From the top of Paulina Peak one can see the Newberry Caldera containing Paulina Lake on the left and East Lake on the right. The flow lines of the Big Obsidian Flow are clearly visible from this viewpoint. The Central Pumice Cone is between the two lakes.
After the family gathering in Ashland, our next stop on the volcanic tour was the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. This extraordinary place is a 6-mile-wide caldera filled with not one, but two crater lakes. Originally a single lake, East Lake and Paulina Lake were split by lava flows, one of which is the Big Obsidian Flow.
This square mile of volcanic glass poured out of the earth only 1300 years ago. It was an amazing short hike. Tourists are advised not to wear sandals, and dogs are not allowed on the trail because the sharp obsidian can cut feet. Informative signs along the way explain how and when the eruption occurred and how Native Americans used this valuable resource.
On the summit of Paulina Peak. Mt. Bachelor and South Sister on the left horizon.
We just had to climb Paulina Peak the next day for a birds eye view of the Big Obsidian Flow and glimpses of Mt. Bachelor and South Sister to the north. There is a well-graded 3-mile trail to the summit and a road for those who prefer to drive or bike.
Unfortunately mid-October is a bit late for camping at this National Monument. The rangers were busy closing up the campgrounds and covering all the signs in black plastic. We camped nearby in the national forest. Additionally, there was smoke starting to drift eastward from fires near Bend. After a short visit to Paulina Falls (reduced flow in the fall, but still wonderful) we returned the way we came on roads less travelled.
These bold Grey Jays swarmed our car to clean our windshield.
As we briefly stopped on our way through the maze of mostly dirt/gravel roads in the surrounding national forest, Gray Jays descended on our car. They have learned that windshields are a great place to find lunch.
Our meandering way home took us to Summer Lake Hot Springs and later the Mitchell Monument near Bly where six Americans were killed by a Japanese explosive device in May of 1945. Elsie Mitchell a Sunday School teacher and five of her pupils ages 11-14 were on a picnic when they gathered around a found object which exploded. It was a balloon-carried weapon borne by the jet stream at 30,000-40,000 feet and which had been designed by the Japanese to ignite forest fires in the Pacific Northwest in order to divert Americans from the war effort. A nearby tree still bears shrapnel scars.
Mrs. Mitchell had been pregnant with her first child. Her husband, a preacher, was parking the car when the bomb went off. In the 1980s, Yuzuru John Takeshita, a Japanese American who had been imprisoned at Tule Lake during the war learned about the incident on a visit to Japan from a woman who had been removed from high school during the war to work making the balloon bombs (called fugos) from paper and persimmon paste. Subsequent contact between the Japanese women and Oregon residents resulted in a rededication of the monument, gifted cherry trees for the site, and 1000 paper cranes to aid in healing.
A lesson in humanity for this writer born during the Second World War.
Ventana Chapter Signs On to Letter to US Forest Service Requesting Extension of Comment Period for Proposed Forest Clearing Project
The Forest Service has proposed a 235,000-acre logging and chaparral removal project in the Los Padres National Forest. This new proposal would allow the use of heavy equipment to cut trees up to two feet in diameter across 48,000 acres and trees of any size and age across an additional 186,000 acres. It would also allow mastication and activities to remove native shrubs across the entire project area.
The agency has stated they plan to prepare a single environmental assessment (EA) for the entire project. This would not involve site specific analyses for activities that would take place across the 368-square-mile project area in Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, nor would it involve public notice that activities are going to occur in this area once this single EA is approved. This letter requests that the USFS:
The U.S. Forest Service must prepare an EIS for the ERP before moving forward. The EIS should analyze several alternatives, including a significantly scaled-back version of the ERP that avoids sensitive and protected areas such as IRAs, proposed and potential Wilderness, critical biological zones, special interest management areas, research natural areas, and designated critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. In addition, the EIS should evaluate a much more strategically-targeted proposal that focuses on vegetation treatments adjacent to structures along with partnerships with local jurisdictions to encourage and promote home hardening, defensible space around homes, improved evacuation routes, and human-caused ignition reduction on private and public lands.
