In September of 2019, Passion and Persistence: Fifty Years of Sierra Club in British Columbia was published by Harbour Publishing. Written by Diane Pinch, a winter resident of Golden for the past 11 years, the book was almost five years in the making and pays homage to the Sierra Club B.C. from its inception in 1969.
Pinch, who has a background in psychology and research, interviewed over 30 people, including some of the founding members of the Sierra Club and sifted through plenty of archives at the University of Victoria for her book.
“The book tells the story through the eyes and experiences of these people [from the Sierra Club] and the passion and persistence that they showed,” said Pinch. “I tried to thread all these stories together. It was a very fascinating retirement project for me to work on, I’m kind of sad that it’s over now.”
The inspiration for the book came from the Sierra Club celebrating its 50th anniversary in B.C. this past fall.
The Sierra Club is one of the oldest environmental organizations in the United States, being founded in May of 1892. In 1969, the club being international for the first time with the opening of a chapter in B.C. in order to protect and preserve wild life and wild places across the province.
Since then, the group has fought to maintain environmental standards across the province. They’ve had a wide variety of leaders and group members, ranging from Elizabeth May, former leader of the Green Party of Canada, to Katy Madson, one of the founding members of the Club who remained active well into her 90s.
“It was a really neat experience to hear those stories that really were quite inspiring,” said Pinch. “These are passionate people with really interesting stories.”
Starting in 1969, the book outlines what Pinch believes to be an important part of B.C.’s history, while acknowledging the allies of the club who’ve helped them along the way.
“The book is a history of what’s gone on in the environmental landscape of the last 50 years, which I think is an important aspect of B.C. history,” said Pinch. “But the club has not accomplished all this on their own; it has allied with many groups and First Nations and other organizations over the years, allowing it to be active across the province.”
With the release of the book back in September, it has been satisfying for Pinch to see the physical copy of the fruits of her labour. Replete with splendid photos from photographers that have been working with the Sierra Club for years, Pinch believes that the quality and information of her book make it well worth the read.
“It’s just really neat for me to actually hold it in my hands and see it,” said Pinch. “To get feedback from others to say that they enjoyed the book, that it was a page turner and they couldn’t put it down because it was fascinating. To hear that people are finding out a lot of things that they didn’t really know about their province, it’s been amazing.”
The book is for sale at Bacchus Books, and is also available on Amazon.