Martin Sage, lifetime Club member and founder of Group, dies
Martin Sage, lifetime member of the Sierra Club, died suddenly on February 3. He and his brother Samuel were founders of the Iroquois Group in 1972. Members remember the first meetings of the Iroquois Group in Gloria’s and Martin’s living room. Before moving to Syracuse, Martin was the first chair of the Eugene, Oregon, Group.
In 1970 Martin and Samuel organized the first Earth Day celebration for Central New York.
Martin served as co-political chair of the Iroquois Group and was on the Political Committee of the Atlantic Chapter. He was active in many community and environmental groups and enjoyed the outdoors as much as he worked to better the environment.
In 2008, Martin and Gloria encouraged solar energy by installing 24 solar panels that paid the full electrical bill for their home. They welcomed visitors interested in seeing the system, because they hoped people would learn that solar is practical, even in cloudy Syracuse.
Martin was a great friend and tireless worker for the environment and his community. He will be greatly missed.
Group promoting woodland protection, renewable energy
The Sierra Club’s Niagara Group has had a very intensive and exciting winter, even with Lake Erie unfrozen and practically no snow in our region! We have found ourselves again responding to an assault on our wooded landscape, this time a part of Chestnut Ridge called the Eternal Flame.
Without following any legally mandated procedures, permission was given to build a disc golf course in the fragile shale woodland. We have documented the damage already done and insisted that a SEQRA process be instituted, while gathering support across the environmental community through the Western New York Environmental Alliance. We are also involved in developing a plan for the emerald ash borer that has, unfortunately, reached our region.
The primary focus of our Group’s work has been on energy. We have a very strong Energy Committee that has been working on developing a proposal for a feed-in tariff as a pricing strategy to level the field for renewables. We have reached out to labor and just released a “white paper” on the subject (See here [pdf])
We have been meeting with the Buffalo public schools and sponsored presentations to them on various renewable energy strategies relevant to their situation. They are interested, given the Buffalo School’s Construct Program that is rehabilitatng many of our ancient schools. And lastly, we have continued to partner and be actively involved in the anti-fracking movement, attending lobbying sessions locally and in Albany, and sponsoring Chris Burger to come and lecture on the topic.
Members volunteer to monitor water for early detection of contaminaton
The Chapter is participating with the Alliance of Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) out of Dickinson College to monitor streams and waterways in state regions impacted by hydrofracking. Since we are within miles of hydrofracking in Pennsylvania, and share the Susquehanna watershed with northern Pennsylvania, there is a critical need to both establish a baseline for water quality and monitor for occurrences of fracking chemicals in our watershed.
We are recruiting 20 volunteers to commit a few hours a month to collect samples in local waterways. The idea is to be in close proximity to each other, so we are initially looking for volunteers within about 20 miles of Binghamton.
ALLARM will provide a day of training and tools so that we are equipped to follow a scientific protocol in collecting and analyzing data. Barium and strontium are the two signature chemicals that will be checked for when total dissolved solid (TDS) indicators are high. We will notify the DEC when contamination is discovered.
If you would like to participate in this or have questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 607-341-3746. Nine people from the Susquehanna Group have already expressed interest, an encouraging start. You do not have to be a Sierra Club member to participate. Once we get 20 people, we can still take more names on a waiting list, because a few people most likely will not be able to make the training. This is a long-term commitment, so be prepared for that before signing up.
We will be the second group established in New York with ALLARM; one was recently set up in western New York. Several groups are currently operating effectively in Pennsylvania. For more information, go to: http://www.dickinson.edu/about/sustainability/allarm/