Tag Archives: Earth Day

CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Green Film Festival

Films include Gaviota: The End of Southern California and Better Together

Featured as a part of the Community Environmental Council (CEC) Santa Barbara Virtual Earth Day celebration, the Green Film Festival will share a collection of over a dozen Earth-centered films from around the world during the festival, which is live online at http://sbearthday.org on 4/22, 23 & 24, as well as remaining with recorded content viewable from that site for a month, until 5/21.

The Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969 sparked Earth Day, 52 years ago. Community Environmental Council will hold the 51st annual Santa Barbara Earth Day festival virtually this year. Films featured at the CEC Santa Barbara Earth Day Green Film Festival fulfill the mission to advance environmental and social justice, environmental regeneration, climate healing and community resilience. Selections feature local films as well as a collection of short films from around the world. Highlights include:

Gaviota: The End of Southern California

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf7XL4eXV2g

Produced by Tamlorn Chase and Directed by Shaw Leonard, Gaviota: The End of Southern California is a 40-minute film that explores one of the most threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world. In a monumental collaboration of artists, activists, and environmental organizations, this film documents the wildlife that thrives here like no other place in Southern California. Meticulously filmed over the course of five years, the film leads audiences from the ocean floor of the Santa Barbara Channel to the peaks of the jagged Santa Ynez Mountains. This wild journey crosses paths with breaching humpback whales, red-tailed hawks and elusive mountain lions. With nearly 90% of Southern California’s coast lost to development, the preservation of this coastline is the last bastion of hope for wildlife fighting to survive against a world closing in on them.

Better Together 

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/312615053 

The 1969 Union Oil blowout mobilized the Santa Barbara community to fight for the environment, inspiring the creation of many nonprofit organizations, Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency and one of the first interdisciplinary Environmental Studies programs. The legacy of the oil spill continues to inform local citizens, who have come together over the years to protect the air and water, preserve open spaces and for each other, as to when 3,000 volunteers joined the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to dig mud from homes after the deadly 2018 debris flow. As the world faces a global climate disruption, community resilience is more important than ever, and this one has practice.

“We all feel like we’re part of an ecosystem, that there’s an ecology of our relationships, so that what affects one person, affects us all in some way. We’re tied in an inescapable web of mutuality and interdependence.” — David Pellow, Chair, UCSB Environmental Studies Program

Better Together, narrated by Christopher Lloyd, directed by Isaac Hernandez and produced by Mercury Press International, features the following organizations: 350.org-Santa Barbara; African Women Rising; Chumash Maritime Association; Citizen’s Planning Association of Santa Barbara County; Committees for Land, Air, Water and Species; Community Environmental Council; Direct Relief; Environmental Defense Center; Food & Water Watch; Get Oil Out!; Gaviota Coast Conservancy; Habitat for Humanity of Santa Barbara County; Mission Blue; Montecito Trails Foundation; Pisces Foundation; Santa Barbara Audubon Society, Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade; Santa Barbara Channelkeeper; Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue; Santa Barbara Declaration of Environmental Rights; Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network; SB Strong; Sierra Club Santa Barbara; The Solutions Project; and UCSB Environmental Studies. 

CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Green Film Festival was produced by Mercury Press International.

Sanctuary | Lotusland Online Art Sale & Gallery Exhibition

Online Art Sale & Gallery Exhibition launches on Earth Day April 22 through May 3, 2021.

Launching April 22, visit the online show or in person at GraySpace in the Funk Zone GraySpace Gallery, 219 Gray Ave., Santa Barbara, California.

Please visit: www.Lotusland.org/sanctuary/ for more information.

The invitation was sent to 36 local artists to participate. Artists were asked to create new work inspired by Lotusland. Artists were given 3 days to visit the Garden and only 8 weeks to create, capture and complete their muse at Lotusland. Whether it be a specific garden, found materials, or to create in the Garden their piece of work for the show. It was a creative concept and challenge that the artists were craving, especially this year.

Funds raised support sustainable Lotusland’s sustainability programs which promote and teach individuals, groups, gardeners, and institutions about the best methods and practices in horticulture, environmental responsibility, and stewardship.

Lotusland Executive Director, Rebecca Anderson says, “In response to the pandemic, and the shortfalls we experienced as a result, we needed to rethink fundraisers. With a desire to connect the community to our mission, we dreamed up this concept for a new benefit event with participating artists from our region. We view this online sale and show as a way to foster connection with Lotusland’s supporters, engage and encourage local artists, and sustain the Garden’s important sustainability programs.”

