Palos Verdes-South Bay Sierra Club

Wildflowers in Your Yard

By Al Sattler, Alternate Chapter Representative

You don’t need to drive to the Poppy Preserve in Lancaster to see poppies…you can plant them in your yard. Some annual wildflowers can thrive even in a small space. These pictures are California Poppies and Elegant Clarkia in a parkway strip, with rosemary and lantana behind them. Lupine and Clarkia grow well in pots…they volunteer in ours.

July/Aug. 2020

Racism, Covid-19 and Oil Drilling Are Conected

By Melanie Cohen, Conservation Co-Chair

California has long produced some of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive crude oil in the world, with operations taking place dangerously close to homes, schools, hospitals and other sensitive sites. Proximity to oil development is associated with adverse health effects including asthma and other respiratory illnesses, which increase the risk of severe consequences from COVID-19.

“The costs of living near oil and gas wells include higher risk of cancer, asthma, and preterm birth, and those consequences are only increasing. Meanwhile, oil production in California is in a long-term decline,” said Kobi Naseck of Voices In Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods. “Right now, millions of Californians—overwhelmingly low income, Black, Indigenous, and people of color—are reckoning with the Covid-19 pandemic in addition to these chronic health issues caused by the oil industry in their backyards. VISION calls for a Just Recovery from Covid that includes necessary health and safety setbacks and a Just Transition for workers employed by the failing fossil fuel industry and impacted communities.

There’s hope: Assembly Bill 1057 requires the California Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”) to focus on protecting public health and the environment rather than just regulating the oil and gas industry in California. CalGEM is actively working on revising its regulations to better align its regulatory mandates with the new goals of the bill.

As part of its pre-rulemaking process, last November CalGEM released a series of initiatives targeting certain oil and gas extraction methods, intended to safeguard public health and the environment, including:

  1. A moratorium on new oil extraction wells that use high-pressure steam to break oil formations below the ground
  2. Updated and strengthened rules for public health and safety protections near oil and gas extraction facilities
  3. An independent audit of CalGEM’s permitting processes for well stimulation and underground injection control and a scientific review of pending well stimulation permits to ensure public health, safety and environmental protections are met prior to approving each permit.

These initiatives are in line with the State of California’s overall climate goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.  California intends to meet this goal by decreasing fossil fuel dependence and consumption. Earlier this year CalGEM solicited comments regarding its proposed regulatory changes. More than 40,000 Californians from across the state commented via email or in-person and online at town halls. In public comments, many Californians urged the Governor and CalGEM to address the crisis facing over five million people who live closest to oil extraction, which disproportionately impacts communities of color who already suffer from some of the highest concentrations of environmental pollution in the state. Commenters called on Gov. Newsom to mandate 2,500-foot health and safety buffer requirements between fossil-fuel infrastructure and homes, schools, and other sensitive sites statewide.

Sierra Club supports this new role for CalGEM and supports the 2,500-foot setback ruling. Sign the petition here. Want to do even more? Call your state senator and urge them to vote for AB345.

Local rulings being developed by Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning and are calling for ONLY 500-foot setbacks!! Sign the Sierra Club petition here to CALL for the statewide regulation of 2500 feet:—-not-oil-industry-interests

Invisible Friends

Text and photographs by Emile Fiesler

Gardeners encounter numerous animals that enjoy feeding on the plants in their gardens.  These animals are typically labeled “pests.” There are other animals that prey on these pests, and these are typically labeled “beneficial.”  A number of beneficial insects are used as so-called biological control agents, as opposed to chemical control agents, which are often toxic to a broad range of organisms, including to us humans.  A large group of these gardeners’ friends are tiny parasitoid wasps. These photos from various Southern California locations show three species, depicted larger than life size.  Shown above on a stucco wall is a female Torymid Wasp (Megastigmus), which has an approximate mature length of 3.5 millimeter (0.14 inch).”


