February 12, 2016

February and March San Francisco Dinners: Madagascar to Morocco

Social hour 6 pm, dinner 7 pm, program 8 pm. New location: Grace Lutheran Church, 3201 Ulloa  St. at 33rd Ave. Take Muni L to 32nd Ave., walk one block to 33rd, turn left on Ulloa for one block. Street parking available. From the East Bay, take BART to the Embarcadero station and transfer to Muni L Taraval.

To reserve your seat, send a check for $22 (note new price), made out to “Sierra Club, S.F. Bay Chapter,” to Gerry Souzis at:

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 gsouzis@hotmail.com.

Thu, Feb 18 — “Exploring Madagascar” with Tom Vincze

A mother and baby ring-tailed lemur. Photo by Tom Vincze, February SF Dinner speaker.

A mother and baby ring-tailed lemur. Photo by Tom Vincze, February SF Dinner speaker.

In 2014, Tom Vincze visited Madagascar with the primary goal of seeing the many exotic succulent plants growing in their natural habitat. Along the way he also saw otherworldly landscapes and numerous species of animals. Join us for a visit to the amazing and diverse island of Madagascar.

A graphic designer by trade, Tom has had an appreciation for nature from an early age. In his spare time, he collects and grows many species of plants, including succulents and his own seed-grown hybrids. His passion for these exotic plants has led him to distant lands to see them in their natural habitats. Tom is actively involved in rainforest conservation.

Checks must be received by Fri., Feb. 12.

Thu, Mar 17 — “Trekking in the Atlas Mountains” with Sigrid Selle

M’Hamid, south of Essouira, edge of the Sahara. Photo by Sigrid Selle.

M’Hamid, south of Essouira, edge of the Sahara. Photo by Sigrid Selle.

In 2007, Sigrid and her hiking companion set off to explore Morocco. They began with a visit to the western desert, while the main portion of their trip involved trekking in the Atlas Mountains and climbing Mount Toubkal, the highest peak. They were accompanied by a local guide and two muleteers, who tended to the cooking and transported their camping gear. They hiked along the Atlantic Coast, visiting the picturesque port town of Essaouira, an ancient trade link between Timbuktu and Europe, ending their trek in the former imperial city of Marrakech. Join us as world traveler, adventurer, and photographer Sigrid Selle takes us on an exciting hike across the high mountains, through seaside villages and into the edge of the Sahara Desert.

Checks must be received by Fri., March 11.

Free community screening and discussion of “This Changes Everything”

When: February 14, 2016, 6:30-9:30 PM (Valentine’s Day- a perfect chance to show some love for the planet!)
Where: Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Ave, Berkeley, CA

This-Changes-Everything_37x40-rnd-2-01Join us for a showing of “This Changes Everything”, an inspiring new movie about the climate change crisis and what we can do about it. The movie will be followed by a discussion, with representatives from community groups and the Sierra Club to share information about local initiatives.

Filmed in nine countries and five continents over four years, “This Changes Everything” is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond. Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better. Unlike many works about the climate crisis, this is not a film that tries to scare the audience into action: it aims to empower.

Will this film change everything? No. But you could, by answering its call to action. Join us!

Watch the trailer for “This Changes Everything” here.

February Green Friday: Hear from the “Energy Skeptic”

when_trucks_stop_running_book_coverGreen Friday meets 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 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, Feb 12 — “The future of transportation”

Our February speaker will be Alice Friedemann, who has been writing about energy and other resources since 2000. Her writing can be found at energyskeptic.com. Virtually everything in our homes and in our stores got there on a truck. Prior to that, 90 percent of those items were transported on a ship and/or a train. If trucks, trains, and ships stopped running, our global economy and way of life would stop too.

Oil fuels commercial transportation and makes the world go round. In her new book, “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation,” Alice Friedemann looks ahead, exploring the range of options for the future, when oil is no longer abundant and affordable.

Renewable electricity — solar and wind — is ramping up, but in our optimism over the renewable revolution, we collectively forget that our trucks, ships, and freight trains don’t run on electricity. Alice will discuss the surprising challenges of electrifying trucks and locomotives from an electric grid increasingly powered by renewables. As her book makes clear, the time is now to take a realistic and critical look at the choices ahead, and how the future of transportation may unfold.

February and March East Bay Dinners: Wildlife “Down Under” and here at home

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 94705
510 845-8055

Attendance is limited to the first 115 reservations received. Reserve early, as these programs do fill up. Reservation deadline is February 18 for the February program and March 17 for the March program. There is no admittance for program only.

Thu, Feb 25 — “Wildlife and culture Down Under” with Jeff Robinson

Photo by Jeff Robinson

Photo by Jeff Robinson

Nature has created many unique animals that live south of the equator in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. Well-known examples of these interesting creatures are albatross, birds of paradise, bower birds, dingos, flying foxes, kangaroos, kiwi, kookaburras, parrots, and penguins. Even more exotic are lesser known astrapias, cuscus, frogmouths, goanas, kakas, pademelons, and takahes. The people are also interesting. New Zealanders are great hosts and Aussies love to party. But for exotic, you cannot beat the tribes of Papua New Guinea.

Join us for Jeff Robinson’s beautiful multimedia presentation. We will travel to the southern hemisphere without security lines or jet lag and you do not have to remove your shoes or belts. This talk will feature some pictures, sounds, videos, and comments about the animals and people from across the Pacific Ocean.

In 2003, Jeff Robinson went to Africa with his wife Sarah, younger daughter Paula, and a camera. This trip changed his life. Within eight weeks he was back in Africa for more photography. Since then, he has visited over 40 countries and 20 states to photograph wildlife.

When he is not traveling, Jeff does volunteer work at the California Condor Recovery Project, the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Lindsay Wildlife Experience, the Marine Mammal Center, and the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory.

Thu, Mar 24 — “Imported Trees of the East Bay: Playing with Fire”

The Oakland hills today

The Oakland hills today

The East Bay hills were mostly open native grassland, with fringes of low-growing native trees and shrubs when the gold rush of 1849 introduced the first serious wave of outsiders to the San Francisco Bay Area. Newcomers soon missed their tall forests and felt the land was too barren.

Large-scale East Bay tree-planting projects began in 1895 when two wealthy landowner-developers began planting blue gums, pine, and cypress to provide 13,000 acres of newly forested home sites for sale in the Oakland/Berkeley hills. Residential areas in the hills would expanded over the next 100 years to include 35,000 homes, 100,000 residents, and several hundred thousand mature planted trees surrounded by dense urban landscapes. People loved their forested mountain homes and parks, despite the fact that the hills and adjacent wildlands contained dense flammable homes and several thousand acres of flammable vegetation that would be classified by Cal Fire as one of the few “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones” in the Bay Area.

Jerry Kent will provide a presentation documenting the history of large-scale tree planting projects, and comment on the consequences and public costs of dealing with the planted urban and park forests of today. He will also critique the FEMA controversy, and describe why wildfire has and will continue to be inevitable along the hills urban/wildland edge. Jerry recently retired after a 41-year career with the Regional Park District, and is currently a member of the Sierra Club East Bay Public Lands Committee.

New member event — meet new people and make the most of your membership

Bay Chapter supporters at a Club event

Bay Chapter supporters at a Club event

Join us for afternoon snacks and learn about the Sierra Club!

Saturday, February 6, 3 to 6 pm
Mission Coffee / Fremont  Roasting Company, 151 Washington Blvd., Fremont (near Mission Blvd.)
No-host beverages. Snacks provided.

New and not-so-new members are welcome to come to a Sierra Club orientation led by local leaders. Learn about the actions behind our motto “Explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.” We are a volunteer-led organization, so there are ample opportunities to be involved: hiking, tabling, learning, socializing, endorsing political candidates, and many more. Come learn about how you can get the most out of your membership!

For more information contact Joanne Drabek at (510)530-5216 or joanne1892@gmail.com, or William Yragui at wyragui@infobond.com.

January Green Friday: “Racing to Zero” (waste)

Date: Friday, January 8, 2016
Time: Doors open at 7 pm; program 7:30-9:30 pm
Location: Chapter office, 2530 San Pablo Ave. (near Dwight), Berkeley
Cost: $3 requested donation

Racing to ZeroWe will view the documentary “Racing to Zero,” which examines our society’s garbage practices in terms of consumption, preparation, use, and production, and discovers some amazing solutions in San Francisco, which is successfully taking the necessary steps to reach zero waste. Cities all over the United States have instituted zero-waste policies of their own and it is through these mandates that we are challenged to think differently about not only how we handle our garbage, but what it can become.

After the film, our discussion will be led by recycling guru Arthur Boone and David Haskel, chair of the SF Bay Chapter’s Zero Waste Committee. They will also tell us about the work of that committee and waste-reduction efforts in the East Bay.

Refreshments will be served.

Watch the “Racing to Zero” trailer here.

Learn the basics of backcountry travel with our Spring 2016 Beginners Backpack Course

Application Deadline: Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Indoor Seminar: Saturday, March 19, 2016
Weekend Field Trip Dates: April 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, or May 7-8, 2016 (participants choose one)
Enjoying the view on a 2012 Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter Backpacking trip to Sequoia National Park. Photo by Thomas Meissner.

Enjoying the view on a 2012 Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter Backpacking trip to Sequoia National Park. Photo by Thomas Meissner.

Learn how to travel safely and comfortably with only a pack on your back during the annual Beginner’s Backpack course run by the Backpack Section. We are offering this opportunity for folks who have little or no experience in backpacking but who want to explore backcountry trails and get away from the crowds.

The course consists of:

  • A full-day indoor session on Saturday, March 19, 2016 including a series of short lectures, discussions, slide and equipment show. The event will be hosted from 9 am to 5 pm at the Naturebridge Conference Center (Golden Gate National Recreation Area).
  • One overnight backpack trip on a weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in April or May in small groups lead by experienced instructors. There are four dates to choose from. The location of the backpack trips is in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. During the backpack trip you will have the opportunity to try out your gear, learn how to set up a tent and operate a backpack stove, practice basic navigation skills, and, most importantly, experience what it feels to hike with a heavy pack on your back. Participation in the backpack trip requires attendance at the indoor session.

Participants should be in good physical shape and have no serious health conditions.  A good background in day hiking is necessary.

Families with children ages 12 and older are welcome. The course is not suited for younger children. Contact Thomas Meissner for details (see below for contact information).

Cost is $70 per adult; $35 ages 12-22.

Early registration is recommended as space is limited. Applications received after March 1, 2016 will be considered only if space is still available

How to sign up

Download the Application Form for more details and instructions on how to apply

Questions?

Contact Thomas Meissner at meissner.thomas@sbcglobal.net (strongly preferred) or 707-795-7980 (please call only if you do not have access to email).

RSVP soon for Thu., Dec. 3 East Bay Dinner — “Sierra Starlight!”

A bright Geminid Meteor falls from the sky over the summit of 14,505 foot Mount Whitney in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Photo by Tony Rowell.

A bright Geminid Meteor falls from the sky over the summit of 14,505 foot Mount Whitney in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Photo by Tony Rowell.

Join us for an exciting evening featuring the stunning images by renowned photographer and author Tony Rowell. He will share new work from his California by Starlight Project and from his new book, Sierra Starlight. The San Francisco Chronicle writes that the images in Sierra Starlight “will take you back to your first campsites, starry nights and shooting stars.”

Tony is the son of renowned photographer and mountaineer, Galen Rowell. Tony’s photography expeditions have taken him across the globe, from the Arctic Circle to the mountains of Tibet. His astro-time-lapse videos have been featured on the National Geographic Channel and his award-winning photos have been published in AstronomyBackpacker, Mountain Bike Action, and Outdoor Photographer magazines. Tony will have copies of his books and prints on display and for sale.

No-host cocktails/social hour at 6 pm, dinner at 7 pm, program 8 pm. Join us at the 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, SF Bay Chapter” with your name, telephone number, and the names of your guests, to:

Jane Barrett
170 Vicente Road
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-845-8055

Attendance is limited to the first 115 reservations received. Reserve early, as these programs do fill up. Reservation deadline has been extended to November 30th. There is no admittance for program only.

Mount Diablo Group January meeting—“After the fire: tracking Mount Diablo’s amazing recovery

Photo by Joan Hamilton

Photo by Joan Hamilton

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

On a sweltering September afternoon in 2013, fire broke out on the east side of Mount Diablo.  Whipped by high winds, the inferno scorched 3,100 acres before it was finally extinguished.

Immediately after the blaze, the incinerated landscape appeared lifeless and barren. But closer inspection revealed the presence of charcoal beetles and other animal life. In the following months, seeds that had lain dormant in the soil for decades began to sprout. Golden eardrops, flame poppies, whispering bells, and other fire followers bloomed in perfusion. Charred trees and shrubs re-sprouted from underground root crowns. The ravaged landscape transformed into a vibrant wonderland of color.

Photo by Joan Hamilton

Photo by Joan Hamilton

The embers were still smoldering when nature writer and photographer Joan Hamilton began tracking Mount Diablo’s recovery from the Morgan Fire for Bay Nature magazine. Join us at our January meeting as Joan shares her photographs and observations documenting how various parts of the mountain changed over time—and what scientists are learning from the fire.

Joan Hamilton is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to writing for Bay Nature, Joan produces Audible Mount Diablo — a series of downloadable hiking guides — and is a former editor-in-chief of Sierra magazine.

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

SF Dinner—Thu, Jan 21: “Parisian for a Year”

Photo by Michael Saint James

Photo by Michael Saint James

Note new location and cost. See below for details.

Living in Paris for a year, author and photographer Michael Saint James spent his days and nights capturing images and researching history for his new book, Bridges of Paris. Michael immersed himself in French culture to discover the heart of Paris, and the result was the adventure of a lifetime. Join us for an illuminating visit to the City of Light. Learn Parisian history from the bridges’ point of view, and you will never see Paris the same way again.

Michael has over 30 years of experience as a photographer, educator, and world traveler. He is a speaker on Impressionist art and the history of Paris. You may remember his Sierra Club presentation “In the Footsteps of Vincent Van Gogh.” His award-winning book, Bridges of Paris, was published in 2015, and has received outstanding reviews.

Social hour at 6 pm, dinner at 7 pm, program at 8 pm. New location: Grace Lutheran Church, 3201 Ulloa  St. at 33rd Ave. Take Muni L to 32nd Ave., walk one block to 33rd, turn left on Ulloa for 1 block. Street parking available. From East Bay, take BART to Embarcadero station, then transfer to Muni L Taraval.

To reserve your place, send a check for $22 (note new price), made out to “Sierra Club, S.F. Bay Chapter,” to Gerry Souzis at:

1801 California St., #405
San Francisco, CA 94109

Checks must be received by Friday, January 15. 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 gsouzis@hotmail.com.