Green vs. Green

A Bitter Struggle in New York City Splits the Sierra Club

The fact that the New York group has fought the national to a standstill is also a very clear indication of how much power a determined grassroots group can have in fighting the system. But at what cost? New York's Sierra Club has languished for eight months: major issues, like malathion spraying, have gone unaddressed. "There is a price to be paid when folks choose to take an internal matter and turn it into a public guerrilla war," says Pope.

To many Sierrans, it is nonetheless essential to reassert the principles of grassroots power within the club. "There may be some good that comes out of this," says New York's Jim Lane. "I hope the Sierra Club will end up examining the procedures by which it deals with these conflicts when they arise. To say we will prevent them from arising is a pipe dream."

illustration by Jeff Crosby

Says Sierra Club legend David Brower, who is now 87 and still on the club's board: "It happens in democracies that they forget to be democratic now and then. I'm in favor of the local group in New York."

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