In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -Leo Buscaglia, author (1924-1998)

1.   Today is final day to vote for $10,000 for SF tree planting money
2.   SF Ocean Edge response to approval of Beach Chalet soccer fields
3.   Born this day, 1819 - Walt Whitman
4.   Mt Davidson nesting birds field trip Sunday June 3
5.   Help put water conservation and Yosemite Restoration Initiative on November ballot
6.   Assembly considers ban on using dogs to tree prey/coyote pup pictures
7.   McLaren Park proposed disc golf course tour Sunday June 3
8.   Feedback: no tarantulas in SF/reflections on ancient Athens vs today's predicament
9.   SF 4th healthiest U.S. city?
10. Thinkwalks talks about Golden Gate Bridge and its design
11.  Mary Oliver asks Can You Imagine?
12.  Biology and financial instability: testosterone and taking risks
13.  Economic growth "the holy grail".
14.  Acterra native plant sale June 2/crows & ravens - Sunnyvale June 6
15.  Sunday Streets returns to Valencia St Sunday June 3
16.  Marin Municipal Water District June calendar - trail day June 2
17.  The Economist considers the morals of machines
18.  Notes & Queries: When has drunkenness affected the tide of history?

Help Bring $10,000 Tree Planting Money to SF

Dear Nature News Readers,

As of Wednesday at 6 PM the Sutro Stewards' Plant-A-Tree project was in 10th place Nationwide. We need to retain this position or better, during the final push by all other organizations, to bring $10,000 to San Francisco's Mt. Sutro!

Cast your vote NOW for the Sutro Stewards Tree Planting Project.
Vote Here:

Our project is unique and hugely beneficial to the long-term health and sustainability of the Mount Sutro Open Space. The trees we will purchase are from a short list of dwindling natives that once covered the San Miguel Hills in the center of San Francisco. We will plant these trees, then use the seed and cuttings from them for propagation in the UCSF Sutro Nursery. The stock we grow will be reintroduced in our open space area.

Please share this with your household, friends, family and network, too.
I am grateful for your support.

       June 5th Ballot - Vote for those who support Golden Gate Park!
     Ask SF Parks Alliance to reconsider its decision to support the soccer complex.
      You have told us to keep fighting for Golden Gate Park -- we agree!  Here's how you can help!

SF Ocean Edge has asked candidates about their support of Golden Gate Park's parkland.  Vote for those who support the Park! 
NO!  We ask that you NOT vote for the following candidates:
Have expressed support for the Beach Chalet soccer complex:

Democratic County Central Committee - Assembly District 17:
Bevan Dufty

Democratic County Central Committee - Assembly District 19:
Mary Jung
Meagan Levitan - voted on May 24th to approve the Beach Chalet soccer complex (Rec and Park Commission)
Jim Wiexel

YES!  Please vote for the following candidates  - they have returned questionnaires or demonstrated support for protecting Golden Gate Park's landscape:
Barry Hermanson

State Assembly - District 17
Tom Ammiano

Democratic County Central Committee - Assembly District 17:
John Avalos
David Campos
Dean Clark
Petra DeJesus
Gabriel Haaland
Rick Hauptman
Rafael Mandelman
Carole Midgen
Justin Morgan, M.D.

Democratic County Central Committee - Assembly District 19:
Mike Alonso
Wendy Aragon
Kevin Bard
Chuck Chan
Kelly Dwyer
Hene Kelly
Trevor McNeil

3.  Ask SF Parks Alliance to reconsider its decision to support artificial turf and lights in GGP
The SF Parks Alliance has issued a statement that they "strongly favor" the Beach Chalet soccer complex.  It also testified in favor of the soccer complex on May 24th.  Write to them, and ask them to reconsider.  Ask them to support the win-win alternative - fix up the Beach Chalet with real grass and no lights and use the remainder of the funding to fix up other fields for kids all over San Francisco.  Copy us on your emails!
   ( SFPA:   SFOE:    )

4.  What you can do!
SF Ocean Edge is working with our attorney on our legal options.  Legal advice requires funding --donate today .    Now is the time to volunteer!   Learn more about what else you can do at  .



