Remembering Sylvia McLaughlin


Sylvia McLaughlin, the prominent environmentalist, LWV supporter and co- founder of Save the Bay who spent more than 50 years fighting to safeguard the San Francisco Bay from development and pollution, died at her Berkeley home in January. She was 99.

When McLaughlin and her friends Kay Kerr and Esther Gulick started the grassroots environmental campaign to stop Berkeley’s plan to fill in 2,000 acres of the Bay, many saw it as one of the first grassroots environmental movements of the 20th century. After successfully stopping Berkeley’s plans, the trio of iconic female environmentalists began work to stop other similar projects in the Bay.

McLaughlin’s friendly but determined attitude put her in the main public speaking role for the women’s efforts and she was known to encourage her supporters with the phrase: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

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