Protestors Outside LA City Hall

Southern Sierran

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter
July 2020

Meet 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? 

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

Editors Note: As we send this update we, like many others, are still reeling from the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others from police brutality. As people across the country protest in defense of Black lives, the Sierra Club recognizes the need to dismantle systemic racism in the United States and within our own organization. We must reckon with how white supremacy -- both past and present -- has shaped our institutions and do the critical anti-racism work necessary to repair the harm done. The environmental movement does not exist in a vacuum, and it is our responsibility to use our power to help abolish systemic racism which is destroying lives, communities, and the planet.


by Jonathan Howard, Angeles Chapter Communicatons Cordinator

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.

“These same kids will soon be the ones to decide whether to save our natural world. If we deny them these experiences in nature, soon our movement will be gone and so will our natural world.”

Read the Full interview

Civics During Covid-19CIVICS DURING COVID-19

by Everette Phillips, Chair of the Angeles Chapter Communications Committee

One impact of COVID19 and social distancing is that many political and civic forums formerly open to the public are now closed to physical presence. If you ever attended a city council meeting when an agenda item included something of extraordinary interest or controversial topic, then you would understand the power of large groups in physical attendance. Although an online presence can be impactful, it is harder to gain the palatable impact of long lines of people waiting for their minute at the mic.

COVID19 makes your voice ever more important, and you should be prepared to make it known, especially related to issues and agenda items that Sierra Club volunteers have spent hours or even years preparing for.

Make Your Voice Heard!

From the Director's Desk for JulyFROM THE DIRECTOR'S DESK FOR JULY

by Morgan Goodwin, Angeles Chapter Senior Director

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.

Read the Monthly Column


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.

One unexpected impact of COVID-19 has been time travel, we were brought back to 2012 by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order suspending portions of the statewide ban of single-use plastic bags. 2012 was the year when the Sierra Club Zero Waste Team and many environmental groups succeeded in getting city leaders of Los Angeles to enact a ban on single-use plastic bags.

Defend the Plastic Bag Ban


by Mackenzie P., Communications Committee Volunteer

The Sierra Club's 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.

Mackenzie is a Junior at UCLA, pursuing a BS in Marine Biology. Her interest in Marine Biology has helped galvanize a realization that climate change is a real threat and action needs to be taken. Her studies have opened her eyes to the reality of climate change issues and their implications related to the quality of life on Earth. She is involved in research on various marine ecosystems, and this has given her firsthand exposure to the effects of climate change on vulnerable, biodiverse aquatic communities.

Continue Reading


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.

The committee has outlined its initial actions and goals and plans to meet monthly to update those interested in their progress. They ask volunteers and members to keep an eye on local city agendas for building proposals in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZs) and to alert the committee so they can promote commenting, and to join them for future zoom presentations on the issue and to participate in action alerts on state policy.

Continue Reading the Update

Virtual Scavenger Hunt


by Derek Berlin

Maggie Moran is the newest owner of Adams Pack Station. The Pack Station has been operating since 1936 and remains today a working pack station operating much as it would have these past 84 years, ferrying freight by pack animal to and from Forest Service work projects, cabins, and Sturtevant Camp, miles from the nearest roads.

It’s located at Chantry Flat, one of the most popular recreation sites in the entire Angeles National Forest and the hub for numerous trails to mile-high mountain summits or alongside streams within deep cascading canyons.

We spoke to Maggie about her decision to buy the station, what a typical day is like as an operator, how the pandemic has affected her business, and what to expect if you plan on visiting the historic site.

Learn More About Maggie


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.

Learn More

Bob Cates Autumn colors of buckwheat and bunchgrass on Pinyon Ridge

The COVID-19 crisis has not passed and continues to disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people and other communities of color. The pandemic has revealed how the communities hardest hit are often the same people that suffer from high levels of pollution and poor access to healthcare. The fight for environmental justice cannot be separated from the fight for racial justice.

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