The Sierra Club bills itself as “the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization — with three million members and supporters.” Bringing in $78 million in revenue in 2016, the group is larger and more profitable than most American corporations, making it anything but grassroots. Sierra Club uses these substantial profits to spread scientific misinformation and demonize technologies they don’t like.
Though better known for their draconian stance against fossil fuels and nuclear power, The Sierra Club has recently entered the GMO debate and sided against science. “Genetically engineered crops have failed to provide promised increased productivity, resistance to drought and disease, and reduction in pesticide use,” reads their agriculture and food position statement. The group cites no evidence in support of these assertions.
In blog posts and op-eds, the Sierra Club has made dozens of unsubstantiated or downright false claims about genetically engineered crops. The group advocates mandatory labeling of transgenic food based on the falsehood that its ingredients “…can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than natural crops,” in defiance of what all the evidence says about GM food.
Of course, any scientist or organization that challenges this dishonest narrative is a Monsanto stooge or corporate front group, according to the Sierra Club. They cite New York Times “journalist” Eric Lipton‘s false allegations against Dr. Kevin Folta as proof of industry corruption in biotechnology. The fact that Lipton is a serial liar who writes for a paper with a financial stake in organic food production doesn’t seem to bother Sierra Club.
Lawsuits as a Fundraising Strategy
The Sierra Club eagerly sues anyone it can to raise money for its anti-science propaganda campaigns, even to the point of acting unethically. It was recently revealed that Sierra Club filed dozens of sue and settle lawsuits against the Obama Administration’s EPA to turn the agency’s policy in a more radical direction. The environmentalist group colluded with sympathetic EPA staff for years, and at substantial cost to taxpayers. Between 1995 and 2011, in fact, the EPA reimbursed the non-profit nearly $1 million worth of legal fees for lawsuits Sierra Club filed against the federal agency.
Moreover, the non-profit’s former executive director Carl Pope co-authored California’s Proposition 65, a 1986 law that empowers the state government to regulate the use of chemicals, over 800 and counting, that it deems toxic to human health and the environment. The problem is, anybody can “enforce” the law by filing suit against an offending business. A lifelong environmental activist, Pope knew what he was doing when he crafted the legislation.
Murky Funding Sources
The Sierra Club employs the same shady funding schemes as activist groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists. They raise millions of dollars in “dark money” from anonymous donors, then claim that their funding comes from unbiased foundations and individual contributors.
Recent investigations, however, have revealed that these generous donations often come from wealthy, liberal political interests. The paper trail is extensive, but in sum, Sierra Club takes money from foundations that take money from corporations that were established to finance liberal activist groups. The non-profit has also collected over a $1 million licensing its logo to the Clorox company. Sierra Club even offers its own credit card, so you can take money “…away from big banks financing dirty energy”
This river of money hasn’t changed Sierra Club’s disingenuous marketing strategies. They tell the public they just want to “…promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems…” by any “lawful means” possible. But Sierra Club rarely mentions that environmental conservation is a rather lucrative business.