An expurgated history of some key moments in Bay Area environmental history
1974: The Farallones Institute in Berkeley begins building the first urban demonstration of an ecological living center with the Integral Urban House, a converted Victorian using solar and wind technologies, a composting toilet, extensive gardens, and energy and resource conservation features. It serves as an early model for the emerging Appropriate Technology Movement.
1975: Berkeley resident Ernest Callenbach self publishes Ecotopia after a round of rejections from New York publishers; it ultimately sells more than a million copies and becomes an environmental classic.
1975: San Francisco's first community gardens are established at Fort Mason and elsewhere.
1975: The Marine Mammal Center, a nonprofit veterinary research hospital and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals, primarily elephant seals, harbor seals, and California sea lions, is established in the Marin Headlands.
1978: Raymond Dasmann and Peter Berg coin the term Bioregionalism in the publication of Reinhabiting a Separate Country, published by Berg's Planet Drum Foundation in San Francisco. It represents a fresh, comprehensive way of defining and understanding the places where we live, and of living there sustainably and respectfully through ecological design.
1979 Greens Restaurant opens at Fort Mason in San Francisco and quickly establishes itself as a pioneer in promoting vegetarian cuisine in the United States.
1980: The Marin Agricultural Land Trust is established by Wetland Biologist Phyllis Faber and diary farmer Ellen Straus.
1980: Berkeley resident Richard Register coins the term "depave" — to undo the act of paving, to remove pavement so as to restore land to a more natural state. Depaving begins to spread to create many inner city urban gardening projects.
1981-82: Register and other activists, bring about the first urban day lighting of a creek in Berkeley's Strawberry Creek Park where a 200-foot section of the creek is removed from a culvert beneath an empty lot and transformed into the centerpiece of a park.
1982: Earth First, a radical environmental group founded by Dave Foreman and Mike Roselle, sponsors the first demonstration against Burger King in San Francisco for using beef grown on land hacked out of rain forests. The demonstrations spread, turn in to a boycott, and after sales drop 12 percent, Burger King cancels $35 million worth of beef contracts in Central America and announces it will stop importing rainforest beef.
1983: Local residents Randy Hayes and Toby Mcleod release the documentary film The Four Corners, A National Sacrifice Area? , which conveys the cultural and ecological impacts of coal strip-mining, uranium mining, and oil shale development in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona — homeland of the Hopi and Navajo. The film wins an Academy Award and illustrates serious environmental justice issues 10 years before that term is coined.
1985: The Rainforest Action Network, established in San Francisco, emerges from the Burger King action.
1986: Fifteen years after Duskin's first anti-high-rise initiative efforts, San Francisco finally passes Prop. M, the nation's most important sustainable growth law.
1988: Register invents a stencil to be used next to street storm drains that says "don't dump — drains to bay." The wastewater pollution mitigation education concept spreads around the region and nation and then becomes an international volunteer effort to lessen pollution in urban runoff, which generally flows untreated into creeks and saltwater.