Eulophid Wasp (Eulophidae), which measures about 2.5 millimeter (0.1 inch) in length, on California Bush Sunflower (Encelia californica)

Note that parasites do not intend to cause lethal damage to their host, any more than parasitoids intend to spare the life of their host. They’re all just concerned with their own survival. Read More

Covid Zoo by Cheryl Frick

Along the Path: A Young Person’s Guide to Exploring Nature – Music in the Air

By Susan Rothrock Deo                                                                                                           Photo: Northern Mockingbird. R. Hagerty, USFWS

Tweedle-dum, tweedle-dee; Richard, Richard; cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up! the mockingbird seemed to sing this morning. It’s fun to make up onomatopoeic words for birds’ songs (words that sound like what they sing). Experienced birders can identify a species just by hearing its song. Some use words or phrases to help them remember, like the Eastern Towhee sings, “Drink your tea.”

Our northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is quite a prolific songster. Mockingbirds belong to the thrush family—like the robin and wood thrush—many of which are beautiful songsters. Here in SoCal mockingbirds are one of the earliest birds to start singing in the morning and one of the last to stop at night. This spring they seem especially vocal, or maybe it’s because we are home more. Not only do they have tons of their own songs, but they also “mock” other birds, or sounds they hear like lawn mowers and car horns! Listen to this one imitating a car alarm. Mockingbirds can learn new songs throughout their lives but not all birds are able to do that. Read More

Links of Interest: Environmental Justice

Racism is Killing the Planet by Hop Hopkins, Sierra Club director of strategic partnerships (Sierra Magazine)

Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Program

Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism (New York Times) “Both political racism and environmental racism are drivers of our excess pollution and climate denialism.”

Energy Justice Network

How Residents of South LA Are Tackling Environmental Racism (Yes! Magazine)

May/June 2020

Trump Administration’s Current Assault On Environmental Laws

By Dave Wiggins, Al Sattler and Steve Dillow

For several months, the attention of America’s citizens, and its press, has been focused in large part on the Covid-19 pandemic now sweeping the world, and the dramatic impact it has had on our health, economy, natural environment and culture. But as the spread of the disease, and the nationwide debate over how best to respond have commanded our civic attention, the Trump administration, with little fanfare, has been chipping away at some of our most significant and protective environmental safeguards.

Let’s review just a few of the actions taken this year:

On January 23, the administration narrowed the definition of what constitutes a federally protected waterway, exposing millions of miles of streams, arroyos and Read More

They’ve Been at It Since the Beginning, But We’re Fighting Back

The Trump administration’s scrapping of environmental regulations didn’t just start this year. They’ve been at it since Day One. The Brookings Institution tracks the administration’s attacks on the regulations that keep us safe:

But there’s some hopeful news:

Sierra Club Steps in as Watchdog After Trump’s EPA Uses COVID-19 Crisis to Stop Enforcement of Pollution Laws

Plastic Icebergs: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By Frank Atkin, Outings Co-Chair

As if the novel coronavirus weren’t enough, there’s another invisible enemy lurking off our shores. Five giant spiral currents or “gyres” in oceans around the globe sweep in and trap floating debris. The largest gyre is home to a debris accumulation known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s the size of Texas and can be seen from space. But, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), those are myths. It’s insidious. You may have flown over it or even navigated through it without seeing it. Read More

Along the Path — Nature Close to Home: Entertaining and Enlightening

Story and Photos By Susan Rothrock Deo

Greetings from the depths of our “Corona Spring.” None of us can predict what things will look like by the time you read this newsletter. We can only practice our best social distancing and hope for the best. One thing we DO know: most of us would rather be out and about: hiking a favorite trail nearby or embarking on a grand adventure to parts unknown. But here we are, at home.

Don’t be dismayed.

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Safer at Home Humor

By Cheryl Frick, Outings Leader

Meet the New Senior Director of the Angeles Chapter


By Louise Fleming

The Angeles Chapter is delighted to welcome Morgan Goodwin as its new Senior Director. Morgan’s history of climate activism, mountain climbing, community-building and public service will benefit the Chapter both in our current moment of crisis and in the longer-term effort to explore, enjoy and protect our world. Read More

Going Green During a Pandemic

By Judy Herman, Foggy View Editor

Staying safer at home presents some challenges, but we’re adapting. Instead of our Sierra Club hikes we’re taking solitary walks to explore our own neighborhoods and using online conferencing for alternative exercise from aerobics to Zumba, as well as to reconnect with our hiking friends. Get Earth-friendly tips from our members and find out the most important thing you can do right now below. Read More

Tell Your Best Sierra Club Adventure

Now that our in-person activities are on hold, let’s hear about your favorite Sierra Club trip or hike of all time. Go through your photos and remember the scent of pines, the chill of one of the pines dropping a load of snow on your head or the thrill of bagging a peak. Remember that time you just narrowly avoided — I don’t know what; it’s your memory. Write it up in about 400 words and send it with 5 – 10 pictures to by June 15 for possible inclusion in the July Foggy View.

The Gnatcatcher Saves Coastal Habitat

By Barbara Dye, former Executive Director of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy

The Rancho Palos Verdes Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP), which gave us the nature preserve, all started because of a small, gray bird, the coastal California gnatcatcher, that lives in a vanishing habitat called coastal sage scrub.

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Fire Drill Friday

by Bill Lavoie, Membership Chair

Jane Fonda responded to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s alarm: “We have to act life our house is on fire–because it is!” For 14 weeks she and other activists – celebrities and unknowns – protested the lack of action on the climate crisis every Friday in front of the U.S. Capitol. Read More

Along the Path: A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican

By Susan Rothrock Deo

A Wonderful Bird Is the Pelican/  His bill can hold more than his belican.

    [from a limerick by Dixon Lanier Merritt]

We watch them floating in formation along the coast, or they watch us walking by on the pier where they sit stoically on a post. We marvel at their persistence when they hang around fishing boats waiting for a handout. Brown pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis, are reminiscent of pterodactyls,

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Phil Wheeler

Phil Wheeler, a life member of the Sierra Club since 1989, died quietly on Jan. 30 in Redondo Beach. Phil served as Group Chair of the PV-SB Group. He was active with the Long Beach South Bay Group of the Wilderness Travel Course. For the Angeles Chapter he served as Safety Committee Chair, on the Management Committee and as a Navigation Examiner. Phil also served on the national  Sierra Club Financial Committee. The Angeles Read More

Mammoth/Eastern Sierra Bus Trip

Aug 22-25 Sat-Tue O: Mammoth/Eastern Sierra Bus Trip. Back by popular demand! Our 4th annual Mammoth Lakes Bus Trip. Join us for 4 days of hiking in the spectacular Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Read More

Memorial Day Yosemite Trip

CANCELLED because of Coronavirus. May 22-25 Fri-Mon O: Memorial Day in Wawona Cabin Trip.  Rideshare Fri to stay in a cabin in the Wawona area near Yosemite’s south entrance for moderately paced 8-12 mi, 1200′-3000′ gain hikes each day. Read More

Whale of a Day

The Rancho Palos Verdes annual Whale of a Day celebration will be held on Saturday, April 18, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The event is free to the public. There are activities for children ~ face painting, children’s crafts, small children’s games ~ all at no charge.  There are also exhibits, craft and food vendors and a raffle drawing. Environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, will have booths.  Info

Links of Interest

Federal plastic pollution bill introduced

Climate Action

Fire Drill Fridays

Extinction Rebellion

Jan / Feb 2020

A Breakthrough for the Future of the Redondo Beach Power Plant Site

By Dave Wiggins, Conservation Co-Chair

For over 20 years, Sierra Club members in and around Redondo Beach have fought hard to ensure that the eventual closure of the city’s seaside power plant would lead to the restoration of the historic wetlands that existed in the area till the 1940s.  Massive residential development proposals have been defeated, zoning safeguards have been enacted, and there is a growing consensus among city and county leaders that preservation of open space, development of parkland, and restoration of the wetlands should be among the highest priorities for the site’s future.

The power plant now operates at only 2% of its capacity, and it’s scheduled to shut down at the end of 2020, though an upcoming decision by the State Water Resources Control Board could extend its life for a further two years.

Either way, a major breakthrough toward parkland and restoration at the site has just occurred.  On November 5, at the urging of Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (the most powerful elected officials you never heard of) voted unanimously in favor of a resolution expressing the county’s intent to partner with Redondo Beach in a financing plan for the acquisition and development of the power plant site, and the adjacent power line corridor, as regional parkland.  The plan will include cleanup of the soil at the site and the restoration of the historic wetlands in the area. Read More

Room for a View — For Now

By Dean Francois, Group Political Chair

As you walk down Hermosa Beach’s Pier Avenue Public Plaza, you still can see a vast expanse of the ocean, which, for now at least, has been saved.

Developers proposed to build a large three story hotel going underground for two floors within three plots of land on the north side of the plaza.  They proposed to completely take over three public alleys.  It would mean a demolition of several restaurants, shops, and the Hermosa Cyclery.

As we stay diligent in an attempt to preserve the protections the CA Coastal Act offers, some of our executive committee members developed comments to the draft environmental impact report (EIR). The comments became official Sierra Club comments as they were approved by the executive committee and submitted by the deadline well over a year ago. Other Sierra Club members worked to gather signatures and close to a thousand were submitted to the EIR calling for the protection of the public view of the ocean and keeping the public alleys open.  The petition’s list includes former city commissioners, former council members, former mayors; and a mayor and current council members from a neighboring city. Read More

New Liability Waiver

Did you know that when you sign in for a hike you are signing a liability waiver? In order to particpate in any of the Sierra Club’s outings you must do so. Beginning in January 2020, the Angeles Chapter has a new liability waiver. Read it now and don’t hold up the line signing in:

The Wanderer with Purpose

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Along the Path: A Young Person’s Guide to Exploring Nature

By Susan Rothrock Deo

I love to go a-wandering/ Along the mountain track/ And as I go, I love to sing/ My knapsack on my back.

Do you like to wander? We land mammals wander here on terra firma. Did you know there are also animals that wander the seas? Our famous one is the California gray whale.

Gray whales don’t carry knapsacks, but they do have a thick layer of blubber (fat) that supplies the food energy they need for migration. The gray whale has one of the longest migrations, over 10,000 miles round trip! In summer they live in the Bering and Chukchi Seas north of Alaska, fattening up for their journey. In fall, they travel south to Baja California in Mexico. In Southern California we start seeing them in December, though some of the younger whales may wander in and out of the area earlier. The whales spend winter in the warm lagoons of Baja where they breed and give birth. In spring they swim back north to their feeding grounds. This time they hug the shore. The favorable ocean currents make swimming easier for the little ones. Being closer to shore and the kelp forests helps moms protect their babies from ocean predators like orcas and sharks. Read More

A Year at the South Pole

Just reaching the South Pole is an achievement. What is it like to be part of group of scientists spending a full year there?

Sierra Club member Dr. Steven Morris will show us in a slideshow from his South Pole year, 1984-85.  He was responsible for maintaining the computers and running a seismometer for UCLA.  In addition to seismology, scientific teams there during his stay studied balloon-borne meteorology, ice-core drilling and the aurora australis.  Dr. Morris will tell what it’s like to winter-over, and how science gets done at this remote and hostile location.

Join us on Wednesday January 22, 2020, 7:00 PM, at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Center Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates (entrance also on Deep Valley Dr). To take the chill off, snacks and refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Joyce White, 310-383-5247.

 Photo by NOAA

Strike a Blow Against Plastic Pollution

Reduce and reuse, because recycling is broken.


  Bring your own bottle — not necessarily booze. Carry your own filtered tap water so you can politely turn down offers of water in plastic bottles from friends and business associates.

 Bring your own bags. You already bring large sacks when you shop for groceries. You can also bring smaller bags for produce and bulk items like rice and granola.

