Highlights from the May Board Meeting
As recent reports confirm, the climate crisis is upon us here and now, and our May board of directors meeting came at a historically challenging time for the Sierra Club and the environmental movement as a whole. I’m confident that our unique, 122-year old organization can and will continue to evolve, grow even stronger, and lead the way toward solutions.
We took several steps towards that goal at our May meeting, including steps towards strengthening and expanding our organization so that we’re up to the task.
First, we committed to a year-long strategic planning process, exploring what changes might make us even more effective in our advocacy work.
We committed to continue work towards building the broad-based, diverse climate movement we must help create if we are to meet the enormous challenge of ending dependence on fossil fuels. After reviewing recommendations from a specially appointed task force, the board authorized formation of a Next Steps on Climate Committee to see that key recommendations are implemented. Among those recommendations was a request to provide more support for our chapters in their own efforts to engage new activists and allies.
We agreed to come up with proposed language for a revised policy on fracking, with an eye towards addressing the broad desire for a clearer and stronger policy. In keeping with our board-adopted policy revision guidelines, proposed policy language would be posted for comment by volunteer entities and leaders and other interested members.
We explored next steps towards making the Sierra Club a genuinely multicultural organization, an effort aided and guided by recommendations from the Sierra Club's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team.
We discussed how we can best assure the effectiveness of initiatives designed to make it easier and more rewarding for new and current activists to find information and join with others who want to work on the environmental issues they care about most.
And we went to a ball. All work and no play would make for a dull meeting, and our retreat was anything but. The Sierra Club’s first Trailblazers’ Ball, a fundraising event, drew a packed and enthusiastic crowd, and the event got glowing reviews from board members and other attendees as well. It also gave board members at a laid-back May retreat an excuse to go into the city, don formal dresses, neckties and -- in Jim Dougherty's case, black patent leather shoes – and prove that you’re only as old as you feel.
And then there was the stuck bus. But Sierra Club board members roll with the punches, and no trivial detail like a burned-up bus transmission is going to stop us from doing the organization’s work and saving the planet.
I'm honored to continue serving another year as Sierra Club president, along with returning officers Spencer Black (vice president), Lane Boldman (secretary), board fifth officer Susana Reyes, and newly elected treasurer Loren Blackford. The board also welcomed newly elected directors Michael Dorsey, who has served two previous stints on the board, and Dean Wallraff, who joins us for the first time. (Learn more about the Sierra Club Board of Directors here).
With new board members comes the departure of others. Longtime board member and past president Larry Fahn termed off the board after his latest six year run, and Larry received a well-deserved and enthusiastic appreciation from his colleagues. Rob Wilder also leaves the board, and he was recognized for his contributions as well.
This is a hardworking, collegial board that has taken on many challenges on behalf of the organization.. I look forward to its anticipated success in the coming year.