In this issue we take a moment to look back at what the Chapter has done over the last 12 months. And it’s a long list. Our Chapter continues its strong outings program to explore and enjoy—see our report on one recent outing. We continue to protect by working on local issues that have global environmental implications. The way we build in the Bay Area, how much we drive, how much garbage we generate, and how much we pollute the air and water all affect the entire planet, its climate, and its wildlife. Our volunteer activists have been busy bringing together Chapter members like you and working with other environmental organizations to move these issues forward.
Facebook could have built your typical tech company campus, with multi-storied, glassy office buildings and a garage. Instead, the architect has proposed a single-story structure sandwiched between a ground level parking lot and a gigantic roof garden. It is “a truly inspired approach for a sensitive site adjacent to the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge,” says Chapter activist Gita Dev.
A nine-person team from our Chapter and the Angeles Chapter ventured into the Palisades region of the Sierras on an August mountaineering trip, bagging Mts. Sill, Gayley, Polemonium, and Temple Crag in one long weekend. A successful and smooth trip, other than a few route-finding glitches that required some backtracking and some bushwhacking.
"The more solar and wind we buy, the cheaper it gets. The more gas we buy, the more expensive it gets," says Al Gore. So why is the US so focused on buying gas, especially since 97% of climatologists agree that were changing the climate as we do that. The Chapter’s Conservation Program Manager Megan Fluke Medeiros has thoughts, hope, and suggestions.
After the Chapter, along with two other Sierra Club Chapters, Greenbelt Alliance, and the Committee for Green Foothills, protested, Plan Bay Area denied an application to designate coastal lands as “priority development areas.” San Mateo County had applied for the designation, which might garner $250 million in federal transportation money, but at the cost of massive development on the coast.
Traffic gets bad, and urban planners rush off to do Transportation Demand Management, which tries to reduce traffic to a particular location. In the meantime, the web is bringing Mobility Management tools to all of us, tools like Zipcar and Ridejoy, which solve the transit problems on a more regional level, but typically with only one mode of transit. The next step is to integrate the Mobility Management tools to allow people to get to destinations using various means of transit.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to grow up in Los Angeles? Does the environment influence what people do with their lives? Some hope to work in the entertainment industry. Others find beach life inviting. Chapter member and LA native Gary Latshaw recalls how a daily dose of smog from the uncontrolled air pollution of the ’60s, and the resultant nasty headaches, profoundly affected him. Fortunately for the Sierra Club, he knew right then that he wanted to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Activist Mondy Lariz has won this year’s Lifetime Achievement award from the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters for his work on the local creeks. Mondy has worked tirelessly to educate people about the creeks and to protect each and every steelhead trout in them.
Scientists are working on meat production techniques that avoid the environmental problems of current animal farming. Their efforts include new alternatives with incredible taste and texture, growing meat from stem cells in a lab, and high-moisture, high-temperature extrusion techniques that turn vegetables into “meat.” One New York Times food writer can’t tell the real from the fake.
Scientific studies are confirming what native plant gardeners have known for a long time: native plants in urban gardens offer birds a better refuge than lawns in the midst of the concrete-and-asphalt jungle. Toyon, coffeberry, Oregon grape, and blue elderberry all produce berries that the birds love.
Various local jurisdictions are considering or have enacted bans on food and drink containers made of expanded polystyrene (EPS). (EPS is the stuff we commonly call Styrofoam, although Styrofoam is actually Dow Chemical’s trademark for a different foam, usually colored blue or green.) In the Summer 2012 Loma Prietan we ran a map showing which jurisdictions were doing what. Not a very accurate map, it turns out. Here’s a better one.
What happens when Boomers and younger generations converge on the same park or campground. How Pacific Gas and Electric Company proposes to test the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant for earthquake risk. How California turned down the advice and help of the French high-speed rail company, despite that company’s long experience with successful TGV bullet trains.
You won’t be able to resist smiling at the pure cuteness of images of KP2, a juvenile monk seal, riding a pink boogie board or wrestling an 11-year-old boy on a Molokai beach. However, there’s more to this monk seal’s story in Terrie M. Williams’s The Odyssey of KP2, which delves into marine biology, the plight and politics of endangered animals, and the psychology of the human-animal connection.