These actions will ensure that the public and local experts have adequate time to weigh in with concerns and relevant information.
Ventana Chapter, along with other Sierra Club Chapters and allies has signed on to the full letter here.
June 28 - July 5, 2022
By Debbie Bulger
Scenic and biologically diverse, Work Memorial Park in The sheer walls of Goddard Canyon drop down to the South Fork of the San Joaquin River. (photo Richard Stover).
Goddard Canyon is located between the John Muir Trail (JMT) and Martha Lake in Kings Canyon National Park. Its sculptor, the South Fork of the San Joaquin River, has carved a deep gorge with sheer walls dropping 50 feet to the river in some places.
From the Martha Lake outlet it flows north to the JMT then west for almost 50 miles growing in volume from tributaries until it reaches Florence Lake. Beyond that it continues to the Central Valley where it intermittently runs dry due to overzealous diversions until it finally joins the Sacramento River emptying into Suisun Bay and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.
Richard Stover and I were originally bound for Peter Peak where we planned to scatter my brother Peter’s ashes. The river gods had other plans.
Florence Lake Ferry landing with pointed Mt. Shinn on center horizon across the lake. (photo Richard Stover).
Having spent the night in the back of our car in the backpackers parking lot, we took the 9:30 a.m. ferry across Florence Lake. Our boat captain, Estella, was the source of good information about the lake, local resources, and the Muir Trail Ranch where she had previously worked.
The road to Florence Lake is much deteriorated partly due to heavy equipment use during the Creek Fire in 2020. Thankfully, the area where we were headed had seen no recent fires.
It’s about 11.5 miles from the ferry landing to the junction of the Goddard Canyon Trail. Along the way we met many Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail hikers. These hikers (mostly young) all seemed to wear electronic tracking devices which let the folks at home know their whereabouts. Additionally many were constantly checking their cell phones on which were digital maps of the trail complete with GPS locators pointing to their location. Fortunately for them, the Muir Trail Ranch where they resupply now has electronic charging outlets!
Other backpackers became scarce after Richard and I turned south on the Goddard Canyon Trail. Indeed over the more than three days we spent in Goddard, we saw only three other parties. Visitors are so few that at least this year flowers were growing in the trail itself.
Did I say “flowers?” I meant to say FLOWERS!!!! This is a banner year due to late season rains. Flowers in every habitat. Flowers of every color, shape and size. Some I had never seen before. So many that I don’t have room for all their photos in this report. To name a few: Sierra wallflower, Crimson Columbine, Leopard lily, Alpine paintbrush, Stonecrop, Pretty Face brodia, Swamp onion, Wandering Daisy, Arnica, Pink Alumroot, Penstemon, Pussy Paws. Two plants I had never identified before were the Fringed Pinesap and the unobtrusive Green Raillardella which I had seen before, but not looked up.
As we hiked up Goddard Canyon, our navigational skills were put to the test since we had decided not to bring our GPS on this trip to reduce weight. I counted drainages as we travelled up canyon as well as studied landforms. We were looking for North Goddard Creek which empties into the South Fork of the San Joaquin River where we wanted to cross the river to reach Peter Peak. There was one waterfall indicated on the map, but we observed several others, one almost as high as the marked one.
(photo Richard Stover).
Although the map shows the trail as next to the river, most of the time it is actually about 40-50 feet above the river on the rim of the gorge. Campsites are located in the few spots where the trail approaches the river.
We settled in to a perfect campsite very near where we hoped to cross. It was flat and expansive just above the second-highest waterfall and came complete with bear claw territory scratches on the lodgepole pine near where we set up our tent.
On one of our layover days we hiked above the canyon looking for the remains of the Hell for Sure Trail.
(photo Richard Stover).
