We at Audubon love birds. That’s why we developed our Strategic Initiatives for Birds and the Environment.
In Fall 2019, the Golden Gate Audubon Society Board of Directors approved a Strategic Plan that will guide the organization through 2023.
We invite you to read the plan and get involved!
Here is our plan summary.
Here is our full plan.
Since you’re on the Golden Gate Audubon website, you probably love birds as much as we do. We revel in the hundreds of thousands of shorebirds that visit the Bay in fall and winter, we love peeking at our nesting birds, and our resident birds reward our faithful efforts with frequent sightings. But our avian friends are disappearing. If you were alive in 1970, more than one in four birds in the U.S. and Canada has disappeared within your lifetime https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/vanishing-1-in-4-birds-gone/. Research led by Cornell Lab published online in Science in September 2019 shows that wild bird populations in the continental U.S. and Canada have declined by almost 30% since 1970 https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/bring-birds-back/.
Climate change threatens both the people we love and the birds we treasure. It is the biggest environmental challenge of our time. Sea level rise caused by climate change threatens coasts and coastal cities. Climate change intensifies our wildfires and storms and makes our weather unpredictable and extreme. Some media are now calling our wildfires “climate fires.”
National Audubon’s 2019 report shows that more than two-thirds of North America’s birds, 389 species, are at risk if the current pace of global warming continues https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees. An increase of just one degree Celsius will alter our environment, not just for birds, but for people. But if we limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we may be able to mitigate the most serious threats to birds, humans, and the places we and the birds need to thrive.
GGAS Board and staff have adopted Call to Action on Climate Change as a strategic initiative—a centerpiece around which we will prioritize our advocacy, education, habitat restoration, and communications work.
The overarching goals of our Call to Action on Climate Change are to
- Help people understand the threat of climate change at a more personal and emotional level by connecting it to their love of birds;
- Educate people on the urgency of the threat;
- Empower people to take positive action to reduce their own carbon footprint through actions that range from easy to hard; and
- Mobilize joint actions that translate into community- and regional-scale transformations to curb greenhouse gas emissions and foster more resilient habitats for threatened birds.
Climate change is becoming increasingly obvious, and the harm from climate change is becoming increasingly clear—both for people and for birds. The actions we take for birds in the face of climate change are the same as those we need to take for people.
Another focus in our present strategic plan is for GGAS and its programs to be welcoming, inclusive, and equitable, and for our organization to better reflect the racial, cultural, and economic diversity of our region. Environmental degradation and climate change have disproportionately affected and are disproportionately affecting communities of color. Our climate change actions should include engagement with those communities and their organizations.
For GGAS conservation advocacy and habitat restoration and conservation, the initiative means that
- GGAS conservation advocacy and habitat restoration and conservation programs will be focused on species and habitats that are most threatened by climate change. For birds in Alameda County threatened by climate change, see:
For San Francisco, see: https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees/county?zipCode=94121
Among the most climate-threatened habitats are
- Coastal wetlands
- Overwintering habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds
- Coastal grasslands
- Oak savannah
- Conservation advocacy will also be focused on support of policies to phase out fossil fuels.
- Under the initiative, GGAS community science would be used to document changes to bird distribution caused by changes in climate, particularly to provide regional coordination for National Audubon Society’s Climate Watch monitoring program.
Our community outreach and education will have these major thrusts:
- Actions to protect birds and habitats in the face of climate change (i.e., resiliency), including conservation advocacy and habitat protection and restoration for birds and habitats listed above.
- Actions we can take as individuals and as communities to reduce our carbon footprint. These may include outreach and education addressing
- Low / zero carbon transportation
- Green big year / human-powered birding events
- Eating low on the food chain
- Zero waste
- Low-carbon homes: energy efficiency, rooftop solar, energy storage, high-performance electric heat pump appliances, induction cooking
- Integration of climate protection topics into adult education curricula.
- Activities we can consider promoting as part of our community outreach and education include
- Member profiles of Audubon Climate Heroes
- Community challenges around specific carbon reduction goals
- Green technology fairs
- Leading by example: organizing low carbon outings and events
This initiative is still an outline of concepts and ideas. As we continue our work, we will need input and participation from throughout GGAS, its volunteers and participants. Golden Gate Audubon joins with National Audubon, California Audubon and many other organizations in working to limit temperature rise and the impact of climate change. Please read on to learn about what you can do at home, how you can work with GGAS, your neighborhood and your city, and how Audubon California and National Audubon are working to combat climate change.