San Francisco Bay is a primary feature of our home town. The Golden Gate Bridge is world famous. We enjoy walking along the shores. Other people sail. And some brave souls actually swim in our bay. In other words, we take it for granted.
In the 1960s, betcha didn’t know we almost lost it:
What happened to our bay, and the fight to save it, was the beginning of the environmental movement. The “Save San Francisco Bay Association,” drew the attention of our state legislators. San Francisco’s State Senator Eugene McAteer passed the McAteer-Petris Act in June of 1965, establishing the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission in September of 1965.
The purpose of the Commission was to make a:”a detailed study of all the characteristics of the Bay, including the quality, quantity, and movement of Bay waters,… the ecological balance of the Bay, and the economic interests in the Bay, including the needs of the Bay Area population for industry and for employment, …The study should examine all present and proposed uses of the Bay and its shoreline and, …should lead to the preparation of a comprehensive and enforceable plan for the conservation of the water of the Bay and the development of its shoreline.”
In response to citizen action across the country, Congress passed the National Environmental Act in 1970. The Act created the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate environmental health hazards and the use of natural resources. In the 1970s, Congress passed 18 new laws, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which established new standards for air and water quality.
Celebrate Earth Day! Here are some students from the University of San Francisco who are making a big deal about composting, and having fun: