by David Goldstein
Large gatherings were cancelled, so 50th anniversary Earth Day celebrations moved online this month. The Ojai Green Coalition and the Santa Barbara-based Community Environmental Council were among the local groups hosting free live-streaming events featuring speakers and entertainment.
Earth Day activists proposed action. “It’s not a day — it’s a movement,” stated the website of the Earth Day Network, which provided “isolutions” for coronavirus self-isolation activities benefitting the earth.
“Feeling powerless?” they asked in a daily posting. “Switch to green power . . . Swapping out fossil fuels like natural gas and coal for renewables is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.” People can contact a solar installation company, many of which are still taking appointments for estimates during the pandemic.
In Ventura County, where community choice aggregated power is available, many people have the option of switching to fully renewable power sources through their existing energy provider.
Shopping for an electric car is another energy-related activity people can do to celebrate Earth Day this month. Local car dealerships’ physical locations are not open, but many are offering off-site test drives and delivery. Tony Anaya, sales manager for Simi Valley Chevrolet, explained: “To provide for social distancing, we bring a car to your house and let you test drive it unaccompanied by a salesperson.” All it takes is a copy of your driver’s license, insurance card, a signature on a “borrow a car” form and an appointment. Ayala is offering deals on electric Chevy Bolts, with factory and dealer incentives, all this month.
Other local businesses, including Spicetopia, Native Pizza, Mile 26 and Leashless Brewing, offered an Earth Day promotion honoring the Ventura Land Trust, and some are still participating this week. Each business offered something specific to their audience, like a certain takeout meal, yoga pose, online purchase offer or fitness challenge, sharing it on social media with the hashtag #VLTEarthDaySpecial.
For other local Earth Day business activities, consider the list, provided by the non-profit Surfrider Foundation of Ventura County, of “Ocean Friendly” certified restaurants offering takeout and curbside service during the pandemic: ventura.surfrider.org/social-distancing-friendly-and-ocean-friendly/. Ocean Friendly restaurants “take proactive steps to eliminate single-use plastics,” according to the Surfrider website.
Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAg) held an essay contest. Students wrote on the topic “What Earth Day means to me,” and one won a lemon tree.
On Facebook, dozens of people have issued their own Earth Day environmental challenges. For example, Douglas Blacksmith posted a video encouraging people to make artistic signs with sidewalk chalk on their driveways. The one he demonstrates, with a YouTube linked video, features a colorful frame around a drawing of the earth, with the message, “No Nature, No Future. Earth Day 2020.” Many people are similarly posting Earth Day art this month with the hashtag #togetherWeEarthrise.
The U.S. Postal Service is also promoting a work of Earth Day art, an Earth Day forever stamp by artist Tony Alcala. Kent Bullard, who usually organizes green car shows at local Earth Day events ,suggests, “Don’t hoard toilet paper, instead buy and hoard U.S. Postage Stamps- Especially the Earth Day one.” store.usps.com/store/product/buy-stamps/earth-day-S_682604
David Goldstein IWMD, PWA is an Environmental Resource Analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency.