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History of Earth Day… a Santa Barbara Story

Earth Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson following a trip he took to the Central Coast where he witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The Senator was so outraged by what he saw that he went back to Washington and helped pass a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. An estimated one in 10 Americans took part in the first Earth Day, observed across the country on April 22, 1970. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

Today, the celebration continues at Alameda Park, but there is always room for improvement when it comes to protecting our planet. So, what are your Earth Day resolutions? Katie Davis shares hers (save money, be carbon neutral).

5 Responses to “History of Earth Day… a Santa Barbara Story”

  1. Anonymous

    It was a teachable moment earth DAY. Now they’ve commercialized it into Earth weekend with bands and booze. Need to go back to the intended purpose?

  2. Clam-up

    Forget global warming that may or may not happen or matter. Forget tweaking the greenest state in the union by miles in California. If you are really serious about a problem here an now on our planet – send money to any legitimate organization that can actually show results cleaning up the plastic bag problem around the entire rest of the world.

    it is laughable to ban plastic bags in already pristine California when they are clogging up the rest of the world on both land and seas while you fret over what people do at Vons. There are some films on the plastic bag problem in the seas at local libraries over the next few days.

    But seeing acres and acres of plastic bag land pollution in every developing country should scare the bugeezes out of every one of us right now. We are frittering away a global legacy on “global warming” while this plastic bag destruction is going on right now outside our borders.

    • el_smurfo

      Bag bans are a first world solution looking for a problem. In my experience, you’d get a lot more litter off the streets by banning plastic water bottles, but that would actually inconvenience the Fiji swilling elitists while bag bans only affect the little people who don’t already use Chinese made cloth bags with witty slogans on the side. The problem with feel good regulations is you will can’t ever make the nannies happy enough, so there’s no quantifiable end to the intrusions into your life “for the children”.

  3. I quite agree with el smurfo, although what seems to me more of a problem are styrofoam cups, food wrappings, food-drink remainders. Perhaps it’s a question of neighborhoods!

    What’s certain is the need to enlist children in the effort. Had all the proponents put their plastic bag efforts into working directly with the schools, encouraging, even requiring, time to be spent picking up litter, how much cleaner would the city and creeks and beaches be! The least of the litter is plastic bags.

    Take a stroll around the Franklin and Adelante schools and marvel at the amount of trash around the schools and in the playgrounds. It’s happy hunting ground for crows and rats – and there’s hardly one plastic bag to be seen.

    But as for Earth Day in SB, I agree with anonymous above: it’s becoming just another commercialized festival with those who do the non-profit volunteer work near overwhelmed by the very loud music and atmosphere that produces.

  4. I was kinda bummed by the Earth Day park scene. Drinking, marijuana promotions, $100,000 electric cars, loud bands, petition-signature gatherers. The Sol Food booth was truly in the spirit, serving farmer’s market fare in tasty dishes, but we left after an hour. Agree with smurf et al: the plastic bag / water bottle / trash problem is horrible in the Carribean, west coast of Mexico, and other equatorial areas. So why are we policing our own to death here in SB? I never find plastic bags in the street, but I sure do find a lot of food wrappers, cigarette butts, and alcohol bottles.