Save the Bay Turns 50, and What That Means

I like the headline the Examiner used for my feature on the 50th anniversary of Save the Bay, so I'll repeat it: "At 50, Save the Bay looks back at history, forward to Cargill project." The idea is that while the organization's accomplishments over the past five decades have been incredible, the work will never end. And one of its biggest battles lies on the horizon: a fight to keep Cargill from developing unused salt flats outside Redwood City rather than restoring them to wetlands. Multiple reports in the last month alone have pointed to the importance of wetlands in insulating the San Francisco Bay Area's people, plants, and animals from the effects of sea-level rise caused by global warming, and wetlands like the one Save the Bay wants to restore on Cargill's property will only become more critical.

Meeting Save the Bay founder Sylvia McLaughlin, now 95 and still living in the Berkeley hills, as well as learning more about the bay's ecology, were incredible benefits of this assignment. But the take-away message must be: As improved as it is in 2011 versus 1960, when it reeked of raw sewage and was being filled at the rate of two square miles per years, the San Francisco Bay is still threatened. Given the sheer number of people ringing its shore, that will always be the case. And everything from casual litter to state policy today impacts what it'll look like in another fifty years. By no accident will it continue to improve, or revert to its formerly spoiled state.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: