Tom Hayden – Civil Rights Activist and Civic Leader 1939 – 2016


Tom Hayden, author, journalist, activist and politician died October 23, 2016 at age 76. He was the director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center. Tom was a man deeply committed to democracy and understood it intimately as both an activist and a legislator. His knowledge and insight from his activist struggles provided insight and experience to be an effective legislator. He served California in both the Assembly and the state Senate.

Hayden became a cultural icon in the 1960’s when he and his then wife, Jane Fonda, visibly and vocally demonstrated against the Vietnam War. He believed that the war was the “slaughter of distant people.” In 1965 he traveled with an antiwar group to Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam. The 10-day trip offended many in the U.S. and the State Department temporarily withdrew Hayden’s passport.

Tom returned to Vietnam again in 1967 and this time was successful in helping with the release of three American prisoners of war. Hayden met them on the airport tarmac and they boarded a Czechoslovakian plane bound for Beirut. He accompanied the servicemen to the U.S. Embassy. In the 1980s one of these POWs supported him against Republican’s wanting to oust him from office for what they called “treason” during the war.

In the sixties, Tom Hayden was instrumental in forming an organization called Students for a Democratic Society (SDS, 1961). Hayden drafted what became known as the Port Huron Statement (1962), the SDS’s manifesto, while he was in jail in Georgia for Civil Rights activism. This 25,000-word document was a call to action for people to participate in our democracy.

In 1968 he was one of seven individuals that became known of the “Chicago 7”. These seven were indicted for conspiracy to incite a riot at the Democratic National Convention. Hayden was convicted of traveling across state lines to incite a riot and sentenced to five years in prison. The conviction was overturned on appeal, largely because the judge had sided openly with prosecutors. The government declined to retry Hayden.

Tom was often among slews of protesters perpetrating disorder ranging from disrupting the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange to the destruction of the Clocks at Grand Central Terminal, the main commuter station for workers in New York City. He is

Hayden was a champion for the environment. He backed scores of liberal candidates and ballot measures in the 1970s and ‘80s, most notably Proposition 65, the anti-toxics measure that requires signs in gas stations, bars and grocery stores that warn of cancer-causing chemicals. He also spent several years organizing poor black residents to take on slumlords, city inspectors and others. He was under FBI surveillance for a large portion of his life.

Inspired by sociologist C. Wright Mills and French author Albert Camus, among others, Hayden and his fellow students bemoaned poverty, racial bigotry, the Democratic Party’s tolerance of Southern segregationists, the threat of nuclear war and an apathetic citizenry. They called for mobilizing students and like-minded Americans through “participatory democracy.” “If we appear to seek the unattainable, as it has been said, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable,” the statement concluded.

Tom felt that he could really make a difference if he were to work in the state legislature. In 1982, Tom was elected to the state Assembly. Hayden served a total of 18 years in the Assembly and state Senate representing the people of California. He supported what he called “participatory democracy.”

A prolific author and editor (19 books), Hayden wrote books on Cuba, Ireland, Vietnam, street gangs, spirituality and environmental protection, the Iraq war and the Newark riots. His next book, “Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement,” is scheduled to be published in March 2017 by Yale University Press.

Hayden is survived by his wife, Barbara Williams, an actress and singer; their adopted son, Liam; Troy Garity, his son with Fonda; and his sister, Mary Hayden Frey. He is also survived by stepdaughter Vanessa Vadim and her two children.

In honor of Tom and his dedication to participatory democracy, I hope that each of you will take the time to vote on Tuesday November 8 for this most important Presidential election.

If you would like to learn more about Tom Hayden, here are some resources:

Tom Hayden Forces of Nature Video – Navigating toward Unity

Tom on the meaning of citizenship (video):



In Remembrance of Michael Frome: 1920-2016


Born in the Bronx in 1920, Michael Frome was an important author and teacher. He was an inspiration to a generation of conservationists and environmentalists. Throughout his life Michael was an outspoken advocate and defender of wilderness and public lands. After serving our country in the U.S. Air Force, he continued to serve as an untiring environmental voice for the remainder of his 96 years. His voice will be missed.

Professor Frome was an author of more than 20 books, a columnist for numerous magazines and newsletters, and a teacher of journalism. He taught at the University of Idaho and at University of Vermont. He also taught environmental journalism and writing at Northland College (Wisconsin) and Western Washington University. In 1995 he retired from the faculty of Western Washington University. Professor Frome received the prestigious honor from the University of Idaho that established the Michael Frome scholarship for excellence in conservation writing.

