April 25, 2015

April and May SF Dinners: Bike China’s Silk Road and traverse the Korakoram

Thu, April 16 — China’s Silk Road: a bicycle journey across China with Phil Mumford

Phil Mumford on the Silk Road.

Phil Mumford on the Silk Road.

Phil Mumford’s 2014 bicycle trip along the Silk Road began in Shanghai, continued through Xian, Dunjuang, and Turpan, and ended in Kashgar. Join Phil as he cycles from the agricultural and industrial east to the deserts of the west, camping next to the Great Wall and passing through sandstorms in the desert.

Phil, a retired teacher, is an avid bicycle tourist who has ridden across America, Africa, Europe, and China.

Checks must be received by Fri., April 10.


Thu, May 21 — Grand Korakoram Traverse with Seiji Kawamura

Seiji Kawamura

Photo by Seiji Kawamura

Join Seiji as he treks from Askole to K2 Basecamp on the Baltoro Glacier along breathtaking high mountain scenery. To begin the trek, he endured a 26-hour white-knuckle jeep ride from Islamabad to Skardu on “the road from hell,” the Korakoram Highway.

Seiji taught physics and chemistry for 25 years. He is now active with the Snowcamping and Backpacking Sections of the Bay Chapter, and treks in Asia, South America, and Africa.

Checks must be received by Fri., May 15.

Social hour 6 pm, dinner 7 pm, program 8 pm. Note new location: Covenant Presbyterian Church, 321 Taraval St. between Funston and 14th Ave. Take Muni L or 28. Limited parking 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.

For each dinner, send a check for $20, made out to “Sierra Club, S.F. Bay Chapter,” to Gerry Souzis at:

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

Please send a separate check for each program, and 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. With questions, contact Gerry 4-9 pm (no morning calls please) at (415)474-4440 or gsouzis at hotmail.com.

On April 28, rally for SF’s clean-energy future!

tumblr_nlw2frt7Ai1urqrqbo4_1280One month from today we’re taking our call for clean and affordable energy to the streets. Join us on Tuesday, April 28th, as we rally outside City Hall to tell San Francisco’s leaders loud and clear: Launch CleanPowerSF this year!

Launching a local renewable-energy program is the single most powerful action San Francisco can take to reduce carbon pollution and help prevent the worst impacts of climate disruption. By transitioning away from dirty fossil fuels to clean alternatives like wind and solar, we’ll help clean up our air and water and leave a healthier planet for future generations. The program will also spur infrastructure development and create thousands of local green jobs: economic opportunities to benefit every San Francisco resident!

We need you now more than ever to push for the swift launch of CleanPowerSF. Earlier this year, Mayor Ed Lee came out in support of the program. But 2015 is an election year and we suspect the mayor’s support is not unconditional. This means we must act now to ensure that CleanPowerSF is well on its way to launch before Election Day on November 3rd, 2015.

Momentum is on our side, but we can’t let this window of opportunity slam shut. We need you standing with us next month to make sure city leaders get the message: San Francisco wants a clean energy alternative now!

WHAT: Rally outside City Hall and then take our message to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission meeting to make sure our support for CleanPowerSF is logged in the public record.

WHERE: San Francisco City Hall (Polk Street Steps), 1 Doctor Carlton B Goodlett Place, San Francisco

WHEN: Tuesday, April 28, 12:30 pm

WHO: A diverse coalition of neighborhood associations, environmental organizations, and community members who share our goals of clean air and water, climate action, and local green jobs

RSVP_Today!_ButtonWith your support, we could all be powered by clean and renewable local power this time next year! See you on the steps of City Hall next month!

Have questions or want to help out? Contact Jess Dervin-Ackerman at jess.dervin-ackerman@sierraclub.org or call 510-848-0800 ext. 304.

April and May East Bay Dinner programs — “Biking across America” and “Water policy in a drought era”

Thursday, April 23 — Bicycling Across America: 3,300 miles in 59 days

Photo courtesy John Lloyd on Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy John Lloyd on Flickr Creative Commons.

In the summer of 1979, Tim Loughman, then living in New York City, phoned his brother Bill, who lived in Berkeley, and said, “You doing anything over the next month or two?  I’m going to ride my bike to Atlanta.” Bill, with little experience and no equipment for such a trip, reflected for a moment, and then said, “Sure.”

Join us as we travel with the Loughman brothers from Vancouver, Washington, to the Statue of Liberty, via the Columbia River Gorge; over portions of the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Rocky Mountains; across vast open stretches of the Great Plains states; through the Great Lakes region; and over the Appalachians to the East Coast — a total of 3,300 miles. Along the way Bill and Tim encountered numerous flat tires, a few assaults, cycling crashes, locusts, ghost towns, hot springs, many memorable people, and countless beautiful scenes of nature and Americana.

Tim Loughman is a writer, copy editor, and book seller residing in Morro Bay, California. In addition to his bike journeys stateside, he has biked from Paris to Milan via the Rhine Valley, through Bavaria, Austria, and the Italian Alps. His brother, Bill, is an attorney and amateur photographer (and former program chairman of the Bay Chapter’s East Bay Dinners) residing in Orinda, California.  Apart from one trip in 1975, from Berkeley to Morro Bay via the coast highways, Bill’s only long-distance bicycling experience was the trip across America featured in this program.

Thu, May 28 — Water policy in a drought era

Jerry Gilbert will talk about how water management is changing in the West and how to deal with scarcity while complying with today’s legal framework. The presentation will consider whether we are integrating and wisely approaching our conservation efforts, and how we can better use technology to study and improve the way we use water.

Jerome B. (Jerry) Gilbert is a consulting engineer based in Orinda. He has been the General Manager of East Bay Municipal Utility District, the Executive Officer of California State Water Resources Control Board, Chairman of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and has recently been consultant to public water utilities across the West. Gilbert has led the development of California water legislation including Urban Water Management Planning Act and the Porter Cologne Act.

East Bay Dinners take place 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). No-host cocktails/social hour begins at 6 pm, dinner at 7 pm, and program at 8 pm.

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, telephone number, and the names of your guests, to:

Evelyn Randolph
938 Galvin Drive
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Attendance is limited to the first 115 reservations received. Reserve early, as these programs do fill up. Reservation deadline for the April program is April 16, and May 21 for that month’s program. There is no admittance for program only.

“Love Thy Nature” film screening and John Muir birthday celebration

Dani-+-Curtains-003 copyThe stunning film “Love Thy Nature” will be released on Earth Week — April 17th to 23rd — at the historical Vogue Theater in San Francisco. The film will also be screened at Oakland’s New Parkway and the Rafael Film Center.

Narrated by Liam Neeson, “Love Thy Nature” is a cinematic immersion into the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. And while our environmental crisis threatens the survival of our species, a renewed connection with nature holds the key to a highly-advanced new era. The film has been the official selection of 24 film festivals around the globe, earning 17 industry awards from Excellence to Outstanding Achievement Humanitarian Award.

Watch the powerful two-minute trailer at www.lovethynature.com.

DON’T MISS the SPECIAL EVENTS co-sponsored by the Sierra Club!

Friday, April 17,  7pm — San Francisco Premiere

Director Sylvie Rokab, Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter conservation manager Jess Dervin-Ackerman, Biomimicry Institute’s Executive Director Beth Rattner, and New York Times Bestselling author Wallace J. Nichols will be in attendance. Gifts will be offered to each audience member. Co-hosted with Bioneers, Sierra Club, Biomimicry Institute, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

muir birthday hatTuesday, April 21, 7pm — Screening and John Muir Birthday Celebration / Fundraiser for the Bay Chapter

John Muir is often credited with starting American environmentalism as the founder of the Sierra Club and the protector of the majestic Yosemite Valley. Michelle Myers, Director of the local Sierra Club, will be joined by local leaders to discuss modern-day environmentalism after the showing. There will be cake and photo opportunities.

Full San Francisco screening schedule:

Friday, April 17 & Saturday, April 18: 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9:15pm
Sunday, April 19 – Thursday, April 23: 3pm, 5pm, 7pm
For tickets, visit the Vogue Theater website.

Oakland screening:

The New Parkway, 474 24th St., Oakland

Tuesday, April 14, 7 pm
Event features a post-film Q&A with director Sylvie Rokab.
Purchase tickets here.

San Rafael screening:

Rafael Film Center, 1118 4th St., San Rafael
Sunday, April 19, 4:15 pm
Co-hosted with Bioneers. Speakers include biomimicry inventor Jay Harman and director Sylvie Rokab.
Purchase tickets here.

Film still from Love Thy Nature

Film still from Love Thy Nature


April Green Friday: “Why renewables can’t replace fossil fuel”

Photo courtesy David Clarke on Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy David Clarke on Flickr Creative Commons.

April 10, 2015 — Renewables provide too little energy to replace themselves — let alone deliver excess energy to run society — and depend too much on fossil fuels every step of the way (i.e. ore mining, fabrication, delivery over bitumen roads, etc.). Heavy-duty freight transportation can’t be electrified with batteries or overhead wires. That’s the argument Alice Friedemann will present at April’s Green Friday.

Alice Friedemann has been writing about energy and other resources since 2000. Her writing can be found at www.energyskeptic.com. Friedemann’s book, “When Trucks Stop Running: Oil and the Future of the Freight Transport System,” will be published in November 2015.

Green Friday programs feature informative speakers and discussions about the important environmental issues of our time. All are welcome—Sierra Club members as well as nonmembers.

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

Activist trainings: develop the skills to affect real change!

trainingsJoin the Bay Chapter for upcoming activist trainings to learn and practice the skills our organizers use in their advocacy work. Trainings are free for members and $25 for non-members.

Public Speaking Training

Sunday, April 12, 3-5 pm
Yosemite Room, 3rd Floor, Sierra Club national headquarters
85 2nd Street, San Francisco (two blocks from the Montgomery BART station)

Learn how to prepare for and deliver a public comment at a hearing, press conference, or other public event.

RSVP here!

Messaging Training

Sunday, May 10, 3-5 pm
Bay Chapter office, 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley (at Dwight)

Learn how to communicate to the general public about an issue or campaign.

RSVP here!

Earth Day 2015 Events

While the Sierra Club honors the earth year round, each April and May we join others in celebrating Earth Day. We participate in many events around the Bay Area to share information about the Club and our work to protect the environment. Please join us at one (or more!) of the following FREE events.

Can you help out? We need volunteers for each of these events to set up our booth one hour before the event, table/talk with attendees in two-hour shifts during the event, and take down our booth for a half hour after the event. Other help may be requested at specific events.


Oakland Earth Expo
Wednesday, April 8, 10 am to 2 pm
Frank Ogawa Plaza
To volunteer, please contact Joanne Drabek at joanne1892@gmail.com or (510)530-5216.


Berkeley Earth Day
Saturday, April 11, 11 am to 4 pm
Berkeley Marina
To volunteer, please contact Joanne Drabek at joanne1892@gmail.com or (510)530-5216.


John Muir Birthday / Earth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 18, 10 am to 4 pm
John Muir National Historic Site
To volunteer, please contact Janess Hanson at janesshanson@att.net  or (925)458-0860.


Emeryville Earth Day Fair
Saturday, April 18, 10 am to 3 pm
Civic Park
To volunteer, please contact Joanne Drabek at joanne1892@gmail.com or (510)530-5216.


Alameda Earth Day Festival
Saturday, April 25, 11 am to 4 pm
Washington Park
To volunteer, please contact Joanne Drabek at joanne1892@gmail.com or (510)530-5216.


Earth Day at Terwilliger Marsh
Sunday, April 26, 9am to noon
Terwilliger Marsh and Mill Valley Recreation Center.
This family-friendly event begins with a guided walking tour of the beautiful Terwillger Marsh focusing on wildlife, plants, and marsh ecology. After the tour, adults can attend a presentation on sea-level rise and the vital role marshes will play in protecting the shoreline from sea-level rise. Kids can play and learn in a special Amazing Science marsh workshop just for them! Free childcare for very young children is available. Co-sponsored by the Mill Valley Recreation Department. To volunteer or for more information contact Elena Belsky at elena_scmg@comcast.net.


Earth Day San Francisco
Saturday, April 18, 10 am to 7 pm
SF City Hall and Civic Center Plaza
For information or to volunteer, contact Jess Dervin-Ackerman at jess@sfbaysc.org or (510)848-0800 x 304.

BART Blue Sky Festival
Wednesday, April 22, 11 am to 2 pm
Justin Herman Plaza
For information or to volunteer, contact Jess Dervin-Ackerman at jess@sfbaysc.org or (510)848-0800 x 304.

Living Green Fair 2015
Thursday, May 14, 11 am to 2 pm
UCSF, Mission Bay Campus
To volunteer, please contact Becky Evans at rebecae@eathlink.net or (415)775-3309.


Albany Arts and Green Fair
Sunday, May 3, 11 am to 4 pm
Memorial Park
To volunteer, please contact Joanne Drabek at joanne1892@gmail.com or (510)530-5216.

Learn the basics of backcountry travel — Beginners Backpack Course Spring 2015

Backpackers resting in Yosemite. Photo by Thomas Meissner.

Backpackers resting in Yosemite. Photo by Thomas Meissner.

Application deadline: March 15.
Indoor seminar: March 29.
Field trips: April 11-12, April 18-19, or May 9-10 (participants choose one).

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 Sunday, March 29, including a series of short lectures, discussions, slide and equipment show. The event will be hosted from 9 am – 5 pm at the Naturebridge Conference Center (Golden Gate National Recreation Area).
  • One overnight backpack trip on a weekend in April or May in small groups led by experienced instructors. There are three dates to choose from (see above).

The backpack trips will take place 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 how 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 age 12 and older are welcome. The course is not suited for younger children.

Cost is $70 per adult; $35 ages 12 – 22. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited. Applications received after March 15 will be considered only if space is still available

For more information and to sign up, contact: Thomas Meissner by email at meissner.thomas@sbcglobal.net (strongly preferred), or by phone at (707)795-7980 (only if you do not have email access).

Island-hop in the Channel Islands

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Naturalist Corps volunteers support a whale watching expedition. (Image courtesy of Bob Perry, Condor Express)

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Naturalist Corps volunteers support a whale watching expedition. (Image courtesy of Bob Perry, Condor Express)

March 28-30, April 5-7, May 4-6, June 14-16 (bird-lover’s special!), July 19-21, August 24-26, September 27-29, and October 25-27.

Join us for a three-day, three-island, live-aboard tour of the enchanting Channel Islands! Hike wild, windswept trails bordered with blazing wildflowers. Kayak rugged coastlines. Marvel at pristine waters teeming with frolicking seals and sea lions. Train your binoculars on unusual sea and land birds—and an occasional whale. Watch for the highly-endangered island fox. Look for reminders of the Chumash people who lived on these islands for thousands of years. Or, just relax at sea.

All cruises depart from Santa Barbara. The cost of $615 includes an assigned bunk, all meals, snacks, and beverages plus the services of a ranger/naturalist who will travel with us to help lead hikes, point out items of interest, and give evening programs.

To reserve space, send a $100 check, made out to the Sierra Club, to:

Joan Jones Holtz
11826 The Wye St.
El Monte, CA 91732

For more information contact Joan at (626)443-0706 or jholtzhln@aol.com.

Mount Diablo Group — Caribbean quest

Larissa Ivanova on Bonaire; Photo by Andrei Ivanova.

Larissa Ivanova on Bonaire; Photo by Andrei Ivanova.

Wednesday, March 11, 7 pm, Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek.

Join us at our next meeting for a tropical adventure as botanist, geographer, and world traveler Larissa Ivanova guides us through the Caribbean Islands. Larissa will discuss both the natural and cultural history of the region, from the days of pirates and the slave trade to present-day political and social challenges. Larissa will also show us beautiful seas and beaches, exotic animals, and varied plant life.

A native of Russia, Larissa Ivanova taught biology and geography at the Urals Teacher University. She also served as head of the Nature Department at the Kamensk-Uralskiy Museum. Larissa and her husband Andrei currently reside in San Francisco.

Everyone is welcome and no reservations are necessary. If you have questions, contact Ken Lavin at ken_lavin@hotmail.com or (925)852-8778.