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  • Writer's pictureBrian Gómez

Why I'm Running for the Sierra Club Board

Find out more at forwardsierra.com


After a year on the board I'm rerunning for a full term! This year has been a whirlwind and the work is just getting started: What first drew me to the Sierra Club was the intersection of being in nature and natural areas and fighting to protect it. It was the first organizing experience that taught me how to make a change at the local, state, and national level.


Right now the Club is at a crossroads: As the different crises like Climate, Public Health, Racial and Economic Justice are continuing to exacerbate there is an opportunity for the Club to mobilize, bring on even more supporters and connect the different issues to Climate . To address it, what we need are spaces, processes, and systems that allow for the club to evolve and grow into a powerhouse that is able to bring folks onboard and protect our land, air, and water- and the people that are first in line to lose these resources as these crises continue.



Communication


I believe that working in a group can be challenging-especially when we have climate on the line. That being said, I believe in the power of open communication, trust, and psychological safety as ideal pieces of culture to bring onto a board. For me this looks like being self aware around my emotions, biases, and challenges and inviting others to see that vulnerability as we work together. It means the ability to hold nuance and maturity in ideas and have cognitive flexibility in discussion. I’m someone who has historically held back and am more information driven in my style. Something I’ve learned in the past year is that often I won’t have all the information and will still need to make a decision and be an advocate. I’m excited to push for my ideas more openly while holding the pieces around communication I mentioned above.


Funding


Often I hear both volunteers and staff at all levels of the club complain not around the lack of funding, but around the restrictions set in place. I think that the club should orient itself around volunteer and staff interests and where energy exists around new campaigns, opportunities, and ideas so the vision can be communicated to funders. There’s many people across the club who have amazing visions and campaign ideas and there is no place these are currently going. I would love to work with Advancement on a long term vision around moving towards unrestricted or more flexible revenue. Now more than ever we know plans and campaigns can change dramatically based on what folks need and the climate challenge of the moment.


The Time is Now


I think the urgency of environmental issues is clouded, especially right now, by more tangible crises and I think a big shift we could make is move away from statements that center wonky scientific jargon and towards making the connection between public health and climate, jobs and climate, and other top issues for people during these times. Those at the frontline including those who disagree feel the urgency of living in a fossil fuel economy and the lack of government interest in supporting people impacted by natural disasters and COVID. That is- we don’t need urgent messaging around climate because a broad segment of the population is generally complacent, we need it because people feel other burdens more urgently, especially as COVID continues to go through peaks and valleys. What we need is to weave together the interconnectedness of humanity and our planet.


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