Earth Day Reviews

Officially, Earth Day is April 22, but local event organizers coordinate scheduling of events throughout April, working months in advance so they do not compete for vendors and attendees. 

Our local Earth Month approach provides the added advantage of giving people multiple opportunities to attend an event if weather or busy schedules make one event inconvenient.

We had clear skies and warm temperatures for all but one local event. Light drizzles wetted the elaborate mariachi costumes and musical instruments of children performing at Oxnard’s Earth Day celebration on April 9. By the time heavy rains came, about 15 minutes before the event’s scheduled end, the people staffing 45 event booths had mostly finished handing out their brochures, promotional items, plants, and seeds, and packing away their displays. The event ended by shedding a steady stream of people covering their heads with objects and running to the shelter of their cars.

Wind, rather than rain, was the challenge the following week. Over 100 vendors and exhibitors and over 3,000 people attended the county’s biggest Earth Day event, Thousand Oaks’ annual Arbor Day/Earth Day on April 16. Event organizer Jana Covell and her team of high school volunteers helped exhibitors chase blowing papers and distributed large rocks to hold down displays. In a moment of levity, and perhaps with an idea for next year’s event, Covell commented, “Too bad no one brought a wind turbine!”

Closest to Earth Day, on April 23, the cities of Ventura and Ojai hosted events. Ventura’s Earth Day booked so many talented performers that they filled two stages simultaneously at the relatively small beachfront Seaside/Promenade Park. Perhaps because of the angle of the main stage, the loud rock bands did not completely overwhelm a presenter on the smaller stage who demonstrated musical instruments he made from “gourds and garbage.” Bicycling was also a feature of Ventura’s event, and a free bike valet was provided. 

Also on April 23, Ojai’s Earth Day event, organized by four Ojai-based environmental nonprofits brought internationally renowned eco-activist Dr. Vandana Shiva to Oak Grove School. Shiva, director of a network of seed keepers and organic food producers in India, railed against chemically dependent industrial agriculture. Speaking to an audience of hundreds, she urged people to save seeds and garden sustainably.

Other Earth Day events included cleanup events on April 16 at San Buenaventura State Beach and on April 23 at Marina Park and Lake Casitas. 

For those with an “eye on the environment,” perhaps the most significant commemoration for this year’s Earth Day was on April 22, when leaders of 120 countries, including the United States and China, signed the Paris Agreement, which France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius called a “historic turning point” in the battle against accelerating climate change. 

— David Goldstein