Michael also received many awards: among them, the Wilderness Writing Award from the Wild Foundation; the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Award (behalf of the National Parks); and the 1980 award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Here are links to other obituaries and articles about Michael:

Here is the link to our Forces of Nature video of Michael :

In Memory of Sylvia McLaughlin Co-founder of Save the Bay



Sylvia McLaughlin passed away January 19, 2016, less than a month after her 99th birthday. She and her husband, the late Donald McLaughlin, moved to the Berkeley hills in the 1950s. Sylvia was appalled to see that San Francisco Bay was being filled with garbage to increase land for cities around the Bay. Unhappy about the future of the Bay, she became a passionate environmental activist for San Francisco Bay — a cause that consumed her for decades. Generations of citizens and environmentalists whose lives she has impacted over the past 60 years now must say farewell to one of the great environmentalists of the 20th century.

1024x1024Sylvia lived to see her much of her efforts come to fruition. With the help of two other women (Ester Gulik and Catherine (Kay) Kerr) they compelled Berkeley and other Bay Area cities around San Francisco Bay to stop the massive filling of San Francisco Bay occurring in the 1950s and 1960s. They did this through affecting legislation through their nonprofit organization, Save the Bay, which was wholly supported by small donations of $1, and later $2. They amassed the support of tens of thousands of Bay Area residents who shared their vision.


She, along with Gulik, Kerr, and Save the Bay, were influential in helping to create the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), a regional organization that finally regulated fill along the bay margins. This law is still in effect and has been a model for other regions with major bays and waterways. But this major victory was never enough for Sylvia. At age of 90 she protested the cutting of trees on the University of California Campus and climbed right up into one of the big trees to make her point! 628x471

imagesAlthough she was known as being tough and effective, she was always polite and courteous. Sylvia had a strong belief that the Bay Area needed shoreline parks so that people could truly experience and enjoy San Francisco Bay, and she continued to fight for shoreline parks from Vallejo to San Jose. In 2012, she was honored with the creation of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park in Richmond, California. It was a wonderful tribute for one of the beautiful areas that she helped to save.

Sylvia always gave back. She served on the board of directors for the Resource Renewal Institute, as well as numerous other environmental organizations. Click here for Sylvia’s Forces of Nature interview.

Sylvia McLaughlin is survived by her two children and one stepson; four grandchildren and six step-grandchildren. Her husband passed away in 1985. Ester Gulik and Kay Kerr are both deceased. The Resource Renewal staff extends their deepest condolences to Sylvia’s family and friends.

A public memorial service will be held for Sylvia on Tuesday, February 2 at 4 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley.

Update! The Forces of Nature are Making a Difference in Our World

The wise Forces of Nature elders demonstrate how to live a meaningful life by helping others and protecting life on earth. They don’t sit idle and worry about local and global problems, they get out and make a difference. These elders work to protect trees, water, and wildlife habitat. They bring awareness of climate change and ideas of human resilience to climate change, and are active forces in social justice and civil rights. Here are updates on six of our “Forces” (please be sure to click on the blue links for more information):

Joan Maloof, Building Old Growth Forest Networks

Joan Maloof founded the Old-Growth Forest Network after completing work on her second book, Among the Ancients: Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests, in which she visited one old-growth forest in each of 26 Eastern states and learned that there is no national organization or government agency charged with protecting the few remaining old-growth tracts, and that there was little information available on how people can visit old-growth forests near them.

700-joan-maloofSo far, her organization has identified and helped preserve 41 forests in 13 states. Three new West Virginia tracts now included in the Old-Growth Forest Network are 30-acre Pierson Hollow at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park in Nicholas County where 250- to 300-year-old oaks, yellow poplars and hemlocks can be found; Cathedral State Park in Preston County, where virgin hemlock reaching heights of 90 feet and circumferences of up to 21 feet exist in a 133-acre stand; and Gaudineer Scenic Area in the Monongahela National Forest in Pocahontas County, where a 50-acre tract of virgin red spruce forest exists atop a 4,000-foot mountain. Dr. Victor Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve is a 292-acre complex of forest, ponds and wetlands in Cheektowaga New York which was recently protected by the Network.

States that already have forests in the Network include New York, Massachusetts, California, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Virginia and Florida.

The Oak Woodlands Natural Area in Golden Gate Park received a special designation on March 14, 2015, as it was officially included into the Old-Growth Forest Network. The Oak Woodlands Natural Area will join previously dedicated forests in California in the Old-Growth Forest Network.  9103dbcb-18fa-494b-b8aa-f88e52c4520d                                                                                                  The California representatives thus far are:

  • Humboldt County: Rockefeller Forest – Humboldt Redwoods State Park
  • Monterey County: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
  • Riverside County: Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness – Deer Springs Trail
  • San Diego County: Palomar Mountain State Park
  • San Mateo County: Sam McDonald County Park – Heritage Grove

“We’re trying to identify old-growth forests in every county of every state,” Joan Maloof said before a recent dedication ceremony. In the Eastern United States, many counties have no remaining old-growth forests, and Joan and her Network are leading the statewide search for remnant stands of virgin woods.

Old-Growth Network forests are identified by using data from an old-growth survey of Eastern forests begun in the 1990s, and by following up on anecdotal reports of virgin-forest remnants on public land by government foresters, botanists, ecologists and biologists, and public land users.

“We are looking for forests on public lands where they will be protected and where people are welcome to visit and honor them,” Maloof said. “This forest is managed by the National Park Service, so we know it will be protected for many generations to come.”

Joan, a retired professor of biology and environmental studies at Maryland’s Salisbury University, educates people about the significant role that trees play in natural habitats, as well as how the delicacy of ecosystems depends on the ecological and structural attributes of trees, which can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, intercept rainwater and slow erosion. She points to an alarming statistic that indicates that only one percent of our original forests remain intact in the eastern U.S., compared to just five percent in the western U.S. As more forests are logged for fiber production or transformed for cattle ranching, the natural heritage represented by our forests becomes increasingly diminished.

“So often when they’re going to put in something new, whether it’s a highway or a school – they look at the map and see green space as ‘empty.’ We’re here to say, “That green space is very important – than anything you can build on it,’” she said. “When we’re gone in a hundred years, where’s the community that makes sure that this forest stays? We’re hoping that the Old-Growth Forest Network will still be going in order to preserve these special places.”

For more information on the Old-Growth Forest Network, visit To watch RRI’s video of Joan Maloof, click on her name in this sentence. If you would like to follow Joan, she writes a blog, “For the Earth.”

Malcolm Margolin, Master Storyteller and Publisher of California History

Malcom-Margolin-square1No one has impacted the storied history of Bay Area publishing more than Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books, which celebrated its 41th anniversary this year. Heyday Books, founded by Malcolm, is an icon of alternative publishing, with hundreds of titles focusing on Native Americans, nature, politics and more. National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach awarded Malcolm a Chairman’s Commendation and called him a “national treasure” for his “extraordinary contributions to his community by telling the story of California’s people and its resources with vision, commitment, and passion” (2012).


Malcolm has recently published his memoir entitled: The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin: The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher. There is an excellent review of the book by the Los Angeles Review of Books.

In more recent news, Malcolm has announced that he is retiring from Heyday Books. What a fantastic legacy of California history he has uncovered and documented!  We will forever cherish his delightful stories! We wish Malcolm all the best!        

Andy Lipkis, Fighting the California Drought with Action

Andy Lipkis is a practical visionary who has dedicated his life to healing the environment while improving the lives of individuals and communities. He founded TreePeople in Los Angeles in 1973 at age 18 and continues to serve as its President. Since 1973 Andy has been teaching people to plant and care for trees and educates people about the properties that trees provide in protecting water resources, among other things.

In an interesting article about the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, which is a holiday that is agricultural in nature and marks the end of the harvest, we learn that Andy has created his own way of celebrating the holiday to stave off the effects of the severe drought in Southern California.

If you are not familiar with the Jewish holiday, Sukkot is an eight-day holiday. Throughout the week of Sukkot, meals are eaten in a sukkah (outdoor structure, pictured below) and the males sleep there, although the requirement is waived in case of rain. The sukkah is built before the holidays and disassembled afterwards. Every day, a blessing is recited over the lulav (frond of the date palm tree) and the Etrog (citron fruit).

sukkahThe sukkah walls can be constructed of any material (wood, canvas, aluminum siding, sheets). The walls can be freestanding or include the sides of a building or porch. The roof must be of organic material, known as s’chach, such as leafy tree overgrowth, schach mats or palm fronds. It is customary to decorate the interior of the sukkah with hanging decorations of special fruits and fronds.

Andy-Lipkis_cisternThis year, Andy, concerned about the severe California drought and its affect on agriculture, decided to forego building a sukkah and instead is helping others to build cisterns that will capture rain water that can be used for plant watering. If you would like to read the article, you will find the link here. TreePeople have also put together a guidance document for collecting rainwater and can be accessed here. To Andy, and all that celebrate the Jewish holidays, I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year, and one that includes rain!

