Environmental Concerns Speaker Series 2015-16 Annual Report

Carol Stone photo

Carol Stone

Carol Stone and Gail Schickele

September, California Natural Resources Agency Assistant Secretary for Climate Change JR DeLaRosa reported on their Climate Change Symposium co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), cutting-edge climate research, discussion on the current drought and potential impacts on agriculture, sea-level rise and storm surge in San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, plus measurement of carbon emissions from major cities.

October, Malcolm Potts, Cambridge-trained obstetrician, reproductive scientist and the first Fred H. Bixby endowed chair in Population and Family Planning at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, addressed population. As first Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, he introduced family planning methods into scores of developing countries. As CEO of Family Health International, he launched the first large-scale studies of maternal mortality, which helped start the worldwide Safe Motherhood Initiative. His most recent book is Sex and War: How Biology Explains War and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World.

November: Soil Sustainability in an Era of Climate Change by Dick Strong (Voice of the Soil). A former soil scientist for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, and Director of Commodities for the California Farm Bureau, who also helped start the Northern California farmer’s market movement with the American Friends Service Committee, Strong addressed organic vs. conventional farming among other soil issues.

This-Changes-Everything_Final-692x1024December: Annual Appetizer and Dessert Potluck FIRST RUN Movie Screening of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, based on her bestselling book, showing powerful community portraits as Klein connects carbon emissions with the economic system that put them there. Throughout the film Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.   


January: overview of the Paris Climate Talks by Tom Kelly, founder and executive director of Kyoto USA that encourages local governments, school districts and communities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and Claire Greensfelder, from the women’s Global Call for Climate Justice, a coalition of more than 24 international environmental, women’s and human rights networks, both in Paris for the COP21* climate talks. [*United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties 21st meeting]

February: How the East Bay Got Its Eucalyptus and Pine Forests, and The Benefits and Responsibilities of Owning Urban Forests with Jerry Kent, former assistant general manager with the East Bay Regional Park District. Originally open grassland with fringes of trees, the Bay Area native landscape was too barren for some early East Coast settlers, so, Bay area hills underwent large-scale tree planting projects between 1870 and 1910. In the East Bay in 1895 one man planted trees to forest 13,000 acres for homes in the hills and 3,000 acres for timber.

March: Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis – who is also is on the board of Citizens for East Shore State Park (CESP) – on their ongoing work. In honor of STB co-founder Sylvia McLaughlin we recalled the environmentalist’s accomplishments. A long-time member of LWVBAE and Environmental Concerns, McLaughlin hosted many meetings in her home. She is a “Spirit of the League” honoree, and The Eastshore State Park has been renamed in her honor.

In April for Earth Day we welcomed Sarah Diefendorf, LWVC board member and environmental advocate who presented: “Messaging the Environment,” giving us some history of the LWV on climate change issues as well as a Q & A about effectiveness in addressing climate change with the LWV at all levels, local, state and national.

Our final meeting of this cycle in May featured Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis; A conversation with: Dr. Margaret Paloma Pavel, President and founder of Earth House, a multicultural media and learning center for environmental and social justice in Oakland, and author of Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty and Breakthrough Communities; Joining her was Carl Anthony, founder of Breakthrough Communities to build multiracial leadership for sustainable communities nationwide. A Senior Ford Foundation Fellow at U.C Berkeley Department of Geography, his new book is The Earth, the City and the Hidden Narrative of Race examining connections between fields of environmental justice, community development and the changing face of global urbanization.


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