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Don't Get Mad, Get Political

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"Never Doubt that a Small Group of thoughtful, Committed Citizens Can Change the World; Indeed, It's the Only thing that Ever Has."
Margaret Mead

The Local-Global Tip

Silicon Valley--once known as "The Valley of Heart's Delight"--is blessed by a happy accident of geography. Our climate--warmed by the moderating influence of the Pacific, yet shielded by mountains from harsh storms--is second to none on earth. The natural landscape is equally sweet, bringing together a rare combination of ecological zones, and boasting an unusual variety of wildlife and flora.

This place also faces extraordinary development pressures--a fact not entirely unconnected to its natural charms. As a result, living in the valley presents excellent opportunities in the environmental-political arena.

San Jose's Greenbelt Alliance (408/983-0539) and the Peninsula Conservation Center of Palo Alto (650/962-9876) get right to the work of protecting open space in the valley and the hills surrounding. They are also repositories of information about local land-use issues.

If you think the Audubon Society is all about bird-watching, you're correct, but the organization is also a stalwart in environmental battles nationwide. Its local chapter, in Cupertino (408/252-3747), sponsors field trips and runs a library with more than 550 birding books.

Similarly, the Sierra Club is about more than mountaineering, although its members get together for jaunts as often as political potlucks. The Loma Prieta Chapter (650/390-8411) publishes a newsletter that lists upcoming events.

The Trail Center of Palo Alto (650/968-7065) builds trails in open-space areas--and that, too, is a type of political work.

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition engages in much more overtly political activity--fighting against the pollution generated by the high-tech industry. Its newsletter is available by subscription. (408/287-6707).

Bay Area Action (650/321-1994; [email protected]) sponsors many local events, including Decadent Dinners, (politically savvy vegetarian fundraisers).

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From the March 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro.

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