The artists and show are curated by volunteers Ashley Woods Hollister and Casey Turpin, and the Gallery space is sponsored by Ruth Ellen Hoag and GraySpace Gallery. “We knew this could be a special way for people to bring a piece of the Lotusland sanctuary to their own home,” explain Ashley and Casey, co-curators of the exhibition.

Participating artists include:

Paulo Lima,

R. Nelson Parrish Michael Adcock Taiana Giefer

Skip Smith Meredith Brooks Abbott

Phoebe Brunner Robert Abbott Rick Garcia Baret Boisson

Leslie Lewis Sigler Ruth Ellen Hoag

Joan Rosenberg-Dent

Kerrie Smith Michael Haber Lindsey Ross Manjari Sharma Jessica June Avrutin Bobbi Bennett Connie Connally Inga Guzyte

Maria Rendon Cara Bonewitz Lynda Weinman Blakeney Sanford Erika Carter

Cathy Moholm Luis Alberto Velazquez

Sophie Gibbings George Leo Sanders Ro Snell

Olivia Joffrey Lily Hahn Whitney Hansen

Whitney Brooks Abbott Ryan Shand

“The garden is magic, and it has touched my work in a way that will give me endless ideas and new directions for much more time to come!” – Lynda Weinman, Former Lotusland Trustee, and participating artist

“Walking alone through Lotusland on those quiet Monday mornings felt like falling down the rabbit hole into a secret world. It was truly sensory overload at every turn – layers upon layers of colors and textures and smells.” – Jessica June Avrutin, participating artist

Ashley Woods Hollister has long supported local artists through her work with Art from Scrap and as the former director of the Morris Squire Foundation. Casey Turpin is an avid volunteer in the Insectary Garden at Lotusland, and both are passionate about showcasing Lotusland’s beauty and science through the eyes of a local artist community.

Lotusland is a precious outdoor space for the Santa Barbara community. Proceeds from this event keep the Garden growing, and remains a source of beauty and respite for visitors.

The artists’ contributions advance Lotusland’s mission to inspire and inform the public about protecting, conserving, and renewing nature and its precious resources.

“Through the Sanctuary Art Sale and Exhibition, our goal is to contribute to the success of Lotusland’s horticultural care, as well as providing education to others about best practices and philosophies to support sustainability. We feel very lucky and excited to be a part of this wonderfully creative process.” – Ashley Woods Hollister & Casey Turpin, Art Curators for Sanctuary

For more information, please Contact: Kerstin Olson Horneman, Event Manager, Ganna Walska Lotusland

khorneman@lotusland.org 805.969.3767 (130)

Save the Planet With Native Plants

How you can protect and restore mother earth all year round

Over 50 years ago, an oil rig experienced a pressure blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel resulting in up to 3 million gallons of crude oil ripping through the ocean floor — the worst oil spill in the nation’s history up to that point. It took years for Santa Barbara’s ecosystem to recover, but the Earth Day movement took root. Despite our collective efforts that were started on that first Earth Day, globally we are still in the throes of the sixth major mass extinction in planetary history and the first time this has been caused by humans. Today, our global biodiversity is collapsing, resulting in an accelerated rate of species extinction. 

Earth Day, a time to demonstrate support for environmental protection, is an opportunity to bring awareness to the healing power of native plants. The mission of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is to conserve and protect native plants and habitats for the health and well being of people and the planet. That mission has become increasingly urgent as more native plant species face extinction, threatening the foundation of all life on the planet.

Saving plants means saving the planet. 

In honor of Earth Day, the Garden invites the community to restore the earth by  celebrating these critical native plants.

1) Spending time in nature is something we can all do to reconnect with mother earth, and it doesn’t go without healing benefits. Nature can help reduce anxiety, promote creativity and contribute to heart health. Research shows rewards begin accruing with as little as 2 hours a week.

“The Garden provides the community with respite filled with redwood trees, wildflower meadows, and Channel Island views,” said Dr. Steve Windhager, Executive Director of the Garden. “It’s a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the connection between our own health and the health of the planet.”

