by Olga Bolotina, Executive Committee, Sierra Club Northern Alameda County Group
Sitting on the deck of a simple wooden cabin in the high Sierra, listening to trees moving with the wind and birds chirping their echoing songs, enjoying the warmth of the sun after a refreshing morning swim in the clear waters of a tiny mountain lake . . . .
If not for the mountains guarding the lake, it could easily be a lake in my native Russia. How comforting nature can be, regardless of the continent.
I daydream of my childhood aspirations of being a forest ranger, enjoying this wilderness endlessly and never coming back to the politics and fights of the big city.
Then up speaks my conscience, reminding me of all the reasons to be living in the city and to become an advocate for nature. I can’t just stay here and enjoy because then there might soon be nothing left to enjoy.
This kind of thinking led me to become active in the Sierra Club Northern Alameda County Group and to represent the Sierra Club at the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC–see article, page 3).
Since gardening and growing our own organic vegetables and fruits was such a part of my upbringing in Russia, and continues to be a central part of my daily life, I decided to join OCAC’s Food Justice and Land Access Committee. The joy of working the soil, watching the plants grow, and collecting the rewards and products of one’s labor is very different from battling politically for food justice and land access. But who else should do the educating, organizing, and fighting for our natural environment?
Philosophy and politics aside, the lake is calling me back. But I hope to see you at the next OCAC or Sierra Club meeting, where you can join in with other brilliant environmental minds solving human problems. Until then, please enjoy all that our beautiful world has to offer.