On New Year’s Day, as I’ve done for the past 9 years, I immersed myself in the icy ocean. I think of this polar bear plunge ritual as a sort of reset. Whether the group of fellow plungers that joins me is small or large, I’m always filled with a deep sense of possibility. If we can motivate ourselves to leave warm beds on New Year’s Day and do something so bold, what else can we accomplish this year?
Many people make resolutions for the year. What’s on your list? After the indulgent holiday months, maybe you’ve committed to a new diet and exercise plan, or a tighter budget. Perhaps you will finally finish that project or change that bad habit. In the spirit of the New Year, here are a few of my resolutions for the Bay. Feel free to add them to your list.
1. Explore – The San Francisco Bay area has an incredible wealth of open spaces. Explore a new section of the Bay Trail, take a bike ride, or visit our local parks. Exercise outside and cross two items off your list!
2. Try new things – Looking for a fun and free activity? Come plant with Save The Bay this season. It’s easy to sign up to volunteer online and we have public programs every week. Explore a new part of the Bay and volunteer at a different site each month.
3. Kick the plastic bag habit – Fortunately, plastic bag bans have passed in dozens of communities around the Bay, and they are working to reduce toxic trash from flowing into our waterways. These ordinances help motivate us to remember our own bags. Check out our tips to kick the bag habit.
4. Keep learning – Are you curious about San Francisco Bay? Explore the environment, history, and species of the Bay from your own computer. Visit our Virtual Marsh.
5. Enjoy the view –The next time you find yourself with a stunning view of the Bay, take a moment to appreciate our great natural treasure. Feel grateful for the pioneers who fought to protect our Bay over 50 years ago, and make a commitment to another year of saving the Bay. Snap a photo and share it.
In this week’s roundup, a local native shrub gets federal protection. As the state’s legislative year ends, few environmental bills were approved. Looking to California’s future, Bill Jennings outlines why a Peripheral Tunnel is a bad idea for the Delta. Plus, the Solano Land Trust preserves 1500 acres of open space, while a local mom finds marsh among industrial landscape. And just how big is San Francisco Bay?
Capitol Weekly 9/5/2012 A Peripheral Tunnel is a bad idea
It isn’t people versus fish; there is enough water for both if efficiently and equitably used. The Delta cannot survive the waste of subsidized water to grow subsidized crops in the desert. Gov. Jerry Brown and federal officials might be attempting to persuade the public that the tunnel is nearly a fait accompli, but water ratepayers and voters will reject it, just as voters did 30 years ago. Read more >>
Read more about plans for the Peripheral Tunnel here >>
San Jose Mercury News 9/5/2012 Few environmental bills make it out of the California Legislature
Environmental groups and their supporters hoping for a new wave of green laws from the Legislature this year ended up with barely a ripple.From a statewide effort to ban plastic bags, to limits on foam food packaging, most of the top environmental bills of the 2012 session died. Read more >>
San Francisco Chronicle 9/5/2012 Land buy ‘huge puzzle piece’ for trails
A sweeping panorama of oak-studded hills and valleys that conservationists see as the key to establishing a corridor of open space stretching from the East Bay to Clear Lake will be opened to the public, preservationists said Wednesday. Read more >>
KQED Quest 8/31/2012 Waterways of the Largest Estuary on the West Coast
Many Bay Area residents and visitors don’t realize the extent of our estuary’s connection outside of the Bay Area. It’s the largest estuary on the West Coast of North America fed by ocean tides and tendrils of fresh water stretching east to the Sierras and north nearly to the Oregon border. Read more >>
Five years ago, I left my home in Boston for what I thought was a year-long stint working in San Francisco. This summer, I returned for a visit to indulge in New England summertime, happy to escape the San Francisco fog. I grew up in Vermont where July means ice cream cones and swimming holes, hiking trails and concerts in the park. I spent my college years in Boston where you can take a commuter rail to white sand beaches and the park system forms an Emerald Necklace. Summers are spent outside in the open spaces that I once took for granted. As I’ve learned more about the modern environmental movement, I’ve realized that public access to natural spaces is not a value that everyone shares and that protecting these spaces is the result of campaigns waged by visionaries.
Save The Bay’s work is grounded in the legacy of such visionaries, three women who stood up against developers in 1961. Celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary last year, I learned to tell the story of this great history. But it was this May during the Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary, standing on the Bay shoreline near Crissy Field and looking out over the treasured Bay, that I uncovered an overwhelmingly deep appreciation for the environmentalists who saved this Bay.
What if the Bay was just a shipping channel? What if my childhood memories of New England were filled with billboards and strip malls instead of mountains and rivers? I am determined to never take these natural treasures for granted again, and to continue the fight to ensure open spaces for the children who grow up 50 years from now.