April 1 Program: Ecotherapy – Healing With Nature in Mind

This program will feature Sue Westwind on Nature Therapy. This discipline, also known as ecotherapy, asserts that emotional disorders do not exist separate from the crisis experienced by our Earth. Furthermore, evidence abounds that time spent in green space and on nature-focused activities can significantly lessen depression, anxiety, dementia, and domestic violence. Environmentalists can also benefit from ecopsychology’s critique of their collective actions. Sue Westwind, MA in Religious Studies from the University of Kansas and author of Lunacy Lost: A Memoir of Green Mental Health will speak on origins and principles of ecotherapy, share anecdotes from clinical practice, and lead outdoor examples if weather permits. Sue is an ecotherapist and Holistic Mental Health Coach certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

This presentation is held at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost. Programs are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. Read more...

Great Getaway: Arrow Rock
July 2012 By Milli Hogins

This year, veteran outings leader Eileen McManus has been leading an outing to a Missouri state park each month. May 19th's outing was to Arrow Rock State Park State Historic Site and park.

We visited the Visitor's Center and museum before watching a 20-minute video, "Arrow Rock: Frontier Town of the Boone's Lick," a good introduction and overview of the history of Arrow Rock and the Boone's Lick Country. The Arrow Rock bluffs were a well-known landmark on the Missouri River, visible for many miles. They first appeared on a French map in 1732, noted as "pierre á fleche"”– the "rock of arrows." In 1829, the town was originally platted on this site as New Philadelphia. This grandiose designation did not last long, and it is now known as Arrow Rock.  Read more...

Hikers enjoy the view near a wing dike on the Missouri River at Arrow Rock State
Photo: Al Gumbs

Bike Sharing Program Starts This Summer
May 2012 Tired of waiting for improvements in sustainable transportation in Kansas City? The wait for a major step forward will soon be over - Bikesharing is coming to KC this summer.

Under the program you will be able to rent bikes at one of 20 stations spread across the greater downtown area. You can sign up for daily, weekly or annual (only $60) memberships. Members can swipe a debit or credit card at the docking station which unlocks the bike.  Read more...

Artist’s conception of bike sharing station.
Image courtesy of BikeWalkKC
THB Teaming Up with BikeWalkKC
Nov 2011  BikeWalkKC is a new member-funded organization that promotes biking and walking in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Launched last spring, BikeWalkKC has 3 full-time staff persons and conducts a wide range of programs in bicycle education, promotes safe biking and walking routes, and lobbies city government to design streets for bicyclists as well as motorists.

The THB group is interested in promoting BikeWalkKC because increasing the amount of walking and biking provides one of the quickest and cheapest ways to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution produced.  Read more...

It’s Time for Energy-Efficient Building Codes
By John Hickey, MO Chapter
Director Energy use in buildings represents the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (46.9 percent in 2009). Buildings use as much as 77 percent of U.S. electricity generated from power plants. Residential buildings represent a huge portion of this energy use, with U.S. households consuming more than 36 percent of total electricity sales in 2010. We need substantial and immediate energy efficiency improvements in building construction in order to stop global warming and move to a clean, renewable energy future.

“Move to Amend” Fights Corporate Personhood – When EXXON “speaks” Politicians Listen!
Nov 2011 By Mary Lindsay, KCMoveToAmend.org
Fifty-three of the 100 largest economies in the world are not countries; they’re corporations, including Exxon. With the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC ruling, a starkly split U.S. Supreme Court freed corporations to spend unlimited money to campaign for or against candidates in elections. The financial and political dominance of corporations literally imperils Planet Earth.

In 2000, the Sierra Club’s Corporate Accountability Committee wrote that the Club “...focused more on the environmental and public health EFFECTS of corporate power, while focusing less on the INSTITUTIONS AND RULES enabling corporations to apply that power to harm the Earth and its inhabitants.” The committee recognized that the tactic of challenging one regulation or one corporation at a time could not rein in the environmentally degrading forces wrought by corporations.  Read more...