There was no question about our crossing the river near there. It was at peak flow and fast. When we rinsed out our dusty clothes, we had to hold on to them tightly so they wouldn’t break away from our grips and plummet over the falls. Crossing the South Folk was too dangerous for us. Peter Peak was out.
We spent the next two and a half days resting and scouting the area. We located the almost obscured intersection with the no-longer-existing Hell for Sure Trail which I hiked on my approach to Mount Goddard in 1984. It was hard to find in places even at that time. Today it is pretty much obliterated.
Returning to Florence Lake.
(photo Richard Stover).
We hiked almost to Martha Lake for outstanding views both up and down canyon. There in a glorious spot in view of both Peter Peak and Mount Reinstein I released some of the ashes of my brother Peter who had died in November. A fitting resting spot for a fellow climber.
Over the next three days we hiked the 20 miles back to the ferry landing thoroughly renewed by our time in this beautiful canyon.
2022 Celebrates the 130th Anniversary of the Sierra Club
Trees with Snow on Branches, "Half Dome, Apple Orchard, Yosemite,” California by Ansel Adams, founder of Ventana Chapter Sierra Club in 1963. (Photo courtesy of the US National Archives and Records Administration).
1890s The Sierra Club is founded on May 28, 1892, with John Muir as its first president. It quickly mobilizes to defeat a proposal to reduce the boundaries of Yosemite National Park. The Sierra Club urges strengthening of public forest policy and supports the creation of new national parks, including Grand Canyon.
1900s The Sierra Club begins an organized outings program, with annual trips to the Sierra Nevada. President Theodore Roosevelt visits Yosemite National Park with John Muir and, two years later, the Sierra Club’s campaign to return management of Yosemite Valley to the federal government from the State of California succeeds.
1910s The National Park Service is created, with Stephen Mather, a Sierra Club member, as its first director. The California legislature passes a law to support construction of the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada.
1920s Sequoia National Park is expanded, and the Sierra Club successfully opposes dam sites in the Kings River region. Aurelia Squire Harwood becomes the first woman to serve as the Sierra Club’s president.
1930s Sierra Club members introduce modern rock-climbing techniques to the US. Photographer Ansel Adams visits Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress and the president to preserve Kings Canyon. The 210-mile John Muir Trail is completed.
1940s Kings Canyon National Park is established. The Sierra Club opposes an attempt to repeal the Antiquities Act, which is used to establish national monuments. The Sierra Club successfully defeats proposed dams in Kings Canyon and Glacier National Parks. During World War II, many Club members use their backcountry skiing and mountaineering skills in the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division.
1950s Grand Teton National Park and Olympic National Park are enlarged at the Sierra Club’s urging. A long but ultimately successful campaign stops dam construction in Dinosaur National Monument. The Sierra Club organizes its first volunteer-service outings.
1960s The landmark Wilderness Act is passed by Congress after a long campaign by the Sierra Club and others, marking the first time that public lands (9.1 million acres) are permanently protected from development. The Sierra Club also mobilizes public opinion to stop two dams in the Grand Canyon. But the cost of victory was high: Decision-makers chose to power the flow of water to the Southwest by building a massive coal-fired power plant on Navajo land. For more than four decades, the plant exposed members of the Navajo Nation to unacceptably high levels of air pollution. According to the Clean Air Task force, the plan caused an estimated 16 premature deaths, 25 heart attacks, 300 asthma attacks, and 15 asthma emergency room visits every year it operated.
1970s The Sierra Club helps organize the first Earth Day. Efforts of the Sierra Club and others—including Black community organizers who fought against destructive “urban renewal” projects—lead to passage of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Water Pollution Control Act. The Sierra Club also joins a successful effort to strengthen the Clean Air Act and works to pass the Endangered American Wilderness Act, which protects 1.3 million acres.
1980s A decade-long Sierra Club campaign leads to passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act—the largest land and water protection legislation in history. It instantly doubles the size of the national park system and protects more than 157 million acres of public lands in Alaska. The Sierra Club helps defeat Reagan administration attacks on the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws. The Sierra Club forms a political committee and makes its first electoral endorsements.
