Passion and Persistence

Fifty Years of the Sierra Club in British Columbia

Reviewed by Brooke Campbell

Posted January 22, 2021

Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is one of the oldest conservation groups in the United States. Its work in supporting and lobbying for regulations and legislation has helped to shape modern protected spaces across that country. In 1969, inspired by the breadth and depth of programs south of the border, a group of British Columbians opened a chapter of the club that focuses on preserving and protecting the wilderness and wildlife of their province.

A recent book documents the club’s history and details the many initiatives with which it has been involved. Written by Diane Pinch, a retired psychologist and long-time volunteer for Sierra Club BC, Passion and Persistence takes readers into the heart of an organization that has been profoundly influential in Western Canada.

Pinch shares the group’s work through the words of its activists. Her book contains excerpts from more than thirty interviews she conducted with the club’s founders, employees, and volunteers. They help to colour the narrative and provide valuable insight regarding different movements in which the club has participated — from fighting for the protection of wild and marine spaces to its advocacy regarding the impacts of climate change.

When Pinch reminds readers that Sierra Club BC will need “to draw deep upon its heritage of persevering despite setbacks, and on the knowledge that every two steps forward is followed by one step back,” her statement is not meant to be pessimistic. Rather, she means to show the strength of the organization and to emphasize that it has won some hard-fought battles after years of dedication and perseverance.

Buy this book from Chapters-Indigo

This article originally appeared in the February-March 2021 issue of Canada’s History.

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