Trump’s EPA budget was leaked to the press. It’s bad news for public health and the environment, especially our Bay. Trump’s budget totally eliminates EPA’s San Francisco Bay program. While other bays around the country face reductions in EPA funding, our Bay funding has been slashed to zero.
This is a slap in the face to you and every Bay Area resident who wants healthy communities and natural resources. The EPA is supposed to ensure clean water and healthy wetlands. But the federal government is turning its back on us by cutting EPA’s San Francisco Bay funding entirely.
We have to step up and protect our Bay from the White House. I hope you’ll make an emergency contribution to Save The Bay now so we can scale up our efforts at the state and local level to defend our Bay and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.
With Trump proposing these deep funding cuts, you and I will have to do more to protect the Bay.Save The Bay’s strategy is basic: act locally to make the Bay healthier. We’re working with Bay Area cities to reduce toxic pollution, restore wetlands, and lower climate change risks to people and wildlife. We’ve proven we can take on tough challenges and win. But we can’t do this without you. Please give today so we can preserve this amazing place we call home.
“All right, let’s do Ridgway’s Rail. Repeat after me: ¡El!” I shout.
“El,” reply the dozen fourth-grade students crowded around the bench.
“Rascón,” I say, pointing to a laminated sign.
“Rascón,” they chant back.
We’re in the middle of our “Wetland Exploration” activity along Adobe Creek Trail at the Palo Alto Baylands, which at first glance would seem like an unusual spot for a Spanish lesson. But it represents one of Save The Bay’s first steps toward making its educational programs more inclusive to all of the Bay Area’s students, including the many students who are immigrants and children of immigrants who don’t speak English at home.
As Save The Bay’s Temporary Spanish Language Project Specialist, I’ve helped Save The Bay take those first steps, specifically by translating and redesigning our key educational materials into Spanish.
Save The Bay currently runs educational programs at three restoration sites: Eden Landing Ecological Reserve in Hayward, Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in East Oakland, and Palo Alto Baylands in East Palo Alto. All three of these sites are in neighborhoods where a majority of residents are working-class people of color. Students from all over the Bay Area visit our sites for field trips, and our programs reflect our region’s great diversity. Providing Spanish-language materials is one of the many ways we are working to make Save The Bay’s programs more meaningful, inclusive, and accountable to the students and communities with whom we work with. I’m honored to have been a part of it.
It’s been especially fun teaching our key wetland vocabulary in both languages, as some students fluent in Spanish are excited at the chance to teach their classmates. When I hold up a handful of Bay mud, teeming with microbial and invertebrate life, and ask who knows how to say “mud” in Spanish, a few students yell out “¡Lodo!” Then, while I talk about how the mud is the base of the salt marsh food web, the group gets the chance to stick their hands in a bucket and finger-paint it on their faces.
Translating some of our educational cards of endangered animals, native plants, and invasive species presented some interesting linguistic challenges I hadn’t expected. Some species have well-used Spanish common names because they are also found in Latin America, like salt grass (la grama salada) whose range extends as far south as Argentina. Other species have names from Spain, such as yarrow (la milenrama) with its circumpolar distribution; and invasive species from the Mediterranean, such as fennel (el hinojo).
However, some of our California endemics have no widely-used contemporary Spanish name as far as I can tell. A few plants have beautifully descriptive old Californio Spanish names though, like marsh gumplant (la flor de agosto, literally “the flower of August”) and California buckwheat (la patita de venado, literally “deer’s paw”), so I used those names in our translations. But for a couple of secretive endemic animals who escaped the eyes of the Californios, I was left to simply translate their English names literally. Now we can all know our beloved salt marsh harvest mouse by another name: el ratón campestre de la marisma salina.
It’s a bit unwieldy, but the fourth graders still have a fun time yelling it.
Save The Bay was founded by three outstanding women over fifty years ago, and we are still living with the legacy of a Bay that’s only been made healthier and better-protected since then. But we must also recognize that these three women were white and had means, and that many other voices tell different stories about their relationship to the Bay and what it means to save it. As long as the Bay has existed there have been people of color who have stewarded it, and developing partnerships with the many marginalized communities who work to make the Bay beautiful and livable is tantamount in an age of environmental injustice. As this place we call home faces a new generation of environmental challenges, we will only be able to meet them if we consciously make space for everyone to develop a relationship with the Bay and save it.
So in Tagalog or Cantonese, Arabic or Farsi, Chochenyo Ohlone or any of the other languages that we speak: how would you say “It takes all of us to protect and restore the Bay”?
Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
This is a big victory for polluters, and a huge loss for America and our Bay.
The danger Scott Pruitt poses to San Francisco Bay is very real. The EPA has a central role in protecting the Bay, particularly by enforcing the Clean Water Act. For years, Pruitt has been a fierce opponent of that law—along with many other critical environmental protections. As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt attacked the EPA’s cleanup of Chesapeake Bay—a case that’s directly relevant to future of San Francisco Bay.
So much of the progress we have achieved is under threat all over again. Restorable wetlands we’ve fought successfully to protect—like the Cargill Salt Ponds in Redwood City—are newly vulnerable.
