Sierra Club to Koch Brothers: How About a Debate?

Public debate is a privilege of democratic society and holds the potential for idea exchange and constructive dialogue. Done properly it can broaden minds, promote new perspectives and spark creative solutions. It can also be a heck of a lot of fun!

I was therefore encouraged to see an open challenge on Facebook from Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, calling on Charles Koch to meet him for a public discourse on legislative proposals to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency, among other issues. Is Michael holding his breath waiting and anticipating acceptance? I doubt it,>but I love the challenge just the same and applaud a worthy effort.

TriplePundit readers are not unfamiliar with Koch and relevant allegations. The company has been charged with bankrolling Prop 23, which, if passed, would have suspended California’s Climate Change Law. Koch brother companies have been fined millions for the illegal removal of oil from federal lands and have reportedly funneled at least $50 million to groups designed to deny the truth of climate change and global warming.

The mission and intent of the Sierra Club is simple: explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the Earth. The Sustainability Vision of Koch, as articulated on its corporate website, is, in part, to “…create value by using resources more efficiently; protecting the environment…” Further, and also according to its website, Koch has already collaborated with many environmental NGOs including The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Texas Chapter of the Sierra Club. In addition to working with these and other groups, the organization suggests its commitment to setting the record straight and engaging in dialogue about its liabilities (or lack thereof) in issues regarding people and planet.

So then it is clear, there is synergy here. We will certainly have a meeting of the minds. Surely, in the name of the company’s publicly stated preference for cooperation with environmentalists and its decision to clarify its positions and actions, a public debate with the Executive Director of the Sierra Club would indeed be a high Koch priority. I look forward to the exchange and hope it will be readily available on YouTube and Facebook. I will Retweet that one, rest assured. Raise your glass to democracy and a proper discourse. Let the games begin.

Leslie is a Sustainable MBA student at Green Mountain College. Study interests include sustainability, social responsibility and the power of corporate and non-profit partnerships to bring about positive change. Other areas of interest include social media, fundraising and public policy. She holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and is certified in the Global Reporting initiative for Sustainability Reporting. Additionally, she holds an MA in Organizational Management and a BS in Leisure Management. On the rare occasions when she is not studying, she enjoys writing, reading, running, nature walks and yoga. She hopes to use her skills, talents and education to make a positive impact with an environmentally and socially conscious organization. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.