September 3, 2015

Thu, July 23 — Population Committee event on saving the chimpanzees of Ngamba Island Sanctuary in Uganda

WHEN: Thursday, July 23, 6:30-7:45 pm
WHERE: Berkeley Public Library, South Branch, 1901 Russell Street, Berkeley (by Ashby BART)
COST: Free

Photo by Chris Austria.

Photo by Chris Austria.

The Bay Chapter’s Population, Health & Environment Committee and the Institute for Population Studies invite you to a talk on the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, and efforts to save chimpanzees in the face of human population growth and other pressures.

Founded by Dr. Jane Goodall and a group of founding trustees, the Sanctuary provides natural forest habitat for 48 orphaned chimps that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

Chris Austria is a wildlife conservationist working in partnership with the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda. He will give a photo presentation about the chimpanzees at the Sanctuary, and the conservation work that is being done to preserve their natural habitats. For more information about Austria, visit his website

September San Francisco Dinner — “An introduction to life in Cuenca, Ecuador”

Thursday, September 17. Social hour 6 pm, dinner 7 pm, program 8 pm. Note current location: Covenant Presbyterian Church, 321 Taraval, between Funston and 14th Ave.

Photo by Eddie Huang.

Photo by Eddie Huang.

About 15 years ago, Eddie Huang and Bruce Engle set out on a quest to find a prime location for their retirement. They began their search in Southern Europe, and then focused on Central and South America, with several criteria in mind: a mild climate; quality medical care; a hospitable environment; reasonable living expenses; and an interesting local culture. Join us to discover the path that led them from California, Europe, and the Americas to choose Cuenca, Ecuador, for their retirement. Eddie Huang is a retired architect, chef, and software engineer; Bruce Engle is a software engineer. They are in the process of establishing a second home in Cuenca.

Take Muni L or 28. Street parking; limited parking is available at the church lot, one-half block east on Taraval, at the white parking guards, for $1.50 per car, payable at the church check-in.

Send a check for $20, made out to “Sierra Club, S.F. Bay Chapter” to:

Gerry Souzis
1801 California St., #405

San Francisco, CA 94109

Please indicate the program date, number of guests, and your phone number. Non-members are welcome. Bring your own wine or soft drinks. Glasses and ice are available. Let us know if you are a vegetarian. For questions, contact Gerry between 4 and 9 pm (no morning calls please) at (415)474-4440 or

Checks must be received by Friday, September 10.

Mount Diablo Group September program — Ah, wilderness! Trekking the John Muir Trail

Wednesday, September 9, 7 pm, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek.

Teri Shore at Island Pass

Teri Shore at Island Pass

Join us at our September meeting for a High Sierra adventure. During the summer of 2014, Teri Shore set out alone to backpack the length of the John Muir Trail to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark Wilderness Act. Teri’s solo trek from Yosemite to Mount Whitney lasted 21 days. Along the way, she scaled nine peaks exceeding 10,000 feet, braved a surprise snowstorm, and encountered a forest fire. Teri will regale us with photos and trail stories of her 211-mile-long adventure. She’ll also discuss the Wilderness Act and the future of wilderness preservation efforts.

A resident of Sonoma, Teri Shore is North Bay field director for the Greenbelt Alliance. She is an avid backpacker and wilderness advocate who has led Sierra Club backpack trips for the Bay Chapter Backpack Section since 1996.

This program is open to all and no reservations are necessary. If you have questions, contact Ken Lavin at or (925)852-8778.

September Green Friday — “Learning to live with mountain lions”

Photo by Trish Carney for the Felidae Conservation Fund.

Photo by Trish Carney for the Felidae Conservation Fund.

Please join us for the beginning of the 2015-16 season on September 11 when the Felidae Conservation Fund’s executive director Zara McDonald will give a presentation titled “Learning to live with mountain lions.” McDonald, a San Francisco-based wild cat conservationist and naturalist who works around the globe, will tell us about mountain lions and the work currently underway to study and protect them.

Felidae Conservation Fund is a non-profit that aims to advance the conservation of wild cats and their habitats planet-wide through a combination of groundbreaking research, compelling education, and cutting-edge technology. Felidae works in both North and South America on different mountain lion research and conservation projects.

