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VLS Student Accepts Sierra Club Award

August 10, 2012

Image of Ben Mack
VLS student Ben Mack (left) with Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

Vermont Law School student Ben Mack JD '14 MELP '11 recently accepted the Sierra Club's Environmental Alliance Award on behalf of the club's Vermont Chapter for the partnerships it has formed with Vermont's labor unions, Abenaki Tribe and other environmental groups.

The Vermont chapter received a standing ovation at the Modern Day Muir Award Ceremony in San Francisco after Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune highlighted the chapter's accomplishments over the past year.

"The Vermont chapter has built powerful partnerships with Native American tribes, organized labor, farmers and other environmental organizations," Brune said. "The result: Vermont's governor proposed a $1.2 million increase in the Vermont Housing and Conservation Fund for the coming year. In the fall of 2011, the coalition assembled 1,500 Vermonters in front of the statehouse—the largest environmental rally in the history of the state. The Vermont chapter has also had success with initiatives promoting renewable energy generation. Partnering with unions and other environmental organizations, they have pushed the governor to call for 90 percent renewable energy by 2050, the Vermont Senate introducing bill that would result in 90 percent renewables by 2025 and the Vermont House introducing bill that would result in 80 percent renewables by 2025."

The Vermont chapter formed the partnerships as part of its "Our Forests, Our Future" campaign, which aims to link large conservation areas in the Northeast with wildlife corridors through town and tribal forests. The campaign also resulted in the largest weekday rally in Montpelier's history with more than 2,000 participants at the "Put People and the Planet First" rally on May 1.

At the Sierra Club, Mack serves as the Council of Club Leaders delegate and communication chair for the Vermont chapter. He has been a member of the Sierra Club for several years, and his goal this year is to get more Vermont Law School students to join the Vermont chapter's conservation efforts.

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