Plant Trees SF Events 2011 Archive: 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024


1.   Job opportunity with SF Dept of Environment
2.   Jack Laws speaks on Reclaiming the Art of Natural History Nov 17
3.   Friends of 5 Creeks events Nov 17 & 19/events of others
4.   Paul Donahue speaks of the Pantanal of southwestern Brazil Nov 17 in Berkeley
5.   Support delegation to UN Climate Negotiations - Nov 20
6.   Southern Sierra Golden Trout Wilderness opened to grazing?
7.   Santa Clara/San Mateo County gardens wanted for 2012 garden tour
8.   Some observations on population issue inaction
9.   Diablo Valley College Winter Plant Sale Nov 18, 19
10. Feedback:  I'm taken to task for spreading untrue rumors
11.  What should we do about that moon, Hafiz asks
12.  SFPUC's Low Impact Design speaker series Nov 18 noon
13.  Livable City wants to reform SF's zoning laws to make neighborhood-serving cafes easier
14.  Why Daylight Savings Time Should Be Abolished
15.  The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life
16.  Copernicus's life dramatized by Dava Sobel
17.  A Usual Prayer, by John Berryman
18.  Questions for presidential candidates
19.  11/11/11

But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life. -Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (1913-1960) 

1.  Job opportunity: 
Landscape Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Trainer/Consultant for Safety Trainings & other trainings for SF Depts.

Proposals due  November 28, 2011;  5:00 pm
Anticipated Contract Start Date:  January 1, 2012
Questions?  Contact:  Chris Geiger, PhD, Manager, Green Purchasing, Integrated Pest Management

Buy green, use less-toxic pest control, recycle toxics for your:
• SF City Dept.:
• Home or small business:
• Large organization:

San Francisco Dept. of Environment, Phone: (415)355-3759

San Francisco Natural History Series 
Reclaiming the Art of Natural History
Guest Speaker: John (Jack) Muir Laws
Thursday, November 17th, 7.30 pm
Randall Museum, San Francisco

John (Jack) Muir Laws will lead us on a virtual walk across the Coast Range. We will explore a three-step process to help us see & think more like a naturalist. Jack will also discuss conservation challenges and stewards' efforts to confront them.


3.  Friends of Five Creeks

Thursday, Nov. 17, our monthly walk for ages 50+ is a level, 3.5 mile loop around Oakland’s beautiful Lake Merritt, with a look at restoration underway re-connect lake and Bay. Besides nature and birds, there’s demolition of the giant 12th Street viaduct that has long separated Lake Merritt from the rest of the estuary! Optional lunch at the Oakland Museum follows the walk. Meet at 9 AM at Oak and 9th (outside Lake Merritt BART). Free, but please register with co-sponsors Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic, 524 9122.

From 10 AM – 12:30 PM Saturday, Nov. 19, join us planting natives in our largest project, Cerrito Creek north of Albany Hill.
We have hundreds of plants for banks cleared of invasive blackberry!  Meet at El Cerrito’s Creekside Park, south end of Santa Clara Ave. (Internet maps 3288 Santa Clara).  Wear closed-toed shoes with good traction and dress in layers, in clothes that can get dirty! Tools, gloves, water, and snacks provided. We will work in a drizzle, but heavy rain cancels.

Events of others
1.  Training is scheduled Nov. 19 and Dec. 10-11 for Pt. Reyes National Seashore winter wildlife docents. On weekends and holidays January to April, these volunteers explain the mating and migration of elephant seals and whales to visitors at the Lighthouse, Chimney Rock, and Drakes Beach areas.  Information here 
or contact

2.  Do you enjoy photography? The California Native Grasslands Association photo contest is open until Dec. 31 for photos of our beautiful grasslands, associated species, and restoration projects.

