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Is the Sierra Club Pulling My Leg?

It wasn’t long ago, I wrote a piece about why I belong to the Sierra Club.  It proves there can be more to a situation than meets the eye. Membership carries certain privileges and benefits, one of which is the monthly magazine. I was thumbing through a recent issue when I came upon an advertisement that left me speechless and shaking my head.

Keep in mind the Sierra Club is dedicated to protecting the planet, promoting clean and green energy, activities and lifestyles. The image of a Sierra Club member is one of a young, fit, outdoorsy, tree hugging, activist working against anything and everything polluting or harmful to the world around us. Clean energy, green transportation, resilient habitats, and reduced carbon footprints are all prominent goals of this organization founded more than 100 years ago.

Imagine my surprise when I came upon a full two page, color ad printed on recycled paper which promoted 100% “organic”, additive free . . . Natural American Spirit™, cigarettes! Despite its vehement opposition to burning dirty coal, dumping the byproducts of burning petroleum based fuels into the environment and cutting down old growth forests, the Sierra Club apparently feels the planet will be better off if we all join together and collect leaves from a plant known to contain poisons and carcinogens, roll this detrital waste in paper, put it in our mouths, light it on fire, filter the noxious smoke through our lungs and expel the remaining smoke into the environment where others can also enjoy its putrid fragrance. I had to quickly take a second look at the cover of the magazine to see if I hadn’t inadvertently picked up a copy of Soldier of Fortune or Hustler by mistake.

Cigarette ads in Sierra Magazine – incomprehensible. Made from certified “organic” tobacco. How much healthier could you be? Thanks to our government’s insistence, the ad still contained the obligatory health warnings. Otherwise I could have only imagined the sounds of red blooded American boys singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic as Washington is seen being rowed across the Potomac with one of their cigarettes dangling from his lips. A picture of the “noble savage” graces the front of the pack. The “regular” brand is said to have a “full blooded” taste, the kind only a real American could appreciate. Elsewhere in the ad is a photo of a family farmer, complete with suspenders, plowing his field on an old fashioned, red blooded, American tractor. What could possibly be more American than lighting up one of these cancer sticks, blowing smokes out of your mouth, nose and ears, and hocking a lugie onto the sidewalk?

The Sierra Club pushing tobacco – incredible. Isn’t this sort of like running an ad for the local adult book store in the church bulletin? This is like Dunkin Donuts advertising in Women’s Health magazine. It’s about as smart as advertising a Christian summer camp for kids in Jihadi magazine. How about Ruth Chris Steakhouse running an ad in Vegetarian Times. Perhaps Jack Daniels could sponsor a table at the annual banquet for Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s worse than FOX saying it presents the “news”.

Surely someone in the Sierra Club has flipped out. I realize with a down economy, funds are tough to come by, but jeez, I little honor should be left on the shelf. When the Sierra Club stoops to pushing tobacco, it has done more damage to its reputation than Rush Limbo could ever hope to do. It my column last June, I gave the reasons I was a member of the Sierra Club. That was before a saw this bit of moral prostitution. Come on guys. In the movie, the Midnight Cowboy dropped to his knees to raise money in bind. Surely it hasn’t come to that.


One Response

  1. Maybe now that we have these environmentally friendly “smokes” available, the politicos will consider letting Americans smoke in restaurants again? Perhaps the Sierra Club would take the lead on asking our government to give back a right which was taken from us in recent years. Just thinking out loud to myself on a sunny Sunday in the White Mountains. God bless. And God bless America.


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