1990s The Sierra Club leads a grassroots effort to reauthorize the Clean Air Act and successfully lobbies Congress to pass the California Desert Protection Act, which establishes 7.6 million acres of new desert wilderness and expands both Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks. The Sierra Student Coalition is organized. The Sierra Club forms an Environmental Justice program to address the disproportionate environmental burdens on low-income communities and communities of color.
2000s The Sierra Club defeats a plan to allow commercial logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument and stops the construction of 170 proposed new coal-fired power plants. The Sierra Club successfully advocates for the Omnibus Public Land Management Act—the largest public-lands conservation effort in 20 years.
2010s The Sierra Club works with President Obama to protect more than 4 million acres of public lands. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign becomes the most successful environmental initiative in history and is complemented by the Ready For 100 campaign, which encourages more than 100 US municipalities to formally commit to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy for generating electricity.
Monarch Butterfly Numbers Are on the Rise Locally and in Mexico
Some good news this year is that various press outlets both nationally and locally are reporting an increase in Monarch butterflies in several locations. The Monterey Herald reported earlier this year that volunteer community scientists recorded about 14,000 butterflies at the Pacific Grove Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in November 2021, according to Natalie Johnston, the volunteer and community science coordinator of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. There were no recorded butterfly clusters in 2020 so this was quite a rebound.
On May 25 Associated Press reported a 35 percent increase in Monarch butterflies arriving this year in the protected areas in the forested mountaintops of Mexico. Their annual butterfly count does not count the number of butterflies but rather the number of acres they cover. Last year’s acreage was 5.2 acres and this year it was 7 acres.
Positive Steps Happening Now in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Published by Clayton Daughenbaugh for the Sierra Club National Wilderness Committee
We've had a series of big developments in the campaign to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that are worth celebrating.
Chapter Support For Protection of Work Memorial Park in Del Rey Oaks
Scenic and biologically diverse, Work Memorial Park in Del Rey Oaks needs protection from planned construction in the nearby areas of the former Fort Ord, urban and airport runoff and the commercial use of Work Memorial Park for large truck traffic.
Work Memorial Park is one of the three large parks in Del Rey Oaks and the location for significant federally recognized wetlands. Upstream, it is connected by the Arroyo Del Rey stream to the Frog Pond Preserve (part of Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District) and the “17 acres” wetland area just east of General Jim Moore Blvd. Downstream, Work Memorial Park waters flow into Laguna Grande Regional Park, Roberts Lake, and finally into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Work Memorial and the 17 acre wetland areas are important and sensitive habitats that represents two of the last natural drainages in the cities of Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, and Monterey.
Unfortunately, Work Memorial Park and the Arroyo Del Rey watershed are under many threats. The runoff from Hwy 68 and 218, the planned construction in the nearby areas of the former Fort Ord, the urban and airport runoff, and the commercial use of Work Memorial Park for large truck traffic are just a few.
Sustainable Del Rey Oaks (SDRO) contacted the Chapter and brought this to our attention. What was needed was a professionally conducted wetland delineation and habitat assessment to understand what habitats and species are present, the current health of these habitats, and what our paths forward may be to protect and restore these wetlands. These studies are woefully lacking in many areas of our County and yet, without them, it is difficult to bring the credibility and pressure needed to ensure that sensitive habitats are protected when development projects are proposed.
The Chapter retained The Biotic Resources Group, a local environmental assessment firm to conduct a study. The scope of work included a wetland delineation (federal standard) and habitat assessment of the study area (Work Memorial Park, Arroyo del Rey, and the 17-Acre Parcel). The habitat assessment tasks included mapping plant community types, identifying occurrences of invasive, non-native plant species, and documenting sensitive species and/or habitat.
