[ensu] Sierra Club elections notice

  • From: matt.niedzielski@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: ensu@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 17:40:13 -0500

This is a rather long e-mail, but The Sierra Club of Canada would like to 
inform all of you the differences between SC of Canada and Sierra Club (US). 
There seems to be some issues involving the possible election of members with 
contraversial stances on various issues. Please read if you're interested.


Sierra Club of Canada
Response on Sierra Club (US) Election

January 26, 2004

Dear member,

The upcoming Sierra Club (US) election of their National Board has
raised public concern about a potential "take-over" of the Club by
"anti-immigration" members. In light of the media attention on this, the
Sierra Club of Canada would like to clarify our position on the
population and immigration issues and explain the difference between the
Sierra Club of Canada and Sierra Club US policies.

The Sierra Club of Canada and the Sierra Club (US) are separate
organizations.  Sierra Club of Canada National Board has approved a
policy that deals with the population and environment relationship in
the broader context of consumption, equity and women's empowerment. This
policy was developed through a two year consultation process in
partnership with Action Canada for Population and Development. You can
find this two-page policy on our web site www.sierraclub.ca/national.
One statement from our policy that explains our position on immigration

Migration from developing countries to Canada should not be opposed on
the grounds that the migrants' ecological footprints will swell; rather,
the ecological footprints of people in Canada should be reduced.  The
human rights of migrants should be respected.

Sierra Club of Canada Population Policy

The Sierra Club (US) has a separate but complementary position on
population. They do not currently have a position on using immigration
as a way to control population within a country. Currently the Sierra
Club (US) has chosen to stay out of this debate with a "neutral" stance
on the issue.

The rumours are true, and there are candidates running in the next
Sierra Club (US) election who would advocate for reducing population
growth in the US through immigration controls. It is unfortunate that
this has brought such negative publicity. The Sierra Club US is a
democratic organization and the current concerns regarding immigration
were put on the table through a fair democratic petition process.  It is
up to their US members to vote for the candidates they feel best
represent their views.  As the main campaign of the Sierra Club (US) is
currently to ensure Bush is not re-elected, we in Sierra Club of Canada
hope that this internal election does not distract activists from
achieving this very important objective. It is unfortunate that the
anti-immigration members have chosen this year to run their internal

Sierra Club of Canada has existed since the late 1960s and is a separate
Canadian entity.   Therefore, we would like to clarify to our Canadian
members that the US club elections do not affect our positions.  Both
organizations are autonomous in their own countries on domestic policy.
We also encourage you to check our own Sierra Club of Canada Population
Policy which focuses on the real issues that affect the population and
environment relationship. Any further questions, do not hesitate to
contact our national office.

Amelia Clarke
President, Sierra Club of Canada

*Sierra Club of Canada: Population Policy
September 14, 2003


This policy will be used by the Sierra Club of Canada to guide our 
positions and programs as they relate to Canadian governments, 
institutions, organizations and firms? positions, processes and activities.

*1. The Relationship between Population and Environment
The human species is constrained by finite natural resources and a 
limited biosphere. The degradation of our air, water, and land is 
evidence that humans are already pushing the biosphere beyond its 
limits. We are exhausting finite and renewable resources and running out 
of the atmospheric and geo-biological capacity to recycle the massive 
waste created by our consumption and use of these resources.

For decades, human numbers have been cited as a key cause of a worsening 
environment in some regions of the world. This argument is overly 
simplistic as the relationship between human population and ecological 
systems cannot be understood without examining the web of interrelated 
factors which determine when and how human numbers will be benign or 
destructive to the environment. Arguably, the impact of consumption by 
the one billion affluent humans has far more negative environmental 
consequences than the three billion poorest.

*2. Factors Affecting the Impact of Population on Environment
/a) Global Economy and Trade
We are no longer human beings in local societies bent on meeting our own 
needs. Now, the ?carrying capacity? of the planet is a real limit. 
?Carrying capacity? must be re-conceived taking into account the global 
economy. The environment and social costs of trade and growth should be 
internalized in industry, government and global institution policies. 
Government and global institutional policies should be subservient to 
the population it serves.

/b) Consumption and Production
Resource consumption and pollution is grossly disproportionate to 
population size in the industrialized world. Individuals, firms and 
governments in industrialized countries must take action to reduce their 
ecological footprint in order to mitigate environmental destruction and 
liberate resources for the developing world. Local, small-scale, 
ecologically sustainable production should be favoured over large, 
multi-national operations that do not meet the needs of local peoples or 
promote environmental degradation.

/c) Migration and Urbanization
Migration has always been part of human activity. Migration frequently 
brings benefits not only to the individuals and families who move, but 
also to the societies to which they move, and to the societies from 
which they came. Migration from developing countries to Canada should 
not be opposed on the grounds that the migrants? ecological footprints 
will swell; rather, the ecological footprints of people in Canada should 
be reduced. The human rights of migrants should be respected.

Migration is occurring from rural to urban areas, and in some cases, 
this may reduce the pressure of human numbers on sensitive ecological 
areas. However, rural people have frequently been stewards of local 
ecological services. Urban areas often use enormous amounts of energy 
and resources and create vast amounts of waste. Municipalities should be 
managed to maximize resource conservation, energy efficiency, safe waste 
disposal, and recycling with incentives and penalties as necessary.

/d) The Status of Women
The empowerment of women is a key element of planetary sustainability. 
With greater economic, social, and political power, and access to health 
care and family planning services, women often choose to control their 
fertility rates. In fact, in every instance where female literacy and 
health care are improved, the birth rate falls. Women?s sexual and 
reproductive rights must be respected and championed; the past 
injustices of forced sterilization, medically dangerous methods of birth 
control, and female infanticide must be condemned.

/e) Militarism
Military conflict and war cause the deaths of millions of people 
worldwide and devastate the capacity of our natural world to sustain 
life. A sustainable future is not possible in the absence of peace.

/f) Equity
The extreme poverty of much of the human population is not an acceptable 
condition, but promoting excessive consumerism for all is not the 
solution. Rather, access to land and resources should be distributed 
equitably among current and future generations. Inequalities based on 
gender, race, ethnicity, religion, class, sexuality, or other bases 
should be eradicated. Equality and justice should be pursued on local, 
national, and international levels.

*3. Rights of World Citizens
All efforts to create a harmonious relationship between human population 
and the environment must respect fundamental human rights as established 
in 1948 by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Every human being, present and future, has a right to a world with a 
healthy environment, clean air and water, uncluttered land, adequate 
food, sufficient open space, natural beauty, wilderness and wildlife in 
variety and abundance, and an opportunity to gain an appreciation of the 
natural world and people?s place in it through firsthand experience.

*4. International Agreements
In order to ensure a sustainable relationship between population and 
environment, the Canadian Government must deliver on the promises made 
at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio 
de Janeiro in 1992, World Summit on Sustainable Development in 
Johannesburg in 2002 and at the International Conference on Population 
and Development in Cairo in 1994.

Other related posts:

  • » [ensu] Sierra Club elections notice