Please join me in signing a petition asking the Sierra Club to stop championing the destruction of forests, the harming of wildlife, and the spreading of thousands of gallons of toxic herbicides in the San Francisco Bay Area (yes, you read that right) by clicking here.

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Some 150 years ago, pioneers settling in San Francisco’s East Bay undertook an ambitious campaign to plant millions of trees in the Oakland and Berkeley hills which at the time were largely treeless hillsides covered in flammable grasses prone to devastating annual wildfires. Seeking to abate the risk of fire and to beautify the region, these nature loving settlers planted Monterey Pine, Acacia and Eucalyptus. Among these early planters was Joaquin Miller, celebrated “Poet of the Sierras,” father of California’s Arbor Day, and friend and colleague of Sierra Club founder, John Muir, another lover of Eucalyptus trees who likewise planted such trees around his own home.

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John Muir

When human encroachment and development in the first half of the 20th century threatened these forests, Bay Area conservationists came to their defense, founding the East Bay Regional Parks District to protect and preserve cherished forests for the benefit and enjoyment of posterity. The Sierra Club cheered. Today, the forests growing in these parks and upon other public lands are deeply beloved, iconic and character defining features of the region and, more importantly, home to millions of animals.

Tragically, today as before, the East Bay hills are again under threat, as a plan to cut down over 400,000 Monterey Pine, Acacia and Eucalyptus trees and spread thousands of gallons of toxic herbicides – 2,250 gallons in the 11 Regional Parks alone – is now underway. Yet this time, many of those who should be the trees’ most ardent champions – self-proclaimed “conservationists” – are instead the very people demanding their destruction under the myopic and discriminatory claim that trees which have blanketed the hills for well over a century, which provide stunning beauty, shady hiking trails and home to multitudes of wild animals, do not belong. In this effort, they are led not only by the East Bay Regional Parks District itself, but an organization pursuing an agenda that would be unrecognizable to its founder: the Sierra Club.

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Arguing that the plan to destroy nearly half a million trees does not go far enough, the Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit demanding that East Bay public officials cut down even more Monterey Pine, Acacia and Eucalyptus trees on targeted lands – every last one of them – and spread additional toxic chemicals to ensure their eradication. Working in opposition to the efforts of park visitors, nearby residents, animal protection groups, anti-herbicide organizations and the will of the majority of the East Bay public as expressed in the thousands of comments submitted to the federal agency funding the deforestation (90% of 13,000 public comments opposed the environmental destruction), the Sierra Club is no longer an ally of environmental champions in the San Francisco Bay Area, but rather, one of their greatest foes. It also represents a threat to the lives of millions of animals who make those forests their homes, dismissing their deaths as of no concern because they are “common” animals.

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Why? The Sierra Club has been taken over by “native” plant ideologues, those who believe the world should be broken down into two camps: “native” plants and animals who are worthy of protecting and “non-native” plants and animals who deserve to die, embracing the same sort of discrimination we have rejected as immoral in our treatment of our fellow human beings and, in the process, an agenda that has become indistinguishable from the very threats the environmental protection movement was founded to combat: the timber and chemical industries. 

In order to mold the world into their warped vision, they turn our natural places into environmental war zones, they partner with chemical companies such as Monsanto and Dow, and force those of us who do not subscribe to such reactionary points of view to watch with sorrow and great heartbreak as century old trees fall to the chainsaw, animals are displaced, harmed and poisoned, and healthy, beautiful, lush forests are reduced to hillsides of chemically soaked, barren tree stumps, all the while paradoxically claiming that such destruction is good for us and our environment.

As appeals to local Sierra Club representatives continue to fall on defiant ears, Bay Area environmentalists have written a petition to the national leadership of the Sierra Club, asking them to stop this breathtaking betrayal of their mission, the environment, and of the people and animals of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Please take a moment to add your voice to those working to reform an organization which betrays the inspiring vision of responsible environmental stewardship championed by its legendary founder, John Muir. Sign the petition: http://goo.gl/ysAL46.

For further reading:

The Jewels in Oakland’s Crown

Rejecting Arbitrary Labels That Enable Great Harm

Biological Xenophobia

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