The Sierra Club today announced that Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Mike Brune will be taking over the top spot at the Club. Brune guided RAN for seven years and leaves them as one of the most effective campaigning organizations in the country. At the Sierra Club, Brune will have more tools at his disposal, including the Club's local chapters, revered coal campaign, 700,000 members, and its much larger budget.Brune's bio says:
Brune grew up in Chadwick Beach, New Jersey and went to school in nearby Toms River, where his father ran a construction business and served as mayor. His mother, Patricia, taught special needs children in the public schools. He has three siblings. His sister Susan is a research librarian affiliated with Georgetown University. His sister Cathy is a speech therapist in Seattle, and brother James is the executive director of DCARA -- the Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency.
The question now is if Brune's hiring signals that the Club is ready for more in-your-face campaigning, in the style of RAN. Many activists that I know are disappointed by the Sierra Club's tepid positions on flawed climate legislation and its inability to work with other groups to form a real left flank for the environmental movement. Perhaps the switch to Brune--who takes over for Carl Pope, who is moving to the Club's Board-- signals that the Sierra Club is ready to get tougher on polluters and politicians who don't go far enough.
One thing is for sure, the Sierra Club has the best coal campaign on the planet. If you're in the anti-coal movement, then you've likely been a long-time admirer of its efforts to stop new coal plant construction. Last month, Intermountain Power's coal plant in Utah became the 100th new coal plant to be stopped or abandoned since 2001, a truly amazing feat.