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Scrapbook: Sierra Stalwart Is Garden State's Go-To Green Gadfly

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March 27, 2009

Sierra Stalwart Is Garden State's Go-To Green Gadfly

Photo by Saed Hindash, courtesy of Inside Jersey Magazine

According to Inside Jersey Magazine, over the last five years New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel has been quoted eight times more often in the state's newspapers than the "runner-up green guy." Not only that, over the last two years Tittel was quoted 400 more times than the Speaker of the New Jersey State Assembly. New Jersey Business Magazine has called him the most visible environmental activist in the state.

Part of the reason is Tittel's penchant for candor and the pointed verbal zinger. The New York Times has referred to the "rhetorical hand grenades" he lobs to reporters. He called New Jersey's environmental commissioner a "pander bear" for changing his position on a state-sanctioned bear hunt, referred to pharmaceutically tainted drinking water as "Viagra Falls," and characterized suburban sprawl as "land cancer." Asked if he ever actually hugged trees, he said yeah, but only after keg parties.

But the real reason Tittel makes the news so often is his indefatigable work on behalf of New Jersey's air, water, public lands, built environment, and clean energy future. According to the Times, political insiders in the state capital know him as one of Trenton's most hard-edged lobbyists.

"Mr. Tittel's influence in Trenton has spread like an oil spill in wind-whipped waters," the newspaper says. "It would [be] difficult for even the most casual consumers of New Jersey's news in recent years to avoid coming across the name Jeff Tittel."

More than a decade ago Tittel gave up a more lucrative career as a political consultant for environmental activism when he became a staff organizer for the Sierra Club. He is credited with transforming the New Jersey Chapter into a force to be reckoned with, and "raising the profile of environmentalists across the board." In 2005, Tittel received the Sierra Club's staff Excellence Award.

Read Inside Jersey's interview with the Sierra Club's go-to guy in the Garden State.


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