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We believe it important to historically document changes to Sierra Club policy over time as well as the activities of SUSPS and the Sierra Club.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
         -- George Santayana


History of SUSPS activities

SUSPS® was formed in 1996 after the Sierra Club reversed its 30-year comprehensive population policy which addressed both the impacts of fertility and mass migration on U.S. population growth. SUSPS's founders created the grassroots SUSPS network to express the concerns of thousands of Sierra Club members at the Club's departure from long-term environmental policy. SUSPS believes that, in conformity with past Sierra Club environmental policy and the very roots of the environmental movement, the large contribution of over-immigration to the rapid growth in U.S. population must not be ignored.

Since its formation, SUSPS participated in Club's democratic processes in order to achieve this objective. Unfortunately, the current majority on the Club's Board of Directors has used its influence to try to block SUSPS' efforts. SUSPS believes some of the Board's tactics used to counter our efforts have violated the Club's bylaws and the spirit of democracy written into the bylaws by the Club's grassroots founders. On one occasion the Club's Inspectors of Election found that the Board violated the Club's bylaws in trying to squelch a SUSPS initiative.

SUSPS is proud of what we have accomplished to date, including the election of three Directors to the Board of Directors, and is confident that with the help of concerned Sierra Club members, the Sierra Club will restore its previous comprehensive population stabilization approaches.


A brief history of SUSPS activities within the Sierra Club

SUSPS was formed in 1996 when the Sierra Club Board reversed the Club's comprehensive population policy which addressed both the impacts of birth rates and mass immigration on U.S. population growth.

In March-April of 1998, SUSPS brought the question of population growth and immigration levels before the Sierra Club membership during the annual spring election in the form of a ballot question. Sierra Club members voted whether to include reduction of immigration as well as in fertility in a return to the traditional comprehensive Sierra Club U.S. population policy.

Unfortunately, in the opinion of many, including the Club's Election Inspectors, the Club designed the ballot question in a way that violated Club bylaws and influenced the outcome of the vote. Notwithstanding, 40% of the voters agreed with the SUSPS position. Quite simply, the Sierra Club ducked the population issue.

(Please see our site map for a catalog of more detailed information on the 1998 election, including the ballot question, opinion, articles, discussion and frequently asked questions.)

After SUSPS narrowly failed to change back Sierra Club policy in 1998, the Board of Directors realized that the democratic nature of the Club jeopardized its control over Club policy. In order to strengthen their position, in the 1999 annual spring election the Board of Directors placed a question on the ballot to restrict future membership referendums on Club policy. Naturally, SUSPS actively opposed this measure. By nearly two to one, members rejected the bylaw change, preserving grassroots democracy within the Sierra Club.

In the 2000 annual spring election, SUSPS collected signatures to place a question on the ballot to incorporate population growth as a component of the Sierra Club's well-funded Sprawl campaign. Several objections were filed with the Club's Election Inspectors against the Board of Directors for trying to alter the wording of the ballot question and unduly influence election process. See our democracy section for more information.


SUSPS chronological history

February, 1996

SUSPS was formed as a result of the Sierra Club Board's neutrality policy mandate to prohibit members and the Club from taking a position on immigration levels or on policies governing immigration into the United States.

April, 1998

SUSPS' population-immigration ballot question is defeated in an election called into question by the Club's Inspectors of Election.

April, 1999

SUSPS defends democracy in the Sierra Club and prevents Board referendum to impede member initiatives from qualifying for the ballot.

April, 2001

SUSPS' population-sprawl ballot question is narrowly defeated in the 2001 annual Sierra Club election. See SUSPS' sprawl section.

August, 2001

SUSPS testifies to Congress on the population-immigration-environment connection. See verbal and written Congressional testimony.

April, 2002

SUSPS endorsed candidates Ben Zuckerman is elected to the Sierra Club Board of Directors, receiving the highest number of votes.

April, 2003

SUSPS endorsed candidates Doug LaFollette and Paul Watson are elected to the Sierra Club Board of Directors See election results.


"The leadership are fooling themselves. Overpopulation is a very serious problem, and overimmigration is a big part of it. We must address both. We can't ignore either."
    -- David Brower, Outside Magazine,
      July 1998


30-year Population Policy History within the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club has historically supported a comprehensive U.S. and international population stabilization policy, including immigration as it relates to population growth.

Brief History

A brief history of Sierra Club 30-year traditional population policy.

Chronological History

A chronological history of Sierra Club's population policy.

1989 Population Report

"Immigration to the U.S. should be no greater than that which will permit achievement of population stabilization in the U.S."

Abandoning democracy in the Sierra Club

Attempts by the Sierra Club to stifle democracy in the 1998, 1999, and 2000 elections.


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