SD Chapter News

New Year’s Resolution: Going Green

Is Being Green on Your New Year’s List of Resolutions?

You may remember Kermit the Frog singing the tune “it’s not easy being green”. Here are some tips from Michelle De Nicola on what you can do to live a greener lifestyle. Choose a couple of items and include them in your New Year’s List of Resolutions.

Reusables, Not Disposables:
+ Towel Power – Use cloth towels instead of paper towels. Dedicate a few kitchen towels to drying produce after you wash it, and put a washcloth in with your baby greens to absorb moisture. Use a bar mob or sponge to clean up counter spills, and keep one for floor messes too.

+ BYO Towel – Keep a washcloth or small towel in your bag or car and at work, so when you are on the go, you can dry your hands with your own personal towel, instead of creating paper towel waste or using electricity from running electric hand dryer.

+ BYO Bags – Get reusable bags for all your shopping. Also try the mesh produce bags. Don’t buy into the so-called reusable plastic shopping bags or the paper bags at checkout. If you forgot your bags, grab a cart and wheel your groceries to your car.

+ Reusable Food Storage Bags – These will save you money and cut down on resources used to make virgin single-use plastic bags.

+ BYO Utensils – Not just for camping, you can get a set of reusable utensils for your lunch bag, backpack, briefcase, and car so you’re never in need of a plastic
“single use” utensil again.

+ Bye, Bottled Water – It takes more water to make the plastic bottle of bottled water than to fill it up. Get a reusable, washable bottle instead.

+ Rechargeable batteries – Buy a few sets of rechargeable batteries with chargers instead of buying single-use.

Go Tree-less
+ Paper & Paper Products – Switch you office paper and paper products to a tree-free alternative, such as paper made from sugar cane or 100% post-consumer product. Not just printer paper, but also toilet paper, tissues, napkins, and paper towels.

+ Public Paper – Opt out of using paper towel in public restrooms.

Go Paperless
+ Bills – Sign up for e-statements so your bills get delivered to your email inbox, not your mailbox. Less mail sorting, too!

+ Ditch the Receipts – Many retailers can now email and text receipts to you at the point of sale. Choose whenever you can. Plus, you’ll have more room in your wallet for other things, like cash!

To-Go Green
+ Say No to To-Go boxes – Bring your own sandwich box when you eat out. If you’re picking up an order, bring your own bag.

+ BYO Mug – Carry a travel mug or tumbler with you for beverages on the go. Or make beverages at home and enjoy them on the go

Plastic – Reduce & Replace
+ Water Filtration – Buy a water filter pitcher or a filter for you kitchen sink. It’ll give you more filtered water for less money than bottled water.

+ Bioplastic Bags – Replace your plastic trash bags and doggie doo bags with bioplastic. It’s made from plants and is biodegradeable, unlike its petroleum counterpart.

+ Straws – When you dine out, tell your waiter or bartender you don’t want a straw. If you must have a straw, choose reusable (& get a cleaning kit), bioplastic, or recycled paper.

+ Avoid Polystyrene – Polystyrene is often called Styrofoam, but they’re not the same thing. Polystyrene (PS) is what the foamy white cups and to-go containers are made from. It’s toxic to make and leaches toxins into your food, especially when hot.

Home Improvement
+ Bamboo, Baby! – Ditch the hardwood and choose bamboo for just about everything. It makes great flooring, countertops cabinets, fences, and furniture. And since it’s a quickly-growing reed, it’s super sustainable and naturally pest-resistant.

+ Recycled & Re-purposed – Recycled glass and recycled stone counter tops are beautiful, durable, easy to clean, and much friendlier to the planet than new quarried stone slabs.

+ Reuse – Check out thrift stores for decor, before you hit the retail stores.

Reduce Gas Usage
+ Use Public Transportation – Try Amtrak, the Coaster, the Trolley, bus lines, bike, or walking. Try splitting a cab or ride sharing too.

+ Carpool – You’ll use less gas and you can share the costs with your fellow riders.

+ Shop Local – Buy locally-grown foods at one of the many farmer’s markets in the county. There’s less transportation involved in getting the foods to you, thus reducing the carbon footprint of what you buy.

Water Conservation
+ Water Off – When you wash your hands, lather up with the water off. Keep it off while brushing your teeth, too.