The assessment has been completed and the overview states the Biotic Resource Group conducted a formal wetland evaluation and reported their findings in two complementary documents. The SDRO Arroyo Del Rey and Work Memorial Park Study Delineation of Jurisdictional Federal Waters (Delineation) follows the US Army Corp of Engineers format; whereas the SDRO Arroyo Del Rey and Work Memorial Study Baseline Report (Baseline) is more expansive, including descriptions of plant communities, threatened and invasive, and recommendations for habitat management. The 54.9 acres studied includes Work Memorial Park, the Arroyo Del Rey stream itself, the “17 Acres” parcel, and to a lesser degree, the Frog Pond Preserve. The study identified 10.162 acres of wetland habitat, as well as 9 different sensitive plant habitats. It also identified 21 non-native invasive plants.
Shuttered Cemex Site in Marina Now Under Negotiations for Future Use as Public Coastal Acreage
Current Cemex plant now in the process of being repurposed as public land.
By Kathy Biala
On Dec. 31, 2017 the CA Coastal Commission, along with the State Lands Commission and the City of Marina approved a settlement agreement with Cemex, that would end the last active sandmining operation on any U.S. shore. This agreement requires Cemex to sell the property, at a reduced purchase price, to a non-profit or governmental entity approved by the Commission for conservation, public access and low impact recreation in perpetuity. This was a historic moment.
Per the agreement, all sand extraction has ceased as of Dec. 31, 2020 and now the last sales of the remaining stockpiles of sand on the property will occur and the remaining staff will be transitioned out. The agreement requires a restoration plan be completed in three years from the cessation of the sandmining operations (by 2023).
However, this Cemex property remains a site of concern for the public, as the proposed CalAm slant well desalination project is planned on this very same property, with several large well head structures on the near foredunes and pipes traversing the property. A legal easement to do so was established by CalAm and Cemex several years ago.
The CA Coastal Commission has twice recommended denial of the CalAm project on environmental and environmental justice issues; CalAm withdrew their application the night before the second and final hearing on the project. The current reapplication has been deemed incomplete by the CCC, and further hearing on the project has been stalled as a result.
Protecting populations of threatened western snowy plovers at the Cemex site and along the Central Coast beaches are a priority for Ventana Chapter.
The elements of the Cemex Settlement Agreement are not affected by the outcomes of the CalAm desalination project. The Coastal Commission staff report continued compliance with all aspects of the agreement; the land restoration plan is currently being reviewed by the CCC and other required agencies, and restoration activities will be overseen by the CCC. Full restoration will likely continue beyond 2023. Ventana Chapter has a mitigation fund of hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be used towards restoration.
The Cemex site is to be sold to public agencies and negotiations are now occurring. The coastal property site that is under the Settlement Agreement is approximately 100 acres and will soon become a publicly owned, protected natural environment for threatened and endangered species to thrive. This will also contribute to further beach access points to residents of Marina and tourists to experience and enjoy pristine coastline habitats.
U. S. Senate Committee Unveils Historic Outdoor Recreation Package
By Ian Brickey
May 3, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee began its mark-up of a major outdoor recreation legislative package, which includes the Outdoors for All Act. If passed, the Outdoors for All Act would permanently authorize the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, which is the only program administered by the Department of the Interior to promote the development of equity-focused parks and green space projects in urban communities. The committee is expected to send the bill to the full House in the coming days.
Multiple studies show that nearby access to parks and green and natural spaces increases community health outcomes while boosting local economies and helping achieve the goal of protecting 30% of lands and waters by 2030 necessary to stop the most damaging effects of climate change.
In response, Jackie Ostfeld, director of Sierra Club’s Outdoors for All Campaign, released the following statement:
Lower Chilnualna Falls Photo by Richard Stover
By Debbie Bulger
One of my favorite Wawona-area hikes in Yosemite National Park is Chilnualna Falls. During a rest day between two snow tours, Richard Stover and I visited the lower falls. The longer hike to the upper falls is a full day affair which we have done in the past.
The lower part of the trail has a lot of rockwork. Photo by Richard Stover
The highlight for me is the careful rockwork including several “staircases in the sky” on the lower portion of the trail.
