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Suncoast Sierra Club  
Serving Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area
SuncoastSierra.org
 
 E-Newsletter May 10, 2010 
In This Issue
Oil Disaster
Hands Across Sand
Volunteers - Cleanup
Take Action!
More News
For the Birders
Photo Gallery
Florida Panther
Environmental Film Festival
Student Coalition
Save the Dates
Outings
Green Info
2010 Calendars
Thank you

  Volunteers Needed
Suncoast Sierra Club Wish List 
There are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Choose from where you feel most comfortable as a volunteer; it can be from the comfort of your home and favorite chair or out amidst the crowd.
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Dear Robin,
 
Greetings to our Suncoast Group members and friends.
 
Here is the latest news, reminders and updates from Suncoast Sierra Club, proudly serving Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area.
Oil Disaster in the Gulf 
  
May 9 - LA Times, A Clean-Energy Future, Now 
by Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director 
The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico should be a wake-up call to us all.
 
What I saw flying over the gulf waters Wednesday, and what we've all been watching on television the last two weeks, is no spill. It's an endless explosion of toxic muck, a sickening creep of poisonous sludge that may soon blanket a national park, more than a dozen wildlife refuges and hundreds of miles of coastline, perhaps even oozing into the fragile Florida Keys and up the Eastern Seaboard. ...
 
In western Canada, monstrous earthmoving machines rip up forests and pollute freshwater supplies to produce dirty oil from Alberta's "tar sands." In Ecuador, billions - with a "b" - of gallons of oil-contaminated waste were dumped into the Amazon watershed by Texaco, now owned by Chevron.
 
May 8 - The New RepublicThe Crisis Comes Ashore,
by Al Gore
 
May 6Live Video Chat with Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director.
 
May 6 - Brune's op-ed in Bloomberg.
 
May 6 - Local lawmakers call for constitutional ban on offshore drilling. Our local activists attend the press conference. 
At a press conference at the Tradewinds Resort, St. Pete Beach, State Reps. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota, and Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg showed some real leadership. They asked Governor Crist to call a special session of the Florida Legislature to amend the state constitution to prohibit oil and gas drilling in state waters. Suncoast Sierra Club and the Love Tourists Not Drilling Alliance members were out in force to protest offshore drilling and promote clean energy. Thanks to Kira for posting photos on LTND's Facebook page. There is an article about the press conference in the Bradenton Herald.
 
May 5 - Hillsborough BOCC opposes expanded oil drilling.
The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution that opposes expanded offshore oil drilling. The commissioners heard from several environmental activists, including Phil Compton of Sierra Club Florida, who said a smaller spill in the Timor Sea late last year shows that no amount of drilling is acceptable.
WMNF Radio - Listen to Phil Compton and Beverly Griffiths
(Chair, Sierra Club, Tampa Bay group) and others, discuss opposition to offshore drilling and clean energy solutions. 
 
May 4 - California Gov. Schwarzenegger Ends Support for Offshore Drilling.  Sierra Club Welcomes Governor's Changing Position.
 
 
April 22 Fox 13 News Floridians fear effects of explosion.
Suncoast Sierra's Coastal Task Force Chair, Cathy Harrelson discussed the BP oil disaster soon after the explosion on April 20. ("The first thing that we think is 'well this is exactly what we've been talking about'.")
 
Previous News, Still Timely, in light of BP Catastrophe - In case you missed these: 
 
Sierra Club, Florida promotes clean energy.
In April, Phil Compton of Sierra Club, Florida, discussed the Senate Climate Bill, support for clean energy, and opposition to President Obama's plans to expand offshore drilling in Florida. Bay News 9 April 2; Florida Matters (WFSU radio).
  
The Suncoast Sierra Club and the Love Tourists Not Drilling Alliance, organized these oil protest events in our area:
 
March 31 - Anti-Drilling Protest at the Vinoy,
St. Petersburg - 
 For a photo gallery of images from the protest, courtesy of Jim & Marea Dorian and Bill Bucolo, click here and here (more from Dorian Photography).
 
February 13 - Hands Across the Sand was a grassroots event that brought 10,000+ citizens and politicians to our beaches statewide, 3,000+ in Pinellas County alone. 
If you haven't seen the fabulous photos and video of the oil drilling protests, click here Thanks to official photographers, Jim & Marea Dorian.
OceanHands Across the Sand /
Love Tourists Not Drilling
 
The Suncoast Sierra Club, together with Hands Across the Sand the Love Tourists Not Drilling alliance of activists are focused on stopping coastal oil drilling, promoting clean energy, and organizing efforts to respond to the oil disaster in the Gulf.  Sierra Club is working on a state-wide plan as well. 
 