Felidae’s flagship project is the Bay Area Puma Project. These keystone predators (also called cougars) play a critical role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems. However, expansion of human populations is causing more encounters and conflicts between humans and pumas, and growing tensions in our local communities.

McDonald will discuss mountain lion ecology and history, the challenges of sharing the habitat with mountain lions, and offer essential tips for living and recreating without fear in puma habitat.

Green Friday meets on the second Friday of the month in the Bay Chapter office, 2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. Doors open at 7 pm; the program runs from 7:30 to 9:30 pm including questions and discussion. Refreshments are served. $3 donation is requested.

Green Friday programs present speakers and topics discussing the most important environmental issues of our time. All are welcome, Sierra Club members as well as non-members.

Northern Waterfront Initiative would fast-track further industrialization of Contra Costa

A ship likely carrying coal heads out through the Carquinez Strait toward San Francisco Bay. Photo courtesy John Halton.

A ship likely carrying coal heads out through the Carquinez Strait toward San Francisco Bay. Photo courtesy John Halton.

If you live in Contra Costa County, you may have heard of a massive effort called the Northern Waterfront Economic Development Initiative, which aims to re-industrialize the coastline along the Carquinez Strait. However, it’s more likely you haven’t heard about it, since it has been operating mostly behind closed doors, with minimal input from local residents.

Launched in 2013, this initiative is an economic development revitalization “framework” led by Supervisors Federal Glover and Mary Piepho, and targets the towns of Hercules, Martinez, Concord, Pittsburg, Antioch, and Oakley, as well as unincorporated Rodeo, Crockett, Port Costa, Mountain View, Vine Hill, Clyde, and Bay Point.

Contra Costa is already the second-most industrialized county in California, behind Los Angeles. Yet the Northern Waterfront Initiative is a 20-year plan to permanently transform our county and bring even more industry here. The plan has no targets for renewable-energy growth, no caps on cumulative emissions, and no goals for attracting sustainable businesses. When county staff were recently asked about the “green” industries they planned to develop, the only example they could give was carpet recycling. While this is technically “green” for the consumer, it would leave the dirt and chemicals in our community.

The Northern Waterfront Initiative has failed to include voices of residents living in the affected industrial areas, and has instead chosen to focus on institutional “stakeholders” like local government and business associations. Instead of working with the community, the Northern Waterfront Initiative treats us as an obstacle to be dealt with. Their “Competitive Assessment of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats” (9/30/13) admits as a “weakness” that “Residential land uses are incompatible with the needs of industry. Citizens in the area may protest more industry because their presence generally increases deleterious effects on the community such as traffic, noise and air pollution.”

In addition to affecting human health and safety, the Northern Waterfront Initiative also puts our coastline, water, and natural environment at risk. The plan itself is focused on water-intensive businesses. It includes a feasibility study to dredge the Carquinez Strait from Richmond to Stockton, from 35 feet to 38 feet. Funded by Contra Costa County, Western States Petroleum Association, and the Port of Stockton, the dredging would allow barges to fill to capacity with dirty commodities including coal and oil. Aside from increasing the amount of dirty fossil fuels that could be shipped through the Bay Area, dredging poses a number of additional hazards: it can increase salinity in the Delta (a shortsighted move during a drought), and it would release a century of buried toxins into our Bay.

The Northern Waterfront Initiative has projected various numbers of jobs it would create; one 20-year prediction was 5,000 jobs, another was 18,000 jobs. But what kind of jobs? And will workers want to live in an even more unhealthy and highly industrialized community? The Northern Waterfront Initiative is not a plan to transition away from the old fossil fuel economy, but just more “business as usual,” despite the well-documented fact that the transition to renewable energy is an opportunity for job growth. Stanford engineer Mark Jacobson has established that if California transitioned to 100% renewable energy, it would create over 450,000 jobs statewide.

According to British Petroleum’s 2014 annual report, there are only 53 more years of proven oil reserves left on the earth. When the oil refineries in Martinez, Rodeo, Richmond, and Benicia shut down, our towns will be left with massive polluted properties and no plan to replace them or transition those workers to sustainable employment. If fully implemented, the Northern Waterfront Initiative will affect our communities for decades to come, but it takes us in the wrong direction.

If you are interested in learning more, please attend our community forum sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Bay Area Refinery Corridor Coalition (BARCC):

Saturday, August 15
10 am to 1 pm
Nick Rodriguez Community Center
213 F St, Antioch, CA 94509
A light lunch will be provided

For more information or to RSVP, please contact

— Tom Griffith is a Martinez resident and member of the Sierra Club’s Mount Diablo Group Executive Committee; Pamela Arauz is an Antioch resident and member of the Sierra Club’s Delta Group Executive Committee.

Climbing mountains together — David Brower Dinner to honor environmental justice leaders

Honorees, clockwise from top left: Carl Anthony, Gayle McLaughlin, Youth leaders from New Voices are Rising, Jovanka Beckles, Dr. Paloma Pavel, and Amy Meyer

Honorees, clockwise from top left: Carl Anthony, Gayle McLaughlin, Youth leaders from New Voices are Rising, Jovanka Beckles, Dr. Paloma Pavel, and Amy Meyer

The Chapter will host the Fifth Annual David Brower Dinner on October 22nd in San Francisco to celebrate the achievements of local environmental heroes and raise funds to support our work.

The event’s namesake, David Brower, was Sierra Club’s first executive director and a renowned mountaineer who achieved dozens of documented first ascents. One thing he learned early on about climbing is that you need a strong team of people with you to successfully reach the peak. Not only does this make the trek safer, but it makes the picturesque view at the top just that much better when you have friends to share it with!

In recent years, the Bay Chapter has begun to realize that the steepest, craggiest, windiest mountains we were struggling to scale were the same ones standing in the way of our friends in the movements for racial justice, living wages, public health, and many, many more. If what we all want is to overcome corruption, greed, and abuse, then why not climb these mountains together — stronger and more prepared for the long-haul. The Bay Chapter now works in many diverse coalitions to shut down oil refinery expansions and curb emissions that disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color; facilitate nature outings for at-risk individuals through our Inspiring Outdoor Connections program; advocate for better access to public transportation and jobs; and lend our voice to our allies’ campaigns for equity in its many different forms.

As we continue on this path we are inspired by our 2015 David Brower Dinner awardees and wish to thank them for being our hiking buddies on this adventure. Carl Anthony, founder of Urban Habitat, along with his partner in the Breakthrough Communities Project, Dr. Paloma Pavel, will be receiving the Trailblazer Award for their pioneering multi-racial leadership initiative that has amplified the voices of disadvantaged communities in the metropolitan regional equity movement across the country. Amy Meyer, “godmother” of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, will be bestowed with the Ed Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award for her part in the 1970’s campaign that has since enabled millions to have access to tens of thousands of acres of national park land right near the urban epicenter of the Bay Area. We will also honor Gayle McLaughlin and Jovanka Beckles of the Richmond City Council with the Phil Burton Badge of Courage for their work toward growing a clean-energy economy and standing up to Big Oil to protect their community — even overcoming the millions of dollars spent by Chevron in the 2014 election. Finally, we’ll welcome youth leaders from the Rose Foundation’s New Voices are Rising project to show that our young people are no longer the “leaders of the future”, but rather the “leaders of today” in the fight for better environmental health.

We hope you’ll join us for what is sure to be an inspirational evening and to support the Bay Chapter’s ascent towards a healthy and vibrant environment for all  (the view’s gonna be great!). For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and tickets please visit the event webpage. Read all about our honorees here.

— Ashley Malyszka

Sierra Club Military Outdoors expands local programming

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 14.26.01(1)Robust data has shown that time outdoors improves physical and mental health, and Sierra Club Military Outdoors believes it can also help bridge the gap between coming home from service and engaging with society. If you or a member of your family has ever served in a military organization, we are organizing new, local opportunities for you! From a stroll in the park, a climb up a mountain, a leisurely paddle down a stream, screaming down a white water river, or just an afternoon with a fishing pole, there is something outdoors for everyone.

