to use it to assist you finding your way in the Wilderness. We will not teach you how to use a specific brand or model of GPS, but rather help you understand the capabilities and limitations of the Global Positioning System. We will give you some idea of what to consider selecting a GPS. We will also discuss the maps that you must have to actually use your GPS. Finally we’ll show you how to use your GPS in the woods. Graduates of our Wilderness Navigation Class will have a better understanding of some points we will discuss but while it is recommended it is not a prerequisite. The class will be held at REI (second floor program room). REI is at 4515 LBJ Freeway, north side, between Midway and Welch. This class will start promptly at 6:30 PM and will finish at about 8:45 PM. The fee for the class is $10 for Sierra Club members and $15 for non-members (cash or check). No reservations are necessary; just show up. Leaders: Bill Greer 972-964-1781(H) and Arthur Kuehne 214-353-2927(H)

MAY 28-JUN 1 (FRI-TUE) BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT BUS TRIP Celebrate Memorial Day weekend by joining us as our sleeper bus takes us to this scenic area west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. There will be a variety of hikes tailored to allow backpackers of all skill levels to explore and enjoy this great area. New for this year we have an easy option for those who want a base camp in the developed camping areas, with day hikes instead of backpacking. Special adventures will include learning about Native American history and exploring their ruins in this unique area. Complete trip details and reservation information are posted on our Outings Page. Contact: Mike Rawlins 972-783-0962(H) and Diana Rawlins 972-783-0962(H)

JUN 5 (SAT) OUTINGS LEADERSHIP TRAINING 201 (OLT201) Learn skills to address issues that may arise on outings of longer duration or in more remote settings such as overnight backpacking trips. Upon completing OLT 201, leaders will have improved their skills, competence and confidence for conducting overnight outings that result in safe, happy and even inspired participants. The course includes sections on trip planning, interpersonal leadership skills and group management. It meets the leader training requirement for new outings leaders. 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. with a working lunch. Bring your own lunch. We will meet at my house 5226 Vanderbilt Ave. Dallas 75206. Please contact me if you have any questions. Seating is limited, so sign up early ! Organizers: Bill Beach 214-662-3224(H) and Bob Gates

JUN 12 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

JUN 16 (WED) OUTINGS COMMITTEE MEETING. Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

JUN 30-JUL 6 (WED-TUE) FOURTH OF JULY BUS TRIP TO THE PECOS WILDERNESS, NEW MEXICO. Sign up now for the high country over the extended July 4 week end! Come to backpackers' paradise in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. Five hiking options in a range of abilities offer mountain creeks, pinon pines, aspens groves, green meadows, glacial lakes, elk, marmots, bighorn sheep. Amiable companions and cool temperatures. Click over to our outings page for complete details. Bus trip leader: Mark Stein 214-526-3733(W)

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