As the Bay Area continues to grow and change, and the Bay faces new threats, we know we need to take an expanded view of how to protect and restore the Bay for people and wildlife. Creating “Bay Smart Communities” is essential for creating a healthy Bay, because pollution and climate change aren’t limited to the shoreline.
Threats to the Bay originate inland and upstream. So how our cities choose to accommodate more people and businesses will have a huge impact on the Bay. We must shape those choices to make the Bay better.
That’s the discussion we’re having this month with forums in Oakland and Mountain View about our vision for how Bay Area cities can become Bay Smart.
Save The Bay was founded in 1961, with what looked like an impossible mission: stop the Bay from being filled in. It was considered impossible then to stop cities building into the Bay — that was the inevitable march of progress, considered essential to create room for commerce and a growing economy. But when we stopped filling the Bay, the opposite happened. The Bay Area has boomed because protecting nature in our midst made this a more desirable urban area to live, work and play.In all of this work, Save The Bay will ensure the Bay’s voice is heard. We will leverage the power of our membership, resources, and reputation. We will collaborate with partners who share our concerns and goals. We are eager to learn from those who’ve already devoted years of effort to this work, and we will also bring new perspective and energy to the process.
This month we’ve added more details to our vision of Bay Smart Communities, and made recommendations for protecting the Bay by tackling the big challenges facing our region:
- How do we live, work and move around the Bay Area in ways that are sustainable and resilient in a time of rapid climate change?
- How do we accommodate growth in the Bay Area in ways that reduce water and air pollution, including greenhouse gases?
- How do we reduce water and energy consumption, and improve equity and environmental justice?
We can’t save the Bay without addressing these pressing Bay Area challenges. We can promote Bay Area planning and development policies and decisions that help create Bay Smart Communities — where sustainable growth in our cities actually enhances the Bay, reduces pollution, is more resilient to climate change, advances environmental justice, and promotes equity.