Life outside the Golden Gate

I (Susan Schwartz) am just back from a meeting on research on the ocean just beyond the Golden Gate, learning more about how closely it is linked to the Bay. For example, low-salt water from the Bay may increase abundance of  tiny creatures that feed, for example, whales. Just as mixtures of forest, brush, and grassland create “edges” favorable to diverse creatures on land, complex “fronts” between masses of water with different temperatures and salinities can encourage varied and abundant life in the sea.

Lots of fascinating stories:
• Individual great white sharks have hung out in the same areas in the Farallones for more than 20 years.
• Harbor porpoises are back, mating under the Golden Gate Bridge 70 years after World War II mines and submarine nets drove them out.
• Common murres are making a second comeback – they recovered from a century of egg hunting only to be decimated again by gillnet fishing in the 1980s.
• Not solved yet: The Farallon Islands house mice that multiply up to hundreds per acre in fall, drawing burrowing owls just before the mouse population crashes. The owls then kill hundreds of endangered ashy storm petrels, but many then starve anyway.
• On the continental shelf west of the Cordell Bank Marine Reserve, scientists didn't find the corals and other hard organisms -- refuge for fishes -- they expected. Instead, they found bare sand and rubble, and youngsters of these colonial organisms, all the same age. Was the bottom devastated by trawlers?

For lots of information on our neighboring ocean, check out You can even contribute your own photos to their great photo library! And thanks to our neighboring Cordell Bank and Farallones Marine Sanctuaries, as well as the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve!


4.  Golden Gate Audubon Society

Jaguar_DSC_0287_1-300x200 2.jpg
The Pantanal of southwestern Brazil is the world’s largest wetland, a vast mosaic of rivers, creeks, marshes, swamps, lagoons, tall riparian forest, lower dry forest, and savanna. The area extends into extreme eastern Bolivia and extreme northern Paraguay, but the majority lies in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. This much water attracts abundant wildlife, and the Pantanal is home to large numbers of wading birds and other fish-eating birds, and holds the world’s densest population of jaguars, the largest cat in the Americas.

Paul Donahue, a naturalist, bird artist, photographer, environmentalist, and tree climber, has been working in South America since 1972. Most of his time has been spent in the rainforests of the western Amazon Basin, particularly eastern Peru, where he has done extensive bird survey work and tape recording of bird vocalizations. Paul and his wife, Teresa Wood, have constructed two canopy walkways and dozens of canopy observation platforms to view and study the wildlife of that stratum of the rainforest. Lately, he has been researching jaguars and Zigzag Herons in the Pantanal and photographing the area’s abundant bird and mammal life.

This month the Speaker Series is held on Thursday, November 17 at 7:00pm for refreshments and the program starts at 7:20pm.  The presentation is held at the Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda (between Solano and Marin) in Berkeley, 94707 


5.  UN Climate Negotiations Send-Off Reception
Sunday, November 20, 2011 4pm – 6pm
PiQ – 91 Shattuck Square (at Addison), Berkeley
Leading scientists agree that global warming is real, and on a pace to cause catastrophic damage to our environment, security, and health.  Meanwhile, the pace of U.S. policy and international negotiations has been too slow, and many of the clean energy strategies we need can create good, green jobs. 

Please support Sierra Club's delegation to the UN Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa.  I will be participating as a credentialed observer, tracking and advocating on issues key to meaningful action to mitigate climate change.  I'll also blog daily on key milestones during the 2-week conference at

Enjoy delicious breads, pizza, pastries, and other creations and no-host bar from Pane Italiano Qualita' (PiQ), and there will be a *short* program where I'll discuss the state of the negotiations, why I and other Sierra Club leaders are going, and what needs to happen both locally and globally. 
*RSVP on facebook or to 

Suggested donation: $20
Sponsor: $75
Climate Champion: $250
(sponsor levels include guests)
Please contribute here:

Ten Years Later, Livestock May Roam Again 
California’s Sierra Nevada Golden Trout Wilderness is a high, cold and unforgiving landscape of granite rock outcrops and sparsely spaced forests. Deep snowpacks in winter combine with dry summers and infertile soil to create hostile growing conditions. Summer drought limits vegetation to deep-rooted tree species with little undergrowth. read more

Ramshaw Meadow, in the Golden Trout Wilderness, is located on a grazing allotment that could be reopened to cattle.