There is a lot of information coming in all the time and we'll get out what we know on Facebook and by email shortly. Our activists have been organizing local actions to hold BP accountable, stop offshore drilling and call for clean, renewable energy at the Federal and State levels.
 
For more information, contact Coastal Task Force Chair,
Cathy Harrelson @ 727-415-8805 or
cathy_bam@earthlink.net.
 
Terrie Weeks, Chair, Suncoast Sierra Club, is the leader of the volunteer emergency team, gathering information for beach assessment, clean-up and other direct oil spill volunteer actions, most of which require special training.  Terrie's email address is:  tkweeks01@yahoo.com
 
Kira Barrera is the leader of the coalition/outreach team,  kbarrera777@yahoo.com.
 
Tampa Bay Watch has a volunteer signup.
Florida's imperiled wildlifeVolunteers for Oil Spill Cleanup 
 
Sierra Club has a signup form to volunteer as part of the relief efforts and we will connect you with opportunities to help.
 
Tampa Bay Watch has a sign-up form for volunteers and their schedule for oil spill-related training sessions.
 
Audubon also has a signup form for volunteers. See also the "For the Birders" article below.
No more drilling'Take Action' Alerts from
 National Sierra Club
 
Sierraclub.org/oilspill - Say NO to more dirty, dangerous offshore drilling!
  
Take Action: Contact President Obama to say you've had enough-it's time to halt all proposals to allow more oil drilling off our coasts. 
 
Take Action: Tell your senators that Offshore Drilling Is Not the Answer. Tell them this much drilling is simply incompatible with a climate bill designed to reduce our dependence of fossil fuels and move us toward a clean energy future.
 
Volunteer - to Help with Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster Relief Efforts.
 
Host or attend a Clean It Up Event between May 6th & the 16th!
 
See all current take actions at SierraClub.org.
More News 
 
Florida Hometown DemocracyFlorida Hometown Democracy Gets Suncoast Group's Support: Suncoast Group's EXCOM has voted to endorse Amendment 4, the Florida Hometown Democracy Initiative. Florida Hometown Democracy is about putting people back in charge of the places where they live. Learn more here or visit Floridahometowndemocracy.com  

Good News on Fertilizer safeguards! SB 382 and HB 1045 both failed to win passage in the closing moments of the 2010 legislative session. Our local fertilizer preemption laws remain intact without the threat of state preemption. We can move forward to secure the same safeguards in other Florida counties and municipalities.
 
 
brown pelicanFor the Birders
by Wendy Becktold, Sierra Club
 
     May 8 was International Migratory Bird Day, but if you are one of the nation's 48 million birders, you probably aren't in the mood to celebrate. The massive BP oil spill threatens millions of migratory birds who are passing through the Gulf right about now on their long flight from South to North America. Other species are at risk as well, like The Brown Pelican which was just taken off the endangered species list last year. The slick has already washed ashore on the Chandeleur Islands, a nesting site for hundreds of birds. 
 
     Oil-coated birds can't stay warm or float and their constant preening guarantees they'll ingest the toxic stuff. You'll be somewhat relieved to know that bird rescue organizations like the International Bird Rescue Research Center and the American Bird Conservancy have rushed to the scene and are equipped for massive triage.  One of their main weapons? Ordinary Dawn dish soap. Proctor & Gamble has donated thousands of bottles to the rescue effort. 

     If you live somewhere along the Gulf coast, you can help out too: The Audubon Society is asking birders to hit the beaches with their binoculars and do some bird counting, then report what they see to an online checklist program called eBird. The documentation will help scientists identify high priority areas and assess the impact of the spill. Of course, you shouldn't disturb habitat or nesting areas and if you do see an oily bird, don't approach it. Instead call the emergency number: 1-866-557-1401.  

Photo Gallery 
 
Check out photos of cool events and places our members have gone in 2010, at our photo gallery.  
 
On Apr 29 Sue Brandon led a group of Sierra Club members and friends in a Midweek Spoil Island Cleanup. The philosophy is to give thanks to nature by cleaning up two spoil islands which have been adopted in an effort to make them a better place for birds and other wildlife.  For the next event or more information, contact Sue at brandon11@earthlink.net or 813-622-1800.  
 
On April 11, there was a beach and trail hike to Honeymoon Island, with photos courtesy Sue Bunge. April 3-9 was the Suwannee River Paddle lead by Ben McPhearson. Read his article here.
 
Click here for more photos from recent events.
events  events outings
Florida's imperiled wildlife
Florida Panther 
 
Thank you to Laurie MacDonald from Defenders of Wildlife for speaking at our general meeting last month. She spoke about the Florida Panther and other native Florida wildlife. If you missed or to learn more, check out the St. Pete Times series on the Florida panther.
 
