Before last Tuesday, I was preparing to send a letter to our Save The Bay community about all of our remarkable accomplishments in 2016.
But I had to rewrite it.
It’s difficult to celebrate local and state successes when we know the environment is about to be under assault here and throughout the nation. I am gravely concerned that the Trump Administration and Congress will attack the Clean Water Act that protects our Bay, deny climate change instead of combating it and adapting to it, and defund the Environmental Protection Agency.
But I’ve faced scary situations like this before and persevered. So have other experienced leaders on Save The Bay’s staff and board. So did the brave women who started our movement, by being tenacious and smart and strategic, by enlisting allies and speaking truth to power. We’re already gathering our colleagues and the partners we’ve gained in business, labor, and local government to continue to fight for the Bay.
What we’ve accomplished this year shows we can succeed by growing our local efforts to have regional and statewide impact. Our work to ban plastic bags spread from one city in 2008 to most cities in the region in just four years, creating the political momentum to pass Proposition 67 banning these bags throughout the state. Because we overcame millions of dollars in plastic industry campaign spending, billions of bags won’t trash our ocean and harm wildlife here, and other states and countries can copy our model.
Our unprecedented nine-county victory on Measure AA in June – $500 million in local taxes to restore thousands of acres of Bay wetlands – took a decade of work by Save The Bay. Again, our leadership can have national impact, as communities around the country ask us how they can apply our model for accelerating climate adaptation with natural infrastructure, without relying solely on the federal government.
Save The Bay isn’t satisfied with these wins, because the Bay faces big threats from climate change and pollution. We’ve set an ambitious Strategic Plan to secure a clean and health Bay for future generations, and added to our political muscle with new methods, broader public outreach, and new partnerships this year. We launched the Save The Bay Action Fund to endorse and pass crucial ballot measures. We started an annual Bay Day celebration that reached more than 2 million Bay Area residents. And we recruited new businesses, elected leaders, and community allies to support our ambitious agenda for the Bay.
We should all be very proud of these accomplishments – they position us to fight and win more progress for the Bay, even though the national election makes our work harder.
I know there are many pressing needs with a Trump administration on the horizon, and I’m especially grateful to those in our community who continue to make Save The Bay a priority. I ask that you continue to support us by donating, volunteering, and answering the call-to-action by standing with us against prominent threats to our Bay. There is a real opportunity ahead of us to continue making progress for the environment, right here at home. We have a beautiful Bay, and together we have the opportunity to make it healthy and vibrant for future generations.