Chapter Chair Update

March 2021

Susan Eastwood

Greetings to all our Sierra Club Connecticut members. I hope you are safe and well and are continuing to wear a mask and practice safe distancing. 

I am honored to be the new Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut. I want to thank Ann Gadwah for her leadership as Chair for the past two years. Her warm, dedicated leadership has opened new paths and helped our Chapter to thrive! I know we all wish Ann the best in her new adventures!

Although we are not able to get together in person, I hope we can get to know each other through our work and events, virtually for now, and hopefully in person before long.

I live in Ashford with my husband, Tony, where we raised our two children among the woods of Eastern Connecticut. I served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer working with rice farmers in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and continue my friendships there to this day. I hold an MA in Anthropology from the University of Kentucky, where I focused my research on Kentucky farms, and later co-authored a book on the subject.

 

I’ve been an advocate on issues of public health and the environment for over 30 years, including the issues of domestic violence, clean water, clean energy, toxic materials, and transportation. 

As a longtime member of Sierra Club Connecticut, I have served on the Political, Legislative, and Executive Committees. My main focus now is fighting to slow the impacts of climate change. This has led me to oppose the new fracked gas power plant approved in Killingly, to fight to close the MIRA trash incinerator in Hartford, and to promote Zero Waste policies here in Connecticut.

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It is hard to believe that it has been a year ago this month since we began our COVID emergency practices of avoiding contact with others as much as possible. For those of us who could stay home, time has often dragged, filled with finishing old projects, catching the latest shows on Netflix, or learning a new skill. There have been lessons learned, such as the importance of checking up on family and friends, the pleasure in tending a garden, or taking a long walk. Personally, I have learned to appreciate the simple things and have found a second family among many of you, sisters and brothers in the fight for our planet. The COVID-19 crisis has clarified the other crises of our time: inequity, polarization, and, of course, climate change. We cannot address climate change without keeping inequity at the center of our planning. Sierra Club is committed to prioritizing environmental justice in all its campaigns.

We are coming into the Spring of the year, and with that we look forward to being outside in nature again, to seeing sprouts shoot up and grow. Spring symbolizes a fresh start, and our country is already re-starting our commitments to the environment. I am encouraged by seeing speedy action to roll back some of the worst of the Trump administration’s travesties.  Exciting new initiatives give me hope.  In Connecticut, our legislative session is well underway, with many good environmental proposals, including a modernized bottle bill, bills to remove toxic PFAS chemicals from packaging, and a moratorium on new fossil fuel power plants. 

I hope you will join our legislative efforts and advocate for a strong movement towards clean energy and zero waste policies with your legislators. What is your passion? Wildlife, public health, clean energy? You can follow the bills our chapter supports at Sierra Club Connecticut Legislation. If you’re interested in educational events and in getting together with others who care about our natural world, check out our Sierra Club Connecticut Events and Outings (all virtual until July). Get involved! You can make a difference!

I look forward to working with you to make Connecticut a greener and more sustainable place for our families to live and grow!

Susan Eastwood is Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut.