Sierra Club lobbyist Debbie Sease laments the lack of Theodore Roosevelt-style conservationist Republicans in the current Congress (HCN, 5/2/11). As one cause for that deficiency, she need look no further than her own organization.
Protection of the environment is historically a nonpartisan issue. All citizens want to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Unfortunately, the Sierra Club, under the leadership of former executive director Carl Pope, made a disastrous decision some years ago to align environmental activism with social justice and other left-wing, liberal causes. Some of these causes have validity. But I don't get involved except as an individual. I don't try to entangle conservation groups that I might happen to belong to. Other environmental groups followed Mr. Pope's misstep in forgetting the nonpartisan nature of environmental protection.
I was a Sierra Club member for 30 years, ending in 2003. I don't feel that I left the Sierra Club. Rather, as a conservative Republican who is a conservationist and who advocates for protection of wildlife and protection of public lands, the Sierra Club left me years before.