EARTH DAY – Preserving Our Home Sweet Home
April 14, 2022
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall, primatologist and anthropologist
Unfortunately, mankind’s choices have not always resulted in a positive effect, so let’s hope Mother Earth never gets so fed up that she rolls up the welcome mat and says, “That’s it. Goodbye.” Earth Day is our opportunity to focus, to recognize how critical it is to keep the planet healthy, and to devise, implement and support methods to accomplish that goal.
A little history . . .
April 22 of each year marks Earth Day (www.earthday.org), the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Air pollution had been commonly accepted in prior decades, with little emphasis on environmental concerns. Then came a watershed moment, the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller, Silent Spring, regarding chemical pesticides.
The stage was set for change.
In January of 1969 there was a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara. The energy of student anti-war protests coalesced with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, campus teach-ins were organized, and April 22, a weekday falling between spring break and finals, was chosen to maximize the greatest student participation.
The effort soon broadened to include a wide range of organizations, the name was changed to Earth Day, sparking national media attention, and it caught on across the country. In 1970 the first Earth Day mobilized 20 million Americans to call for increased protections for our planet. In 1990 Earth Day developed a global presence, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries. In 2000 Earth Day leveraged the power of digital media to build millions of local conversations across more than 180 countries. In 2010 the Earth Day Network launched A Billion Acts of Green® and The Canopy Project. Earth Day 2010 engaged 75,000 global partners in 192 countries. Earth Day 2020 marked 50 years with global activations aimed at mobilizing a billion people worldwide for transformative action for our planet. Earth Day 2022’s theme is Invest In Our Planet. It’s certainly timely, with climate change being an existential crisis of rapidly expanding concern as the clock ticks on.
Councilmember Alex Fisch commented that Culver City “has done a tremendous amount over the last handful of years to move toward more robust environmental protection, including a cutting-edge plastic waste reduction ordinance, advanced building codes, storm water capture and treatment, and much more.”
Earth Day is being observed and celebrated locally in a number of ways.
The Culver City Senior Center has invited its members to commune with the earth by joining city staff on the patio on April 22 and getting their hands dirty potting new plants and decorating the containers to take home. Regardless of whether the members’ thumbs are green or black, this will be a fun event that touches on nature’s healing influence.
Seeding The City (https://helmsbakerydistrict.com/event/seeding-the-city/), a free nature-inspired event open to all, is a day-long program of talks, pop-ups and walking tours on April 23 in the Helms Bakery District, 8800 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034, offering new ideas about landscaping and gardening in our increasingly urbanized environment.
For their Earth Month event on April 23, 9 a.m. - noon at 4995 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90066, Deborah Gregory, President of Ballona Creek Renaissance (www.ballonacreek.org), was excited to state that “it will be a fantastic event! BCR is proud to partner with Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles County Supervisor, District 2, for this 52nd Earth Day celebration, keeping pollution out of our creek, ocean, and beaches.” As with all creek and coastal cleanups, participants under 18 need waiver forms signed by a parent or guardian. Forms for minors are available at https://ballonacreek.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cleanupwaiversfor-minors2015.pdf, with adult volunteers signing waivers at the site.
Catherine Vargas, Culver City’s Environmental Coordinator (Public Works, Division of Environmental Programs & Operations), advised that on April 22 there will be a tree planting at Carlson Park at 10 a.m. Additionally, there will be a free compost giveaway event at Bill Botts Park on April 30 (https://www.culvercity.org/Events-directory/Kick-off-International-Compost-Awareness-2022). “Earth Day is every day!” she emphasized, adding that the Culver City Unified School District - Environmental Sustainability Committee is planning a slate of daily Earth Fest Week events, contests and activities with the students districtwide.
Sandrine Cassidy, Sustainability Coordinator - CCUSD, explained that each school may choose among the different weekly events being offered. A review of the extensive array makes it clear that the traditional three Rs we all grew up with, "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic," are being expanded to include Restore, Ride, Reuse, Recycle, and Reach Out.
Some of those numerous events involve learning about vermicomposting (a decomposition process using various species of worms) with Culver City, participating in Meatless Monday at school, watching ecologically pertinent films, advocating for clean air at school with the EPA Idle-Free Schools Toolkit, creating arts and crafts from upcycled materials, utilizing alternative eco-friendly modes of transportation, a lunch waste characterization event, donating unused plastic utensils, organizing a clothes swap, creating a battery box in the classroom, learning about recycling in the city, learning about CCUSD Sustainability Best Practices, and planting a tree.
Caroline Bustillos (www.eden-ecoconsulting.com) interjected that the biggest event of Earth Fest Week will be a day of educational fun taking place at El Rincon Elementary, 11177 Overland Ave., Culver City, CA 90230 on April 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A zero waste event with a complimentary bike valet, it is open to all CCUSD elementary students and families and free. It is being presented by El Rincon PTA and the Culver City Education Foundation and will feature nature programs, live animals, art, crafts, games, and face painting. Food will be available to purchase.
“It takes each and every one of us to make the real changes needed to face climate change,” Cassidy added. “With Earth Fest Week, we come together as a community with action, excitement and inspiration.”
Action is definitely the operative word since change starts with action, the time is definitely now, and it’s encouraging to see that the message is being delivered in Culver City. As young Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg said, “All we have to do is to wake up and change.”