Mountain Quail have straight topknots instead of the comma-shaped ones of our local quail..
A bonus on our way back was a covey of Mountain Quail with their straight topknots.
The south fork of Chilnualna Creek in winter. Photo by Richard Stover
The snow on the South Fork of Chilnualna Creek enhanced our festive mood.
What IS 30 X 30 and Why?
By Vicky Hoover and Anne Henny
Carbajal Reintroduces Central Coast Heritage Protection A
Protects 250,000 acres of public land in Carrizo Plain National Monument and Los Padres National Forest from development
February 11, 2021
The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act designates four new wilderness areas in the Carrizo Plain National Monument and expands nine existing wilderness areas in Los Padres National Forest. This would prevent new roads, vehicles, or permanent structures from being erected and prevents oil and gas drilling from taking place on any of these protected areas. The bill also designates Condor Ridge and Black Mountain as new scenic areas and designates the Condor Trail as a National Recreation Trail within the Los Padres National Forest.
The bill is supported by nearly 500 Central Coast landowners, businesses, elected officials, farmers, ranchers, civic leaders, wineries, recreationalists, and outfitters. The public lands this bill would protect is home to a wide array of plant and animal life and the bill will help to sustain the ecological future of 468 species of wildlife and more than 1,200 plant species.
Prevention of Zoonotic Pandemics: Ecologic Factors
by David Bezanson, Ph.D.
Many opportunities exist for us to decrease the probability of future novel viral infections. Our actions may improve environmental quality and the sustainability of our economy while decreasing the odds of lockdown , social isolation, and being terrorized by killer viruses.
Numerous human activities increase risk of zoonotic infections.
The scale of the above activities has increased dramatically in the last half century. Globalization has elevated per capita consumption of services and goods, resource use, pollution, and environmental destruction. Global overpopulation exacerbates the magnitude and transmission potential of the above.
Climate change renders habitats uncongenial for many species. In search of cooler habitats, terrestrial and marine species in the northern hemisphere migrate toward the Arctic, carrying pathogens. As development and deforestation destroy more habitat, species live in closer proximity to urban areas and expose more humans to pathogens. In areas of decreasing animal biodiversity, the surviving species are more likely to harbor pathogens (9).
Sierra Club Conservation Policies provide a broad overview of most of the above factors (10). These interact to accelerate climate change, impair the biosphere, decrease clean natural resources, diminish biodiversity, and promote zoonoses (11).
Some forms of many of the above risk factors are illegal in many nations. Illegal deforestation is common in South America and Southeast Asia. This has increased during the current global recession (12).
Organized animal fighting is legal in many nations, but illegal in the USA. However, illegal fights are widespread in the USA (13).
Corporations shut down some of their slaughterhouses in the USA during the COVID-19 invasion. However, POTUS declared these to be an essential business, ordered their reopening, and declared that employers were exempt from liability should workers contract COVID-19. Reopening resulted in outbreaks of COVID-19 among laborers (14).
Illegal fishing and hunting is a problem in most nations, including the USA. This is intertwined with illegal wildlife trafficking. The USA is the second largest consumer of dead and alive wildlife trafficking goods.
Wildlife markets are legal in many nations including the USA. They are most prevalent in New York and California. In wet markets, customers order caged animals to be slaughtered on the spot (15). Many articles about these have photos. If you have a “strong stomach” take a glance. Goggles, masks, and gloves are not the norm. Federal legislation is being drafted to curb wet markets and wildlife trafficking in the USA and ban bills are being drafted in New York and California (16).
Many bills have been introduced in Congress during the past 18 months to preserve habitats, natural resources, and biodiversity. View these on www.congress.gov : H.Res.922, S.3759, HR.6043, S.Res.372/H.Res.835, HR.3742, HR.5435, HR.2795/S.1499, HR.2748, HR.6738, S.1081, S.1482, HR.2546, HR.4160, and HR.4341. Those that decrease habitat protection include HR.2105 and HR.5859. Many protective bills have been introduced in the California legislature, e.g., AB3030.