Going Native Garden Tour Needs Gardens!

The Going Native Garden Tour -- scheduled for April 22, 2012 -- showcases gardens throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The gardens are pesticide free, at least 50% native, and well designed. If you live in one of these counties and would like to show others how you grow a beautiful, sustainable garden, please click here to submit an application.

For more information about the tour, please visit the Going Native Garden Tour website.


8.  Population Institute 

It would not be surprising if the UN is touchy about its approach to population questions. For two decades, population concerns have been pushed to one side as governments have become increasingly sensitive about the issue.

There are several reasons – fear on the part of rich countries of being seen to attempt to control the fertility of developing nations; an emphasis on other problems, such as diseases, that seemed less intractable; and religion, which took population firmly off the international aid agenda for the whole of George W Bush's US presidency.

Even usually outspoken green groups have censored themselves on the subject, avoiding the question of whether the number of people on the planet has an impact on our ecology in favour of pointing out that the west consumes a far larger share of available resources than the south.
(JS:  I understand the reluctance of organizations to raise their heads above the trenches.  There is nothing worse than being thought of as elitist or, gasp, racist.  The result is that the world's #1 problem, and the base of most of our other problems, is met with silence.)


9.  Diablo Valley College Winter Plant Sale
Friday  November 18,  12 - 5 p.m. 
Saturday  November 19, 9:00 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Thousands of Natives, Roses, Winter Vegetables, Herbs, Berries, 
Ornamental Trees, Shrubs, Salvias, & Succulents at low prices! 
Returning to Fall 2010 prices!
Covered shopping! Rain or Shine!
Gallon can, $4, 4" pot, $2.50, annual plants, $1, 5 gallon can $12.
Checks and cash only.

Horticulture Department
321 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill 
(925) 685-1230

Plant sales support the horticulture program at DVC, including Stew Winchester's legendary botanical field classes.
For more information, please contact Stew Winchester at


10.  Feedback

> from 
> In response to one of the posts in your latest (excellent) Nature News.
> Determining Product Origins by Bar Code 
> Source: 
> Do the first three digits of a bar code indicate a product's country of origin?

On Nov 10, 2011, at 10:09 PM, Michael Alexander wrote:
> Jake, The information you passed on about barcodes is an urban myth, as at least the top six hits from Googling 'barcode country of origin' would document. A barcode's first two or three digits document the country or economic region where the bar code was assigned, which is not necessarily the country where that product originated. So a company headquartered in the U.S., but importing its products from China, would have a barcode starting with a U.S. number (00-09 or 00-13, depending on the source of misinformation). The barcode number is only an origin guide if the product came from the same country as the registration, and there's no way to know that. Even Country of Origin labels are misleading. For example, Made in Canada can mean that it's food from anywhere else that was processed and packaged in Canada. Wine sold as "Canadian" is often made from grape concentrate shipped in bulk tankers from name-your-Southern Hemisphere-country-with-a-grape-glut. 
> Please don't spread these plausible but false claims without at least a 10-second Google check for the facts. The barcode half-truth has been around since the melamine scare in 2008.
Thanks for the correction, Michael.

You're right that I should have checked.  That is hindsight, however.  To defend myself, I do check many of the URLs before posting.  Time to spend on the internet is very limited, and I try to cut down the time I spend on the computer, because of eyestrain, back problems, and time.  I am familiar with but somehow the thought to check wasn't triggered this time, as I thought the source was fairly credible.  

You're reminder is appreciated; each time I foul up it impresses on my subconscious.

Bad Moon Rising.jpg


A wine bottle fell from a wagon and
broke open in a field.

That night one hundred beetles and all their cousins

and did some serious binge drinking.