31 May 1819     Walt Whitman

"Re-examine all that you have been told...dismiss that which insults your soul."  Walt Whitman

Georgia O'Keefe:  Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue - that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man's destruction is finished.


Love the earth and sun and the animals,
 despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
or to any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
and with the young, and with the mothers or families,
re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
and dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
and your very flesh shall be a great poem....

~ Walt Whitman ~

 (from the Preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855 edition)

California Native Plant Society field trip - free and open to the public
Mt Davidson Nesting Birds
Sunday June 3, 8 am to 10.30 am
Leaders:  Dominik Mosur and Gail Wechsler

Mt Davidson is City-owned land (except for a small area at the top) managed as part of Recreation and Parks' Natural Areas Program.  It contains some of the best remaining native grassland and coastal scrub habitat in town.,..and an overgrowth of blue gum eucalyptus (E. globulus) entwined with invasive ivies (Delairea odorata, Hedera helix).  It's also one of the best local birding spots.  On this late spring walk, we'll look for signs of nesting activity and discuss how birds preferentially use native plant communities over introduced plants.  Be prepared for chilly, wet conditions under the eucalyptus canopy; a waterproof jacket and shoes may ber recommended, as are binoculars.  Rsvp to Gail Wechsler at


5.  Help Put the Water Conservation and Yosemite Restoration Initiative on the Ballot!
I'm writing to let you know about an exciting petition that will be arriving in your mailbox soon that would help us take the first step toward creating a Second Yosemite.

Last week, a coalition of environmental groups and former Yosemite Park Superintendent B.J. Griffin joined together to officially launch the petition drive to qualify the Water Conservation and Yosemite Restoration Initiative for the November 2012 San Francisco ballot. Here's a link to an ABC Channel 7 news story about the event:

If approved by the voters, the initiative will require San Francisco to create a comprehensive plan to move San Francisco from last in the state to first in the nation in water sustainability and to allow Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park to be restored. Before any actions could be taken, voters would have to vote to approve this plan in November 2016.
But to qualify this exciting measure for the ballot in time, we need your help!  We have to collect 15,000 petition signatures from registered San Francisco voters before July 9th. In order to do so, we are asking you to help by signing the petition and recruiting friends, family and neighbors to sign it as well.
Look for the petition to arrive at your mailbox later this week. Just sign and send the petition back to us in the enclosed envelope. If you can, also ask your friends and neighbors to sign the petition in the spaces provided.

And if you would be willing to volunteer a few hours of your time to help on the campaign, please contact me at or (415) 227-4633.  
Thank you so very much for supporting our efforts to improve water conservation in San Francisco and restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park for all the people to enjoy.
Grace Buchloh
Campaign Organizer
Yosemite Restoration Campaign
(415) 227-4633



Saturday, May 26  2012
Restoring Hetch Hetchy starts with conservation
By Steve Scauzillo

"SO those crazy environmentalists are trying to get rid of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir ..."

I know that's what many of you would say if you read any of the headlines on Thursday from the great city of San Francisco. But hold on. The Yosemite Restoration Initiative folks are taking a practical bent, putting water conservation and better resource planning for the City By The Bay well ahead of any monkey-wrenching.

Put another way, they have not come out swinging a sledge hammer, nor sucking on a garden hose to drain the reservoir in the north end of Yosemite National Park.

These guys are really quite sane. If you call draining San Francisco's main water and power source and restoring the natural valley a sane idea.

It's bold. But it's not crazy.

Let me explain.

First, they have famous naturalist John Muir on their side, so to speak. It's cool when you can invoke the memory of a guy with a long beard who wrote cool things in his diary and rode the ferry from San Francisco to Oakland for his first hike into Yosemite exactly 144 years ago.

But it's even better when you read that Muir thought Hetch Hetchy Valley was even more magnificent than nearby Yosemite Valley. Muir wrote it was "a grand landscape garden, one of Nature's rarest and most precious mountain temples."
Of course, not many have seen it. Hetch Hetchy was logged cleaner than a sheared sheep's back, then flooded after a concrete dam was poured. The resulting reservoir has a capacity of 117 billion gallons of water, and is San Francisco's prime water source, delivering about 300 million gallons a day to the city/county.