+ Go – Put a water-filled container in your toilet tank for less water useage per flush.

+ Green Thumb: Make your yard and garden water-wise. The City of San Diego has water conservation tips on its website.

Reduce Energy Usage
+ Switch to LED lightbulbs – They use far less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, and less that compact fluorescents, too. Plus they don’t contain mercury like compact fluorescent bulbs, and put out very little heat.

+ Lights Out – For an easy way to power down, plug devices into power strips around you home. Just flip the switch to turn off everything at once.

+ Save with OhmConnect – Sign up at for free and join the Sierra Club team. You’ll save money and earn points while helping to keep the dirtiest power plants offline during peak hours.

Reduce Waste
+ Compost – Start a compost bin to keep food waste out of the dump, where it rots and releases methane, a major greenhouse gas. The City of San Diego holds free composting classes–just check their website,

+ Diaper Dilemma – Switch to cloth instead of using disposables, which sit around in landfills for 250 – 500 years. Rubber help with waterproofing. If you’re traveling, try biodegradable bamboo diapers.

+ Reuse & Recycle Foil – Don’t buy into the marketing of using foil to avoid doing dishes. Aluminum can be recycled using just 5% of the energy it takes to make a new product. If you must buy foil, go with 100% recycled product.

+ Packaging – Consider the packaging of products you buy and how you’ll recycle it.

Kind Food Choices
+ Go Organic – Pesticides are harmful for humans, animals, and pollinating insects, like bees. One of the most widely-used pesticides, Roundup, contains a key ingredient called glyphosate. It’s a probable human carcinogen that’s present in high amounts in some very popular foods—like a cereal brand often fed to toddlers, brand name chips, cookies, and more. Glyphosate also binds to nutrients, pulling them out of the soil and out of food, decreasing nutritional value. Because it’s water soluble, glyphosate in crop runoff pollutes soil and water sources beyond the area that’s sprayed.

+ Just Say ‘No’ to GMO – Many GMO plants are resistant to pesticides, so multiple rounds of pesticide are sprayed on them to repel insects. Because of the wind and pollinators, like bees, some of the DNA can travel to organic farms and contaminate the crops. To create GMOs, biotech companies alter DNA structure, adding in what nature never intended. This alteration also allows them to patent the plant, and thus own it. We human guinea pigs don’t yet know the full extent of GMOs on our health. Something else to consider–biotech and chemical companies are in control of more of our food supply than our farmers.

+ Real Food, Not Processed – The more you buy plants and grains that are in their whole form, the more nutrition they’ll have and the more money you’ll save. You’ll have less packaging waste, too.

+ Support Sustainable & Fair Companies – You vote with your dollars every time you buy products. Support food and beverage companies with sustainable farming practices—not those who destroy the rain forests and the soil, spray toxins onto our crops, or pollute our rivers, land, and air. Choose companies that are fair to people and humane to animals.

About the Author
Michelle became involved in the San Diego chapter of the Sierra Club this past January 2017. She’s a member of the Conservation Committee, working on Zero Waste and Environmental Justice issues, and the new Conservation Chair for the S
ocial Sierrans.







  • Breakout Session 3088x1608

How the Sierra Club is transforming into a more equitable, just and inclusive organization

All across America, the Sierra Club is hosting workshops for staff and volunteers to transform the organization to one that is more equitable, just and inclusive. Recently 4 volunteers, Mayela Manasjan (North County Coastal Group), Kelly Conrad (North County Group), Bobbi Jo Chavarria (San Gorgonio Chapter) and Stefanie Maio (San Diego Chapter) attended the Growing for Change Workshop in Denver, Colorado. At the workshop the representatives from Southern California had the opportunity to meet people from across the country who were interested in learning how they could be part of the club’s transformation.

Over the two days, participants learned more about the history of the Sierra Club including the founding of the club by a group of privileged individuals and how the club is looking to incorporate the Jemez Principles in this journey of transformation.

The Jemez Principles have been endorsed by the Sierra Club Board of Directors as a set of guidelines designed to help people from different struggles and communities work together in solidarity.

Each of attendees are sharing what they learned at the Growing for Change workshop with their respective Executive Committees or Steering Committees to encourage everyone to incorporate the Jemez Principles in transforming the Club.

How can you make a difference? Learn more about the Jemez Principles and try to incorporate them in your daily lives.

Jemez Principles:
• Be Inclusive
• Emphasis on Bottom-Up Organizing
• Let People Speak for Themselves
• Work Together In Solidarity and Mutuality
• Build Just Relationships Among Ourselves
• Commitment to Self-Transformation

  • Inconvenient Sequel

Think Globally, Act Locally

While I was visiting family in early May, a favorite aunt (she’s as environmentally passionate as I am) and I saw the trailer for “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power and we clapped and hooted in the movie theater.  We were so excited for this movie to come out.  At the time, I thought in my head, “I would love to put together a group of friends to go see this then have a discussion afterwards about it”.  Well, my dream came true…without me even having to plan it.  In mid-July, our San Diego Sierra Club chapter invited its Chapter Outing Leaders to a pre-screening of Al Gore’s documentary at the Mission Valley AMC theater, two weeks before general release.  It was to be accompanied by a panel discussion afterwards.  I signed up immediately.

The day came, and three friends of mine carpooled down to the screening with me.  We enjoyed the movie about the Climate Crisis (yet to be honest, it’s hard to ‘enjoy’ something that’s scaring you so much about the future of our planet; more on that later), then the speakers for the panel began.  Leaders and representatives from the Sequoia Foundation, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, and a Gore disciple from his renowned training program spoke to the audience.  They were so passionate, excited, and knowledgeable that it really gave me hope!

If you see the movie and end up wanting to spread the message, there is a PDF or PowerPoint presentation designed to educate in ten minutes at the Climate Reality website called the “Truth in 10“.  If everyone is unable to see the entire documentary, they can at least know the important facts from this.

That same week, a Wilderness Basics Course friend reached out via Facebook asking if anyone wanted to join her for the July 19 Activists Orientation (there was second one held on August 17 too).  After seeing the movie and hearing the speakers, I was in!  I felt like I had to do something but I didn’t know what.  I thought this Orientation may give me some guidance.

Ally and Morgan are the young, friendly co-coordinators for activism in our Chapter.  The Orientation was well-organized and casual, yet very informative.  Presentations were given by many Chapter subcommittees, including the Political Committee and the Conservation Committee.  Even though I’ve been a fairly active member of the Club since 2002, it was a great refresher and I actually learned a lot more than I had known in the first place.

In conclusion, “An Inconvenient Truth” was very interesting but also a bit depressing.  I wanted some better news at the end of the movie, but the panel discussion and the Activists Orientation gave me that better news.  And a plan for moving forward with hope.  There are numerous opportunities within our Chapter for helping out, taking action, informing others, working with local politicians, and affecting change that will shape our future.  It’s a very exciting time and I hope you get involved too!

Jody Stell

About the Author
Jody Stell is a Chapter Outings Leader and Staff member on the Wilderness Basics Course who has kept a Hiking Log since she moved to San Diego and joined the Sierra Club; her favorite was the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  She has Explored and Enjoyed, now she will Protect.

An Evening With Tom Steyer

The mission: strengthen our movement by joining together to discuss, learn, and ask questions about the climate crisis. That’s why SanDiego350 is co-hosting an evening with Tom Steyer on September 7th in San Diego and you’re invited!

Please note: NEW START TIME of PROGRAM IS 6:30 pm (not 7 pm).

Tom is a business leader, activist, and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to ensure that every family has access to economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate. He is President of NextGen America, previously NextGen Climate, which he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster, promote prosperity, and protect the rights of every American.
Tom has appeared at numerous rallies and conferences to promote action on climate change, including BreakFree LA in 2016.

RSVP now for an evening with Tom Steyer in San Diego to discuss our political moment and how we can fight back.
We’ll discuss the politics of climate change, NextGen America’s work, and how Californians can take effective action. There will be an extensive Q&A period, so please bring your questions.

Tom will be joined by San Diego Council Member Barbara Bry (District 1), who will give an update on implementing a Community Choice Energy program in San Diego in order to meet our goal of 100% clean energy — and how San Diegans can help make it happen.