They even found some seed husks nearby
and began to play them like drums and whirl.
This made God very happy.

Then the "night candle" rose into the sky
and one drunk creature, laying down his instrument,
said to his friend ~ for no apparent

"What should we do about that moon?"

Seems to Hafiz
Most everyone has laid aside the music

Tackling such profoundly useless

~ Hafiz ~

(The Gift -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)


12.  SFPUC's Low Impact Design Speakers Series Please join the SFPUC's Urban Watershed Management Program for a special presentation titled, "An Impervious Cover Total Maximum Daily Load: The Origins and Implementation of a Unique TMDL Approach" on Friday, November 18th, from 12:00-1:00 pm at 1145 Market Street, in the 5th Floor Conference room. The speaker will be John Rozum, training coordinator for the Coastal-Marine Ecosystem Based Management Tools Network- a voluntary network of tool developers and experts focused on addressing coastal management and planning issues. 

An Impervious Cover Total Maximum Daily Load: The Origins and Implementation of a Unique TMDL Approach The Clean Water Act mandates that states develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for any waters that are on the impaired water list [303(d) list)]. The TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. Many TMDLs have been completed nationally, most focusing on pollutants such as nutrients, toxics, and biological contaminants. For many impaired waters in developed and developing watersheds, however, there is no one specific pollutant that can be targeted. These water bodies appear to suffer from an "urban stream syndrome," where degradation is the result of a complex combination of factors and pollutants.  Impervious cover has long been recognized as a useful indicator of the impact of land use on the health of the receiving water body. This relationship integrates a complex web of impacts resulting from urbanization. In 2007, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection issued an impervious cover TMDL for the Eagleville Brook Watershed, a small watershed in northeastern Connecticut that drains much of the University of Connecticut campus. The Eagleville Brook TMDL, the first of its kind in the nation, was developed as a way to deal with streams impaired by poorly understood urbanization-related impacts.  What is an impervious cover TMDL? Can the exacting, site specific nature of the TMDL approach be successfully wedded to the use of the general landscape indicator of impervious cover? This presentation will provide an overview of the origins and ongoing progress of the Eagleville Brook TMDL and present some of the lessons learned from the implementation of this unique and pragmatic approach.  

Please RSVP to John Scarpulla using this Outlook meeting request, by email to, or by calling 415-934-5782. 

logo_teeniest.gif Livable City's Fall Member Party and Livability Awards
November 14, 6-9 pm
18 Reasons
3674 18th Street, near Dolores

open to Livable City members

Join Livable City for our fall member party/fundraiser, honoring some folks who have done much to make San Francisco a more livable city.
▪ Ross Mirkarimi, livability legislator
▪ Cheryl Brinkman, livability advocate
▪ David Winslow, Loring Sagan, and Meredith Thomas, livability innovators for Linden Living Alley
Enjoy the amazing food and drink offerings of San Francisco's 18th Street.
The event is open to Livable City members (you can join or renew online using our secure web site, or at the door).
Please become a sponsor! Sponsors of $120 or more (see Livable City donation page for more details) will be acknowledged at the event.

logo_teeniest.gif Think globally, eat locally: Livable City is helping overhaul San Francisco's perplexing restaurant regulations

Planning Commission Hearing
November 17, 12 pm
City Hall, Room 400
San Francisco prides itself as being one of the country's great food cities, and a leader in sustainabiility. The overhaul of decades-old laws now underway will make San Francisco's Planning Code friendlier to locally-owned restaurants and cafes.

Livable City is leading an effort to reform San Francisco's zoning laws to make it simpler to open neighborhood-serving, locally-owned restaurants and cafes. The 1987 law that created San Francisco's Neighborhood Commercial zoning districts distinguishes between full-service restaurants, which provide table service, and self-service restaurants, which includes all other restaurants. In order to limit fast-food chains, strict limitations were imposed on the size and number of self-service restaurants.

