SF Bay, Will You Be My Valentine?

Crissy Field
Photo by: Vivian Reed

On my way home from work, I plug into my iPod and crank up the volume to mask the insanely loud, ear-piercing noise BART trains make as they travel through the Transbay Tube. These days I’m listening to Jay Chou, Leehom Wang, Jason Mraz, and of course Justin Timberlake — come on, what American Born Chinese (ABC) girl is not a fan of these guys?

As I sank into my seat, eyes closed, seemingly out of nowhere the song “Sitting On The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding began to play. The soulful melody and lyrics instantly eased my restless mind, allowing fond childhood memories of playing by the Bay to surface. Suddenly, figuring out how this song snuck into my playlist no longer mattered.

Like many Bay Area residents, I love living in a sprawling, culturally diverse region whose people are ambitious, progressive, and take it upon themselves to make their community a better place one technological innovation, social movement, or environmentally conscious decision at a time. More importantly, the ability to escape and recharge from the demands of work and fast-paced lifestyle is easy to do.

We live so close to a world filled with natural beauty — a place where the pace of life slows down dramatically and we become one with our environment. Trail running in the peninsula hills, kayaking in McCovey Cove with high hopes of catching a game-winning splash hit, walking at Shoreline Park near the Google campus with Mom, fishing off the pier with Dad, or watching the sunset at Crissy Field with friends are all activities that I thoroughly enjoy, but never take for granted.

Why, you ask?

Well, simply put, our love affair with the Bay is woven into the fabric of our lifestyle. We depend on a healthy Bay as much as the Bay and its wildlife inhabitants count on us to do our part.

Frankly, it bothers me to even think about the possibility of seeing San Francisco Bay become a river. Had it not been for our founders’ stream of consciousness and courage to stand in the way of environmental degradation in a “man’s world” some fifty years ago, we would have.

Cringe.

In that same spirit of standing up for what is right, Save The Bay continues to mobilize thousands of community members to restore wetlands and educate them about its regional value, advocate for single-use plastic bag and styrofoam bans, rally in favor of clean water and curbing pollution, and fight reckless development projects along the Bay shore.

Today in 2015, more than 7 million people call the Bay Area home. This means our role as an organization and duty as Bay citizens to preserve San Francisco Bay couldn’t be more important as our lifestyle and ability to create life-long memories by the Bay hangs in the balance. While our future will be, and in many ways already is, fraught with environmental challenges such as sea level rise and severe storms associated with climate change, one thing is clear. Like all loving relationships, we must invest time, energy, and make sacrifices. Our relationship with the Bay is no different.

Many years from now, I want to take my kids and grandchildren to the Bay shoreline and teach them about this symbiotic relationship between people and nature – a relationship deeply rooted in love. I hope we will be “sitting on the dock of the Bay, watchin’ the tide roll away” together for many years to come.