November 27, 2014

A committee for folks who care about all the Sierra Club’s issues

400x400_sc-logoThursday, June 5, 6:30 pm, Chapter Office, 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley.

By Arthur Feinstein, chair, Sierra Club Bay Chapter Conservation Committee

Is climate change getting you down?

Do you occasionally think that the largest mass extinction of species since the dinosaurs might be a problem?

Are you frustrated with local policies that ignore nature and let our natural areas disappear under developers’ backhoes?

Or maybe you’re sad that salmon populations are disappearing in order to provide water for cotton and alfalfa?

Are you frustrated because you don’t know how to make your voice heard and how to influence these fateful decisions?

The Conservation Committee is being reorganized to help folks like you become effective advocates for the environment.

We will talk about how to be an effective advocate:

  • how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media tools;
  • when and how to write e-mails, letters, etc. to influence decision-makers;
  • how to speak effectively at hearings and meetings–what makes an effective presentation in your allotted 2 – 3 minutes;
  • how to best use the few hours a month you may have available for preserving our world.

We’ll invite experts to brief us on major environmental issues and discuss the tools we have to influence decisions. For example, we’ll learn about:

  • the California Environmental Quality Act–what is it? How is it a tool to help preserve our environment? How do we use it?
  • the agencies that are supposed to protect our environment, such as the state and regional water and air boards and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission;
  • local agencies and zoning laws that that truly decide the fate of our communities;
  • federal and state laws on endangered species and other wildlife.

Of course, the Conservation Committee will also address specific conservation issues as they arise, and as members of the Committee you will help choose those issues. The Chapter has many issue-specific conservation committees such as the Energy, Water, Zero Waste, Transportation, and East Bay Public Lands Committees. But it is up to the Conservation Committee to address conservation issues that fall outside the purview of those issue-specific committees; for example, we may want to work to save threatened wetlands or work on sea-level rise issues.

The world is a scary place as its natural functions are being altered at a frightening pace. But everyday people have made a difference in the past and we can do it again. We just need to decide what we want to do and figure out how to do it. Join us to keep the Bay Area a healthy thriving environment and maybe even to set a model for others.

Come to our first meeting on Thu., June 5. At that meeting we will discuss future meeting dates and look for those that work best for everyone. If the first Thursday of the month doesn’t work for you, let me know at (415)282-5937 or arthurfeinstein@earthlink.net, so that we can find the best repeatable date.

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