The Restore Hetch Hetchy group says it's time San Francisco stop wasting water from Yosemite. Pictures on its website show city workers hosing down outdoor toilets last month with the fresh water source.

Because the city has such a plentiful water supply, they've gotten lazy, the group says. They write that Orange County recycles 92 million gallons of water per day. San Francisco? Exactly zero gallons.

Liberal San Francisco being shown up by Republican-dominated Orange County.
That must sting.

"We know San Francisco could have recycled a great deal more. But we haven't had to take those measures, ironically, in environmentally conscious San Francisco," said Jon Golinger, a spokesman for the initiative.

Here's how it would work.

The initiative would force the city's leaders to come up with a water conservation plan. This isn't so radical. It's something every local water district in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier area has. In fact, many are already doing a lot to recycle water. So not just the OC, but the SGV (or if you prefer, The 626 or the 562) is far ahead of progressive San Francisco. We have a new recycled water project going in every month, it seems. The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal, Three Valleys, Central Basin water districts and the county Sanitation Districts are turning sewage water into clean water for irrigation in parks, ball fields and golf courses.

Once San Francisco has a plan to use water from the Tuolumne River more efficiently, replenish ground water, and recycle wastewater, then the plan would go before SF voters in November 2016. Then, if it all works out, Hetch Hetchy could be drained by 2025 and the valley allowed to come back to life.
"This initiative is the first step toward creating a second Yosemite," said B.J. Griffin, former superintendent of Yosemite National Park from 1995-1997, who helped launch the ballot measure Wednesday.

Just imagine what it would be like to have a second Yosemite for hiking and picnicking? Maybe not for you but for your children and your grandchildren. The first one is so crowded you need a reservation a year in advance just to get in - that would probably keep John Muir out today.

They need just 9,700 signatures to reach the November ballot. They can get there no sweat. Where do I sign?

(This short film explains the history behind the flooding of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, and the continuing debate regarding its restoration. Starring Harrison Ford.)

6.  Assembly considers ban on using dogs to tree prey

Monday, May 28, 2012 (SF Chronicle)


Coyote pups:

Save McLaren
Public tour of proposed disc golf course
this Sunday, June 3rd, 11am

A representative from the San Francisco Disc Golf Club will lead a tour of the proposed 18-hole course in McLaren Park Sunday, June 3rd, 11am.

    •    Find out which trails, open spaces, woodland areas and picnic grounds will be sacrificed.
    •    Learn the locations of concrete tee boxes, fairways and metal baskets.
    •    Meet your neighbors and other volunteers dedicated to protecting McLaren Park.
Join us Sunday, June 3rd at 11am at the June Jordan School parking area. (Brazil and La Grande).


8.  Feedback

Ted Kipping:
Jake, we had a tarantula living in the native plant garden I planted for her more than 30 years ago - also on Mt Davidson. I saw it there year after year.
What do you mean "the native plant garden I planted for her.."?
It's in the book "Gardens of San Francisco" her garden was full of CA plants so she could watercolor them in bloom. My gift to her for not drowning me at birth. I maintained it for her for many years. It had 1,000's of Alliums, Brodieas, Dichelostomas, Triteleias, Mimulus, Gilias, Eschscholzias, Eriogonums ..............

Patrick Schlemmer:
Hi Jake,
Please let Dylan know that I think he found a Calisoga spider rather than a true tarantula. Calisoga longitarsus is sometimes known as a “false tarantula.” The two look similar, but the Calisoga is not as hairy. It is also more silky gray than brown. I’ve never heard of a tarantula in San Francisco County, but we do have Calisoga spiders here. My friend Steve Lew has a good page on local spiders at
Patrick Schlemmer
San Francisco Insect Zoo Keeper

On May 29, 2012, at 12:28 AM, Michael Alexander wrote:
You left out one word:
Commentator Angelo Tsarouchas is first generation Greek-Canadian comedian.
(Listen to the podcast.)

With all due respect to the ancients, whose gifts to civilization you rightly treasure, the Greeks— actually just the Athenians— gave us direct democracy, which only worked for a short time and never well. And then there was the Peloponnesian War (431-404BC, or twenty seven years). What was that warfare like? Thucydides, its historian, describes how armies would meet on a field. The soldiers stood in long lines, face to face and eye to eye, each teenager hacking and jabbing at his opponent, trying to get his sword or lance past a shield or other protection to gouge the kidney or liver. After the brutality, a truce took over so the dead could be collected by the surviving soldiers of each side, to be ritually honored by the citizens of their community.

Each spring, soldiers (meaning a generation of youths) from a town would destroy the crops of their opponents, guaranteeing privation or starvation. If they succeeded in breaching the defensive walls of the opposing city, they enslaved the inhabitants and raped the women. Sometimes they butchered all their prisoners. Who were their opponents, invaders from present-day Turkey or Albania or Hungary? More likely, they were the residents of another town seven miles away, who were allies of the other side. Strikes me as tribal warfare.

As to the present, a Greek-American friend last year came back from a visit to the old country, where he listened to a relative wail about the privation of his people and the unfairness of the Euro bullies. He then wryly noted that his relative has three houses and has paid taxes on none.

Jake, I'm not taking sides. The bankers are as bad. Just trying to balance the romanticism.
A little romanticism, yes, but less than meets the eye, Michael.  All of what you say is true, and corresponds to my assessment of the ancient Greeks.

Tsarouchas is a comedian, which was stated on the broadcast but somehow not included in the transcript, a point I didn't notice.  But I thought it obvious that it was tongue in cheek.

I was appalled that as Athens became wealthy and powerful--the dominant power in the Aegean--it started throwing its weight around, frightening the rest of the Greeks (a word that didn't exist at the time, btw), and led directly to the two Peloponnesian wars, the second of which was to me the single greatest tragedy ever to befall mankind.  In my mind it has become a metaphor or icon for all wars and their futility.  Irony characterizes the period:  its poets, dramatists, philosophers--even the oracle at Delphi--warned against hubris:  The injunction "Know thyself" is associated with Socrates, but it was inscribed above the entrance portal to Delphi long before Socrates.  It was the dominant theme in the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, and hubris was the dominant theme, even in the legends and stories of the antics of gods and humans.

Then why did Athens become arrogant and overweening?  This admirable democracy, as you note, functioned for only a short time, and never well.  It couldn't survive Athens becoming an empire.  Imperialism and democracy are incompatible, as Pericles, Thucydides, and others noticed.  Athenians--xenophobes as well as bullies--subjugated the entire Aegean and beyond and forced all its subjects to pay tribute--which escalated, as Pericles et al went on a construction binge, which included the Parthenon and all the other monuments we revere. 

And you haven't exaggerated about its treatment of neighboring poleis (cities).  The island of Melos, which tried to stay neutral in the Peloponnesian war, was given an ultimatum to join Athens against the Spartans.  When the Melians asked why they should be forced into fighting when they wanted to just be themselves and be at peace, the response was (this from Thucydides):  "Because we are strong and you are weak."  Melians, being Greek, valued freedom above all, and defied the Athenians.  They were accorded the universal treatment of the time--the men were all slaughtered and the women and children sold into slavery.

I read or listened to numerous versions of this period by different authors or lecturers, hoping to glean a more hopeful interpretation of the war and its reasons for happening--or, having begun, why it continued for 27 years.  In vain.  There is hardly a shred of evidence to support a sanguine view of this war--and, more importantly, of human nature, and I take the second Peloponnesian war as the icon, not only for all wars, but for the human condition in general.  It's a dark one.

Then why do I admire ancient Athens, even allowing that admiration to spill over into cutting slack for modern Greece?  (Something, btw, which I will not try to defend.  I am a fiscal conservative and don't condone Greece's profligacy and debts.  I am sympathetic to the Germans here.)  Well, I can't give you a rational answer; it's more emotional and I'm filled with self-doubt.  To give a full answer we would have to go into detail why the ancient Greeks deserve the honor history has bestowed on them.  That will have to be another day.

