Oral History Center - UC Berkeley Library

Carl Pope: Environmentalism and Progressive Politics: Sierra Club Executive Director, 1992-2010

Interviewee(s):
Pope, Carl
Interviewer(s):
Lage, Ann
Title:
Carl Pope: Environmentalism and Progressive Politics: Sierra Club Executive Director, 1992-2010
Abstract:
Carl Pope has had a forty-year career with the Sierra Club and served as its executive from 1992 to 2010. He began his environmentalist work in 1970 in Washington DC and moved to California in 1973 to become executive director of California League of Conservation Voters. Bringing his environmental interests and political acumen to the Sierra Club, he was instrumental in the club’s decision to engage in electoral politics and managed that effort as its full-time political director. Two decades later as executive director, he oversaw an ambitious effort to increase the club’s political effectiveness on the local level, resulting in a grassroots organizing model which influenced the 2008 Obama for America campaign. During Pope’s tenure as executive director, the Sierra Club adopted global warming as its first priority. The Beyond Coal campaign was launched to stop new coal-powered power plants and retire old ones. The club lobbied for state legislation as well as federal rules for stricter fuel efficiency requirements. Under his leadership the club mounted numerous campaigns for permanent protection of public lands and defended against encroachments on existing protected areas. Pope now lives in San Francisco and works as an independent consultant, continuing to pursue a “big tent” approach to promoting a democratic civil society and a sustainable economy.
Subject area(s):
Natural Resources, Land Use, and the Environment
Advocacy and Philanthropy
Interview date(s):
2013
Project:
Sierra Club
Oskicat record:
b11064781
Rights:
Pope, Carl. "Carl Pope: Environmentalism and Progressive Politics: Sierra Club Executive Director, 1992-2010." Interview by Ann Lage in 2013. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2014.