In the midst of moving its offices from San Francisco's run-down Tenderloin district to the trendy South of Market district, the Sierra Club elected a new president, 23-year-old Adam Werbach. Werbach will be in charge of a network of 5,000 volunteers and the club's professional staff. He is 24 years younger than the average member.
Werbach aims to
decrease the age gap. Part of his mission this year is to oust
members of Congress who continue to vote against the environment.
To succeed, he says he needs the support of his generation. "Young
voters are a key swing vote and are moved to vote for the
environment," he says. Werbach plans to attract new members by
using the internet, fashion, art and music. "This is a new Sierra
Club that is very focused with its resources, and with
sophisticated political goals."
think that targeting young, mostly urban members will cost the club
support in the hinterlands; he plans to spend half his time out of
the office meeting with members around the country. But the result
of a recent Sierra Club ballot initiative calling for an end to all
commercial logging on federal lands suggests that some Westerners
feel estranged from Sierra Club policy. The initiative passed in
every state but Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and
Werbach began circulating petitions for
the club when he was 8 years old in Southern California. As a
teenager, he founded the Sierra Student Coalition, which now boasts
30,000 members. He joined the Sierra Club board of directors at 21.
- Heather Abel