I appreciate the response, Michael, and the opportunity to expand on a favorite topic.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation  with the average voter." — Winston Churchill


9.  S.F. is 4th healthiest U.S. city according to the American Institute for Cancer Research

(San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA)
Ranking: Total Score = 69.0; Rank = 4
Areas of Excellence (at or better than target goal): 
• Higher percent of any physical activity or exercise in the last 30 days
• Lower percent currently smoking
• Lower percent obese
• Higher percent in excellent or very good health
• Lower death rate for cardiovascular disease
• Lower death rate for diabetes
• Higher percent with health insurance
• Higher percent of city land area as parkland
• More farmers’ markets per capita
• Higher percent using public transportation to work
• Higher percent bicycling or walking to work
• More dog parks per capita
• More golf courses per capita
• More tennis courts per capita
• Higher park-related expenditures per capita
• Higher level of state requirement for physical education classes
• More primary health care providers per capita


10.  Joel at Thinkwalks:

Let's just start right off with a Deep SF Fact. A woman designed the Golden Gate Bridge. For stupidly unfair reasons, she's not given enough credit, and in fact is barely ever mentioned. She was Gertrude Comfort Morrow. She and her husband (who is often given full credit when Joseph Strauss isn't) were the architectural design team. Oh, yeah, hubby's name was Irving F. Morrow. Gertrude Morrow also designed, independently, the St. Francis Woods neighborhood of SF, along with buildings at a college in Bethlehem, PA when my mom used to be Dean.

Some of the other people who created the GG bridge also go unmentioned far too often. Cable makers, the Roeblings, for example. At least I'm mentioning them! For more info on them, come on a Thinkwalk in Golden Gate Park!

SF owes much to cables. The cool engineering feat of long, strong bridges was made possible by a mid 1800s invention: steel rope, i.e., cable, also known as 'Albert rope' after it's creator Wilhelm Albert.

The Gold Rush made SF famous but the Comstock Lode silver boom made SF a rich city. Andrew Hallidie (after whom the depressed plaza at the Powell Street Cable Car turn-around is named) developed uses for Albert's twisted steel rope in silver mining and for bridges, leading eventually to cables for pulling SF's transit coaches over the hills—the cable cars.

Yes, I also want to tell you about walks that are coming right up in June: … Please RSVP!
And there's the monthly hike: Please come along on this Saturday's Secret Creek Exploration!

You'll get to see the most visible secret creek (in Glen Park) and hear about the plan to open up part of the hidden creek. We also might (cross your fingers) get to visit an old Pony Express barn with a freshwater spring!

Check out the newly installed history display at 860 Divisadero when you get a chance, and let me know what you think. I call it Tick Tock Backdrop.

(JS - Joel:  This is news to me--like so much of what goes on in the world.  I thought the designer was a Clifford somebody--Clifford Paine?)
Hi Jake, When I say she's barely ever mentioned, I mean as the bridge designer. It depends what you mean by "designer" since that could be architect and that could mean structural engineer. Paine was the latter, though obviously there were others involved such as Strauss and Charles Ellis. The look and feel was GCM, except it seems her hubby was the one who picked the color, according to legend.

I found out about her mostly from Robert David, the (mostly retired) official GG Bridge photographer. But she is given credit in a number of places, as part of the design team with her husband. It's just that there are few places where her role is defined, and I'm pretty sure Bob said she played the lead role, at least of the art deco aspects. In any case, there's evidence that women were often given short shrift in credits in those days because it could diminish the firm's reputation. We should make up for that now!

Anyway, isn't the icon called the Golden Gate Bridge all about the look and feel, not the engineering? Maybe it was originally about the engineering, but now it's shifted.
Joel:  I find it difficult, if not impossible, to separate the engineering from the design, since the design can't function without the engineering.  It is like fire and heat, or wetness and water.  I wonder what is the converse situation--ie, how the design affects the engineering.  It does, obviously, but I don't know how. 


From the Golden Gate Parks Conservancy
Did You Know

The Golden Gate Bridge's famous color was an accidental discovery by Consulting Architect Irving F. Morrow. Inspired by the the red lead primer on the steel shipped from Bethlehem Steel, Morrow adjusted the color to formulate the “International Orange” you see today. Learn more fun Bridge facts through the new, guidedGolden Gate Bridge Tour—take our short survey and you'll be entered to win two tickets! Enter to win >>



Can You Imagine?

