"The land is like poetry: it is inexplicably coherent, it is it has the power to elevate a consideration of human life." — Barry Lopez
I'm in a good mood. It's April. Earth Day has become Earth Month, and positive vibrations abound. Setting the tone was Mayor Terry Johnson calling on the Oceanside City Council to pass a second resolution opposing the Gregory Canyon landfill and the repel of Proposition C on environmental grounds. It being April 5th, proves the saying Every day is Earth Day. I'm a sucker for good news.
Intent on finding a " Happy place" in which to write a "Happy Column" (a frequent request) for Earth Day I decided that Oceanside, Ca. was a good place to start. After a little research and a few phone conversation a positive light was shed on the bold work being done by the current Oceanside City Council in regards to protecting the environmental sustainability of all Oceanside's 200,000+ residents.
I had seen Mayor Johnson a week earlier at a press conference being held by the Pala Environmental Protection Agency for the Pala Band of Mission Indians. Little did I know his fact-finding Mission was a precursor for making news himself. As a long time, a very vocal opponent to the Gregory Canyon Landfill development scheme, I can attest to Mr. Johnson's consistent opposition to the scheme as well. As a journalist I remember interviewing then Councilman Johnson about the danger posed by the proposed landfill to the fresh water resources of the San Luis Rey Watershed.
In the same news story Councilmen Rocky Chavez and Jim Wood went on record in support of opposing The Gregory Canyon landfill. Knowing Councilwoman Sanchez to be a Sierra Club endorsed champion of the environment, and understanding the power of three I knew Oceanside was in goods hands. I'm sure we can expect other coastal cities to take up the issue as well.
The leadership role being taken by Mayor Johnson and the Oceanside City Council on the protection of the San Luis Rey watershed makes this tree-hugger think there is hope after all. I was to discover the City of Oceanside is well represented by their elected officials, as a majority of them are working to protect the ecological resources in tandem with sound economic planning. Without the dark shadow of the Manchester Development group looming over the city things look much brighter.
Speaking with Councilman Chavez it was clear he was taking an active roll in ongoing restoration efforts associated with the preservation and conservation of the Buena Vista Lagoon and it's watershed. During our conversation Councilman Chavez spoke of protecting watersheds as an economic issue much as redeveloping blighted urban areas is. Mr. Chavez. I was also impressed support of using CALTRANS mitigation dollars for ecological restoration projects along the Buena Vista Creek Watershed.
When I inquired into Gregory Canyon Councilman Chavez went on record saying that the landfill must be stopped and recycling must become a priority. It's nice to see elected officials finally seeing the connection between consumption and waste. Now, if we could only connect the dots between population and pollution? The higher the population the more pollution created. It's that simple.
As we celebrate Earth Day 2004 we should all take the time to contemplate the amount of garbage we generate on a daily basis, as is our garbage that is proposed for Gregory Canyon. As the population of San Diego County continues to grow so too will the amount of trash being generated by the millions of consumers calling the region home. There is also the waste generated by the tourists wanting to experience our little slice of paradise. Too much of a good thing is possible and it seems we have reached that point.
Destroying watersheds and vital habitats with a ill conceived development scheme is not the answer managing our waste stream. The only way to manage our waste stream is to reduce our waste stream to the point where there is no waste. When we achieve that goal we will have achieved environmental sustainability. And that will be a very good thing.
In honor of Earth Day I invite everyone reading this "Happy Column" to contact their elected officials and thank them for the work they are doing on behalf of environmental health and ecological sustainability. While you're at it, thank your family and friends, neighbors and coworkers for their positive environmental actions.
Happy Earth Day!