• Friendly reminder: The politics section is a place where a lot of differing opinions are raised. You may not like what you read here but it is someone's opinion. As long as the debate is respectful you are free to debate freely. Also, the views and opinions expressed by forum members may not necessarily reflect those of GBAtemp. Messages that the staff consider offensive or inflammatory may be removed in line with existing forum terms and conditions.

Israel trips reinstated by Sierra Club (Melissa Weiss) & A Brief Chronology of the Sierra Club's Retreat from the Immigration-Population Connection


Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2021
'A Brief Chronology of the Sierra Club's Retreat from the Immigration-Population Connection (Updated)


1980. A Sierra Club representative testified before the federal Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, saying: "It is obvious that the number of immigrants the United States accepts affects our population size and growth rate. It is perhaps less well known the extent to which immigration policy, even more than the number of children per family, is the determinant of the future numbers of Americans."

1989. The club's board adopted this policy position: "Immigration to the United States should be no greater than that which will permit achievement of population stabilization in the United States." The board sought to avoid offending ethnic sensibilities with the further declaration: "The Sierra Club will lend its voice to the congressional debate on legal immigration issues when appropriate, and then only on the issue of the number of immigrants — not where they come from or their category, since it is the fact of increasing numbers that affects population growth and ultimately, the quality of the environment."

1992. A few weeks after Carl Pope became the club's executive director, he presented his views in a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Pope wrote that the club believed that all nations "should act to curb their own population growth." He added: "The United States and other developed nations have a special responsibility because of our disproportionate per capita consumption of world resources. Our goal in the United States should be achieving domestic population stabilization."

1996. Under pressure from immigration activists, the club's board adopted a position of neutrality, declaring, "The board's actions reflect a desire to put the immigration debate to rest within the club and to focus on other pressing components of our population program. The board instructs all club chapters, groups, committees, and other entities to take no position on immigration policy."

1998. In response to the neutrality declaration, a group called Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization (SUSPS) brought the issue to club membership in the club annual election. The National Journal reported that prominent Sierran Anne Ehrlich, a long-time advocate of reduced immigration, had taken the position that the club could not act on the immigration-population connection as long as its minority-group members saw racism as the underlying motivation of those who wanted to limit immigration. The SUSPS proposal to reverse the neutrality declaration and restore the club's previous advocacy for immigration limits was defeated about 60-40 after a heated campaign, which involved club president Adam Werbach calling environmentalists who supported SUSPS and urging them to rescind their support. Ultimately, the club's leaders were horrified that SUSPS even managed to get the vote as close as it did. Pope celebrated the results in an essay for the Christian Science Monitor in which he also acknowledged the importance of the global population issue. The club, he said, had been "wrestling with a critical question not just for the Sierra Club, but for the nation and the world. Where do we draw the front line in the fight to reduce overpopulation — one of the most serious threats to our environment? ... The issue won't go away. Americans have some big decisions to make."

2004. In another vote, club membership defeated an effort to elect immigration-limitation advocates to its board. SUSPS knew that if it could secure 3 of the 5 seats in the vote, it would be able to form a majority and oust Carl Pope. This vote followed a controversial and heated campaign in which Pope and other club leaders contended that those who wanted to limit immigration were motivated by racist bigotry. "By pulling up the gangplank on immigration, they are tapping into a strand of misanthropy that says human beings are a problem," Pope said.

That same year, the Los Angeles Times reported that David Gelbaum, an American businessman focused on green technology who has donated at least $200 million to the Sierra Club, had warned Carl Pope that his donations were contingent upon how the club handled the issue of immigration. "I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me," the Times reported he said.

2010. Michael Brune succeeded Carl Pope as executive director. Brune had previously led the Rainforest Action Network, where he pressured corporations to stop selling wood from endangered forests. Brune largely avoided the topic of immigration in his first several years as director, and the club continued to receive donations from Gelbaum.



'Sierra Club to reinstate Israel trips

The environmental group had previously canceled the trips following pressure from anti-Israel activists

The Sierra Club will reinstate two programs to Israel, days after the nature- and preservation-focused organization canceled trips to the Jewish state scheduled for this spring and spring 2023 after being pressured by anti-Israel and progressive activists, the organization announced on its website on Tuesday afternoon. In announcing the reversal, the group admitted that the original decision to cancel the trips was made “hastily” and “was done in ways that created confusion, anger, and frustration.”

“Let me be clear: the Sierra Club’s mission is to enjoy, explore and protect the planet, and we do not take positions on foreign policy matters that are beyond that scope,” read a statement from the organization’s acting director, Dan Chu. “We do not have a deep understanding or knowledge necessary to do so, nor is it our place to do so. Furthermore, we have and always will continue to loudly condemn anti-semitism and any and all acts of hate. We are committed to working more intentionally, thoroughly and thoughtfully so we can prevent this from happening again.”

The sudden about-face came after a coalition of Jewish groups, including the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, Hazon and The Jewish Federations of North America, mobilized to engage with the Sierra Club and fight the original decision. Anti-Israel groups including Jewish Voice for Peace and the Adalah Justice Project had pushed for the environmental group to cancel the trips, accusing Israel of “greenwashing.”


-Melissa Weiss



Site & Scene News

Popular threads in this forum

General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
    HiradeGirl @ HiradeGirl: any good music