Sierran Masthead

What Does the Chapterís Future Hold?

Last in a Four-Part Series Celebrating the Hoosier Chapterís 25th Anniversary

The year 2000 marks the Hoosier Chapterís 25th anniversary, and weíre observing it with a four-part series on our past and future as a lead advocate for Indianaís environment. This is the last article on the chapterís achievements for one decade. The seventies, the eighties, and the nineties were covered separately in past issues, and the chapterís future in a new century is covered here.

by Ed Paynter, Chapter Chair

Now that the Hoosier Chapter has 25 years behind us, letís think about the future. What might we expect the Sierra Club to look like in Indiana 5, 10, 20 years from now? I donít have a crystal ball, so letís rub the soil off an Indiana geode, look into the future, and see what might be.

Organizationally I see a chapter with local groups blanketing the state. Though our current groups cover a large part of Indiana, many counties and members are not included in a local group. Consequently in those areas there is no local voice for the Club, no Club spokesperson on local issues, and no one to demand environmental accountability from elected officials. We have seven local Sierra Club groups today in Indiana. We hope all of them soon will be functioning effectively as environmental advocates.

We should have at least six more groups centered in cities like Richmond, Evansville, Columbus, Peru or Marion, Terre Haute, Clarksville, and Fort Wayne. Members in any of those areas or anywhere else in Indiana who are interested in organizing locally should contact the chapter office.

Legislatively the chapter will have members in nearly every state House and Senate district who know their legislator and keep in touch with her or him. Our Legislative Committee will be able to quickly contact members when an important environmental bill is being debated, and we will be helping to draft and support good bills instead of spending our energy trying to defeat bad ones.

There are so many issues that need attention in Indiana, so many. It takes two things to pursue them: activists and funds.

Our activist roster is growing steadily, but our fund-raising hasnít kept up. We are now establishing a successful fund-raising capability, but available funding remains the parameter that restricts our overall effectiveness. We must be able to send alerts and timely information to our members. We must be able to file a lawsuit when we see wrongdoing, both by corporations and by government agencies. Not having the funds to take such steps when the situation calls for them limits our effectiveness. We will improve our fund-raising success. We must.

The Hoosier Chapterís Web site will be a place for members and the public to learn about issues the Club takes up and to take action through instant e-mail messages to decision makers. Members will be able, using maps on the Web, to locate events, outings, and problem areas near their homes and schools.

All Club activities in the state will be incorporated into our Web site, and articles about environmental issues will be posted as soon as they become available. Instead of publishing the newsletter on the Web site after it is printed, the newsletter will be a printed version of the most significant pieces on the Web pages. Members will be given the option of “saving a tree” and reading articles only online.

Finally, in this new century, the Sierra Club will become known statewide as a source for environmental information. It will be known as the group that goes to court when elected and appointed officials refuse to do their jobs. It will be the group that supports the election of good environmental candidates and opposes bad ones. It will be where folks come to work together on environmental projects and have fun doing it.

In general, the Hoosier Chapter, through our members and groups across the state, will be known for its activism and ability to affect the environment for our families, for our future.

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[9/22/02]efp

Winter 2000-2001