Ask National Park Service for Local Open House
May 2011         Chair You may remember that in 2009 the National Park Service was working on its new management plan for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in Missouri, designated in 1964 as a National Park). At that time, the NPS presented preliminary alternative approaches to the next 15-year management plan and hosted five open houses for the public in Van Buren, Eminence, Salem, Columbia and St. Louis.

Since there was no public meeting in Kansas City, we and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment put together a program featuring the documentary Why We Must Save the Current River, Again (see it on Youtube and Vimeo) and panel discussion of the threats to the area and possible solutions. The program was well attended and many letters from our area were sent to the superintendent about what should be included in the future management plan. Read more...

The ONSR is a national treasure that includes 134 miles of clear cool water fed by beautiful springs, numerous caves, huge bluffs, diverse wildlife and a variety of recreational opportunities. The natural scenic, primitive and cultural values of this area have earned a place in the hearts of fisherman, canoeists and conservationists all over the state.

‘KC Peace Planters’ and Sierra Club members advocate for green jobs instead of
deadly contamination.
Photo by Eric Garbison
Kansas City Nuclear Weapons Plants
February 2011  Summarized by Patty Brown, THB ExCom Contrary to Obama’s rhetoric about working toward a nuclear weapons-free world, the U.S. is spending billions building three new facilities to produce plutonium pit “primaries” in Los Alamos, NM, to manufacture highly enriched uranium “secondaries” in Oak Ridge, TN and to make and/or procure nonnuclear components for nuclear weapons in Kansas City, MO. The Kansas City Plant (KCP) is the most productive of the eight sites in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). It produces 85% of all nuclear weapons components. Their workload, the heaviest it has been in 20 years, is expected to last until 2015. Read more...

Electric Vehicles - Help Sierra Club by Taking a Survey
August 2010  Electric vehicles are almost certainly going to play a large role in the future of ground transportation in the U.S. There are many questions that are difficult to answer about the acceptance of these vehicles and what variations are going to be popular. In light of the lingering destructive effects to animals, plants, ecosystems, livelihoods, businesses and beach/recreation areas caused by the BP oil spill disaster, more people than ever are considering finding ways to minimize or eliminate their gasoline use. Even if the BP disaster pollution is fully cleaned up the public has become much more aware of the high environmental cost of deepwater drilling and of using gasoline in general.

We are conducting research on electric vehicles. It is likely that electric vehicles will become a major way for reducing gasoline use in the U.S. As electric utilities move to more “green” sources of electric power this move to electric vehicles will have a substantial net benefit to the environment. But we need your help. Please take a few minutes and take our survey that will help us find out what you would prefer in electric vehicles.

Once we complete our research we will provide a summary of the results on-line for all. The project will take at least one year and will involve testing one or more small electric vehicles. The intent of the research is to be objective – we have not made up our minds on anything on this topic yet. So your input will steer us in the right direction.

We appreciate your time in taking the survey. And as always you are most welcome to attend our monthly meetings and other events. Thank you very much. Read more...

World Population Day
by Patty Brown, THB Population Committee Chair
May 2010  The United Nations’ (UN) World Population Day is annually observed on July 11 to reaffirm the human right to plan for a family. It encourages activities and information to help make this right a reality worldwide. It aims to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, hunger, maternal and child health, and the environment. Read more...

Ozark National Scenic Riverways Update
May 2010  ONSR: update on threats in July 2009, the THB group and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment hosted a program about the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Attendees learned about ongoing threats to the unique beauty, biodiversity and pristine qualities of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers in the ONSR and actions to take to promote protection of the area. Read more...

Want to eat? Save the honeybee!
by Laurel Hopwood, Chair, Sierra Club Genetic Engineering Action Team.
May 2010  One out of every three bites of food we consume is due to the work of the honeybee. This crucial pollinator is greatly threatened by the recently identified Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and, as a result, our food supply may be severely impacted. Since 2005 this syndrome has annually wiped out more than 30% of all honeybees!