In February, the Sierra Club and Conservancy of Southwest Florida Notifed Federal Government of Intent to File a Legal Challenge, citing failure to conserve and protect the Florida panther and its habitat, as required by the Endangered Species Act.
Environmental Film Festival  June 10 & 11
 
The Suncoast Sierra Club and Florida Native Plant Society's Pinellas Chapter are bringing the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival to Pinellas County! The Festival is the biggest environmental film festival in the country, and the best films are sent "on tour". The mission of this festival is to inspire people and unite communities to heal the earth. Come expand your mind. Learn more about improving your local environment and beyond. 
 
Friday, June 11 @ 7-9 pm
Curtis Fundamental Elementary School, Dunedin 
Saturday, June 12@ 7-9 pm
St. Petersburg College, Seminole Campus
Details.  
Sierra Club student coalitionSierra Club Student Coalition 
 
The Sierra Club's Student Coalition is active at local colleges in Pinellas County. For more information, contact Kira Barrera, kbarrera777@yahoo.com, of the Hands Across the Sand / Love Tourists Not Drilling coalition/outreach team. 
Save the Dates
 
From Ft. Desoto to the Amazon and many places in between, there is an abundance of activities from which to choose.  We are adding events on a regular basis and we have more events on the web.  Check our Plan your months page now and regularly.
     
May 12 Tampa Bay Group General Meeting Program: Florida's Nesting Bald Eagles. Speaker: Barbara Walker, Audubon EagleWatch Details.
 
June 5-6 Pinellas Living Green Expo, St. Pete. Tablers needed! Contact Terrie Weeks tkweeks01@yahoo.com 727-345-2281.
 
June 11 & 12 Environmental Film Festival  - The Suncoast Sierra Club and Florida Native Plant Society's Pinellas Chapter the are bringing the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival to Pinellas County! June 11 7-9pm (Dunedin) & June 12, 7-9pm (Seminole) (727)667-2600. Details
 
Ongoing Events: 

ˇ EVERY FRIDAY: THE WORLD CAFÉ ... You're Invited! 

Connecting People through Conversations That Matter.  As a conversational process, the World Café is an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations about questions that matter. More.

ˇ 4th Wed. of the month: GREEN DRINKSGreendrinks.org 

ˇ For activities on the  'other side of the pond' check out the Events page of Tampa Bay Sierra Club.

Outings
Outings
 
Here's what's coming up in the next few weeks. Check our Outings page for details on upcoming outings; and our photo gallery for great pics of past events.

May 16 Weedon Island Canoe/Kayak trip
May 22 Pinellas bayou paddle
May 24 (Monday) Women's Weeki Wachee Kayak Trip
 
Outings Leaders Needed
Love outdoor activities?  Plan, lead or co-lead local group outings for your favorite activity. Activity/Frequency is up to you.  Sierra Club provides required training: Check our web site for more details, including upcoming dates for training events. Contact Ben Berauer: 727-392-2821 or BFBerauer@aol.com
Green Info
 
bikeEnter Sierra Club's Bike-Haiku contest   to win a breezer bike during May, National Bike Month. To enter, join the Bicycle group on Sierra Club's Climate Crossroads page; post a picture to the group's gallery; write a haiku about your bike and/or bike commuting. At the end of the month, a panel of bicycle-happy Sierra Club staffers will select three finalists. The grand prize winner will be selected by Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, founder of the Congressional Bicycle Caucus and author of H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act. Deadline to enter is May 31 at noon PST.
 
Make one of these easy everyday green pledges, and you'll be added to Sierra Club's EcoHero map.
- Bring reusable bags to the supermarket.
- Make a local/organic meal.
- Plant a tree.
- Bike or walk a trip instead of driving.
- Write a letter or email on a green issue I care about.
Win a green getaway with the Sierra Club's First iPhone Application.
 
The Green Life - Daily Roundup Read more ideas for living well and doing good from Sierra Magazine.
 
Pinellas County Utilities - Green Tips  - Find over 100 ways to go green. These are handy tips to make small changes in your life that can make a big difference. 
 
2010 Calendars 
There are still some Suncoast Sierra Group 2010 Calendars. You may also order by contacting Lucy
 
All these articles AND MORE are on our Suncoast Sierra Web Site Updates are being added on a regular basis, either to the HOME page and/or others.  Check back frequently. 
 
Thank You
 

THANKS for subscribing to our e-newsletter.  Going softcopy is saving us all trees and money.  Help spread the word, and tell your Sierra friends to subscribe if they haven't already. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends, family and colleagues.  Also, do you want to contribute to the newsletter?  Share your nature photograph (jpg format please). Email the photos to me.

 

Lucy Peak

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