The scary truth is, as long as Scott Pruitt leads the EPA, we cannot count on our federal government to protect the Bay. In this new era, environmental progress and protection will be fought and won locally. That’s why Save The Bay’s effective work with Bay cities and state agencies is more important than ever. To beat Pruitt and the anti-environment Congress, we need more resources to block wetlands destruction, create critical habitat for fish and wildlife, and reduce trash and toxic pollution from cities.
We are ready to fight—here’s what we’re doing:
Pushing back fiercely against every effort to undermine environmental protections
Pressuring California’s elected leaders to offset disastrous environmental policies from the Trump Administration with strong statewide protections
Rallying local communities as grassroots activists and environmental volunteers to protect and restore our Bay
It’s a dark time for environmental protection in America, but we’ve been here before and persevered. We’ve been mobilizing grassroots victories since 1961—before the EPA, before the Clean Water Act … before “environmentalist” was even a word. Today, our work is more essential than ever, and we won’t shy away from the fight.
Are you looking for a way to resist the Trump Administration’s assault on the environment? We need your support.
Pictures often remind us that there’s really no place like San Francisco Bay. At Save The Bay, we love to see and share all of your Bay photos on our Instagram. Whether you’re taking a photo from your kayak, or just walking along a stretch of the 500-mile San Francisco Bay Trail, our picturesque region is ripe for exploration and will surely make your Instagram look 💯 ! Here are our favorite spots around the Bay to take photos.
This year, Save The Bay endorsed a full slate of statewide and local ballot measures to improve the environment and advance environmental justice by reducing major sources of trash that foul our Bay and by upgrading outmoded transportation, housing, and infrastructure.
Our endorsements of Prop 67 (the statewide single-use plastic bag ban), Prop 56 (the increase in the state’s tobacco tax), and 10 local Bay Smart Ballot Measures helped almost all of these measures to victory.
With nearly all the votes counted, Prop 67 passed with 52 percent of the vote (the plastic industry’s deceptive counter-measure, Prop 65 failed with 45 percent). Prop 56 passed with 63 percent support, and nine out of ten local Bay Smart Ballot Measures passed as well.
Building on our success in passing Bay restoration Measure AA in June, Save The Bay’s contribution to these victories is another big advance for our 2020 Strategic Plan.
We have extended our work upstream and upland to address sustainability issues facing our region in ways that benefit San Francisco Bay. Perhaps as important, we have positioned ourselves powerfully to protect our Bay in the uncertain period ahead.
In the next few months, we will be working hard to develop our 2017 state legislative agenda, as well as a focused approach to preserve federal funding and environmental protections for the Bay.
Thanks to you and Save The Bay’s thousands of supporters, we are confident that we will continue making progress to protect and enhance San Francisco Bay in these new and challenging circumstances.
Here are the complete results for the local Bay Smart Ballot Measures that Save The Bay endorsed:
Affordable Housing Measures
Measure A1 (Alameda County Bond): $580 million bond for down payment assistance, rental and housing development, preserving homes for low-income and other vulnerable people, preserving affordable rental housing, and preventing tenant displacement.
PASSED: 72.3%-27.7% (2/3 required)
Measure K (San Mateo County Tax): 20-year extension of a half-cent sales tax with commitments from the Board of Supervisors to increase investments in affordable housing, focused on seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and working
Measure A (Santa Clara County Bond): $950 million bond to create and maintain affordable homes for the most vulnerable members of Santa Clara County communities, including veterans, seniors, homeless children, and low-income and working
PASSED: 67.3%-32.7% (2/3 required)
Measure C1 (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District): 20-year extension of a $96 annual parcel tax necessary to continue providing nearly $30 million per year necessary for safe, reliable, affordable AC Transit bus service for the East Bay.
PASSED: 81.4%-18.6% (2/3 required)
Measure B (Santa Clara County Tax): half-cent, 30-year sales tax measure expected to generate $6 billion for transportation projects, including expanding and improving BART and CalTrain; increasing bus frequency; and bike and pedestrian programs to close gaps and improve
PASSED: 71%-29% (2/3 required)
Measure RR (BART Bond): $3.5 billion general obligation bond to repair and replace rails, upgrade the train control system to reduce congestion, and improve access to BART with more parking, disabled access, and bike
PASSED: 70.2%-29.8% (2/3 required)
Measures J & K (San Francisco): Measure K calls for a 0.75 percent general sales tax increase for 25 years, expected to generate between $150 and $155 million for the General Fund. Measure J establishes new funds and allocation requirements that will provide roughly $100 million for transportation programs (MUNI equity and affordability; transit maintenance and expansion) and $50 million for homelessness
Measure J PASSED: 66.4%-33.6%
Measure K FAILED: 35%-65%
Measure KK (Oakland Bond): invests up to $600 million in repaving and repairing streets and sidewalks, improving libraries and parks, and upgrading public safety buildings and fire
PASSED: 82%-18% (2/3 required)
Measure T1 (Berkeley Bond): $100 million general obligation bond for infrastructure improvements including streets and sidewalks, storm drains, green infrastructure, parks and recreation centers, and public buildings.