By Conor Johnston on September 1, 2016 1:00 am
I bleed green. I started a company making biofuels, then another working on biodegradable plastics.
worked with London Breed as she passed: the strongest Styrofoam ban in
the country, drug take-back legislation that’s kept 38 tons of
pharmaceuticals out of the Bay or landfill and 2015’s Proposition H to
protect CleanPowerSF — the clean energy program Breed helped launch.
am a proud Sierra Club member, grateful for all the national
organization has achieved. Which is why I am so frustrated by the
bewildering anti-environmentalism of our local Sierra Club leaders.
most clubs in The City, our Sierra Club chapter’s decisions are not
made by the members; they’re controlled by a handful of NIMBYs who put
their personal agenda above the environment.
The Bay Area is projected to grow by almost two million people in the next 25 years, meaning we’ll need 600,000 new homes.
multi-unit, transit-accessible homes in San Francisco, instead of
single-family houses in Tracy or Fairfield, means less car travel, less
water and energy use, lower emissions and more land for carbon
sequestration. A study by Energy Innovations estimated that if by 2030
California builds 85 percent of its new housing within existing cities,
then each year: carbon dioxide emissions will drop by up to 28,000,000
tons, pollution-related health costs by $1 billion, water use by 27,000
gallons per home and households will save $2,000 per year on gas, water
The national Sierra Club’s official land use policy
urges “‘infill’ residential and commercial development” with “densities
and mixtures of uses that encourage walking and transit.” It warns of
suburban sprawl, “a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful
land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions.”
You cannot be pro-environment and anti-urban housing.
in the last few years alone, our Sierra Club Chapter leaders opposed
the Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard plan, bringing 12,000 new
homes with about one-third affordable, a major environmental cleanup,
and the rebuild of Alice Griffith public housing. They opposed
Parkmerced, with 5,679 new homes and transit improvements for a
car-dependent area once billed as “suburban living in The City.”
leaders opposed the Treasure Island plan, with 8,000 new homes, the
country’s first congestion pricing program, and acres of parks and
wetlands. They even opposed the Giant’s Mission Rock, turning parking
lots into a transit-rich, mixed-use neighborhood with 1,500 new homes.
Time and again, chapter leaders hedge their opposition with statements
like, “We support infill development, just not this plan.” But if you
oppose every plan, that hedge rings awfully hollow. And the environment
Posted by Steve Sinai