Over the last 6 years more than 70,000 service members, veterans, or their family members have gone outside with Military Outdoors. In our push to expand the program locally, we will be putting together more frequent outing opportunities for veterans in the Bay Area. We are reaching out to you, our SF Bay Area community, to join us in this exciting local development! Everyone is welcome to take part, especially veterans and service members (regardless of when or where they served).

Questions or suggestions for outings? Interested in leading a trip? We want to hear from you!

Come to the Chapter’s annual potluck picnic on August 14th

Friday, August 14, 2015, 5 to 8 pm
Fremont Central Park, Brook 1 Picnic Site
40204 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont CA

picnic-2013-08-16-18.48.13-300x225Join fellow Sierra Club members for an evening of good cheer, good food, and good company at our annual potluck picnic.

The Park is 2 blocks south of Fremont BART Station. Our picnic site is another block south along the trail on the west side of Lake Elizabeth, just beyond the community center.

There are parking lots along Paseo Padre Pkwy. Come early to walk the two-mile trail around the lake and enjoy its beauty.

Please bring: a potluck dish or beverage to share, reusable dishes and flatware (let’s go zero waste!), jackets, blankets, games, friends, and family.

Organizers will provide, tablecloths, games, information about the chapter’s latest campaigns, and PRIZES!

Volunteers are needed to get things to the picnic, set up, welcome guests, clean up, and take things back to the chapter office. To volunteer, please contact Joanne Drabek at or 510-530-5216.

Mount Diablo Group July event — “Exploring California’s coastal geoscapes“

Wednesday, July 8, 7 pm
Ygnacio Valley Library
2661 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek


Photo by John Karachewski.

Join us for a photographic excursion along the sandy beaches and rocky headlands of the beautiful California coast. Our guide is geologist, teacher, and nature photographer John Karachewski. John’s spectacular photographs of coastal areas highlight depositional and erosional landscapes from Orange County to Crescent City. John will explain the natural processes that shape these coastal landscapes, including waves, beaches, bays, estuaries, and sea-level rise. You’ll come away with a new appreciation for this dynamic setting and ideas for future trips in coastal parks.

John Karachewski provides geologic and GIS support for the California-EPA (DTSC) in Berkeley. John has conducted geology and environmental projects throughout the western US from Colorado to Alaska to Midway Island and throughout California. John enjoys teaching at Diablo Valley College, Emeritus College, and leading field trips for the Point Reyes National Seashore Association and Oakland Museum of California. Doris Sloan and John collaborated on a popular book about the “Geology of the San Francisco Bay Region.” John is an avid hiker, mountain biker, and backpacker. He enjoys photographing landscapes during the magic light of sunrise and sunset.

This program is open to all with no reservations necessary. If you have questions, contact Ken Lavin at or (925)852-8778.

Rally for Caltrain extension to downtown S.F.

Wednesday, June 24, 11 am
Polk Street steps of San Francisco City Hall
RSVP today!

transbay_terminal_renderingThe Sierra Club is cosponsoring a rally in support of the earliest-possible extension of Caltrain to the future Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco.

The extension of Caltrain from its current Fourth Street terminal has been San Francisco policy since 1999 when the people voted for Prop H. It has been Sierra Club policy for even longer. The new bus terminal at the Transbay Terminal already includes the skeleton for an underground station within its structural base, with platforms for both for Caltrain and High Speed Rail. Getting the extension back on schedule will require funding commitments from San Francisco, the State, the federal government, regional agencies, and private sources. Join us at the June 24th rally to help secure this funding!

The completed Transbay Transit Center with a Caltrain connection will entice commuters who currently drive to work and play, and will provide tens of thousands of daily transit riders with highly efficient bus and rail connections. This will greatly reduce climate-change-causing greenhouse-gas emissions and congestion in downtown San Francisco.

Unfortunately, more delay is possible if we don’t speak up now. To make sure the extension is built without further delay, join us at the June 24th rally and show your support!

RSVP today!

Want to help with planning or have your organization co-sponsor the event? Contact Bob Feinbaum at or call (510)534-7008.

For more information, read “The downtown Caltrain extension: vital to the future of the Bay Area“.