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Lynne Plambeck: Meet me at the fair

Posted: April 14, 2010 4:55 p.m.
Updated: April 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.
This Saturday, the city will once again celebrate Earth Day by holding its combined Earth Day and Arbor Day event at Newhall Park.

Information booths will tout the latest ways of saving energy and water, planting a garden and many other earth-friendly ideas.

Conceived by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisc., as a means of bringing attention to environmental issues troubling our nation, Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970.

The '70s were a time of renewed activism and belief in democracy. Students took to the streets in demonstrations aimed at changing the direction of the Vietnam War, as well as our wasteful and polluting use of America's bounty.

Thanks in part to the interest generated by this event, that decade also saw the passage of landmark environmental protection legislation, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

The '70s seemed to promise a growth in human awareness of the impact of technology and of our rapidly increasing population on the intricate dance of nature.

So Earth Day has become a time to celebrate the beauty of our natural environment, but also a time to re-evaluate and examine
our own actions.

SCOPE, Friends of the Santa Clara River, the Sierra Club and others will have booths at the Newhall Park Earth Day event in hopes of meeting our eco-friendly neighbors and sharing our knowledge of local conservation issues.

Do you want to find out about hikes in our nearby natural areas?

Do you want to sign up to help promote a community garden or find out how to plant your own "backyard habitat" to encourage local birds and butterflies to visit your house?

This is the place to do it.

Here's another idea: Just make every day "Earth Day." By changing our daily habits in easy ways, we can make a big difference.

Some suggestions:

n Choose reusable instead of disposable products;

n Turn off your computer, unused lights and unplug unused appliances;

n Shop at a local farmers market or even grow some of your own food;

n Eat vegetarian one day a week or more, choose organic fruits and vegetables;

n Ride your bike or walk to local businesses or parks;

n Use a refillable water bottle and take your own shopping bags to the store;

n Combine trips and plan a route when doing errands;

n Replace your water heater with a tankless water heater.

An added bonus to making these simple changes is they will also save you money and/or improve your health. What a deal!

In honor of Earth Day's 40th anniversary, many groups are advocating a 40/40/40 plan. Choose one or more ways you can change your own habits to save water or energy, tell 40 people about it and follow it for 40 days.

The hope, of course, is that once we do it for that length of time, it will just become second nature and easy to continue permanently.

One sad note for this Earth Day event, we see that many of our favorite local nonprofits that care so much about our valley's ecology and wildlife are not on the attendance list for this event. This includes the Placerita Nature Center, the SCV Oak
Conservancy and the SFV Audubon Society. They will be greatly missed.

We need these groups in attendance to share their ideas and information.

Could their absence be due to the steep fee that the city began to charge nonprofits last year? We urge the city to re-think this fee.

Unlike the businesses that have booths at this event, the nonprofit organizations will not realize a profit from their attendance, nor can they pay their volunteers. But what they do for our community is very worthwhile, and should be encouraged by the city, not discouraged with high fees.

Lynne Plambeck is president of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE) and a Santa Clarita resident. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Environmentally Speaking" appears Thursdays in The Signal and rotates among local environmentalists.


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