It is interesting to learn how much the effort to save the Redwood City salt ponds from development is an inspiration to people all around the Bay Area. We are proud to be in the lead against this scheme to build a new city at sea level in San Francisco Bay, the biggest threat to our Bay in 50 years.
The campaign to save this important site for restoration already goes back at least a decade. Wherever I go and often no matter what subject is on the agenda, people I am meeting with frequently bring it up and ask about Cargill. And the context is invariably positive and supportive of Save The Bay’s work. It’s apparent that the Bay Area community is broadly inspired by this Baylands protection effort, by the folly of the Bayfill housing plan contrasted with the restoration vision for the site, and probably also by the drama of a small environmental group dueling one of the largest corporations on earth.
These are just a few recent examples:
- A Bay Area high school student was recently in touch with Save The Bay and wrote a school paper about the controversial Cargill proposal. We regularly hear from students who are researching and writing about this issue, from law school to elementary schools. But this paper was a bit different. The student called us back to tell us that his paper had inspired his teacher to make a donation to Save The Bay.
- Starting back in 2009, a group of current and former elected officials learned about Cargill’s threat to fill in these restorable salt ponds and began collecting names from each other to use their voices as community leaders to say “no.” Their collective statement of opposition to the grew rapidly in 2009 and 2010 until there are today almost 200 state and local leaders representing millions of Bay Area residents who are proud to publicly denounce plans to build in a restorable salt pond.
- Most recently, we have seen months of engagement around the Cargill campaign from a group of second graders at Aurora Elementary School in Oakland. They have petitioned the Army Corps and the USEPA and gotten a notable response. They wrote to Cargill and also got a response from their Bay Area land manager, who reached out but then declined to participate in a debate with Save The Bay. And they made a video, which we hope to be able to share with you.
We ourselves are inspired by the work of so many that have stood up for the Bay over the years, including Matt Leddy & Gail Raabe whose work in Redwood City to preserve their threatened shoreline spans decades. You can watch their story here.