Bring your own box. Bring a reusable plastic box (Tupperware or the like) when you get take-out or want to take home half of that extra-large restaurant meal. Read More

Nov/Dec 2019

Holiday Lights Hike

Dec 9 Mon O: Holiday Lights Hike. Join our annual easy social hike to enjoy the Holiday Lights of Sleepy Hollow in Torrance. Meet 7 PM in Redondo Beach Riviera Village parking lot across from Trader Joe’s, 1 block west of PCH & Palos Verdes Bl. via Vista del Mar. The hike will last about 1 1/2 hrs. Bring comfortable walking shoes & red lens flashlight. Ldr: Bill Lavoie, Asst. Ldr: Kevin Schlunegger or Zoltan Stroll.


Your Tips for Going Green

We all care about the environment. Recycling is good, but reusing is better (no energy wasted transporting materials to get broken down and reformed and transported back). “Upcycling” turns trash into treasure.

So how do YOU do it?

Send your tips for:

*Using less single-use plastic and other packaging materials

      Do you know sources for reusable produce bags (preferably local)?

      What do you line your kitchen trash can with?

*Saving gasoline, water, or electricity

*Adapting something about to be thrown out for reuse.

*Making art from discards

*Other green tips



Leader Appreciation Dinner

Outings Leaders volunteer their time and expertise to lead hikes and outings throughout the year. The Palos Verdes- South Bay Group would like to recognize and thank our leaders for the countless hours they volunteer each week.

You’re invited… Leader Appreciation Dinner

Saturday, November 23, 2019 5:00pm

El Pollo Inka

550 Deep Valley Dr. #201

Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

Complimentary prix fixe dinner provided to all former and current Outings Leaders of the Palos Verdes-South Bay Group of the Sierra Club and their significant others. Fountain drink included.

Supporters encouraged to attend for $25

Questions? Contact: Kevin Schlunegger RSVP by Nov 20. (619) 804-6616

Along the Path: Soaring Free – The Red Tailed Hawk

By Susan Rothrock Deo              (Soaring hawk photo by Ashok Khosla)

“Keee. Keeeee.” The shrill call pierced the air.

Three red tailed hawks soared over the canyon, their pale, brick-red tails glinting like stained glass.

“Keee. Keeeee.” Some describe their call as a scream, but it doesn’t sound that way to me. I smiled. “Wish I was up there with them.” Read More

Mitigation measures won’t stop deadly HF, says Chemical Safety Board

The SCAQMD failed the community too, but there’s still hope

By Steve Dillow, Conservation Co-Chair

Following the June explosion at a Philadelphia refinery, which caused it to permanently close, our local refinery spokesman bragged that it proved that their mitigation efforts to contain hydrogen fluoride (HF or MHF) worked perfectly. He said there was no release of the deadly chemical at all. But on Oct. 16, in its report on the accident, the federal Chemical Safety Board showed that the recent Philadelphia Refinery explosion did in fact release over 5000 pounds of HF, and that their mitigation efforts (water sprays mostly) reduced the release by only 38%. The only reason that it didn’t injure or kill tens of Read More

Sep/Oct 2019

Up Against the Wall

By Judy Herman and Melanie Cohen

Children torn from their mothers’ arms, caged and left to sleep on concrete floors where bright lights glare around the clock. You’ve heard how the current U.S. border policy tramples human rights, but do you know that existing and proposed border barriers also threaten other species?

In a letter to the Border Patrol, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that proposed barrier projects in two Arizona counties would put at risk 16 threatened or endangered species, including the ocelot, jaguar, Mexican

Read More

New Film Reveals the Drama of the Border Wall

Experience the environmental and human drama of the wall in a vivid new film at our quarterly meeting.

“The River and the Wall” follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. Conservation filmmaker Ben Masters realizes the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas as the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead. Masters recruits NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on the two-and-a-half- month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

They set out to document the borderlands and explore the potential impacts of a wall on the natural environ- ment, but as the wilderness gives way to the more pop- ulated and heavily trafficked Lower Rio Grande Val- ley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters.

Movie, munchies and mingling. Join us on Wednesday October 23 at 7 PM at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Public Library, 701 Silver Spur Rd, Rolling Hills Estates (entrance also on Deep Valley Dr).
Snacks and refreshments will be served.
For more information, call Joyce White 310- 383-5247