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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Equity and Inclusion Training March 31

John Muir Chapter Sierra Club is excited to announce that we are hosting our first, full-day equity and inclusion training for our Chapter's volunteers (like all of you). This is paired with a full day strategic planning meeting, which will help us think about our issues and begin to take actions  that are rooted in a long-term vision. 

Where: Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St, Madison 

When & What's on the agenda: Saturday, March 30 – 10 AM - 5 PM Sierra Club structure and function
Equity Training by August Ball, Cream City Conservation
We are very excited to have August since her trainings are highly regarded and have a special focus on conservation organizations, and will be ideally suited to our work. 

Sunday, March 31 – 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM Breakfast
Strategic Planning
Strategic plan overview and discussion
Understanding the components of our plan
Breakouts to do real world application planning
Next steps and moving forward

Food, accommodations and travel support: Breakfast, snacks and lunch will be provided each day. If you need overnight accommodations, please let us know and we can identify a Sierra Club volunteer who can host you or we can help you find other overnight accommodations. There are volunteers coming from all over the state, so we are happy to arrange carpools. We can also reimburse travel costs if that is a barrier for you.

Register by emailing Elizabeth as soon as possible.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ready for 100 Wednesday, and progress on a La Crosse resolution

This #readyfor100 Wednesday, we're looking at how Madison is moving towards it's goal of 100% renewable energy. This recent article describes a proposed plan that would require a $95 million investment over 12 years but would deliver $78 million in cost savings, as well as health and societal benefits of $21 million to $162 million by 2030. In addition to being the right thing to do for the future of humankind, it looks like the financial benefits outweigh the costs!

Also, TOMORROW (March 21) the Sustainable La Crosse Commission will be discussing a draft resolution that would set an official goal for the city and county to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy community-wide by 2050. If the Commission votes to support the resolution, it will move on to the city and county legal departments for review, and then will be ready for consideration by the city council and county board. The Commission meeting is at 4:30 in Conference Room 1107 on the first floor of the County Administration Building (212 6th St.) - if you're able to attend, you could express your support for a renewable energy goal during the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Ron Kind listening session 2 pm Monday

Now's your chance to let Rep. Ron Kind know how you feel about his NOT (yet) co-sponsoring Green New Deal legislation . 

Rep. Ron Kind's
La Crosse County Listening Session
Monday, March 18
2:00 p.m.
Western Technical College
Integrated Technology Center - Room 401
400 7th St North 
La Crosse, WI

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ready for 100 Wednesday

Happy #readyfor100 Wednesday! Did you know that farmers are starting to reap the benefits of renewable energy? Wind or solar installations on farms can provide a reliable, long-term source of income in an often unpredictable industry! Read more about it in this article from the Union of Concerned Scientists, or check out case studies from southern Minnesota farms, including a dairy near La Crescent.

Friday, March 1, 2019

March 2019 Newsletter

TUESDAY, MARCH 26 AT 7 P.M. Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House, 8th & Main in La Crosse MVC and hiking in the La Crosse Area with David Bange and Sue Knopf:  Representing the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, David Bange and Sue Knopf, will talk about several sites protected by conservation easements held by MVC. The presentation will feature visual images from each of the sites. Each site is open to the public for hiking and other recreational activities. David and Sue will also talk about habitat restoration and volunteer opportunities at MVC. Directions, brochures,and maps for most sites will be available. The meeting will also include updates on recent state and local Sierra Club activities and refreshments. Everyone is welcome to attend. You need not be a Sierra Club member.

MARCH 2 CLIMATE ACTION FESTIVAL   The Sierra Club will table at the fourth annual Climate Action Festival hosted by Coulee Region Climate Alliance, For more information visit the event page: 

MARCH 30 REGENERATIVE AG Grant County Rural Stewardship and the Sustain RuralWisconsin Network will co-sponsor a program about enviromentally sustainable agriculture practices on March 30 in Platteville. SRWN is a statewide coalition of individuals and organizations working to preserve the environment while maintaining the health and economic vitality of rural communities. 

MARCH 14 PUBLIC HEARING ON BABCOCK GENETICS, INC CAFO LICENSE  Babcock Genetics, Inc., a La Crosse county hog CAFO, has applied for a renewal of its wastewater permit. There will be a public informational hearing about the permit request starting at 10 am at Town of Holland Town Hall. W7937 Cty Hwy MH on Thursday,
March 14. More at

CRSC MEMBERS MEET WITH SENATOR JENNIFER SHILLING  On February 15, members of the Coulee Region Sierra Club and other local alternative transportation
advocates met with State Senator Jennifer Shilling to talk about the transportation budget.
The John Muir Chapter Sierra Club has five specific goals for this year’s transportation budget:
• No new highway expansion enumerations
• $36 million per year increase in transit spending
• 35% increase in local road funding
• Increases annually for special transportation
• Keep transit funding in transportation fund
In addition to these points, advocates expressed support for better bike/ped funding and
infrastructure. Senator Shilling was very open to the discussion and mentioned that the governor has reached out to a range of transportation “stakeholders” for input on the budget. She also reminded the group that the Republican led legislature will limit the scope of improvements that can be made during this budget cycle. We thank Sen. Shilling for meeting with our group and hope to support efforts to refocus the state’s transportation funding on local roads, public transportation, and bike/ped improvements. 

