As spring quarter continues and natural surroundings continue to bloom, Earth Day (April 22) approaches. This year’s Earth Day festivities will be more extensive than usual, because this will mark 50 years since the 1969 oil spill which inspired the holiday.
As is tradition, Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council will be hosting a weekend-long Earth Day Festival, held this year on April 26-28. The festivities, which will be free to attend, will begin on Friday with “Evening in the Park” — an event which will feature several musical performances, food vendors, a beer and wine garden (remember to bring your reusable cups!), and food vendors.
This year’s theme for the festival will be, “Educate. Inspire. Act.,” a sentiment which is reflected in the activities in store for attendees. During the Saturday and Sunday portion of the festival, the main performance stage will continue to feature a variety of musical artists while an extensive list of exhibitor booths will be set up according to the categories, “Eco Marketplace,” “Public Square,” “Kids Corner,” “Green Car Show,” “Great Outdoors,” “Homegrown Roots,” and a food court featuring seventeen local businesses.
The SB Community Environmental Council will also be participating in a broader “Earth Month” celebration, featuring several other eco-conscious events. These will include an installation titled “The Spill that Rocked the World” — which may be viewed on the weekend of the festival, along the Alameda Park section of Anacapa Street — as well as a Climate Crisis Summit, welcoming activists to convene on April 28 at the Alameda Park Pavilion.
The Earth Month programming will extend onto UCSB’s campus as well, with an event titled “The Secret Lives of Plastic,” to be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 30. The day-long event, which will occur in Corwin Pavilion, will be structured as a conference, offering the opportunity for all interested members of the community to gather and learn from one another. During the conference, there will be a film screening of “Oceans: The Mystery of Missing Plastic.”
UCSB’s Environmental Affairs Board will be hosting Isla Vista Earth Day on Saturday, April 27, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; this annual event is held in Anisq’Oyo Park. Activities will include musical performances, environmentally friendly arts and crafts, and a pop-up thrift shop. This year is made special in honor of the fifty years of progress made since the Santa Barbara oil spill which was the catalyst for Earth Day.
This considerable amount of Earth Day-related programming in the UCSB and greater Santa Barbara area communities is reflective of a rich history of environmental concern tied to the region.
Currently, according to the official Earth Day website, the event has become “the largest secular observance in the world,” with people in 192 countries participating in climate-related observance and change on this day each year. This is particularly astonishing when considering that it all started with one activist, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, and his determination toward environmental consciousness after observing the oil spill here in Santa Barbara.