In light of the mounting evidence that new seed chemical coatings are deadly to bees, Sierra Club has been urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of these specific chemical treatments in order to protect bees and crops until more study can be done. Read more...

Climate On The Edge, Ordinary People Need To Get A Move On
by John Kurmann

Nov. 2008  In the late summer of 2006 C.E., Dr. James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the leading climate researchers in the world, warned us that “we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change...no longer than a decade, at the most.”

It seems to me that the need to act has only become more urgent since then. When Hansen spoke those words, he was arguing that we needed to keep carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere to 475 parts per million or below. In the spring of 2008, though, Hansen wrote the following in a commentary on a scientific paper he coauthored titled “Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?” Read more...

A Call to Action to Protect Hidden Valley
by Doris Sherrick

Nov. 2008 Sunday, September 21 was a perfect day to spend a couple of hours enjoying the beauty and solitude of Hidden Valley Natural Area. A small group of dedicated honeysuckle whackers not only enjoyed the beauty of Hidden Valley that day but also took great delight in whacking the invasive devil plant, bush honeysuckle, that is such a threat to that lovely place.

For those who may not know, bush honeysuckle was introduced into this country from Asia beginning in the late 1800s to be used as an ornamental in lawns. But, because it produces large quantities of fruit that are eaten and, therefore, distributed by birds, this plant did not remain in the lawns where it was planted but spread into many other habitats. Bush honeysuckle leafs out earlier in spring and retains its leaves longer than the other plants. This means that the sunlight the early spring flowering plants must have does not reach the forest floor and, as a result, they simply die out. Read more...

At War With The World: Derrick Jensen’s
Now This War Has Two Sides

by William Gresham

Aug. 2008  Among those who have read the works of Derrick Jensen (including A Language Older Than Words, The Culture Of Make Believe, and, most recently [with artist Stephanie McMillan], the graphic novel As The World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Stay In Denial), many have had the opportunity to see and hear him in person. It is not overstating the case to call what Jensen does performance. Jensen’s newest release is a recording of the talk he’s been doing, more-or-less, since the publication of Endgame in 2006. This recording was made live in Vancouver, BC (the liner notes indicate “fills from various other shows”). Read more...

Kansas City to St. Louis – More travel options than you think

Travelers between Kansas City and St. Louis typically think of two choices -- drive or fly. But there are other options. Amtrak, Greyhound, and Megabus can get you across the state in as little as 4 hours and 15 minutes. There's no discount on a round-trip ticket, so feel free to "mix and match" -- for example, go by Megabus and return by Amtrak. We've compiled a schedule and other info about the the three carriers for your convenience. Make your next trip more earth-friendly. Read more...

Changes in Store for Hidden Valley Natural Area
by Doris Sherrick
Demonstrating the building of a debris dam to control erosion.
Photo by Jimmi Lossing

Nov. 2007   Exploring, enjoying and protecting Hidden Valley Natural Area (HVNA) will become easier in the future as new hiking and accessible trails are constructed, erosion control features are put in place, and work to eliminate invasive exotic species continues. Read more...

Environmental, Community Groups Announce Important Energy Agreement with Major Utility
March 20, 2007 Sierra Club, Kansas City Power & Light and Concerned Citizens of Platte County Put Forward Agreement to Reduce Emissions, Spur Clean Energy Development

(Kansas City, Mo.) — In a groundbreaking agreement that can serve as a model for environmental groups and utilities working together, the Sierra Club, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L), and the Concerned Citizens of Platte County (CCPC) have agreed on a set of initiatives to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) and reduce other emissions for the Kansas City-based utility. Under the agreement announced today, KCP&L agrees to pursue offsets for all of the global warming emissions associated with its new plant through significant investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and cut pollution from its existing plants in order to improve air quality in the Greater Kansas City metro area. The agreement proposes other investments in clean energy, significant decreases in emissions and resolves four appeals pending between the Sierra Club, CCPC, and KCP&L. Full implementation of the terms of the agreement will necessitate approval from the appropriate authorities, as some of the initiatives in this agreement require either enabling legislative policy or regulatory approval. Read more...

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