May we some day look back at today as a crossroads in history when certain wise men and women guided us on a safe path through the wilderness – to a better future.
PLANET: You are the first African American to be elected Sierra Club president. Can you say a few words about this and elaborate on its significance?
MAIR: Nature is the great equalizer. Nature knows no difference between black and white, or the size of one’s wallet. The disparate responses to climate change occur at the human and political level. These are things the Sierra Club can help influence change: the resource allocation, the response, the equal treatment of all humanity and nature. This can only come from a point of respecting diversity, when people see other people as fellow human beings and not as competitors sharing the planet.
More than 100 years ago, a president of the United States and the president of Sierra Club came together to save and preserve the last unprotected and unspoiled green spaces of the United States. That image (of two white males) came to define the environmental movement.
I now challenge our current president (who is a national leader on the environment) to meet me on the very spot in Yosemite where Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir stood, to witness the impacts of climate change on the receding glaciers and parched earth and come together not just to save a few green patches within the United States, but to save the planet.
— Aaron Mair, Sierra Club