News Blog

Welcome to the Southern Sierran, published by the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, serving Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Want to learn about an environmental issue?  Select an issue from the below list and start learning.

News Archive
October 26, 2020 By Felicity Crossland

Meet Avenue 33, an innovative urban farm in the heart of Los Angeles, paving the way for a new sustainable future. 

October 23, 2020 By Angeles Chapter

The Sierra Club Angeles Chapter welcomes Kimberly Orbe as the new Conservation Program Manager on staff at the Angeles Chapter office. Kim will be working with the Conservation Committee as well as the other regional groups and entities to help increase the effectiveness of the chapter. She brings years of experience working with diverse communities and grassroots organizations through an equity and social justice lens and is eager to engage in more local environmental issues. 

October 19, 2020 By Everette Phillips - Chair, Communications Committee

Share the Importance of Voting with 5 people and ask them to do the same. #5Friends5Votes

October 16, 2020 By Monica Embrey, Associate Director, Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign

This week we submitted a letter with over 80 other organizations, including labor unions, public health advocates, faith institutions, community based organizations and environmental justice allies to tell the agency to prohibit any new and existing drilling within 2,500 feet of a home, playground, hospital, or school.

October 14, 2020 By John Monsen

The Forest Committee launches a series of programs on Wildfire November 18th with “The Bobcat Fire and the Future of the San Gabriel Mountains”.

October 2, 2020 By Howard Strauss

On September 25, 2020, the Sierra Club lost one of its legendary leaders. Emil Lawton passed away at the age of 97 after a long and fruitful life, much of it centered around the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club.

October 1, 2020 By Demitri Fierro

Motivations to Contribute is a new series oriented towards understanding our volunteers and members both for inspiration and to enhance cooperation and coordination among current members while encouraging new volunteers to join us

The Anthropocene is generally considered to be the geologic age where humankind is the dominant force upon the surface of the planet. Let’s talk about how the Angeles Chapter is bringing leadership and sanity to this moment. 

October 1, 2020 By Jonathan Howard

With people unable to get outdoors due to wildfire smoke and a global pandemic, we still wanted to come together, have a little fun, and learn more about our community and our planet. So, we introduced our Virtual Scavenger Hunt sponsored by Beneficial Stata Bank.

October 1, 2020 By Everette Phillips Chair, Communications Committee

Announcing a new series for our Website and Southern Sierran - Understanding Native Species, How to enjoy them, and How to protect them.

September 15, 2020 By The Angeles Chapter

The annual Angeles Chapter elections begin Monday, October 5, and end Monday, November 9. Active members will be voting for At-large positions on the Angeles Chapter Executive Committee and Members of the Executive/Management Committee for their Regional Group in the Chapter. Don't sit this one out, VOTE!

September 10, 2020 By The Angeles Chapter

The Angeles Chapter’s own Jane Simpson received the Oliver Kehrlein Award for service to the Sierra Club’s Outings Program at the annual National Sierra Club Awards Ceremony on September 9th.

August 31, 2020 By Charming Evelyn - Chair, Water Committee

The Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination plant is being proposed by Poseidon. What a title for a company! Do you think anyone with Poseidon stopped to consider their namesake? Poseidon is considered to be one of the most bad-tempered, moody, and greedy Olympian gods and known to be quite vengeful when insulted.

August 31, 2020 By Demitri Fierro, Communications Committee Volunteer

When it comes to public health, one easily believes that community wellness takes priority over anything else. However, as we have covered in previous publications, that does not always hold true. As more officials in the public sector are being forced into transparency from ongoing scrutiny, we continue to see motivations behind their actions as self-serving. What happens when exploitation of public utilities is labeled as the “best interest” for the city? The City of Montebello is still attempting to answer that question.

August 30, 2020 By Everette Phillips, Communications Chair

Our Sierra Club Chapter is shy 50,000 members located in LA and Orange Counties. We have between 3 and 5 paid staff members at any given time, so most of the work and decision making is made by volunteers. Members like you who care enough about an activity like a hike or environmental issue like clean air & water to volunteers a couple of hours each week.  When groups of volunteers work together, some must assume leadership roles. Some of those roles require recognition through elections. But, what gets decided in the election and why should you bother voting? We break it down for you. Click to read more. 

August 27, 2020 By Angeles Chapter

In the 2020 election, voters will determine whether we act on climate change before it’s too late. Sierra Club Independent Action will tap into our trusted brand, grassroots structure, and 3.8 million supporters to tackle the most urgent task before us: defeating Donald Trump. Will you join us?

August 26, 2020 By Jonathan Howard

The Angeles Chapter presented its 13th annual Political Leadership Awards on August 23 to an exceptional group of honorees at the first-ever virtual celebration in the Chapter’s history. The event took place on the new Remo conferencing platform. Proceeds from ticket sales for the event will go to the California Sierra Club PAC, which provides financial contributions for Sierra Club-endorsed candidates in state and local elections in California.

In this time of change, we are all being asked to do more philosophy. The fires raging across the state are devastating life for some. 'How should we live' becomes a very immediate problem if your home is destroyed. In our cities as well, Covid changes the landscape. There's more outdoor dining, and less commuting. There are more deaths, our medical system is adapting and innovating. For millions of us, living in polluted air is a more urgent crisis than ever before.

August 25, 2020 By Jonathan Howard

This month we’re spotlighting Liliana Griego, a Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) graduate, Forest Committee Volunteer, and ExCom member-at-large working to create a more influential and inclusive Angeles Chapter.

August 24, 2020 By Emmanuel Alcantar

Motivations to Contribute is a new series oriented towards understanding our volunteers and members both for inspiration and to enhance cooperation and coordination among current members while encouraging new volunteers to join us.

August 14, 2020 By Monica Embrey, Associate Director, Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign

Innovative Policy in L.A. County Could Ignite Just Transition While Protecting Residents From a Legacy of Toxic Emissions

August 6, 2020 By Randy Kokal

As former chair of the Huntington Beach Planning Commission, I presided over 40 hours of Poseidon’s hearings.  I offer four reasons why the Regional Water Board should reject the project at Friday’s meeting, and a suggestion.

July 31, 2020 By Demitri Fierro

Water has been a fundamental pillar of civilization since antiquity, and access to clean water is a basic universal right to be enjoyed by us all. As it is our most vital resource, we each have a moral responsibility to see that everyone has access to it. But, what occurs when access to clean water is sold off and exploited? The result is lower quality and a threat to public health in the name of easy profit.  

July 27, 2020 By Eric Yoon, Communications Committee Volunteer

This is part of an ongoing series of articles by the Angeles Chapter Communications Committee to help readers understand how important decisions are made in California - how agencies and boards function, why they exist and how to interact with them. We look forward to your comments and suggestions regarding other agencies you, the reader, would like to learn more about. Here is an introduction to regional water boards and the California Coastal Commission and interview with Commissioner Penny Elia.

July 27, 2020 By Angeles Chapter Political Committee

The Angeles Chapter will be hosting its Political Leadership Awards online this year. The annual event is a fundraiser for the California Sierra Club Political Action Committee (PAC) and the theme this year is “Climate for Democracy, Democracy for Climate!” The event will take place from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday, August 23rd. The Angeles Chapter Political Committee chose the theme to emphasize the connection between protection of the environment and protection of fundamental rights of justice, equity, and democracy. 

July 27, 2020 By Rob Morales and John Monsen
As the US copes with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that outdoor access plays a huge role in boosting physical and mental health. Two important outdoor resources for park-poor Angelinos are the San Gabriel River and the San Gabriel Mountains. Located in the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, the range is a recreational oasis for over 3.5 million people a year. Our backyard national forest features a unique chaparral ecosystem that covers 700,000 acres, providing vital habitat for hundreds of species and drinking water for area cities.

July 27, 2020 By Jay Schneider, Elections Committee Chair

The Sierra Club is a democracy! The national board of directors, as well as the chapter executive committee and the regional groups, are elected by members. Transparency is a key element of democracy and this post explains how our elections work -- if you have a question, please get in touch.

July 27, 2020 By Morgan Goodwin

On July 15th, for my birthday, I set my alarm to wake up at 3am, even though the day ahead was a marathon of zoom calls. My partner and I left the house at 3:30, and by 4am we were parked on the Mt. Wilson Observatory road, gazing north east and marvelling at the comet NEOWISE.

July 24, 2020 By Angeles Chapter

This is the most consequential election of our lifetime. Even before 2016, we had no time to waste in addressing the climate crisis. With Trump in the White House, we are facing a real emergency.

July 23, 2020 By Jonathan Howard

Calling all shutterbugs! If you have not already, make sure to check out the July ‘20 Issue of Focal Points Magazine -- Premium photography of our natural world presented by the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club Camera Committee.

July 22, 2020 By Angeles Chapter

In acknowledgment of the recent blog penned by Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune, and subsequent stories from the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times on racism in the history of the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, the Angeles Chapter reaffirms its commitment to examine and learn from our past and our substantial role in perpetuating white supremacy. 

July 17, 2020 By Mackenzie Jackson

Plastic microbeads in 2015. Plastic bags in 2016. Plastic straws in 2018. Banning plastic goods that are constructed without consideration for how they will be reused or recovered is a powerful tool Zero Waste activists have used for years. While these sweeping bans can be incredibly effective, they are useless against one of today’s fastest-growing sources of waste: Personal Protective Equipment.

July 9, 2020 By Communications Committee

Photography plays a big part in our understanding and love of the natural world. Focal Points Magazine is the creative expression of this corollary. This digital magazine is created monthly from photography provided by members of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Camera Committee.

July 2, 2020 By Ray Hiemstra

As Sierra Club members we have all become familiar with zombie development projects that never seem to die, and that we need to stop.  One of the longest-running of these projects is the proposed Poseidon Huntington Beach desalination plant.  This boondoggle has been in the works for twenty years, and the Sierra Club along with a large coalition of environmental and community groups has continually worked to stop this destructive project. But like most zombies, this project just keeps going and now we need your help to stop it for good.

July 2, 2020 By Yvonne Watson, Chair of the Angeles Chapter Environmental Justice Committee

A lot of people have been wondering why the Sierra Club is supporting social justice issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement.  I’ve read social media posts criticizing the Club for straying away from its core values and mission.  But is this a fair statement to make? 

July 2, 2020 By Chapter Communications Committee

How can you still impact environmental issues and exercise civic responsibilities during the pandemic.

July 2, 2020 By Mackenzie P.

The Sierra Club values of explore, enjoy and protect the environment can be embraced by volunteers and members of all ages. Motivations to Contribute is a new series oriented towards understanding our volunteers and members both for inspiration and to enhance cooperation and coordination among current members while encouraging new volunteers to join us.

July 2, 2020 By Jonathan Howard

Sierra Club outings leader Bill Vanderberg has been leading youth wilderness programs for over 20 years. His program Building Bridges to the Outdoors (BBTO) provides immersive nature experiences for local high schoolers in Los Angeles. I sat down with Bill to talk about why BBTO is so important. Here’s what he explained to me.

July 1, 2020 By Hoiyin Ip

Maybe you have noticed the resurgence of single-use plastic bags in LA and Orange Counties. If not, it is important to start paying attention. 

July 1, 2020 By Jonathan Howard

The Wildland Urban Wildfire Committee (WUWC) -- Sierra Club Angeles Chapter’s newest committee – was officially approved Sunday, June 28, 2020, and will be dedicated to addressing the risks associated with building in the Wildland-Urban Interface/Intermix (WUI) and influencing policies to reduce those dangers while protecting the environment.

July 1, 2020 By Derek Berlin

Sierra Club volunteer Derek Berlin interviews Maggie Moran, the newest owner of the Adams' Pack Station at Chantry Flat. 

July 1, 2020 By Morgan Goodwin, Senior Director, Angeles Chapter

This past month was difficult and uncomfortable; I’m not going to lie. As the pandemic continues to rage through our communities, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, and the pain of 450 years of racism in this country was laid bare for all of us to grapple with. At the Angeles Chapter, we are taking time to figure out what it means to be the Sierra Club in this particular moment. With so much important work ahead and begun this month, I find myself increasingly grateful that trails are open, and so as always, I close this column with a story of the mountains.

June 15, 2020 By mgoodwin


June 8, 2020 By Sharon Koch, Chair of the Angeles Chapter

The multiracial, multigender, multigenerational protestors filling our streets and the highways and by-ways across the world offer a glimmer of hope that this time may truly lead to a path ending systemic racism.  We have an opportunity to listen to the heartfelt words of so many, to demand that our public servants take action, and to take a few small steps toward dismantling a culture that has for too long denied our fellow humans the privileges and opportunities enjoyed by a few.  Some steps we can take:

June 8, 2020 By Michael Brune

Statement from Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune on the ways in which environmentalists need to show up in this moment.

May 29, 2020 By Morgan Goodwin

The Sierra Club Angeles Chapter welcomes Jonathan Howard as the new Communications Coordinator on staff at the chapter office. He starts June 8th and will be focusing on communications, marketing, and media relations to help increase the capacity of the chapter.

In this, the second edition of the Directors Desk update, I want to continue to share with you the most interesting bits of the job, give you a sense of what the Chapter is up to, and share a brief story about family and the mountains.

May 29, 2020 By Mark Kresowik

You’re paying too much to cook with gas. You’re paying with your family’s health. Your gas bills are going to go up. And in some parts of the country, the gas industry is even charging you the cost of distributing their propaganda. It is time to switch to cleaner, cheaper, healthier, safer, and superior induction cooking.

May 19, 2020 By Morgan Goodwin, Senior Director, Angeles Chapter

We turned to Facebook to see how our members were doing with coping with the pandemic, and the responses have been delightful.

April 29, 2020 By David Haake & Barbara Hensleigh, Angeles Chapter

On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Angeles Chapter’s Clean Break Committee and the Central Regional Group held a Facebook Live Forum about the Inglewood Oil Field with local elected leaders.