What on Earth (Day) Are We Doing?
17th Annual EarthFair on Sunday, April 23
By Alice Martinez



For decades after the first Earth Day in 1970 we made real prog-ress toward a clean healthy environment. Rivers don’t catch fire anymore. The air is cleaner. Endangered species got some legal protection, as did our cherished wilderness areas. You can go swimming without getting a rash (well, most of the time). You could buy a car that actually ran on electricity!

But these past six years have been tough times for the environment. And you know about that, too. Global climate change... ignored or denied. Repeated attempts to legalize oil drilling in Alaska, against the clear will of the people.

The federal government promoting big oil, when we should be moving full speed ahead toward alternative energy sources, like solar and wind. The EPA condoning more lead and mercury in our food as “safe.” With the war as a handy distraction, important environmental issues don’t even make the back page. All this, when the #1 thing we could do to create real security is a sane energy policy.
And with the current “leaders” in Washington holding court for another two years, we can expect more of the same. An energy pol-icy drafted by the big oil lobby, indeed!

It is easy to curse the darkness. But on April 23, from 10am to 5pm, 50,000+ San Diegans are going to light a candle — make that 50,000 candles — at San Diego EarthWorks’ 17th annual EarthFair in Balboa Park, the world’s largest free environmental fair & Earth Day celebration. EarthFair will host more than 230 exhibitors representing organizations, businesses — and yes, some local government departments — who will show you how to think globally and act locally to make a difference.

Want to help reduce global climate change? Reduce your energy consumption. Add solar panels to your home. Use windows, doors and building materials that provide good insulation to reduce heating and cooling. Drive an alternative-fuel vehicle with good mileage. Use compact fluorescent lighting. Get energy-efficient appliances. There will be exhibitors who can help you with all of these... and show you how you will save money at the same time.

Concerned with protecting our natural heritage? Every major conservation group in San Diego will be at EarthFair. Volunteer for a cleanup. Donate cash to help set aside endangered habitats.
Support animal rescue and protection organizations. Buy yourself a t-shirt... every little bit helps.

How about cutting pollution... right at home? Learn to safely discard those old paint cans. Stencil a stormdrain to help remind others that what is dumped in the street ends up on our beaches. Help restore a watershed — nature’s filtration system. Filter your water and air to keep your family safe. You’ll find folks to help you keep it clean.

Concerned about the next generation? The Children’s Activity Area has a wide variety of hands-on activities that are both fun and educational, like making paper from recycled pulp, and constructing gift cards from found natural and recycled materials. Outdoor training will demonstrate how to “take only memories, leave only footprints.”

So, what gets your juices flowing? EarthFair is a “big tent” event: no matter what your interest or concern about our environment and quality of life, there will be someone who wants to talk to you about what you can do to make a difference.

To find out more about EarthFair, visit: www.EarthDayWeb.org

Make a difference NOW

There is one way that you can really make a difference... right at EarthFair... by helping to produce the event! Each year, more than 400 volunteers come out to turn Balboa Park into EarthFair, keep it running smoothly, and at the end of the day leave the park cleaner than it has been all year. There are 20 different jobs for individuals 14 years of age and above, no experience is necessary. You can work one three-hour shift, or help out all day.

To find out about the volunteer positions, and to signup online, surf over to www.EarthDayWeb.org and click on the “Volunteer” button.

Return to the March/April Index page