2) The Garden welcomes the community to take a stroll through our native plant displays on Earth Day to observe the unique beauty of California flora and learn more about what simple seeds of change you can implement that make a huge impact on our environment. Discover our chalkboard signs along the trails with tips on what you can do to protect biodiversity or join our Instagram livestream from 11am – 12:30pm for a Garden stroll with our Director of Education and Engagement.

3) Participate in Earth Day virtually by registering to join in Chumash Earth Day on April 20 at 1pm, hosted by the Santa Ynez Chumash Environmental Office. Windhager will be giving a presentation on how you can heal the earth starting in your own home and neighborhood by planting native plants.

4) Learn more about where climate leaders are stepping up to do the critical work needed to combat the climate crisis by joining in the Community Environmental Council’s 3-Day Virtual Earth Day Festival. The Garden’s Director of Education and Engagement, Scot Pipkin, will be a co-emcee on April 24 from 12pm – 3pm and will share how native plants can be used to lean into climate action at this urgent moment.

5) At the Garden, be sure to visit our nursery, which offers the widest selection of native plants on the central coast. Staffed with knowledgeable and experienced gardeners, there’s no better place to learn more about native plants, find the right selection for your garden, create wildlife habitat, or purchase a plant for a friend.

Protect and restore the earth this year through native plants. Native plants enhance the environment instead of threatening it, provide habitat for wildlife, and are a source of nectar for pollinators. Earth Day began in our own backyard, and can continue to grow there as well. 

 About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

The Garden serves the public as more than just a pretty place, but as a model for sustainability. Founded in 1926, the Garden is the first botanic garden focused exclusively on California native plants and currently spans 78 acres with five miles of walking trails, an herbarium, seed bank, research labs, library, and Nursery. The Garden welcomes the public every day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and offers a members-only hour from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. For more information about the Garden, please visit sbbg.org.   

Community Environmental Council

With Earth Day 2021 rolling around just a week after the publication date of this issue of the Montecito Journal, you’d think the big three-day festival would be all anybody at the Community Environmental Council (CEC) would want to talk about. After all, it was a nascent CEC that organized Santa Barbara’s first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, a one-block-long event as part of teach-ins and other gatherings attended by 20 million Americans across the country in the wake of the famous Santa Barbara Channel Oil Spill 15 months earlier that still ranks third in size after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and 1989 Exxon Valdez spills. 

And after having to scramble to pivot its annual celebration to a virtual event just a month after the first lockdown of the COVID pandemic last April, CEC has had a whole year to plan for this year’s online offering, coming up with an undoubtedly impressive lineup of speeches, performances, and other activities that rivals many of the years when 30,000 people thronged to Alameda Park. 

Among the notable segments scheduled during the April 22-24 virtual festival – which carries a theme of celebrating climate leadership and can be accessed for free at https://sbearthday.org – are Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, receiving CEC’s 2021 Environmental Hero Award and sharing insights into her organization’s vital work along with an interview with CEC CEO Sigrid Wright and UCSB Chair of Environmental Studies and Director of the Global Environmental Justice Project Dr. David N. Pellow. CEC’s Annual Climate Crisis Leadership Summit follows the interview and presentation, featuring climate leaders from around the community sharing their current projects, identifying needs, and offering opportunities for engagement on the final day of the festival, which focuses on Community Leadership. 

Meanwhile, the “Youth Leadership” lineup on April 22 includes Oxnard-based activist and author (Eat Less Water) Florencia Ramirez along with former CEC Board President and current SB School Board Member Laura Capps; the Wilding Museum Poetry Contest winners sharing their work centered on “What Earth Day Means To Me”; and lots of local entertainment including a new song via video from Montecito’s Kenny Loggins. CEC’s popular Green Car Show and LOACOM’s “Better World” interviews with 1% for the Planet CEO Kate Williams and other environmental change makers anchor the Business Leadership-themed roster on April 23. 

In a true mark of innovation, CEC has even found a way to put its eco-minded exhibitor booths online via a high-tech platform that allows for live interaction in breakout rooms as well as presentations. 

Impressive, no doubt. 

But, as CEC’s communications director Nicole Wald said, it’s just one piece of CEC’s story, which has grown significantly in recent years with plans to expand exponentially soon. 

This year’s Earth Day Celebration honors Greenpeace USA’s Executive Director Annie Leonard as the recipient of its 2021 Environmental Hero Award

“This is a pivotal year for us, a sort of do over for our 50th anniversary year (because of the pandemic), and we are launching our new framework moving forward into this decade,” Wald said, noting that CEC is making perhaps its first big shift since narrowing its focus on climate change in 2004 after being one of the first organizations in the nation to recognize “the biggest threat to humanity was coming down the pipes.” That led to one of the country’s first carbon neutral plans in 2007, a roadmap to get the region off of fossil fuels in one generation that became the Fossil Free by 33 campaign, a decade in changing attitudes to make advocacy resulting in such successes as having its Community Choice renewable energy program happen across 19 cities in three counties in the central coast. 

But now that’s become the Climate Crisis, necessitating even bolder action. 

“All the reports have come out, one important one saying we have 10 years to turn things around before things get really ugly,” Wald said. “So this is the time that we really have to lean hard into solutions.” 

What CDC is working on now, Wald said, is putting into effect its bold new action plan, a “framework for how we’re going to move forward in the next decade-plus to really help the community go all in together. The goal is to not just kind of tackle one facet of the climate crisis, but really work toward building community resilience and a groundswell of action to transform the systems that fuel the climate crisis.” 

Reverse-Repair-Protect

Hence, Reverse-Repair-Protect, CEC’s ambitious plan for how our local community can meet this urgent moment and go all in together on halting the climate crisis rapidly and equitably. Reverse encompasses a push for ambitious, equitable zero emissions and zero waste goals for the energy, transportation, food, and agriculture sectors; Repair comes by tapping into the power of nature to draw down excess carbon from the atmosphere and repair the disrupted carbon cycle; and Protect encompasses safeguarding public health and vulnerable populations from the impacts of climate change that are already underway.

“This is definitely the moment for climate action,” said Energy & Climate Program Director Michael Chiacos. “CEC has been a stalwart in the environmental community for 50 years, but it’s great that climate has become one of the top priorities for our nation. It’s being woven into the stimulus bill and the infrastructure bill and it seems we’re finally taking climate seriously. CEC is the strongest organization on the Central Coast, and we’re moving forward with local solutions. For people who’ve been in the trenches for years like us, it feels like finally the world is really paying attention and realizing that the stuff is hitting the fan and we really need to make this a top priority. We have the technology, it’s fairly easy to do if we had the political will to just change some things.”

The goals include 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, 15 years earlier than California timeline, and then using that clean electricity to power not only transportation – especially electric vehicles – but also buildings, Chiacos said. “That will necessitate redesigning our cities so that it’s easier to not have to drive in traffic alone everywhere and make it easier to bike and walk and take transit and telecommute and all of these things. That’s a long game, but we want to put new development into existing downtowns in urban areas, not sprawling out into agricultural lands and wild lands where there’s risk of fire.”

CEC’s agriculture and food program aims to dramatically reduce food waste, which amounts to as much as 40% of the food that’s grown in America, Chiacos said. 

“Think of how much land and water and fertilizers go into growing this food that we waste 40% of, and it ends up in a landfill where it makes methane which makes climate change worse. It’s ridiculous. It happens in people’s refrigerators and at restaurants as well as on the farm. We’re finding ways to reduce that in the supply chain and at the consumer level which not only reduces climate emissions but also feeds hungry people. And we’re also working on regenerative agriculture, sustainable land practices where you can sequester carbon in our soil and help to reverse carbon emissions.” 

CEC also has a line on the Protect portion of its plan, which has to do with equity and resiliency, Chiacos said. 

“We know that climate change is going to continue to happen. Hopefully we can reverse as much of the impacts as we can, but we know that there already are impacts and they’re going to be worse for our kids. So how can we prepare for those impacts?”

Truth is, Chiacos said, none of these issues are new to CEC, the half-century old nonprofit. 

“We’ve been working on them for a long time, but now we’re repackaging them and we’re really ramping up these activities,” he explained. “We’re really expanding our work so that we can not only mitigate emissions, but also sequester them and, and prepare for the impacts. That’s why we’re hiring staff like crazy.” 

Which is also why ramping up donations also matters more in this moment. So enjoy Earth Day and learn a little more next weekend, and then sign on to do what you can to protect the Earth, or at least our little corner. 

“Sure, we’re a little bit of a backwater town, not a big powerful city, but we are based in California, which is a leader globally in climate solutions,” Chiacos said. “And we do have some really aggressive targets that can become models everywhere.” 

For more information, visit cecsb.org.

