Pacesetter for Generation E

By Baxter, Tracy | Sierra, July-August 1997 | Go to article overview

Pacesetter for Generation E


Baxter, Tracy, Sierra


Kim Mowery couldn't have chosen a tougher act to follow. As 1996-1997 head of the Sierra Student Coalition, comparison to Adam Werbach, cofounder of the SSC and now president of the entire Sierra Club, was only natural. But if it took a green wunderkind to launch a national network of young activists, it required just as much gusto to direct the energies of the membership, now 30,000 strong and growing. By all reports Mowery, the first female to pilot the SSC, performed admirably. "Her smile and drive pushed activists forward, even during the depths of late-night letter-stuffing parties," says Werbach.

Like her celebrated predecessor, Mowery's conservationist career started early. While a high school junior, Mowery documented the history of the environmental movement in a 20-page term paper. After charting the tactics and philosophies of different groups, she came away impressed by the Club's brand of advocacy. "I learned a lot about the effectiveness of the Sierra Club. It brought about radical changes in environmental pro section by informing people about problems and shell giving them the means to take charge."

In 1994, as a freshman at Brown University, Mowery joined the SSC to try her hand at educating and organizing. A native of McHenry, Illinois, she gravitated to Great Lakes pollution issues, and found that rallying other college students through cold calls was a "mammoth task." By spring 1995, however, after a semester-long effort, the Midwest Network was up and running hill tilt, fighting the 104th Congress "dirty water bill" by circulating petitions, writing letters to the editor, and "dorm-storming"--that is, going door-to-door urging on-campus students to phone ill their protests to key legislators. This led an anti-environmental group in the West to brand the student activists Nature Nazis. "If the Sahara Club is calling us names, I guess that means we're getting something accomplished," says Mowery.

The Midwest regional training she coordinated helped dozens of students connect with each other and with regional Club entities and resources. …

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