January 17, 2017

Bonus Oakland tree-planting event — Sat, July 16

Photo courtesy facebook.com/treesforOAKflatlands

Photo courtesy facebook.com/treesforOAKflatlands

Although the Sierra Club Tree Team‘s 2015-16 planting season officially ended a month ago, we still have one more batch of trees in stock that we want to get in the ground ASAP. Therefore, we’re holding an “overtime” event on Saturday, July 16th. If you’re around, please join us!

We’ll be planting six trees along one block in Fruitvale. These six trees will bring our annual total to 1,900 trees planted!

Get all the details on our Meetup event page. We’ll meet at 9 am at our usual staging area in Fruitvale, 1122 29th Ave (the parking lot of Epic School). After we have our orientation and safety briefing, we’ll load the trees and supplies onto our truck and then go to the site a few blocks away.

The Meetup event says we’ll end at 1pm, but if we get a group of 8-10 planters, we’ll easily finish before noon.  Saturday probably won’t be too hot anyway, but I prefer to work in the cool of the morning.

Please call or text me Derek at 510-435-2452 if you’re running late or need directions.

Watch our Meetup page for details about any future planting or pruning events.

As always, we supply the shovels, gloves, and other tools, and our experienced team leaders will train and supervise any volunteers new to planting.


Come to the Chapter’s annual potluck picnic — Sun, Aug 14

Photo courtesy gatherlocally.wordpress.com

Temescal Park. Photo courtesy gatherlocally.wordpress.com

Join fellow Sierra Club members for an afternoon of good cheer, good food, and good company at our annual potluck picnic.

DATE: Sunday, August 14, 2016
TIME: 12 to 3:30 pm
LOCATION: Landvale Picnic Site (near east end of parking lot), Temescal Regional Park, North Entrance, 6500 Broadway, Oakland (park map here)
PARK FEES: Parking, $5/vehicle; Dogs, $2  (dogs must be on leash)

Say “Goodbye, coal!” and “Hello, clean energy!” as we celebrate the defeat of a dirty coal-export plan in Oakland and fête the launch of our “Ready for 100″ campaign to move Bay Area cities to 100 percent renewable energy.

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

There is a mile trail around Lake Temescal for us to enjoy.

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

RSVP appreciated: joanne1892 at gmail.com or 510-530-5216

Volunteers needed: We need your help to make this event successful. We need help getting things to the picnic, setting up, welcoming guests, organizing food tables, cleaning up, and taking things back to the chapter office in Berkeley. To volunteer, please contact Joanne Drabek at joanne1892 at gmail.com or 510-530-5216.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.39.29 AMDirections:

  • Temescal is located next to the Highway 24/Highway

    13 interchange in Oakland.

  • Find a detailed park map here. Landvale Picnic Site is at the Northwest corner of the lake, near the east end of the parking lot. Use the North Entrance entry kiosk at 6500 Broadway.

Transit: The park is 1.3 miles uphill from Rockridge BART.

Carpool: Informal carpools from Rockridge BART to park – drivers and riders meet at passenger pick up at 12:00, 12:20, and 12:40 pm.




On June 27th, Oakland could close the door on coal

Youth leaders from West Oakland at a July, 2015 rally against coal exports.

Youth leaders from West Oakland at a July, 2015 rally against coal exports.

It’s been nearly 15 months since we first learned about a backroom deal to turn Oakland into the West Coast’s biggest coal exporter. Now, the nightmare could finally be coming to an end. On Monday, June 27th, the Oakland City Council will hold a special hearing to unveil an ordinance designed to block coal and petroleum coke (petcoke) exports through Oakland. We need to turn out in force to show the council that if they stand up to the special interests pushing this dirty deal, we will have their backs.

Please join us on June 27th and help hold the council members to their promise to protect us all from coal exports. Here are the details:

WHAT: Oakland City Council hearing of an ordinance addressing coal exports
WHEN: Monday, June 27th, 4:30 pm (hearing begins at 5 pm)
WHERE: City Council Chambers, 3rd floor of City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
RSVP Here!

We haven’t seen the language of the ordinance yet, but we have reason to hope that it will effectively block the deal to ship up to 10 million tons of Utah coal annually through a new export terminal planned for the Oakland Army Base redevelopment — a taxpayer-funded project located on public land. The coal would travel to the Bay Area in mile-long open-top rail cars, spreading toxic coal dust through countless communities along the way. West Oakland residents, who already suffer disproportionately from bad air quality,1 would be hit hardest by health impacts including asthma, pneumonia,2 emphysema and heart disease.3

Please join us on the 27th and help ensure that Oakland’s elected officials prioritize public health and safety above the profits of Utah’s coal industry and private developers.

