Top of the Hill
My respect for Sierra Club Legislative Director Debbie Sease was cemented years ago when one idle Sunday morning I happened to watch her on a C-Span call-in show discussing the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Every other caller seemed to want to proclaim that Sease and her colleagues were job-killing green gestapos or otherwise just plain horrible people. (And this was before the tea party movement ever got its bearings.) Sease deflected the incoming fire with aplomb, turning each conversation into the proverbial “teachable moment” to discuss issues important to the Sierra Club, environmentalists, and the planet. It's a skill that has served her well for more than three decades on Capitol Hill. Sease “navigates the unnatural environs of Washington, D.C., with a savviness that has saved vast tracts of wilderness,” Utne Reader wrote when it named her one of “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World in 2011” earlier this month. For a full understanding, don’t miss “The Most Influential Conservationist You've Never Heard Of,” High Country News’ exhaustively delightful profile of Sease, in its May 1, 2011, issue. Here’s the spoiler: Sease’s secret is New Mexico.