The definition of self-service restaurant is so broad that it includes both fast-food chains and locally-owned taquerias, cafes, coffee houses, crepe houses, and bakery-cafes.The strict size limit of 1000 square feet doesn't take into account other regulations, like the Americans With Disabilities Act and health and environment code requirements, that have increased restaurants' space requirements. Some of these restrictions have also been made redundant by the 2007 passage of San Francisco's Formula Retail ordinance, which creates mandatory neighborhood notification and conditional use authorization for any chain retail businesses, including fast-food and other restaurant chains.

Beyond providing local residents with jobs and business opportunities, providing 'eyes on the street', and fostering walkable neighborhoods, neighborhood-serving restaurants and cafes provide city dwellers with important "third places". According to sociologist Ray Oldenburg, third places, which he calls "great good places", foster community cohesion, livability, and local democracy by hosting "the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work."

Livable City worked with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to craft an ordinance which permits locally-owned, neighborhood-serving self-service restaurants and cafes as a principally permitted use in the city's small-scale neighborhood commercial cluster districts, and to increase the permitted size to equal that for other commercial uses. This ordinance was endorsed by the Small Business Commission, and was presented at the Planning Commission on Thursday, May 26th.

The Planning Department staff is recommending that the Planning Commission take the opportunity presented by this ordinance to simplfy and rationalize the Planning Code controls on restaurants. It proposes consolidating the 13 restaurant definitions in the Planning Code into three. The three definitions will focus on the two aspects of restaurants that typically cause the most neighborhood concern - alcohol service and chain retail. Restaurants would be a principally permitted use in most zoning districts, but tighter controls would remain in neighborhoods, like North Beach, that want them. Controls on formula retail restaurant controls will get tighter on Taraval Avenue and Mission Street. The Planning staff also recommend standard conditions of approval to address noise, litter, trash receptacles and odors. (The staff report detailing the changes can be found here (Staff report [pdf])

The Planning Commission responded favorably to the proposal at the May 26 hearing, and continued the legislation until now to hear more from the community. You can share your opinions with the Planning Department staff and Commissioners; their contact information can be found at Livable City's Advocacy Page.

Join the movement for a more livable city!
Membership in Livable City is a small investment for more joy in your life and that of your fellow city-dwellers! Members receive invitations to special events and regular opportunities to make a difference! Click here to join online.

Why Daylight Saving Time Should Be Abolished
By David Biello in Scientific American

It’s that time of year in the U.S. when clocks “fall back” from Daylight Saving Time to standard time. What does that mean? Well, you get back the hour of sleep you lost last spring and you can look forward to a week or so of feeling discombobulated.

The railroads were the first to set the time in the 19th century, coordinating distant clocks so that trains could run on theoretically precise timetables (this cut down on crashes). You can also thank railroads for time zones—geographic swaths of the globe set to the same hour.

But it was evening-time activists like entomologist George Vernon Hudson and golfer William Willett who can be blamed for Daylight Savings Time.  Noting that a little extra well-lit time on a balmy evening would be nicer than in the morning when everybody’s asleep anyway, the two independently proposed shifting clocks forward for the spring and summer. Governments soon seized upon the idea as a way to cut down on energy use — more sunlight in the evening means less coal-burned to provide artificial alternatives.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to hold up too well. And changing back and forth to Daylight Saving Time twice a year seems to be bad for human health — from increased risk of heart attack to more mine accidents. Nevertheless, in 2007, the U.S. Congress saw fit to extend Daylight Savings Time's reign from earlier in spring to deeper into fall in 2007.

It would make more sense to either scrap Daylight Savings Time or turn it into standard time—in effect, make it permanent. But since when have we been sensible about time management?


Deceit and self-deception

Suspicious minds

The importance of trickery

Nov 5th 2011 | from The Economist

The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life. By Robert Trivers. 

