Past Events

Money in Politics: How Can We Take Back Our Democracy? 

Speaker: Zephyr Teachout Zephyr 2

We’re in a “fight with big money for the soul of our country,” says Zephyr Teachout, a noted expert in constitutional law and political corruption, and a 2014 candidate for governor of New York. Come hear her thoughts on purging money from politics, and empowering ordinary citizens like us to reclaim the representative government we deserve. What better way to celebrate Constitution Day!

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Doors open at 6:30, program at 7:00 p.m.
WNED-TV, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo, NY 14202
Free and open to the public

Chautauqua County League of Women Voters Fall Luncheon Program

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

solarCan We Solarize Our County Now?

Yes, We Can!  Here is How to do it!

Presentation by Melissa Kemp, Director of Solar Tompkins

heading pope

Pope’s Climate Encyclical?


Our Annual Dinner

Sierra Club recognizes award recipients for their environmental efforts

Paul McDonnell and Richard Steinberg were two of the three men honored with the Blake Reeves Award for Leadership from the Sierra Club Niagara Group on Thursday for their work to install solar panels in about 20 buildings in Buffalo public schools. Jason McCarthy, the district’s North District school board member, was also honored but was not present. (Photo by T.J. Pignataro)

Paul McDonnell and Richard Steinberg were two of the three men honored with the Blake Reeves Award for Leadership from the Sierra Club Niagara Group on Thursday for their work to install solar panels in about 20 buildings in Buffalo public schools. Jason McCarthy, the district’s North District school board member, was also honored but was not present. (Photo by T.J. Pignataro)

We heard a great presentation about the imperative of “Just Transitions” from Erin Heaney, Executive Director of the Clean Air Coalition. She acknowledged the imperative to move off fossil fuels to address climate change, but addressed how the move can impact workers and communities unfairly and the responsibility and solutions to address this.

Congratulations to our Award Recipients!

The Blake Reeves Award to the Buffalo Public Schools – In recognition of the Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)  The Solar Array will have solar panels on 20 Buffalo Public Schools. We particularly recognized Paul McDonnell, Director of Facilities Planning Design and Construction, Jason McCarthy of the School Board, and Richard Steinberg, a Sierra Club Member.

Bruce Kershner Award to Charley Bowman – For leadership in working with many climate change issues and his concerns for justice and peace being central to the mission of climate justice

See T.J. Pinataro’s Buffalo News coverage here

Bakken Oil Trains in New York:
What You Need to K

Presentation by – Sandy Steubing, lead organizer for People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE)

Saturday, May 16, 2015  2 PM – 3:30 PM

Large volumes of explosive Bakken oil are being transported by tank rail cars. The oil comes from North Dakota and much of this oil is destined to refineries on the east coast. This year, North America is averaging one Bakken oil train derailment per month and each derailment results in multiple explosions and fires.

Many of these Bakken oil trains travel through densely populated urban areas such as Buffalo, NY on their eastward journey to Albany NY or Philadelphia, PA.

Sandy Steubing, lead organizer for People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE), is on an Upstate New York tour lecturing about the many “bomb” trains coming through Buffalo and Upstate NY. She will focus on the environmental justice of those living near the rail tracks, and the effects of extreme energy extraction on climate change.

Sandy began her activism in the early 1960’s in San Francisco. She brings with her a huge depth of knowledge to bear on the many dangers posed by the Bakken oil trains.

Sponsored by the Renewable Energy Task Force of the WNY Peace Center, Mothers Out Front (Rochester), and Food & Water Watch.

Energy Committee Meeting

 Monday May 11, 2015,  6:00

Understanding the Debate on Solar Net Metering

by Emily Gibson 

renew energyWith mounting evidence of climate change, the importance of determining which is the most effective residential solar energy production incentive program in the United States is increasing. comparing the solar net metering programs with the proposed and utility prepared “Value of Solar Tariff” programs. Emily Gibson has just completed her Masters degree in Planning from University at Buffalo with a focus on energy policy.

Climate and Clean Energy Writers Group

Monday, April 6th, 2015, 6:00

Session will feature a presentation on  “Bomb Trains”

Are the trains carrying volatile oil through Buffalo every day a danger? Come hear…

oil train explode

Rita Yelda (WNY Drilling Defense) , Charley Bowman (WNY Peace Center Renewable Energy Task Force) and Jean Dickson (a neighbor of the oil train route in Buffalo) will be presenting on Bomb Trains

The issue of explosions and devastation resulting from transporting oil via trains is in the news lately – find out what it’s all about and what the local dangers may be.
WNY Drilling Defense says: “According to the Wall Street Journal, Erie County sees about 27.5 trains weekly carrying Bakken crude oil. Oil trains are more than a mile-long with 100+ cars, which only concentrates the risk of an accident..” 