Reverend Canon Sally Bingham had an Audience with Pope Francis at the White House

images-1The Reverend Canon Sally Grover Bingham, an Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California has been active in the environmental community for twenty-five years. She is the founder and president of The Regeneration Project, which is focused on its Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) campaign, a religious response to global warming. The IPL campaign includes a national network of over 14,000 congregations with affiliated programs in 39 states.

Reverend Canon Sally Bingham has brought widespread recognition to the link between faith and the environment, and as one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize global warming as a moral issue, she has mobilized thousands of religious people to put their faith into action through energy stewardship and advocacy. Reverend Canon Sally was part of the religious delegation that greeted Pope Francis at the White House on September 22 and believes that the Pope’s influence will raise the profile of the moral impetus for climate action.


“The encyclical will affect business people because business people are often tied to religious traditions,” Bingham said  “If they are hearing their clergy — their priest, rabbi, imam — talk about moral responsibility from the pulpit, it is going to have an impact on them.”

We thank Reverend Sally for your deep passion and initiative in bringing awareness of climate change to faith-based groups!

Jodi Evans, Empowering for Peace and Civil Rights 

Code Pink: Women for Peace is a left-wing NGO that describes itself as a “grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S.-funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.” It is primarily focused on anti-war issues, but has also taken positions on gun control, social justice, Palestinian statehood, green jobs and health care issues. The organization characterizes itself as women-initiated. It has regional offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C., and many more chapters in the U.S. as well as several in other countries. With members wearing the group’s signature pink color, Code Pink has conducted marches, protests, and high-visibility publicity stunts in order to promote its goals.

Bolivian President Evo Morales invited Jody Evans, one of the founders of the activist group Code Pink, to an audience with Pope Francis. Evans couldn’t go, so she sent Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez in her place. Mr. Sousa-Rodriguez is both gay and, until recently, undocumented. This meeting with the Pope was another bit of info he received that may have framed Pope Francis’ recent remarks to Congress this September. We have linked a good read about Mr. Sousa-Rodrigues in the Daily Beast. Read this if you are interested in the activities of Code Pink or support gay and immigrant rights.

imagesJody and Code Pink have been fighting to empower women and girls in Afghanistan and against the cruelty directed towards women. has written an article about the plight of Afghan women and highlights stories of Muzgan, Tamana and Farkhunda. Here is an excerpt from the article, which can be accessed with this Huffington Post link:

Discussing the merits of the war is often framed within the context of toppling the brutal Taliban and freeing the country’s women. Barometers of this success include women officially regaining basic rights in education, employment and voting. CODEPINK has estimated that between 2003 and 2013, at least $1.5 billion was allocated  by the U.S. government’s various agencies for Afghan women and girls. This compares to the more than $1 trillion spent on the war in total, most of which went to the U.S. military and training of Afghanistan’s defense forces. Reconstruction projects claimed at least $110 billion.


But have the lives of Afghan women really improved? “After all these efforts, the huge amount of money spent, the creation of women’s organizations, the so-called community-level support, we are in a situation where most women still don’t know their basic rights,” said Samira Hamidi, “The help for women has been in the bigger cities, where there are fewer cultural barriers. In rural areas, nothing has changed. Women are still imprisoned in their homes,” Hamidi said by telephone from Kabul.


Despite spending at least $1.5 billion on empowering Afghan women, the country is still viewed as one of the worst in the world for women. According to the U.N., only 17 percent of Afghan women can read and write; access to health care is limited, and almost impossible in remote areas; and domestic violence is rife, with limited chances for recourse or legal protection.

Jody and Code Pink – Thank you for your efforts in promoting peace and social justice!

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In Memory of William “Zeke” Grader (1947–2015)

Zeke Grader

A passionate champion for fish, fishermen and sustainable ocean management has died. Zeke Grader was a trailblazer and he devoted his life to protecting fish for fisherman and consumers mostly by creating sustainable fishing laws and policies that protected the health of our oceans, waterways, and aquaculture operations. Influenced by his father who served as undersecretary of the California Resources Agency, Zeke was drawn to law and environmental policy, but found that his heart was with the plight of fishermen. He founded the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Association and was its president for 39 years.

Despite his close association with fishermen, Zeke courageously challenged the popular approach of overfishing for more sustainable policies. He tirelessly fought to promote policies to protect and sustain ocean resources with legislation that included unpopular fishing bans and catch limits, but in the long run, improved ocean fisheries. “He was one of a kind,” said Chuck Wise, a retired Bodega Bay fisherman and former president of the federation, an umbrella group for commercial fishermen’s associations from San Diego to Alaska. Without the environmental protections Grader fought to secure, the fishing industry “would probably be kaput,” Wise said.

A lawyer, lobbyist and former Marine Corps reservist, Grader was instrumental in helping adopt laws to protect California salmon and its food source – krill. “Zeke was for decades a tireless fish warrior,” said William Stelle Jr., West Coast regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service. “Tough as nails, blunt spoken and full of life, he leaves us better, stronger and in a changed place because of his accomplishments.”

Grader’s master stroke, friends said, lay in forging an alliance between environmentalists, a generally urban group, and blue-collar fishermen, two forces that were at odds in the 1960s and ’70s as the California salmon population was in decline and fishermen were widely blamed for hooking too many of them.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said Grader was among the plaintiffs in a case filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and initially handled by Huffman, charging the federal government with operating a dam that dried up miles of the San Joaquin River in the Central Valley. A settlement in 2006 included an agreement to restore a 153-mile stretch of the river.

These are but a few of Zeke’s accomplishments and without him our California Pacific coast fisheries would be severely depleted or collapsed. We tip our caps to Zeke and mourn the loss of an important conservationist and protector of fishery resources.

The Resource Renewal Institute has produced two videos from Huey Johnson’s interview with Zeke. One is titled “The Truth on Aquaculture” and the other is “Bridging the Communal Divide”. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch these short videos.

Remembering Bill Kortum: Legendary Civic Leader in Sonoma County

Bill Kortum

Bill Kortum 1927-2014

On December 19th 2014, Bill Kortum passed away and left a big hole in our hearts. He was a kind, spirited and gentle soul who loved Sonoma County and the California coast and he dedicated his life to protecting them. He left behind a legacy of coastal access for all Californians. The Resource Renewal Institute offers our deepest condolences to his wife, Lucy and his family.

Born and raised in Sonoma County, Bill followed his dreams and became a veterinarian serving the rural communities in Sonoma County where he fell in love with the animals and the landscape.

Hole in the Head

Hole in the Head, Bodega Head CA

We will remember him for his civic activism: rallying an epic fight in the early 1960s against a proposed nuclear power plant at Bodega Head. Even before it was approved, the Pacific Gas & Electric developers had started excavating the foundation for the plant. This aggressive action only empowered Bill and his allies to fight harder against siting a nuclear plant in this sensitive location. In the end, Bill and the band of citizens proved that the site was inappropriate for siting a nuclear power plant on the active San Andreas earthquake fault. The site of this excavation is now preserved as “The Hole in the Head” and anyone can visit.

Bill is gratefully remembered for leading the battle for California coastal access initiative (Proposition 20) in 1972. This effort later led to the development of the Calievent_236938462fornia Coastal Commission, a body that oversees all development along the California coast and ensures that public access to the coast is maintained. Without Bill, this may not have happened. Imagine, what our coast would look like today?

Bill’s activism taught us about the effectiveness of public outreach and exemplifies the hard work that is required to stand up for one’s beliefs and ideals. His campaigns were door-to-door, petitions, flyers and meetings and being active in local and statewide politics. Today, we just post something on social media where people sitting at home can sign online petitions. Bill did his work personally and he became an icon in Sonoma County. He connected with people, made friends, gave back, and continued his environmental work late into his 80s. Bill founded the nonprofit organization, Coastwalk, in Sonoma County.

In our “Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak” interview with Bill, he shares stories about his activism, his love of Sonoma County and the California Coast, and how he got started with his activism. Our 5 minute video, “Leadership” can be seen by clicking here.

imagesGratefully, the Kortum trail was dedicated and a place that Bill could appreciate while he was alive. The Kortum trail is located in Northern California on the Sonoma Coast and begins at Wrights Beach and ends at Blind Beach. If anyone deserves a coastal trail, Bill earned this honor.

I last saw Bill in November 2013 when he came to a fundraiser at the Resource Renewal Institute. The following day was sunny and beautiful so my husband images-1and I decided to drive out to the coast. Having no destination in mind, we just parked the car on one of the coastal turnouts and got out. Surprisingly, we found ourselves at the Kortum trailhead! The trail and beach below felt magical that day and we enjoyed the hike immensely. We hiked down to the beach and there I recorded the sounds of the waves. I would like to share that recording with you. In honor of Bill, let’s take a minute of silence to listen to the ocean.  (Note: I’m sorry, but my technical skills with WordPress does not allow me to attach the file at this time). I hope that you will take a trip to the beach and have a moment of silence anyway.