RAISE YOUR VOICE!  CRSC continues to work on a La Crosse Ready for 100% resolution.
Our January 26 Climate Conversations ended with a goal of better educating and informing our community about catastrophic global warming, the benefits of moving to renewables, and the ways individuals, neighborhoods, organizations, businesses and governments can take action. If you live in La Crosse county, please sign the PETITION supporting this initiative. If you live in another community, consider 1) asking your mayor or municipality leader to sign the Mayors for 100 pledge and 2) starting a Ready for 100 campaign where you live.

THANK YOU CS SHERIN  Living the Greener Life was the subject of a CRSC hosted
presentation by Chandra Sherin on Tuesday, February 5 at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House in La Crosse. Highlighting scientific evidence that our stuff filled lives are causing great harm to our planet, its oceans, wildlife, natural areas, and even to the future habitability of the Earth, Chandra shared many statistics and reports. She talked about plastic pollution in our oceans, inland waters, and lands, then noted that plastic production could actually increase by 40% over the next decade. Not only are plastics persistent and toxic, but they are also made from and/or with fossil fuels. As electricity production and
transportation seek to move to renewable generation, the oil industry is investing big in new production facilities. Chandra talked about changes she’s made and encouraged those in attendance to consider how we can lessen our adverse impacts on the environment. Some suggestions include being aware of and trying to limit or end plastic use, finding non-toxic alternatives to household and personal products, being aware of how our transportation choices affect greenhouse gas emissions that drive catastrophic global warming, and
learning about and advocating for more sustainable practices in our communities. She has even more tips and recipes in her book, Recipe for a Greener Life.

PLASTIC FREE GROUPS  Around the Coulee Region, local groups are working to bring awareness about and alternatives to plastics to their communities. Greener Cashton, a new group started by Jolly Joiners 4-H, will host a reusable bag making workshop on April
7 at 3 pm at Cashton HS. Viroqua Plastic Free  hosted a plastic film fest last fall and the film A Plastic Ocean in November. In La Crosse, a plastic group is forming with a meeting
on Monday, March 4 at 3 pm at Cabin Coffee (401 Jay Street) in La Crosse. Is there are plastic awareness group in your community? Let us know!

ENVIRO LOBBY DAY MARCH 27  Wisconsin Conservation Voters is hosting an
environmental lobby day at the State Capitol in Madison on Wednesday, March 27. Citizens from around the state will hear from speakers, learn about issues, have a chance to meet with their legislators, and network with others about issues of clean water, clean energy and public lands. Some Coulee Region members may be able to take a bus to and from the day long event. See this link for bus availability (Eau Claire-Black River Falls-Tomah-Wis Dells-Madison and back) see

VOICES FOR THE EARTH SPEAK AT WEF  In case you missed the forceful, moving statements of notable environmental activists and scientists at the January 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, Switzerland, here are links to several videos from the

INCENTIVES FOR GOING GREEN  March 7 is the deadline for the MPower program
sponsored by the Sustainability Institute at Western Technical College. The MPower
program guides and supports businesses in assessing their current practices and making
changes that save money and energy.

Focus on Energy provides rebates and free stuff for residential households in participating utilities’ territories. Homeowners may receive $20 for recycling an old appliance, order $40 worth of free energy saving items, or qualify for hundreds of dollars back on updated heating, cooling, or renewable energy systems. Incentives are available until the funds for the year are exhausted so don’t delay.

RENEW Wisconsin’s Solar for Good initiative fosters the expansion of solar power among mission-based nonprofits and houses of worship in Wisconsin. In partnership with local philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard, RENEW Wisconsin awards grants to nonprofit
organizations to assist them in installing solar PV. Solar for Good also offers small grants for technical assistance and helps publicize funded projects to spread the word and educate Wisconsin about the benefits of solar. The Spring 2019 grant-funding cycle will begin Friday,
March 1, 2019. Completed applications, including proof of tax-exempt status and solar site assessments or proposals are due by 5:00pm Friday, April 12, 2019. Winning grantees will be announced on or before May 1, 2019.

PUSH IS ON FOR GREEN NEW DEAL  The Green New Deal (GND) is non-binding legislation that has been introduced in the US House and Senate. It calls for immediate bold action to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuel systems with renewable energy, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and prioritize economic justice and protection of transitioning energy workers and vulnerable communities. GND is a response to decades’ of research summarized in a recent report by the International Panel on Climate Change warning we have about 12 years to make drastic cuts to carbon emissions or risk tipping the planet into climate instability that may affect the ability of humans to survive.

The US has been a leader in greenhouse gas emissions, per capita and by country, for most of the century. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that in the past ten years, the costs of global warming driven “billion dollar events” like fires, floods, and storms is more than $850 billion with more than 5,500 deaths. Recently, Morgan Stanley has  concluded that the costs of damages from similar events may be $54 TRILLION by 2040. As global warming increases, the frequency and severity of these storms will increase. And as sea levels rise, far more people living in heavily populated coastal cities will be affected.

The Sierra Club endorses the GND. “It would mobilize vast public resources to help us transition from an economy built on exploitation and fossil fuels to one driven by dignified work and clean energy. Climate change and inequality are inextricably linked. We cannot tackle one without addressing the other. A Green New Deal would take on both.

“GND would upgrade our infrastructure, revitalize our energy system, retrofit our buildings, and restore our ecosystems. In so doing, it would cut pollution while creating millions of family-sustaining jobs, expanding access to clean air and water, raising wages, and building climate resilience. To counteract inequality, those benefits would go first and foremost to the working class families and communities of color that have endured the brunt of the fossil fuel economy.”

GND legislation priorities include:

  • swift transition to a clean energy economy
  • replace lead pipes, clean toxic waste sites, and reduce toxic pollution from fossil fuel processing and use
  • ensure quality jobs in weatherization, infrastructure upgrades, renewable installations, new businesses
  • help climate-exposed communities rebuild and upgrade to meet climate change consequences already coming due to our failure to act so far
  • lower costs for families, businesses, and governments
The Sierra Club encourages members to learn more about the climate crisis and GND legislation. Contact your US Senators and US Representative to talk about your concerns and ask what they will do to take real action on global warming. Learn more at

Locally, GND supporters met with US Rep. Ron Kind’s La Crosse aide on Friday, February 8 to deliver a letter urging him to co-sponsor the GND (there are currently 84 House co-sponsors). Rep. Kind invited GND supporters to meet with him at UWL on February 22 but that meeting was canceled because of a snow storm. A rescheduled meeting is promised. We will post date, time, location as soon as it is arranged.

In the meantime, please call Senator Tammy Baldwin and Senator Ron Johnson. Call Rep. Kind. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers. 

(Also see the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)

VOTE!  On Tuesday, April 2, Wisconsin voters will choose a new Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. This is a very important election for those concerned about everything from industrial agriculture to air and water quality to wetlands protection to access to public lands, gerrymandering, and more. In many Wisconsin municipalities, the “absentee in person” option allows voters to cast absentee ballots in their clerk’s office beginning Monday, March 18 This is useful for those who have a heavy schedule or may find it hard to travel to their polling place on election day. Contact your municipal clerk for details and hours.

You may register or update registration online (or start the process) up to 20 days before an election. You may register in your clerk’s office most other times and at the polls on election day. More details about registration, voting, clerk’s hours, absentee in person voting and more may be found at This site will also link you to your sample ballot. In addition to the Supreme Court contest, there may be non-partisan offices on your ballot. And in La Crosse County there is a question about fair maps: “Should the Wisconsin legislature create a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and  congressional district plans and maps?”


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Climate Action Festival this Saturday!

The Coulee Region's fourth annual Climate Action Festival is this Saturday, March 2, from 1:00-4:00 at the First Congregational Church in La Crosse (2503 Main St.). Our Sierra Club group will be tabling, along with Citizens' Climate Lobby, Friends of the Marsh, Wisconsin Bike Fed, Full Circle Supply, Coulee Region Ecoscapes,  La Crosse Area Transit Advocates, Olson Solar Energy, Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Smith's Bike Shop, Small Family Farm CSA, The Sustainability Institute at Western Technical College, Wild Clover (Holistic Sustainable Living), Winona Climate Action Network, and information on a climate-friendly diet.

The event will include break-out sessions (short presentations/discussions) - here's the schedule:
1:30 - Feeding a sustainable future: The power of the plate in addressing the climate crisis
2:00 - Leave your car at home - or get rid of it altogether! (discussion panel)
2:30 - Owning an electric vehicle: What's it really like?
3:00 - How to combat the climate crisis in your own back yard, with Coulee Region Ecoscapes

There will be a snack "buffet" with contributions from volunteers - if you would like to contribute something to the buffet, items can be dropped off starting at 12:30 (or brought when you come to the event!). Hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ready for 100 Wednesday!

Hey, it's #readyfor100 Wednesday again! This week we want to share an article from Yale's Climate Connections program on debunking three common clean energy myths. Find out how to respond when someone says, "Renewable energy isn't reliable. What happens when the sun's not shining, or the wind stops blowing?" And if you want to learn more, check out the program's archive of other great energy stories!

Energy myths image