Wednesday April 1st in Barker, NY

Apex Energy is holding an Open House from 4PM – 7PM at the Barker Fire Hall at 1660 Quaker Road, Barker, NY. 

Come and learn more about the Lighthouse Wind Project proposal that is just beginning for the Lake Ontario Shoreline.  The nearly released DOE Wind Vision Report, quantifies the economic, environmental and social benefits of a robust wind energy future and the actions that wind stakeholders can take.

See “Wind Vision: A new Era for Wind Power in the United States” here: at


March 1, 2015

The Buffalo History Museum

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climate change josh foxConceived and directed by Oscar-Nominated and Emmy-Winning filmmaker and activist Josh Fox, The Solutions Grassroots Tour:  “A Solar Home Companion” combines classic storytelling and great music with roll-up-your sleeves organizing to look at the impacts of fossil fuel development and provide a vision for developing renewable energy like no other event on the planet.

This program was sponsored in Buffalo by: Sierra Club Niagara Group; UB School of Architecture and Planning, WNY Environmental Alliance

Additional Sponsors included: League of Women Voters, Buffalo Niagara; Renewable Energy Task Force, WNY Peace Center; WNY Drilling Defense

Writers Group Session featured a presentation from Aaron Bartley Executive Director of PUSH Buffalo

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Aaron’s topic will be: Energy Democracy!

pushAaron Bartley

 What can we learn from Germany?  Aaron recently traveled to Germany and witnessed entire communities that produce, maintain, distribute, and sell their own renewable energy.   Let’s hear what he learned and how PUSH Buffalo sees it applying to WNY!

 Climate Change Lecture

We are posting this by request from Brian Webb, the Sustainability Coordinator at Houghton College. A great opportunity…

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe Tuesday, February 17 at 8:30 pm in the Center for the Arts Recital Hall, Houghton College.

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University will be lecturing on climate change.  Dr. Hayhoe is a world renowned climate scientist with more than 100 peer reviewed publications to her credit.  She has served as an expert reviewer on the Nobel prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and last year was named to Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list.  Dr. Hayhoe is not only a top climate scientist but also a Christian, and she specializes in communicating the science of climate change so as to overcome common sources of skepticism—particularly within the faith community.

Gov. Cuomo’s State of State Address

fracking victory 2

We are going to Albany to celebrate the hard work of fracktivists across the state & to hold Gov. Cuomo accountable, and to thank Gov. Cuomo for his leadership. More importantly, we will be there to push the Governor toward the next step which is investing in renewable energy in NY so that we do not fall victim to fracking due to fossil fuel needs in the future.

What: Thank Governor Cuomo for Fracking Ban and Promote Renewable Energy
When: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Time: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Where: Concourse Hallways, outside the entrance to the Convention Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York


…and a huge thank you to our generous supporters!

union photo

Sierra Club and local unions provided broad support of The People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21, 2014. Over 400,000 people attended! Locally, several unions contributed to the cause including SEIU 1199, Buffalo Teachers Federation and Public Employees Federation (PEF) Region 1. A special thanks to the United Healthcare Workers East, SEIU 1199, for their generous contribution of $2500 to provide bus transportation and scholarships to students for the round trip between Buffalo and NYC. Above, SEIU Vice President Todd Hobler (center) is presenting the check to Larry Snider, Treasurer of the Sierra Club Niagara Group while Chair Lynda Schneekloth looks on. THANK YOU 1199!!

Victory for Our Endorsed Candidates!

An immense thank you to our members who phone banked, walked door to door, wrote letters to the papers and sent out mailings for Marc Panepinto!


“I am honored to receive the Sierra Club endorsement,” said Democrat Marc Panepinto. “The Sierra Club in Western New York promotes clean environment, job generation, and economic growth from clean production. This endorsement signals my commitment to the issues and dedication to action.” “We are looking forward to working with Marc in Albany on these important environmental issues, especially those related to climate disruption. It is urgent that we move from fossil fuels, including fracking, to the free energy from the sun, wind and earth,” said Robert Ciesielski, Chair of the NYS Atlantic Chapter’s Energy Committee. “And Marc knows that we can make this energy transition while creating good jobs that build on our manufacturing and trades traditions.”