Many environmental organizations, including Sierra Club chapters, have advocated the development of high-density, micro-housing-dominant urban areas proximal to mass transit. These have many environmental benefits. However, they increase risk of transmission of infectious viruses.
Policies that increase opportunities for long-term remote digital work and learning can curb origination and transmission of zoonoses.
Individual Activism (17)
If enough of us boycott risk-escalating activities, services, and products; this will decrease the profits of illegal and legal habitat-destroying businesses. As they downsize or become extinct, this will curtail the extinction of species.
Purchasing stocks of companies in industries with high environmental impact, so that one may attend shareholder meetings and cast votes to make their operations more planet-friendly, has had little impact. Divestment is more effective. Check your portfolio of funds and stocks (18 - also see the Deforestation Free Funds section on that site).
Be aware of proposed legislation and municipal policies which affect the risk of zoonoses. Lobby your representatives. The foremost responsibility of government is to promote public health and safety. Environmentalists have a voter turnout rate that is lower than the general population (19). Evaluate candidates and vote for those who have the greenest platforms and track record.
Together, we can prevent the probability of future novel zoonotic infections.
Sierra Club Response to the Murder of George Floyd
A few folks have asked me about what Sierra Club's formal response to the murder of George Floyd has been. I've pasted below links to several documents shared by national that provide that response.
Sierra Club Statement on the Murder of George Floyd:
Mike Brune's Blog on "From Outrage to Justice":
Hop Hopkins' column about COVID and racism:: in America
A Washington Post Article about green groups' response to George Floyd's Murder:
A letter Sierra Club signed onto calling for congressional action on police violence:
Sierra Club California Supports the Establishment and Implementation of Bird-Safe Building Standards
A volunteer with NYC Audubon's Project Safe Flight holds a dead female Common Yellowthroat in front of the Time Warner Center in Manhattan. Photo: Francois Portmannion.
By Jane Mio, Ventana Chapter Delegate
On February 22nd, 2020 the California Sierra Club Conservation Committee took an important step to address the #2 reason for the North America bird population’s steep decline. The Resolution 'Support Bird-Safe Material and Design Features for California Building Standards' became the California Sierra Club's position thanks to the delegates' unanimous vote.
We all have heard and witnessed the heartbreaking occurrence of this #2 reason: birds colliding with window glass, which causes the annual death of approximately 1 Billion local and migratory birds in North America.
To prevent this deathly bird trap the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) published in 2015 the Bird-Safe Building Design (BSD) standards, which lays out various measures and guidelines necessary to protect birds from glass collisions such as reduction of excessive glass façades, description of providing birds with visual clues on glass surfaces and best exterior and interior lighting practices. The BSD Standards received nation wide promotion from Federal and State agencies, ABC, the Audubon Society and multiple well-respected ornithologists such as David A. Sibley. Consequently they have been integrated nationwide into Cities and Counties Planning Department building permits.
It is of utmost importance that the BSD Standards become part of the California building permit process, because the State is in the Pacific Migratory Flyway. A vast majority of the 386 Western Hemisphere (neo-tropical) migratory bird species depend on the California habitats for their survival due to the State's very rich, diverse mosaic of natural communities, which ranks first out of 50 States. The California building boom with its design trend of exceeding 50% of the buildings' glass façades is harmful for local and migratory birds. This is because many of the 175 important habitat sites are adjacent to cities and man-made infrastructure.
North America already lost approximately 3 Billion birds in the last 50 years; that is 1 in 4 birds, according to the recent Cornell Lab/American Bird Conservancy study. This is an urgent call that we protect our California 600 bird species, which is about two-thirds of all bird species in North America and that we demonstrate responsible stewardship of the Pacific Migratory Flyway. Applying the BSD Standards shows a positive human response to the biological fact: birds don't recognize man-made glass as their death trap.
Link for the entire report on 'Support Bird-Safe Material and Design Features for California Building Standards':