Sierra Corrections Policy
Sierra strives to publish accurate information and to acknowledge and correct errors. When factual corrections are made to an article, that fact is noted and the change(s) are detailed here.
After publication, Sierra discovered a number of errors in the scoring tool and scoring formula used in our 2015 Cool Schools ranking. In an effort to make our ranking as accurate as possible, we repaired the errors and re-ran the data, which resulted in a change in position for many schools. Notably, Middlebury College in Vermont leaped into #5 position. You can see the new ranking here. Sierra deeply regrets the errors and apologizes for any inconvenience they may have caused.
The introduction to "Break a Leg" incorrectly placed the incident east of Bishop, California. The location in the Sierra Nevada was northwest of town.
The online-only story "From Soldiers to Sowers" incorrectly referred to Sterling College as a liberal arts school. It is a college for environmental stewardship.
America's Greenest Universities: The Top Ten incorrectly stated that Colorado State University's School of Global Environmental Sustainability offers 19 majors. The School of Global Environmental Sustainability offers a minor that is focused on sustainability, while the entire university offers 19 sustainability-related majors.
In "An Indian Coal Plant's Human Rights Crisis," the contact link for the Office of the Inspector General for the Export-Import Bank of the United States has been updated to reflect the OIG's current contact information.
"Electric Vehicles Go the Distance with Fast Charging" has been edited to reflect that while the generation of nuclear power produces no greenhouse-gas emissions, other aspects (pollution from uranium mining, substantial production of GHGs associated with the shipping of fuel and plant construction and operation, the potential for accidents and proliferation, and the still-unresolved issue of nuclear-waste storage, to name a few) make it deeply problematic. The Sierra Club remains firmly opposed to nuclear power.
In "Moths to the Flame," we incorrectly stated that gypsy moths are agricultural pests; those would be codling moths.
In "Outdoor Gear Made from Unconventional Materials" (a.k.a. "Beyond Polypro"), the provenance of Smartwool's Tencel was not clear. The eucalyptus trees are processed in Austria but grown in South Africa.
In "Clearing Skies," an incorrect photo credit was given for the opening photo on page 64. The photo was by ROPI/ZUMAPRESS.
The 900-mile luxury cruise noted in "Up to Speed" refers only to its Northwest Passage portion; the entire cruise from Seward, Alaska, to New York City is 7,273 miles.
In "Leading Edge," we incorrectly referred to the nacelles of wind turbines; they house the turbine's generator, not its motor.
In "Ask Mr. Green," an egregious mathematical error led us to dramatically overstate the amount of water that can be saved by paper recycling. The correct figure is "more than 85 percent."
list of America’s greenest colleges (September/October 2014), Yale University was mistakenly underscored. It ranked 28th, not 38th. Additionally, "Chicago" was omitted from Loyola University Chicago.
An editorial error in "On the One Hand" gave incorrect alternative names for pink salmon. Pinks are also known as humpy or humpback salmon; keta and dog salmon are other names for chum salmon.
"Mixed Media" incorrectly stated the number of continents Rachel Sussman visited to photograph the world's oldest living organisms; she traveled to seven.
Since the list of net metering battleground states in "Throwing Shade" was compiled, legislation was introduced in Rhode Island with the joint support of environmental groups and National Grid to expand distributed generation in the state from 40 MW to 200 MW, and to require a utility commission rate inquiry in 2015 to consider how to allocate net metering costs. No proposal to impose a minimum charge on net metering customers is currently pending.
"All In" should have specified that U.S. wind turbines now have a combined electricity generating capacity equivalent to 60 large nuclear reactors. Because of an editing error, the article mistakenly stated that they generate as much electricity as 60 reactors.
"Fractured" should have located Greeley, Colorado, as northwest of Fort Collins.
Confusion surrounding the Cool Schools survey submission process caused the following schools to be omitted from our ranking: University of South Florida (now #17) and Washington University in St. Louis (#55). "The Valedictorians" incorrectly stated the source of funding for Stanford University's new energy facility; it is part of the Stanford Energy System Innovations program.
"Innovate" used the wrong term of measurement for a pumped-storage project in Germany's Harz Mountains; it will store up to 400 megawatt-hours of energy, not power. This will be enough to power 40,000 homes for one day.
The map in "Busting Out of Boom and Bust" incorrectly labeled Louisiana.
"Gust Junkies" mistakenly called Sweden's Trälhavet a lake, when it is actually a bay.
"Look to the Fishes" incorrectly stated the number of "spinning carousel" turbines it would take to equal the capacity of a traditional one-megawatt turbine; the correct number is 280.
"Drinking Buddies" said S'well donated 10 percent of its proceeds to WaterAid, using information from the company's website. A company representative has since said that it donates "a portion" of the proceeds.
"Solar for All" had incorrect information in the graph titled "Cost of a 4-Kilowatt Solar System: United States and Germany," which has since been corrected online. The bar on the German side indicating Sales Tax should have been colored to indicate Overhead. As stated in the article, Germany does not charge sales tax on solar installations.
A photo on the contents page in the print edition misidentified the type of penguin shown. They were gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua).
Due to an editing error, Up on the Farm mistakenly gave the impression that BrightFarms's contract with supermarkets in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania would be supplied from its greenhouses in New York. In fact, BrightFarms constructs and operates local greenhouses to provide produce for these markets.
The "Cost of Coal" gave the wrong year for a Clean Air Task Force study on particulate pollution at Michigan's Rouge Power Plant; the study was done in 2009. Additionally, it misspelled Charles Bella's surname.
"Grapple: Up to Speed" mistakenly showed a photo of a crane fly instead of a mosquito.
Because of a mathematical error discovered after press time, there have been slight changes to the Cool Schools ranking:
- Virginia Commonwealth University moved from 22 to 21
- Lewis and Clark College moved from 21 to 22
- the University of Arizona moved from 27 to 24
- the University of California, Merced, moved from 26 to 25
- Loyola Marymount University moved from 25 to 26
- George Washington University moved from 24 to 27
- Furman College moved from 31 to 30
- Oberlin College moved from 30 to 31
- Babson College moved from 52 to 51
- the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign moved from 51 to 52
- the University of Wisconsinâ€”Green Bay moved from 66 to 65
- Frostburg State University moved from 65 to 66
- Weber University moved from 75 to 74
- Syracuse University moved from 74 to 75
Additionally, the scoring system was based on a total of 894.5 points, not 1,000 points.
Due to a data-transfer error, Cornell University received zero points for its "Innovation" efforts when it should have received partial or even full credit. If that error hadn't occurred, Cornell would have placed higher in the Cool School ranking—possibly in the top 10.
A caption in "Coal on Campus #Fail" should have said "University of Kentucky," not "Kentucky University."
"The Wizard of Oberlin" said that David Orr had raised $55 million for the Oberlin Project, when, as Orr clarified, that sum atually includes funds from private investment, college funding, tax credits, and philanthropy.
A caption in "Strip Mine Holiday" misidentified Pillow Rock.
Grapple's "Critter: Original Blue Blood" mistakenly located the Delaware Bay in Maryland; it is, of course, bordered by Delaware and New Jersey.
"Keeping Bugs (and Bears) at Bay" mistakenly said that Lyme disease is carried by mosquitos, when in fact it is transmitted by black-legged ticks. For more on Lyme disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site.
Bulletin's "Solar Nation" mistakenly included Connecticut in the list of states in which the Solar Homes program is available. The program is active in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York.
In "Can I See Your ID?" the Pew poll on support for alternative energy among young people was from March 2011.
"Create" misstated the year when the bacterial source of stomach ulcers was discovered. It is 1982.
A caption in "Pirates of the Rainforest" misidentified the boughs held by Officer Jared Eison, which are Port Orford cedar.
"Heirloom Boom" incorrectly sited the Seed Savers Exchange, which is in Decorah, Iowa.
"Fighting Climate Change With Family Planning" incorrectly stated that global CO2 emissions will rise from 9 to 18 billion tons per year between 2012 and 2062; those numbers are for carbon emissions, not CO2 emissions. In addition, the source should have citedPopulation Action International.
"Up to Speed" incorrectly referred to oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, as "shale" oil. It is not.
"Ask Mr. Green" incorrectly reported the amount of our energy comes that comes from coal, which is now down to 39 percent.
It wasn't the Philips Ambient 12.5W LED shown in "Bulbs for a Brighter Future" that won the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize, but the 10-watt Philips LED bulb.
"Kick Coal Save Jobs Right Now" erroneously reported that the TransAlta facility in Centralia, Washington, is the last coal-fired power plant in the Pacific Northwest. Portland General Electric currently operates a coal-fired plant in Boardman, Oregon, which, thanks to an agreement between PGE and the Sierra Club, is scheduled to shut down in 2020.
"Innovate," on electric trains, should have specified that the battery in a Philadelphia electrical substation is capable of holding one megawatt-hour.
"A Matter of Survival" incorrectly stated that the wind industry employs more people than the coal industry in the United States. More people work in the wind industry than in coal mining, but fewer than in the coal industry as a whole, which includes coal-transportation and power-plant jobs.
The caption in "Explore" mistakenly called Death Valley the lowest point in the western hemisphere— a distinction held by Laguna del Carbón.
"Create" should have noted that soot from coal-fired power plants is responsible for $100 billion in health costs (not health care costs).
"Lighting the Way" gave an incorrect title for Sid England, who is UC Davis's assistant vice chancellor for environmental stewardship and sustainability. "Coal-Free Quads" gave the wrong location for the Missouri University of Science and Technology, which is 94 south of the main University of Missouri campus in Columbia.
"Solar's Moment in the Sun" incorrectly characterized California's solar policy. As of January 1, 2011, California law began requiring utilities to compensate customers who produce more energy than they consume.
"Up to Speed" gave an incorrect percentage for the drop in BPA levels when study participants switched from canned to fresh food; the drop was 66 percent. "Trendsetter" had an incorrect mileage for the 135-mile Badwater race. In "Silent Running," the author spotted three fawns (not, of course, three fauns).
"Different Strokes" gave an incorrect price for the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler, which costs $2,500.
A caption in "Digging a Coal for China" should have said that a buildup of coal dust, not coal ash, sometimes causes train wrecks.
"Up to Speed" failed to specify that only unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County have banned plastic bags.
Because of an editing error, the letter titled "Fuel for Thought" gave an incorrect estimate of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the 6.9 billion people now living on Earth. The correct figure is 1.5 to 3.6 gigatons of CO2 annually. Also because of an editing error, "Ask Mr. Green" incorrectly stated the timeline of a resurgence in the U.S. deer population. The number of domestic deer has grown from a low of 500,000 in the early 1900s to an estimated 30 million today.
In "Beyond Oil in 20 Years," the figures for how many millions of barrels of oil a day are used by specific sectors of the U.S. economy were inconsistent, and in the case of amount of oil used for heating, far off the mark. Those figures have been replaced with the latest numbers from U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2010 Annual Energy Outlook.
Sierra magazine's "Coolest Schools" list (in the top-100 and the full-list version) has been updated since it was originally posted on August 16. Due to in-house mathematical errors, some schools were erroneously scored on the original list. The most significant adjustments apply to St. Olaf College (now number 79), Kalamazoo College (now number 112), University of Texas at Arlington (now number 151), Sewanee: The University of the South (now number 82), Penn State University (now number 80), and Furman University (now number 40). Twelve other schools had minor adjustments to their scores.