Global Frackdown

Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout, Health and Climate Experts, Artists and 100 Buffalo Residents Rallied Against Fracking in Global Frackdown

Buffalo Community Calls on Governor Cuomo to Ban Fracking

BUFFALO, NY (Saturday, October 18) – Over 100 Buffalo residents, artists, and health and climate experts joined activists around the world to speak out against fracking as part of the Global Frackdown today in Bidwell Park. The Buffalo event was part of a worldwide day of action, with communities across the globe organizing rallies against fracking. Residents in Buffalo called for Governor Cuomo to protect their health and safety and enact a statewide ban on fracking. On Thursday, members of the Concerned Health Professionals of NY renewed their call for the governor to consider the growing body included in their Compendium of the scientific, medical, and media findings showing the risks and harms of fracking.

Last month the People’s Climate March in New York City prompted 400,000 people to demand solutions to climate change, which means stopping harmful practices such as fracking. In Buffalo, residents continued the call for investment in renewable energy toward Governor Cuomo instead of furthering fossil fuel development by allowing fracking. Saturday’s events included a morning rally with local experts discussing the growing body of evidence connecting fracking to harmful health outcomes, a community speak-out opposing fracking, and music and entertainment.

Rita Yelda of Food & Water Watch said, “The people of Buffalo are taking a stand against fracking and making their voices heard, as part of the growing opposition to fracking throughout New York. Like much of the state, we too demand that Governor Cuomo keep fracking out to protect public health, and instead focus on developing the renewable energy sources that will make our state a national and international model while giving New Yorkers a chance at a healthy future.”

“Andrew Cuomo can be remembered as the Governor who banned fracking, or as the Governor who poisoned our state. Science and New Yorkers are on the side of a ban; big money is on the side of fracking. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, ‘a nation that poisons it’s soil poisons itself,’” added Zephyr Teachout, Fordham Law Professor and noted activist.

“Fracking is an inherently dangerous practice that threatens to harm New York’s residents, industries and environment,” said Julia White of NYPIRG. “Students are here today to tell Governor Cuomo to do what’s best for our health, safety and communities and ban fracking.”

“The amount of evidence linking fracking to various lung and skin diseases and other health problems is alarming,” said Mary Herbst, RN and member of Concerned Health Professionals of NY. “As a nurse and New Yorker, I expect Governor Cuomo and all of New York’s elected officials to fulfill their responsibility to protect public health by keeping fracking out of our state.”

“Fracking would put those of us living upstate at considerable risk of increased air pollution and the contamination of both local water supplies and the Great Lakes,” said Lynda Schneekloth of the Sierra Club Niagara Group. “A statewide ban on fracking is the only way we can protect future generations of Buffalo residents and all New Yorkers from considerable harm as fracking has a broad range of negative environmental and health impacts on communities.”

“Governor Cuomo should focus on investing in sustainable, renewable energy sources here in New York,” said John Washington of PUSH Buffalo. “Bringing fracking to New York will forever threaten our natural resources and public health, while distracting us from a move towards a renewable energy future.”

Sponsors of the Global Frackdown in Buffalo included Sierra Club Niagara Group, PUSH Buffalo, NYPIRG at Buffalo State, Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, Western NY Peace Center, Western NY Drilling Defense, Protecting Our Water Rights (POWR), and Nurse Rise – Nurses for Safe Water.

The Frackdown also featured music and performances by local artists opposed to fracking, including The Nickel City String Band, My Rap Name is Alex, Dave Harter, Tyler Wescott, and Active Hope.

The Global Frackdown will unite concerned citizens everywhere for a day of action to send a message to elected officials in our communities and across the globe that we want a future powered by clean, renewable energy, not dirty, polluting fossil fuels. The journey to a renewable energy future will not be fueled by shale gas. Climate scientists warn that continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels will lead to catastrophic climate change.


Cosponsors include Sierra Club Niagara Group, PUSH Buffalo, NYPIRG at Buffalo State, Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Western NY Drilling Defense, and more!

MAP Press Event!

Come to 389 Massachusetts Avenue in Buffalo’s west side, on Tuesday, October 7th at 10:00 AM

Massachusetts Avenue Project, community garden, is holding a press event as they break ground for an new Farmhouse & Community Food Center. They are looking for your help and support! Go to for more information.