For example, what the trees do
not only in lightening storms
or the watery dark of a summer's night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now - whenever
we're not looking.  Surely you can't imagine
they don't dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade - surely you can't imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can't imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(Long Life)

Biology and financial instability

The molecules of mayhem

Testosterone and taking risks

May 26th 2012 | from The Economist

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust. By John Coates.

THE financial crisis was caused by many things: greedy bankers, a glut of Chinese savings, shoddy regulation, an obsession with home ownership—take your pick. John Coates, once a trader on Wall Street and now a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, presents yet another culprit: biology, or, more precisely, the physiology of risk-taking. Financial traders, he says, are influenced by what is going on in their bodies as well as in the markets. Two steroid hormones—testosterone and cortisol—come out in force during the excesses of bull and bear markets.

Testosterone, “the molecule of irrational exuberance”, is released into the body during moments of competition, risk-taking and triumph. In animals this leads to something called the “winner effect”. A male that wins one battle goes into the next one primed with higher levels of testosterone, helping him to win again. Eventually, though, confidence becomes cockiness. The animal starts more fights and experiences higher rates of mortality.

Mr Coates thinks the exuberance that turns a market rally into a bubble may be fuelled by the same chemical. Some of this is based on traders he knew who became ever more convinced of their own invincibility during the dotcom era. But he also offers harder evidence. In one experiment Mr Coates sampled testosterone levels in traders in London and found that higher levels of the hormone in the morning correlated with beefier profits in the afternoon. Such profits came from taking higher risks, not greater skill.

Biology may also be responsible for worsening market sentiment in bad times. The body’s response to prolonged periods of stress is to secrete increasing amounts of cortisol, a hormone that marshals resources to cope with crises. Sure enough, Mr Coates finds that cortisol levels in traders’ bodies fluctuate in line with market volatility, even displaying a striking correlation with the prices of derivatives.

A burst of chemicals can be helpful. Good traders seem to produce a lot of hormones, but only for short periods of time. The trouble comes when cortisol remains in the body for extended periods. Rational analysis becomes harder, allowing emotional responses to gain the upper hand; risk aversion grows as testosterone production is suppressed. “During a severe bear market,” writes Mr Coates, “the banking and investment community may rapidly develop into a clinical population.”

One answer, he thinks, is to change the chemical make-up of trading floors by hiring more older men and, especially, women. Their bodies release far less testosterone. Women have the same levels of cortisol as men, but their stress response is triggered less by competitive failures and more by problems in their personal lives. That may make them more resilient when the markets turn against them.

Mr Coates’s thesis is not entirely convincing. The experimental data are too scarce and the distinction he draws between the masculine world of risk-taking traders and the more feminised world of asset managers skips over the fact that many supposedly cautious, long-term investors made poor bets in the boom. But it makes intuitive sense that biological responses inform the mood of the markets. This book puts flesh on that idea.



...Growth, in most every aspect of our lives, is deeply embedded in our cultural programming, (David Gardner) realized, with economic growth being the “holy grail.”

“We’ve got a situation in which we’re seeing the growth in human technological capacity and human populations and the scale of the economy that’s completely unprecedented,” explains William Rees, professor and population ecologist at the University of British Columbia, in the film.

Adds Dick Lamm, former governor of Colorado and co-director of the Institute for Public Policy Studies in Denver, Colorado, “Humankind has itself become a geologic force; it’s changing our climate; it’s heating up our world; it’s making our water tables lower; our fisheries are dying.”

Gardner’s look at our culture of growth leads him to explore the historical path of growth. Our use of fossil fuels for energy spurred population growth in just the last 100+ years from around 2 billion in the early 1900s to more than 7 billion today.

Through excellent visuals and numerous respected sources Gardner addresses such ideas as steady growth, uneconomic growth, biocapacity, carrying capacity, “growth pushers,” ecological footprint, liquidation of our resources through growth, the consumer-driven society and media perpetuation of growth.