"Cool Schools: Top of the Class" erroneously reported that Green Mountain College plans to become the first U.S. school to achieve carbon neutrality. That status has already been achieved by College of the Atlantic. "Enjoy" included outdated information for Travis E. Poling, who now writes the "Bottle and Tap" and "Pondered Pint" columns for the San Antonio Current. "Innovate" should have said "200 megawatts of electricity," not "200 megawatts of electricity a year." "Up to Speed" should have specified that the "first time ever" emission standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks were for greenhouse gases. "Pride & Power" misspelled the name of University of Kentucky professor Ernest Yanarella.
"Up to Speed," citing Forbes, said that ExxonMobil paid no U.S. income tax in 2009. Forbes did initially make that assertion, but later retracted it. ExxonMobil spokesperson Alan Jeffers says the company has paid more than $500 million on its 2009 tax bill and may pay more when it files its income tax return later this year.
"Up to Speed" referred to the pika as a "rodent," when in fact it is a lagomorph, an order whose only other members are rabbits and hares.
Double Exposure, the exhibit of glacier photographs mentioned in "Earth Beat," will not be displayed at the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science because the museum has closed. The exhibit can be seen at the Science Museum of Oklahoma, in Oklahoma City, through May 1, 2010, and at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont, from September 25–November 28, 2010.
"The West Without Coal" (JANUARY/FEBRUARY) misstated the amount of C02 emitted by the Navajo Generating Station; it is 20 million tons per year. The article also incorrectly named the wires transmitting Navajo's electricity to Los Angeles, which are of the 500-kilovolt variety, and the title of author Paul Tullis's blog, which is trueslant.com/paultullis.
"Extra Credit" gave the wrong acreage for Carleton College's arboretum; it is 880 acres.
In "Enjoy," "Spamming the Globe," the 62 trillion annual junk e-mails were received worldwide, not in the United States.
"Short History of Bright Ideas" understated the efficiency of solar panels. Solar cell efficiencies range from 8 to 35 percent; solar panels used on residential rooftops have an average energy-conversion rate of 15 percent.
An editorial error in "Killing King Coal" (MARCH/APRIL 2009) misplaced a proposed coal plant the Sierra Club attempted to halt; it is in eastern Utah. In the timeline, "A History of American Coal," the entry for 1927 misidentified the IWW; it is the Industrial Workers of the World.
In "Lost and Found" (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2009), the photo caption on page 47 misidentified several figures. The woman at center is Louise Teagarden and the boy is Harry Quinn, but the man is Harry Quinn's grandfather, Harry Caldwell--not Wilson Howell. And the woman at left is not Betty Moore but Quinn's sister-in-law, Mary Lee. The photo that appeared on pages 1 and 50 was also mislabeled. It is actually a view of Joshua Tree National Park, not the Santa Rosas.
"Bold Strokes" ("Grapple," SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008) converted knots to miles per hour incorrectly; five or six knots is six or seven mph. The article has been corrected.
"Ten That Get It" ("Cool Schools," SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008) misstated Warren Wilson College's partnership with Asheville, North Carolina. The college has a climate alliance with the city, and it buys carbon offsets for all its electricity use, but the two are unrelated. The article has been corrected.
"From Zero to Hero" ("Cool Schools," SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008) referred to the EPA's RecycleMania competition. RecycleMania is a project of the National Recycling Coalition's College and University Recycling Council; the EPA is a sponsor. The article has been corrected.
"Five That Fail" ("Cool Schools," SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2008) misspelled the name of the College of William and Mary's president. The correct spelling is W. Taylor Reveley III. The article has been corrected.
Due to an editing error, "Are We There Yet?" (MAY/JUNE 2008) misstated the source of the study showing that annual vacations cut men's heart attack risk by 32 percent. The authors are Brooks B. Gump and Karen A. Matthews of the State University of New York at Oswego (2000). The article has been corrected.
