"Earth day, Every Day" is a slogan that has yet to have a profound effect of the general population. Most folks can't be bothered with the responsibility of being earth friendly on a long time basis. Who can blame them. Even as individual residents do their part by recycling, conserving water, and finding alternative forms of transportation, local governments are still being controlled by those embracing the old paradigm of "Use it. Abuse it, and look for something else when lose it." The tragedy lies in the fact that there is nothing else.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Encinitas City Council meeting, where Mayor Sheila Cameron gave the state of the city address. Sitting in the back room I was able to witness the old paradigm reacting to the new visions proposed by the current council. As Mayor Cameron was speaking about balancing economic concerns with ecological ones, ex-mayor Gail Hano, unseated by the current mayor, was scribbling furiously, picking words out of sentences as proof of some conspiracy.
With the realization, "Encinitas does not exist alone in this sea of growth." and the call for regional solutions to get developers off our backs, Mayor Cameron has evidenced a shift in municipal thinking that has yet to take hold in other cities. Ms. Cameron also stated that parks and open space will be priority number one for the upcoming year. Imagine an elected official actually extolling the benefits of open space, the times certainly are a changin'
Last Saturday marked the beginning of Earth week in San Diego County with a full slate of activities in Poway. Tree plantings at Lake Poway were followed by Earth Fest `99 at Old Poway Park, and hikes at Blue Sky Reserve, a 700 acre nature preserve, that focused on snake sense and native flora and fauna. These events are designed to encourage the retention of natural resources at a time when they are threatened by uncontrolled growth.
On Sunday, Environmental awareness was celebrated at San Diego's Balboa Park. With crowds numbering close to a hundred thousand, North County environmental groups had the opportunity to promote earth sustaining volunteerism. Groups as diverse as The Vernal Pool Society, Helen Woodward Animal Shelter, Project Wildlife, and Zero Population Growth participated in the conversation that moves beyond business as usual towards that of environmental sustainability.
Now if you were unable to participate in these events, fear not, there is still plenty to do this week. San Diego Earthworks and Sullivan Environmental Solutions are hosting a business breakfast on Wednesday the 21st, at the Handlery Hotel. This event is designed as a forum to discuss environmental management. On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22nd, Earthworks will present the ninth annual Very Important Planet Reception and Earth Awards. North County groups that are being honored at this year's event include The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, and Cardiff Elementary School.
For those of you that who want a hands on environmental experience, there are restoration projects scheduled for Saturday, April 24th at Torrey Pines State Preserve, and Crest Canyon Open Space in Del Mar. Both of these events feature one of my favorite past times, removing non-native species, such as the dreaded sea fig, that are threatening native habitat.
So if you can't work up the energy to celebrate Earth Day every day, there are plenty of opportunities to do your share during earth week. You'll be glad you did, you'll more than likely see some people you know, and we all benefit in the process. Happy Earth Day everyone.