Arts & Entertainment Co-Editor
As the warmth of spring returns to Isla Vista (I.V.), both the sun and students began by celebrating Earth Day at Anisq’oyo Park. Hosted by the UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Associated Students (AS) Environmental Board, the event brought together both the UCSB and I.V. communities for an afternoon full of live music and fun.
Since its beginning in 1970, the date April 22 has become an international day of celebrating Earth. The Earth Day website traces back the first Earth Day celebration to Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and his work with Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and young activist Denis Hayes to organize campus-wide environmental teachings. The day they happened to choose was April 22, and since then, what started in classrooms has expanded to include nations across the globe as the world gathers to celebrate nature and work towards a more sustainable future.
The park was flooded with activity, with chalk drawn along the sidewalks as people knelt down to doodle images associated with Earth Day and to write encouraging messages for anyone walking through. Students dressed the part as well, coming out in skirts, tank tops, and more, matching the earthy-warm vibes for the day.
Kat Lane, who serves on the Executive Chairs for the AS Environmental Board sat under the AS tent, welcoming students and community members alike to take part in the festivities. She explained that the purpose of this community event is to “celebrate the work of organizations on and off campus and to fight for an equitable future. We’re getting together to celebrate!”
Stickers and tote bags were among some of the fun things that students could pick up at the tables. Other student organizations and I.V. businesses had activities and informational posters to read through as they discussed the work they do toward a more sustainable future. Set up under tents and shade from the trees, each organization offered something new to contribute. Nearby, tables for the clothing swap were set up, with people going back and forth, sifting through the clothes that had been left out for perusing.
Further down, closer to Embarcadero Hall, were the tie-dye and plant potting tables. Community members had the opportunity to make their own custom tie-dye shirts and plant mini succulents. These activities were widely popular and both stations unfortunately ran out of its materials and giveaways within a couple of hours of its opening. Regardless, there was still more than enough fun to be had!
Tables set up near the organization booths gave students a place to paint on mini canvases, following the theme of Earth Day and “Paint Your Paradise.” Finished paintings were then put on display for others to observe. Together, they pieced together a picture of appreciation towards the earth.
Up in the outdoor pavilion, four bands brought musical joy to the festivities. Dawn Patrol, Primarosa, Shark Exhibit, and Duende all had crowds pouring in to watch and nod along to the music. Despite the growing heat of the afternoon, students came prepared with blankets and snacks, cheering on the bands as they soaked in the lively atmosphere.
While the event serves to bring together the community and offer an afternoon of fun, AS Environmental Board and the other present organizations remind us to continue fighting against the institutions and corporations that push back against environmental justice. Lane briefly touched upon the fossil fuel industry, something incredibly present for UCSB students with the historic oil rig that sits in the ocean and is always present upon watching the sunset.
Although this year’s Earth Day has come to an end, the AS Environmental Board and the other organizations that tabled at the event plan to continue advocating and working towards a more sustainable and ecologically friendly future. If there’s one thing that anyone should take away from the event, whether it’s enjoyment to be outside and celebrate with friends or to pot a succulent to take home and nourish, Kat Lane smiles widely and reminds us to “have an enthusiasm for the future we can write together!”