“Earth Day – Every Day” Opinion Piece

Despite the pandemic, carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere have just climbed to the highest concentration in recorded history – over 421 parts per million. As central coast Californians, we see the consequences of this all around us: including much hotter temperatures, severe fires, rising sea level, and significant droughts. Since 1895, the average temperature in Santa Barbara County has increased by over 4 degrees Fahrenheit. 

There has never been a more important time for Earth Day. Earth Day celebrates our life-giving and remarkable environment, while also providing crucial information about threats to the air we breathe, the water we drink, the public lands we enjoy and our climate. One of the most positive aspects of Earth Day is discovering strategies to help address the challenges our planet and our well-being face, in order to do our part to help heal the environment for current and future generations.

One day or one weekend, however, is not enough to tackle what needs to be accomplished to protect our planet and ourselves. The lessons from Earth Day can and must be incorporated into our lives every day as new, sustainable and win-win habits. 

Recognizing this, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) and I worked together to create “Earth Day – Every Day,” which can be accessed on the Santa Barbara Earth Day website: https://sbearthday.org/eded.  In honor of the year 2021, “Earth Day – Every Day” contains 21 informative, win-win, research-based commitments including Slaying Energy Vampires; Earth Conscious Transportation; Lower the Paper Flow; Reuse; and Buh-Bye Food Waste.

Five years ago, as the Sherpa Fire was raging, my husband and I decided to significantly reduce our carbon footprint. The heartbreaking signs of climate change were everywhere – not only in Santa Barbara County, but also throughout our state, our nation and the world. 

In addition to climate change, we also had so many other environmental reasons to take personal action, including reducing our negative impacts on threatened and endangered species, air and water pollution, plastic pollution and water scarcity. Because we could not do everything at once, we made a list, which turned into the 21 positive actions in “Earth Day – Every Day.”

Over the ensuing years, we have implemented at least one recommended action in each of the “Earth Day – Every Day” Commitments described on CEC’s website. In every instance, we have been exceedingly happy with the results. In addition to reducing our carbon and pollution footprints, we have often saved money, and also meaningfully increased our quality of life on numerous levels, including doing a much better job “walking the talk.” There is so much at stake.

What’s more, it has been fun. Really fun. Perfection has never been the goal, just thoughtful reductions implemented over time, with lots of interesting and beneficial discoveries – and a few laughs (we are still not sure we are using beeswax wraps correctly).

There have been abundant highlights associated with our “Earth Day – Every Day” journey. Some of them include: 1) planting oaks and sycamores and watching them grow; 2) buying an electric vehicle, and fueling it with power generated by our 16 beautiful solar panels; 3) discovering and using toilet paper made from recycled products (not old growth trees); 4) installing and using low flow showerheads and shower buckets to conserve water and help water the garden; 5) buying and using silicon cookie sheet liners instead of aluminum foil (they are so much better); 6) canceling unwanted mail (and reducing waste and frustration); 7) finding and using laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent that does not come in a plastic container; 8) finding non-toxic ways to remove pests from the garden (especially using soapy water); 9) figuring out systems to always bring re-usable shopping bags to the store; 10) testifying as a public member at numerous hearings to advance renewable energy in our community (and having the decision makers act!). There are so many more.

What will be your Top 10 list? 

Together, we can help address some of the greatest threats humans have ever faced – climate change, fresh water depletion, plastic pollution and pervasive toxic pollution – one person and one community at a time. Let’s do it. Let’s make every day our Earth Day.

She’s Our Hero

Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, is the recipient of the Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council’s 2021 Environmental Hero Award.

“Her work exemplifies what it means to build the broad, boots-on-the-ground base of activism that we need to go all in together on the climate crisis,” says the CEC executive director Sigrid Wright, who will present the award at the Earth Day Festival in April along with UCSB’s Dehlsen chair of environmental studies David Pellow.

Leonard is also the founder of The Story of Stuff and previously spent two decades working on international sustainability as well as environmental and health issues.

She says California is the “pace car” in the climate race – meaning both state and regional organizations like the CEC have a huge responsibility in moving the world forward.

Leonard joins an esteemed list of heroes including activist Paul Hawken, U.S. Congress members Lois Capps and Salud Carbajal, Titanic film director James Cameron, science educator Bill Nye, actress Daryl Hannah, and Tesla Motors magnate Elon Musk.