DECEIVING others has its advantages. Camouflage in nature is useful to the hunter and the hunted. The smarter the animal, the more likely it is to use (and detect) deception to its benefit. Humans are particularly good at exploiting trickery to get ahead—for more money, more power or a desired mate. Yet deception is difficult, regardless of intelligence. Lying often leaves us nervous and twitchy, and complicated fictions can lead to depression and poor immune function. And then there are the ethical implications.

In The Folly of Fools Robert Trivers, an American evolutionary biologist, explains that the most effectively devious people are often unaware of their deceit. Self-deception makes it easier to manipulate others to get ahead. Particularly intelligent people can be especially good at deceiving themselves.

Mining research in biology, neurophysiology, immunology and psychology, Mr Trivers delivers a swift tour of links between deception and evolutionary progress. Some of it is intuitive. The grey squirrel, for example, cleverly builds false caches to discourage others from raiding its acorns. Placebos are sometimes as effective as medication without the nasty side effects. Other illustrations require more head-scratching. Mr Trivers argues that competition between our maternal and paternal genes can create “split selves”, which try to fool each other on a biological level. Human memory often involves an unconscious process of selection and distortion, the better to believe the stories we tell others.

All of this deceit comes at a price. Mr Trivers suggests that the most cunning people (whether conscious fibbers or not) tend to benefit at the expense of everyone else. He highlights the way overconfident Wall Street traders may hurt investors and taxpayers at little personal risk. Then there are politicians who spin stories of national greatness to bolster support for costly wars in which they will not be fighting.

There is certainly no shortage of human folly to consider. Mr Trivers offers some fascinating evidence of our biological cunning, yet the science of self-deception often takes a back seat to his political views and scepticism of the social sciences. This book could probably do without his long digressions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iraq war. But by the time readers reach these last few chapters, they will be wary of taking any story at face value anyway.
Orphan quote I found lost in my computer:  
It's distressing to hear college students say they don't like science because they want to do something more creative.

Science News BOOK REVIEW: 
A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos, By Dava Sobel


Daring to defy a centuries-old belief, Polish cleric and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus spun the Earth on its axis and cast it as just one of several planets shuffling around the sun. Published in 1543, Copernicus’ tome On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres earned a spot on the church’s list of prohibited books in 1616, where it sat for more than 200 years.

In her newest book, Sobel describes the evolution of Copernicus’ heretical celestial system, a model that sparked a scientific revolution and challenged the prevailing Ptolemaic alignment, which pinned the Earth in place and set the other spheres swirling around it. In her typically elegant manner, Sobel introduces the reader to Copernicus—a cleric and physician, the nephew of a Catholic bishop,and a reclusive astronomer who studied the heavens in secret.

Sobel describes the events preceding the publication of Copernicus’ theory, and along the way the reader meets German mathematician Georg Joachim Rheticus, a Lutheran. During the turmoil of the Protestant Revolution, Rheticus appears on Copernicus’ doorstep, sticks around for two years and ultimately convinces the aging astronomer to publish his theory.

Sobel imagines and voices the pair’s conversations in a drama tucked into the middle of the otherwise historical narrative. That drama, “And the Sun Stood Still,” reads like a mini-screenplay, breathing life into these two conflicted, obsessive and ultimately revolutionary characters. Sobel says she’s been wanting to dramatize the meeting between Copernicus and “the uninvited visitor who convinced him to publish his crazy idea” since 1973—the 500th anniversary of Copernicus’ birth.

(Not mentioned in the review is the risk that the Protestant Rheticus took traveling in a Catholic country; feelings were violent.  Also that Copernicus never mentioned Rheticus and his work in On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres!  I find that amazing; however, it's possible that I have been prejudiced by Arthur Koestler in his Sleepwalkers.  Koestler was not kind to either Copernicus or Galileo.  I thought Sleepwalkers was a marvelous book; however, some writers consider that Koestler became a crackpot in his later writings.  JS)

A Usual Prayer.jpg

A Usual Prayer

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