Coalition Chairperson Sally Jane Gellert came to rail advocacy through the environmental movement. She participated in the first Earth Day, back in 1970, when she was in high school. Today, she is one of a number of advocates for trains and rail transit who appreciate the connection between rail and a cleaner environment, but many “mainstream” environmental advocates have not noticed the same connection.
The Rail Users’ Network (RUN), of which the Coalition is an organizational member, will focus on the link between rail advocacy and environmental advocacy at its next on-line conference. It will take place on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 21, from 12:30 until 5:00.
The conference will feature rail advocates from around the country who also push for measures that will improve the environment, and see more trains and better rail transit as part of the overall plan to conserve energy and mitigate climate change. Topics will include efforts by rail-oriented members of the Sierra Club to call attention to the importance of electrified rail lines, efforts to keep rail service going when part of a right-of-way is converted into a recreational trail, and suggestions for motivating environmental advocates to think about trains and transit. I will conclude the conference with a brief summation.
This marks the first time that RUN has devoted a conference to environmental issues and advocacy, as a component of rail advocacy, and vice-versa. There will be no charge for RUN members, and the cost for nonmembers will be $25.00. That will include an “introductory” membership in RUN, which will be valid through the end of next year.
For more infromation, check the RUN website, www.railusers.net, and click the link to the conference.