Here are the details:

What: An evening with Tom Steyer and Council Member Barbara Bry
When: Thursday, Sept. 7 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM (Refreshments and nonprofit tables starting at 6:00)
Where: St. Paul’s Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Avenue, San Diego, 92103 (enter on 5th Ave)
Tickets: Click here to reserve your seat (suggested donation of $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
We’ll offer refreshments and also host a wide range of cosponsors at informational tables in the courtyard before and after the talk. See RSVP page for more details.

RSVP now as space is limited, and please join and share our Facebook event.

April North County Coastal Group Meeting

North County Coastal Group – Wednesday, April 20
Encinitas Community Center, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

On March 15 several Sierra Club North County Coastal Group members met to discuss North County Coastal local cities overall environmental concerns, issues regarding North Coastal cities Climate Action Plans and  Community Choice Energy possibilities.  It was a great discussion that generated several areas of concern.
Issues identified for Solano Beach included: Enforcement of City environmental policies regarding bag ban and commercial recycling, sea level rise and Solana Beach Climate Action Plan.
For Oceanside issues identified included:  Gregory Canyon, bag ban, habitat conservation plan, coastal development, sea level rise, Buena Vista Lagoon restoration, I 5/78 widening and interchange, protecting local farm land and Oceanside Climate Action Plan.
For Encinitas issues identified included:  Elections opportunity for progressive council membership in November 2016 with four seats open, polystyrene ban, Community Choice Energy, bike lanes, Encinitas Climate Action Plan update, waste and recycling of plastic, education/outreach to community around environmental issues.
For Carlsbad issues identified included:  Open space, water, development, Encina Power Station and Community Choice Energy.
Regional issues identified in addition to the above included focus on Gregory Canyon with its plan for land fill development on top of the areas’ water aquifer, mandates without enforcement, San Onofre waste storage, Community Choice Energy creation of an alternative energy provider with possibility of a Joint Powers Authority for all North County Coastal cities, freeway widening versus regional transportation planning, huge development plans, Palomar Airport expansion, Coastal Commission direction and future of the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
It was decided for folks interested in pursuing addressing issues both on a local and regional basis, we would meet again in a month to discuss how we might come together to form a viable group that would be able to tackle some of these major concerns.  For issues specific to Community Choice Energy, it was determined that the Carlsbad Action Team already working with Pete Hasapopoulos of the Sierra Club My Generation program would address specifically those issues.
For the past several years, there has been a North County Coastal Group of the Sierra Club that addressed local issues, provided educational opportunities and a social forum for people who shared the same commitment and dedication to “exploring, enjoying and preserving” the  treasured environment we so cherish in San Diego.  The Sierra Club of San Diego would like to see that the North County Coastal members again have that opportunity to focus on their local issues and function as an active local Sierra Club group under the umbrella of the San Diego Sierra Club with all the backing of the National Sierra Club.
To that end, we have scheduled another meeting at the Encinitas Community Center for Wednesday, April 20, 2016, 6:30-8:30 pm.  We will have a short social time and then plunge in to figure out how we want to proceed to give North County Coastal Sierra Club members the best plan for reestablishing the North County Coastal Sierra Club Group focusing on local issues and raising our effectiveness in using the Sierra Club voice in the North County Coastal area.
For more information, contact Karenlee Robinson at

The Encinitas Community Center is at the intersection of Encinitas Blvd.
and Balour Drive. From I-5, take Encinitas Blvd East to Balour Drive (at
the top of the hill) and turn right, then turn left on Oakcrest Park
Drive. The entrance is off Oakcrest Park drive, just South of Encinitas
Blvd on Balour.

Coaster Meeting – July 21

Coasters (North County Coastal Group) member meeting.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Registration Required before July 19, 2015 5:00 PM
Location: Encinitas Community Center
1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024, USA

Topic: the proposed development at the Strawberry Fields in Carlsbad.

A representative of the developer, Caruso Affiliated, will provide an overview of the proposed project and answer your questions.

This is likely to be a popular topic, so advance registration is required. To sign up, locate the meeting on the activities calendar, or use this direct link. Click the Register button at the top right, and follow the instructions to register.

Our usual meeting room will only hold about 20 people. If registrations exceed that, I will try to arrange for a larger room at the community center.

Since we are limited to a two-hour meeting, we would like to organize the questions, and make sure the most important questions get priority. You may submit up to three questions with your registration. Priority will go to the questions that more people suggest.