"Sustainable Crustaceans" ("Lay of the Land," November/December 2007) noted that Wal-Mart is selling certified sustainably farmed shrimp. No internationally recognized standards currently exist for aquaculture sustainability.
The chart in "Bio-Hope, Bio-Hype" (SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007) stated that vehicles using B99/100 biodiesel require special modifications. Unless the car is using 100 percent waste vegetable oil, the only modification necessary is to replace natural rubber fuel hoses on older vehicles. Modern diesel vehicles can use biodiesel with no modifications. The chart has been corrected.
In "Gladder Glades" ("Sierra Club Bulletin," SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007), the proposed power plant near Everglades National Park would have emitted 14 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, not 13 million pounds. The article has been corrected.
"Disinformation Highway" (Lay of the Land, JULY/AUGUST 2007) misstated the length of the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor. While the project encompasses a network of roads totaling 4,000 miles, the section from Laredo, Texas, to the Oklahoma border will cover about 500 miles. The article has been corrected.
In "New, Improved New Orleans" ("Sierra Club Bulletin," JULY/AUGUST 2007), we mistakenly implied that Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 storm when it struck the Louisiana coast. Katrina had been a Category 5 at sea, but it made landfall as a weaker Category 3 storm. The article has been corrected.
The MAY/JUNE 2007 cover should have been labeled as the east shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada, not California. The online table of contents has been corrected.
"This Species Is
in Danger A-OK!" ("Decoder," MARCH/APRIL 2007) falsely identified Chris Nolin of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species program as a political appointee. Nolin is, in fact, a career employee of the agency. Sierra regrets the error, and the article has been corrected.
In "Negawatt Power" (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007), we confused our watts and watt-hours, and thus power with energy consumed. The goal of the "2,000-Watt Society" program is to reduce per-capita power use to 2,000 watts, which corresponds to an energy usage of 48 kilowatt-hours per day. The article has been corrected.
"WWatch" ("Lay of the Land," JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007) incorrectly identified the GAO as the "General Accountability Office." What was (prior to July 7, 2004) known as the General Accounting Office is now officially the Government Accountability Office. The article has been corrected.
In "One Cool Country" ("Sierra Club Bulletin," JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2007), we mistakenly credited the Club's Long Island Group with persuading Suffolk County, New York, to adopt a green-fleet program. In fact, the county initiated the program. The article has been corrected.
In "A Few Good Species" ("Profile," November/December 2006), we mistakenly identified 195-square-mile Camp Pendleton as the largest Marine Corps base in the world. That was true when Pendleton was first built, but now the biggest is the 932-square-mile base at Twentynine Palms, California. The article has been corrected.
In "A Working Marsh" ("Lay of the Land," JULY/AUGUST 2006), we should have stated that the new water-treatment facility in Petaluma, California, will recycle 4 million gallons of water per day, not over the entire summer. The article has been corrected.
"Miles to Go Before You Eat" ("Decoder," MAY/JUNE 2006) was found after publication to have suffered from calculation errors, which had led it to overstate the amount of fuel required to transport the various items. Go to the article for the correct calculations.
Carl Pope's "Fuel Folly" ("Ways & Means," MARCH/APRIL 2006) incorrectly calculated the amount of electricity that is lost in the process of transmission through the electric grid. A far larger amount of electricity is lost in the generation process. The amount lost in transmission corresponds to less than half an ounce. The article has been corrected.
"A Real Energy Boom" ("Lay of the Land," MARCH/APRIL 2006) misstated the regulatory sweep of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In fact, FERC regulates only onshore LNG facilities and those in state waters. Offshore facilities in federal waters are under the control of the Maritime Administration, a department in the Department of Transportation. The article has been corrected.
In "Updates" ("Lay of the Land," MARCH/APRIL 2006), we incorrectly stated that Oregon's Measure 37, a sweeping "takings" initiative, was overturned; it has been upheld by the Oregon Supreme Court. The article has been corrected.
In "Sticker Shock" ("Lay of the Land," JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006), Sierra implied that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers advocateslowering fuel-efficiency standards. That is incorrect. While the organization (which includes all the major automakers except Honda) has fought every significant attempt to raise corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, it is now working with the Bush administration to raise them by a smidgen: 1.8 miles per gallon over the next five years.
In "Digging Up Trouble" ("Sierra Club Bulletin," JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2006), we misstated how much land has been stripmined in Florida. The correct amount is 460,000 acres, not square miles. The article has been corrected.
In our SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2005 article on Will Siri, "Career Climber," we mistakenly described John Lawrence as the "inventor of the 'atom smasher.'" Actually, it was his brother, Ernest, who invented the cyclotron. John was a pioneer in nuclear medicine.
In "Making Waves" (MAY/JUNE 2005), the profile of San Diego mayoral candidate Donna Frye, former representative Lynn Schenk's name was misspelled. The article has been corrected.
In two places in "Thirty-Hour Valley" (MARCH/APRIL 2005), we incorrectly stated the size of the Raton Basin. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates its size at 4,000 square miles, or 2.56 million acres. The article has been corrected.
In "Bold Strokes" ("Lay of the Land," JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2005), we misidentified the hoodia, an African plant that suppresses hunger. It is a succulent but not a cactus. The article has been corrected.
On page 37 of "A Tale of Two Immigrants" (November/December 2004), we published numbers from a 2001 Census Bureau document indicating that immigration to the United States was "somewhere between 350,000 and 1.37 million" each year. Our story should have stated that this range referred to net (not total) immigration. More recently, the bureau broadened that range, projecting between 324,000 and 1.65 million in 2005. Looking back at the period from July 2003 to July 2004, the bureau estimates net immigration was 1.22 million.
In the same article, we misspelled the name of the founder of the National Immigration Forum: He is Rick Swartz. The article has been corrected.
In "Wild & Whitewashed" (November/December 2004), we inaccurately credited Lewis and Clark with the first scientific discovery of the buffalo and (in a caption) the fairy slipper orchid, Calypso bulbosa. Astute readers informed us that buffalo were already well known in the eastern United States at the time, and the botanist Linnaeus described the fairy slipper in a book published in 1753, half a century before Lewis collected it in 1806. One reader suggested that we should have called those shaggy beasts of the plains bison,eschewing their common name. (Strictly speaking, buffalo refers only to bovines native to Asia and Africa, such as the water and the cape buffalo.) Those who wish to be biologically impeccable should take heed. The article has been corrected.
In "When Aliens Attack" (JULY/AUGUST 2004), we stated that Atlantic salmon appear to be interbreeding with Pacific salmon in Alaska. There is no evidence of this. A far bigger concern is the displacement of wild Pacific salmon by their escaped farm-raised cousins. In the same issue, the "African clawed frog" we showed in a photograph on page 21 was actually a leopard frog. The article has been corrected.
Our MAY/JUNE 2004 "Profile" headline, "Delta Defender," was geographically challenged. Most of Rose Johnson's work is in Gulfport, which is along the Mississippi coast, while "the Delta" is in the northwest part of the state.
In his MARCH/APRIL 2004 "Ways & Means" column, Carl Pope incorrectly stated that no nuclear power plant had been built in the United States since the Three Mile Island accident. He should have said that no new plant had been ordered since that time. The article has been corrected.
In "A Fine Balance" (JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2004), we stated that Ecuador is the most densely populated country in Latin America. In fact, it is the most densely populated country in South America. (El Salvador is denser.) The article has been corrected.
In "Hazards of Hydration" (November/December 2003), we cited a study about single-use water bottles that appears to have been flawed. While reusing these #1 PET bottles is not a good idea because of risk of bacterial contamination, you probably don't need to worry about them releasing the chemical DEHA. The article has been corrected.