If we can stop this coal-export project, we’ll be strengthening the “thin green line” being drawn down the West Coast by communities like ours. The goal is a continent-wide blockade of coal exports, and the stakes are no less than the future of our planet. If we can stop this proposal to export 10 million tons of coal to overseas markets each year, it will be the equivalent of wiping out the carbon emissions of seven average power plants.4

June 27th could be the day we close the door on coal for good — but we can’t underestimate the persuasive power of the special interests who stand to benefit financially from the coal-export deal. They’ll be sure to turn out in force, so we need you to show up, too. Please RSVP today to let us know we can count on you on the 27th.


[1] Rubenstein, Grace. “Air Pollution Controversy Swirls Around Oakland Army Base Development | News Fix | KQED News.” KQED News. May 6, 2014. http://ww2.kqed.org/news/air-pollution-dispute-west-oakland-army-base.

[2] Brook, Robert, et al, “Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease. An Update to the Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.” May 9, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2016. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2010/05/10/CIR.b013e3181dbece1.

[3] Landen, Deborah D., James T. Wassell, Linda Mcwilliams, and Ami Patel, et al. “Coal Dust Exposure and Mortality from Ischemic Heart Disease among a Cohort of U.S. Coal Miners.” Am. J. Ind. Med. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 54, no. 10 (2011): 727-33

[4] Technical Memorandum Air Quality, Climate Change, And Environmental Justice Issues From Oakland Trade And Global Logistics Center. Sustainable Systems Research, LLC, 2015.







Volunteer at Sierra Club backcountry huts

Work-party-001-e1425960702451The Sierra Club owns and operates four backcountry huts for skiers and snowshoers in the Donner Summit/LakeTahoe area. Maintenance is done by volunteers on weekends. The first volunteer opportunities begin as the snow melts: cutting firewood that will be stacked in the cabins before the following winter. The Club provides tools and supplies; all you need to bring is gear for an overnight backpack, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, and a healthy attitude toward manual labor.

If you are interested, contact leaders for the following dates:

  • Ludlow Hut, June 11-12: Jason McLachlan, propwash876 at gmail.com
  • Grubb Hut, June 18-19: Dick Simpson, hut.coord at yahoo.com
  • Benson Hut, June 25-26: Jim Gannon, jgannon99 at sbcglobal.net
  • Grub Hut, July 9-10: Dick Simpson, hut.coord at yahoo.com


The July weekend is a backup in case there’s still too much snow in June. For more information, click here.

Mount Diablo Group July meeting: “Exploring Ireland through pictures and song”

Wednesday, July 20, 7 pm, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek.

The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Photo by Marisa Nordstrom.

The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Photo by Marisa Nordstrom.

Saint Patrick’s Day is long past, but join us at our July meeting to experience the cultural and natural history of the Emerald Isle. Our guide is naturalist and closet leprechaun, Marisa Nordstrom.

Marisa won a grant to backpack in Ireland during the summer of 2014. It was her dream to study traditional Irish singing, called sean-nós, and to backpack in the three southwestern peninsulas of Ireland. Marisa studied sean-nós and the Irish language for two weeks at the Blas Summer Camp at the University of Limerick, and backpacked throughout the Beara, Dingle, and Kerry Peninsulas. She was fortunate enough to visit Skellig Michael and see Puffins with their babies. Her presentation will include pictures, songs, and more.

Marisa Nordstrom is a singer, dancer, writer, storyteller, and environmental educator at the Point Bonita YMCA in the Marin Headlands. She studied English literature and politics at Stanford, and received her MA in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Marisa has lived and worked in India, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Australia, France, and Ecuador.

This program is free and open to all.  No reservations are necessary. If you have questions about this program, email Ken Lavin at ken_lavin at hotmail.com or phone him at (925)852-8778.

April 23rd forum to connect women’s reproductive rights and climate change

rtaImageSat, Apr 23, 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Hayward City Hall, 777 B St, Hayward, CA 94541
Free with RSVP

Join the Sierra Club for a forum on the impact of women and girls’ reproductive rights on climate change.

Panelists from Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, and the United Nations Association of the USA will discuss their work to increase universal access to voluntary family planning and reproductive health services; advance women’s and girl’s basic rights, including access to health care, education and economic opportunity; and raise public awareness of wasteful consumption in the context of social and economic equity.

Panelist bios:

Dr. Diz Swift (Moderator)
League of Women Voters Berkeley Albany Emeryville

Dr. Linda Dismore Swift (Dr. Diz Swift) has been active in the League of Women Voters at local, state and national levels for over 10 years.  She trained as a scientist (PhD geology) and is now retired from 30 years working primarily in minerals and oil & gas exploration and production in many different capacities and at various levels of management. Since retirement in 2004 she has been studying climate change, and lectures on the risks of climate change in a wide array of venues, as well as lobbying and advocating at all levels of government.  Her website advocating for putting a price on carbon emissions – which was endorsed by the national League – is at PriceonCarbon.org.  She also serves as a Berkeley Public Works Commissioner and is on the Community Advisory Group for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Malcolm Potts MB, BChir*, PhD, FRCOG
Professor of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Malcolm Potts is a Cambridge-trained obstetrician and reproductive scientist. He is the first holder of the Fred H. Bixby endowed chair in Population and Family Planning at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. He served as first medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation introducing family planning methods into scores of developing countries.

Dr. Potts has taught courses on Social, Political and Ethical Issues/Health and Population and Poverty. Dr. Pott’s research interests include mobilization of resources for international family planning and reducing nonevidence-based barriers preventing access to contraception and safe abortion. His current project includes a focus on the perfect storm of population, climate and gender problems arising in the Sahel. The Bixby Center, His publications include “The Impact of Freedom on Fertility Decline” and “The Impact of Population Growth in Tomorrow’s World”, “Global Warming and Reproductive Health” and “A Woman Cannot Die from a Pregnancy She Does Not Have.”

Claire Greensfelder
Advisory Council, United Nations Association of the USA East Bay Chapter

Claire Greensfelder is a lifelong environmental, peace and safe energy activist, educator, political campaigner, and journalist. Claire presently serves as Policy and Organizational Consultant to the International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative (IWECI) and to the international, multi-media exhibit-Conversations with the Earth: Indigenous Voices on Climate Change (CWE). Claire facilitated the installation of the CWE exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC in 2011. A former Director of Greenpeace USA’s Nuclear Free Future Campaign, Claire has worked as an executive staff member or consultant for over four dozen NGOs, electoral campaigns, media outlets and youth organizations, including the International Forum on Globalization, Women in Europe for a Common Future, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center, INOCHI/Plutonium Free Future, Friends of the Earth, the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Jane Addams Center of Hull House, Sierra Club, and the American Friends Service Committee (partial list). For more information about the Teach-in, visit: ifg.org/techno-utopia.

Priya Murthy
Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of NAPAWF(National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum)

Priya Murthy is Policy and Organizing Program Director for SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network)- Santa Clara County’s response to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Priya develops, manages and implements the policy advocacy and community organizing programs at SIREN. Previously, she served as the first Policy Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national immigrant and civil rights organization based near Washington, DC.  She practiced immigration law, representing clients facing removal, worked for various immigration courts, and worked at Amnesty International’s National Refugee Office. Priya serves on the National Governing Board of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). She received her Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School and her Bachelor of Art in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Suzanne York
Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment National Team

Suzanne York has reported on international human rights, globalization, and environmental issues for nearly two decades. She is the director of Transition Earth, a project of Earth Island Institute that promotes human rights and nature’s rights in a world of unsustainable growth.

Previously Suzanne was Senior Writer and Program Director with the Institute for Population Studies in Berkeley, CA, where her work focused on the interconnectedness of population growth with women’s empowerment, human rights, consumption, alternative economies, and the environment. Suzanne’s writing appears on the blog 6 Degrees of Population.

Suzanne is the author of several reports, including Peoples’ Rights, Planet’s Rights: Holistic Approaches to a Sustainable Population and Prioritizing the PHE Approach:  Linking Population, Health, and Environment for a Better World.  As research director with the International Forum on Globalization, Suzanne was a contributing author to Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance to Economic Globalization. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from American University and a B.A. in Business Administration from Portland State University.  Suzanne is on the board of the Women’s Environmental Network, is a member (past chair) of the Sierra Club’s Trade, Human Rights and Environment National Committee and on the leadership team of the Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment National Team.

Guadalupe Rodriguez
Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Miramonte

Guadalupe (Lupe) Rodríguez is the Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Previously, Lupe was the Interim Executive Director and Program and Policy Director at ACCESS Women’s Health Justice. Lupe served on the board of directors of the California Family Health Council, and now serves as a commissioner on the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women. She sits on the boards of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Lupe is an adviser for the Women’s Health & Rights Program at the Center for American Progress. She has a BA in neurobiology from Harvard.

May 11th Mount Diablo Group meeting: “A South Pacific adventure”

May 11, 7 pm, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Rd, Walnut Creek.

Photo by Mike Woodring, who will be presenting with Ruth Ann Kishi at the May Mount Diablo Group meeting.

Photo by Mike Woodring, who will be presenting with Ruth Ann Kishi at the May Mount Diablo Group meeting.

Join us at our next meeting as Mike Woodring and Ruth Ann Kishi take us on a photographic tour above and below the South Pacific Islands of Bali, Lombok, Nusa, Sangeang, Komodo, and Rinca.

Traveling on the 115-foot yacht Pelagian, Mike and Ruth Ann enjoyed ten days of island hopping featuring both scuba dives and land-based excursions. Mike will show his beautiful photographs of the undersea world, featuring camouflaged pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, poisonous scorpion fish, an octopus playing peek-a-boo, and other brilliantly colored marine wonders.

On land, Mike and Ruth Ann will show us internationally known Komodo Island National Park, with its nesting fruit bats and native giant corpse flower plants. Our photo journey concludes on the beautiful island of Bali as we visit temples, countryside rice paddies,  and view a Balinese dance performance.

Mike Woodring is president of the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association (MDIA). Ruth Ann Kishi serves on the MDIA Board of Directors. Besides scuba diving, Mike’s varied interests include designing, building, flying radio-controlled aircraft, cultivating carnivorous plants, and traveling the country by RV with Ruth Ann.

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

April & May East Bay Dinners: Looking south to Baja and Antarctica

No-host cocktails/social hour at 6 pm, dinner at 7 pm, program at 8 pm. Berkeley Yacht Club on the Berkeley Marina, one block north of the west end of University Avenue (ample free parking is available in the Marina parking lots).

Cost of dinner and program is $27, including tax and tip. For a reservation, please send your check, payable to “Sierra Club,” with your name, your telephone number, and the names of your guests, to:

Jane Barrett
170 Vicente Road
Berkeley, CA 94705510 845-8055

Attendance is limited to the first 115 reservations received. Reserve early, as these programs do fill up. Reservation deadline is April 21 for the April program and May 19 for the May program. There is no admittance for program only.

Thu, April 28 — “Voyage to Antarctica”

Glaciers in Antarctica. Photo by Joanie Ciardelli.

Glaciers in Antarctica. Photo by Joanie Ciardelli.

Antarctica, the only continent that is not inhabited by humans, is extremely beautiful and captivating. Its history includes groups of explorers from several countries, with diverse experiences and success on their missions. Penguins of many types abound, and global warming is greatly in evidence in the fascinating glaciers. The nearby Falkland Islands (aka Malvinas) are rich in penguins and sheep, beautifully green with sandy beaches.

Join us for Joanie Ciardelli’s beautiful 35 mm slide presentation from her 2001 New Year’s trip on a 100-passenger, Russian-built ice-breaker. They were the first ship that year to break the ice of the far southern reaches, to see thousands of penguins (eight different kinds), hundreds of elephant seals, pods of whales, amazing icebergs, and other spectacular vistas.

Joanie and her husband Jack continue to travel every year, including a very interesting “roots” trip around Lithuania and Belarus last summer, followed by a cruise around the British Isles and train trip to Cornwall. When not traveling Joanie volunteers with Pathways To Peace, the United Nations Association of Marin, PEO International, and every January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Thu, May 26 — “Exploring the unique botany and wildlife of Baja California”

Photo by Debra Valov.

Photo by Debra Valov.

Mexico’s Baja California peninsula is the world’s second longest peninsula. The northernmost portion on the Pacific coast shares southern California’s hot, dry Mediterranean climate while the southern tip is covered with tropical thorn scrub and tropical deciduous forests. It is a vast and varied landscape of mountains, mesas, plains, arroyos, and vast coastline with protected inlets and bays that harbor mangroves and coastal marshes.

From the world’s largest cactus, the Cardón, to the Cirio (or Boojum Tree), the desert is blessed with a rich diversity of tree, shrub, herbaceous, and succulent species, all adapted to the tough desert conditions. Eastern Pacific gray whales travel from the Arctic in the late fall to Baja California’s shallow coastal lagoon systems — the longest migration of any mammal. Many species of migratory birds, including black brants, loons, and white ibis also winter along with the whales.

Take a photographic tour with Debra Valov across Baja California’s desert region that explores both its physical and botanical diversity, as well as some of the area’s emblematic fauna. She will also touch upon such issues as alternative tourism, conservation, and popular movements.

Debra Valov splits her time between Oakland and Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico, where, in between her botanizing forays, she helps manage and interpret at an all-volunteer non-profit veterinary clinic serving the local Mexican and ex-pat community. She has a BA in Human Physiology from UC Berkeley and a Master’s in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State. Since 2001 she has avidly pursued all things botanical with particular interest in desert plants and ecology. She maintains the website LasEcomujeres.org.

April & May Green Friday programs: local park treasures and humanity’s ecological footprint

A family’s consumption laid out in front of their home. Photo courtesy "Human Footprint."

A family’s consumption laid out in front of their home. Photo courtesy “Human Footprint,” a film by National Geographic which will be shown at the May Green Friday program.

Green Fridays meets the second Friday of the month in the Sierra Club’s Bay Chapter office, 2530 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. Doors open at 7 pm, program begins at 7:30 pm and runs until 9 or 9:30 pm including questions and discussion. Refreshments are served. A $3 donation is requested. Our programs present speakers and topics discussing the most important environmental issues of our time. All are welcome, Sierra Club members as well as nonmembers.

Fri, April 8 — “History and treasures of the East Bay Regional Park District”

The April speaker is longtime Sierra Club hike leader Ron Ucovich. Having led hundreds of hikes over thousands of miles of trails, Ron is a treasure trove of history and stories that have enriched the lives of this many loyal followers. Along with his career as a teacher he has been a docent at the Alameda History Museum, the aircraft carrier Hornet, and the presidential yacht Potomac. He was the 2015 recipient of the Sierra Club’s Michener Outings Leadership Award. Ron’s great story-telling style and his anecdotes about Bay Area history promise to make this a memorable evening.

Fri, May 13 — “The human footprint on Planet Earth”

We will show National Geographic’s amazing film “Human Footprint,” which graphically illustrates the average American consumer’s ecological footprint on the resources of the planet. Afterward, we will discuss our own personal footprints and ways we can begin to minimize our impacts. From birth to death we consume enormous quantities of natural resources and produce equally enormous quantities of waste. From food to clothes, cars and energy, housing and plastics, our impact is astonishing. Human consumption and pollution of planetary resources is the fundamental environmental problem of our time. This film is a truly jaw dropping experience and, hopefully, will change our lives into the future.

Watch and learn at the SF Green Film Fest, April 14-20

Still from the film “Ice and the Sky” showing at the SF Green Film Fest on April 18th.

Still from the film “Ice and the Sky” showing at the SF Green Film Fest on April 18th.

The Bay Chapter is pleased to partner with the 6th annual San Francisco Green Film Fest. Join us April 14th to 20th at the Castro Theater, Roxie, and venues across the Bay for  a week of new films and events that spotlight the world’s most urgent environmental issues and most innovative solutions.

This year, the festival will present 70 internationally acclaimed films, with over 90 visiting filmmakers and guest speakers to delve into some of the most pressing environmental issues. Check out the fantastic line up of films and special guests at www.greenfilmfest.org. You can purchase tickets online or by calling (415)552-5580.

This year, the Bay Chapter is co-sponsoring the screening of the documentary “Ice and the Sky” by Luc Jacquet, director of “March of the Penguins.” In “Ice and the Sky,” Jacquet returns to the Antarctic with an awe-inspiring account of the life of climate change pioneer Claude Lorius. A farseeing glaciologist, Lorius was the first scientist to be concerned about global warming. Now, returning to the Antarctic in his 80s, he is sad to see history has proved him right. “Ice and the Sky” connects Lorius’s legacy with present innovators as they rewrite the rules for our future.

“Ice and the Sky” will show at the Roxie Theater on Saturday, April 18th, at 8:30pm. Purchase tickets here. Watch the trailer for “Ice and the Sky” here.