This documentary is a “must see” for anyone concerned about sustainability and a future for mankind. Find a screening or order a copy of “Growth- Busters” at:

(Not to worry, just outlaw it.  This from Scientific American): 
PLUGGED IN: North Carolina Considers Making Sea Level Rise Illegal

Excerpt:  "...Okay, cheap shot alert. Actually all they did was say science is crazy. There is virtually universal agreement among scientists that the sea will probably rise a good meter or more before the end of the century, wreaking havoc in low-lying coastal counties. So the members of the developers’  lobbying group NC-20 say the sea will rise only 8 inches, because … because … well, SHUT UP, that’s because why."

Alfred E. Neuman lives.


14.  Acterra

Surplus Native Plant Sale
Saturday, June 2
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

The Acterra Native Plant Nursery is having an end-of-Spring surplus sale! The sale is by appointment only and is limited to only the first 30 people to respond. Surplus plants will be priced at 25% off during this sale. Although we are unable to publish a definitive list of plants available because of the ever-changing nature of our inventory, you can contact us in advance to inquire about your specific plant needs.

Please e-mail or phone Deanna Giuliano, Acterra Native Plant Nursery Manager, at or 650-949-3158.

Crows and Ravens
Wednesday, June 6
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Sunnyvale Community Center, Neighborhood Room
550 East Remington Drive
Sunnyvale [map]
Cost: Free

Wildlife biologist Bill Webb will join us with a presentation on crows and ravens which are among the world's most intelligent animals.

For more information, please visit the Acterra Stewardship Events website.



We are returning to Valencia and 24th Streets from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 3rd! Dust off those rollerskates, pull out your walking shoes, or grab your bike to get a free tune-up. Bring yourself, your family and friends to the Mission to enjoy the car-free streets! FREE activities include:

24th Street
Bartlett Street: Kid’s Music Festival and Activities
• 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. SF Rock Project
• 12:30 to 2 p.m. Beautiful Machines
•  2 to 4 p.m. Collision
•  Stern Grove Festival KidStage: instrument making and small, nature-based arts projects
•  Kids Cooking for Life

24th Street BART Plaza:
•  Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
•  BBoy Connection and Classic Pedal (Open Dance Floor & Free dance classes)

•  Funky Town Roller Disco
•  Roller Soccer

•  11 a.m to 2 p.m. Brenda Pardue - Zumba and Zumbatomic (AKA Zumba for kids)

Valencia Street
Between 13th and 15th Street:
•  Skunkfunk - Live music: Fanfare Zambaletta - Balkan Brass Band
•  Wheel Kids Bike course
•  Capoeira Classes; Capoeira Mission  11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
•  FREE Bike Rentals from Park Wide LLC
•  Live music by Rin Tin Tiger

Between 16th & 17th Street
•  518 Valencia- fandango
•  Laughing Lotus Yoga - Free yoga classes

18th Street:
•  Swing or Nothing (Swing Dance)

19th Street:
•  Mission Bicycle - Free Bike Repair, live Music
11:30 Dogpatch
12:30 Vons de Qua
1:30 Foolproof Four

Liberty Street:
•  Integral Yoga Institute - FREE yoga classes

Between 21st & 22nd Street:
•  Mission Yoga - free yoga
•  ABADA-Capoeira SF Street Roda 2 to 3 p.m.
•  Pet Programs - Free wellness & care advice, volunteer and foster opportunities, and free training tips.
•  2:00-2:45pm Community Music Center (outside Marsh theater) Solera Singers, 30th Street Chorus and Latin Vocal Workshop

23rd Street:
•  Andre Thiery and the Zydeco Magic

24th Street:
•  SFBC Freedom from Training Wheels

Parking Information: As with all Sunday Streets events, the route will be towed of all cars starting at 7 a.m.
All day (6:00 am to 6:00 pm) flat rate parking is available to vehicles entering between 6:00 am and 12:00 noon on event days at these garages:
• $10 Mission Bartlett garage (90 Bartlett St between 21st & 22nd)
• $7 San Francisco General Hospital Parking Garage (2500 24th St)
Vehicles entering after 12:00 noon pay the hourly rate.


16.  MMWD events in June

Save These Dates!

Trail Days: June 2 (National Trails Day), July 7   
Habitat Restoration: June 16, July 21

MMWD Centennial Program: June 23-24 (24-hr BioBlitz), June 30-July 4 (Marin County Fair)    

Registration & Event Information
To pre-register or for more information about the above volunteer events, call 415-945-1128 or e-mail or visit our Volunteer page on our website. 

For maps to volunteer events and hikes, go to > Watershed > Volunteer Opportunities > Events Map.


This week our cover story heads away from the news towards an off-beat but fascinating issue:the morals of machines. Military robots are gaining ground on the battlefield; driverless cars are being tested on roads; computer-controlled machines are changing medicine. As robots become more autonomous, they are increasingly faced with ethical decisions: whether they should attack a target if civilians might get killed, for instance, or whether they should swerve to avoid a pedestrian if they might hit other cars. Teaching them how to make these decisions and allocating responsibility if things go wrong pose tricky problems.

(JS:  Tricky problems?  Try impossible.

We don't have to wait for the triumph of robots; our fates are already out of our control.  Robots which will be doing everything for us, including making moral decisions, is just the final 'click' on our already existing shackles.  Goodbye, civilization, it was nice knowing you.)

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on "I am not too sure." -H.L. Mencken


18.  Notes & Queries, Guardian Weekly

It's almost gin o'clock, is it not?
Drunkenness and history; let's all retire to Wenlock Edge 

Winston Churchill leaves Hyde Park for his country home at Chartwell in Kent. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis
(JS addition: 
Woman: Sir, you are drunk.
Churchill: And you are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning.)

When has drunkenness affected the tide of history?

The first and most catastrophic occasion was when Eve, who was obviously blotto on cider at the time, opted for Knowledge, when ignorance was bliss. 

Dick Hedges, Nairobi, Kenya

• King Gwyddno of Meirionydd (a part of Wales, UK) lost most of his land to the Atlantic Ocean when a drunken lock-keeper failed to close the gates on a stormy night. The tide came in and the rest is history. Bar staff at the Houses of Parliament in London have received new guidelines on serving alcohol but it is too soon to tell if the changes will have any effect on the sea of legislation.

Paul Lloyd, Swansea, UK

• Had Lady Macbeth not got Duncan's bodyguards drunk, what then?

Gavin Mooney, Mountain River, Tasmania, Australia

• When – as Disraeli said of Gladstone – that he was inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity.

Aaron M Fine, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, US

• Certainly only for good with the greatest 20th-century Englishman, Winston Spencer Churchill.

Edward Black, Church Point, NSW, Australia

• When Al Capone knew a "good thing" when he saw it.

Barrie Sargeant, Otaki Beach, New Zealand

• Throughout human history, the most cataclysmic events and many lesser calamities have been caused by people drunk on power.

Peter Vaughan, St Senoch, France

• Twice a month when there's a nip tide.

John Burrows, Potomac, Maryland, US

A lovely place for repose

Won't it become rather crowded when we all decide to retire to Wenlock Edge?

Study of my 2004 AA road atlas of Great Britain reveals that Wenlock Edge is bounded by Westhope, Middlehope and Easthope. Coupled with the added bonus of Much Wenlock to the north-east, it seems that Paul Evans need not resort to Craven Arms in defence of his pristine principality: there is yet boundless Hope in Paradise for us all.

Noel Bird, Boreen Point, Queensland, Australia

• In the Weekly of 18 May, the weather on Wenlock Edge is described as "vile" – a horrendous mix of wind and rain, mire, puddles, grey mist and rippling waves of flooding water. Do we really want to retire to such a place?

Ursula Nixon, Bodalla, NSW, Australia

• I presume you're a real estate agent ... nice try.

Roger Morrell, Perth, Western Australia

• Please don't include me, as I plan to stay right here!

Margaret Wilkes, Perth, Western Australia

• No – skyrocketing house prices will keep the masses from invading.

Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

• No, because all those birds in the enchanting Nature watch will move out to make room for hominids.

Geraldine Dodgson, Pauanui, New Zealand

• Maybe so, but I'm sure everyone will get along perfectly well; we're all on the same page, for Evans' sake.

Jim Dewar, Gosford, NSW, Australia

Any answers?
It may not be love or money, so what's making the world go round?
Nicholas Fothergill, Melbourne, Australia

In evolutionary terms, is shyness a good thing?
Donna Samoyloff, Toronto, Canada