New Times / Art
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 28, Issue 39
Come to Earth Day on April 27 at El Chorro Regional Park!
By GLEN STARKEY
Is it just me, or does it seem kind of ridiculous that we have to dedicate a day to remember we’re stewards of planet Earth? I mean, shouldn’t we think about that every day and in every action and decision we make?
Between the climate change deniers, the people who admit climate change but say it’s not humanity’s fault, or the ones who admit climate change and even concede it’s human-made but argue it’s too damaging to our economy to do anything about, those of us truly worried about it and wanting to affect positive change really have our work cut out for us.
Let’s face it: Some very powerful forces—soulless corporations, the über-rich 1 percent, and bought-and-paid-for politicians—make grassroots activism feel like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, though of course we like windmills! Wind power, baby!
So, every year I write about our local Earth Day celebration, happening Sunday, April 27, at El Chorro Regional Park, and I get depressed. What improvements have our species made since last year? The answer always seems to be “None.” Usually things look worse.
Of course, change begins with each individual. I built a compost bin last year, and my wife and I have been religious about feeding it food scraps, grass clippings, and leaves—soaking it and turning it and using its dark rich results on our vegetable garden. We traded our lawn for flagstone in the backyard and made our raised planter bed three times bigger. We’re talking chickens. We feel guilty every time we water the front lawn, but we want at least a patch of grass for our son to run on. We turn off lights. We sometimes hang-dry our laundry. We want solar panels after we re-roof next year or the year after. We recycle everything we can, ride our bikes when feasible, and even have two electric scooters. Big whoop, right?
The Keystone Pipeline still looms over North America; fracking is destroying groundwater supplies; fossil fuels still reign supreme; and about 12 miles from where I’m typing this, highly radioactive spent fuel rods sit suspended in water with no plan for permanent storage. Cars and buildings pollute our air. Commercial agriculture operations wreak havoc on the environment. Plastic chokes our oceans. Species continue to go extinct. Fish stocks are depleted to dangerous levels. You get my drift, right? Depressing!
But I refuse to throw up my hands and give up like those who believe we can’t change our ways. Coming to Earth Day to listen to some bands like Burning James and the Funky Flames, the Kristen Black Electric Band, The Mystery Brothers, and environmental rapper Mr. Eco may not seem like you’re doing anything important for the environment, but as you wander the displays, you may pick up some ideas for a greener world, you may find opportunities to become more politically active in environmental issues, and you may find some kindred spirits who will remind you you’re not alone as you mount your trusty steed Rocinante, level your lance at Big Pharma, Big Ag, Corporate America, and the fossil fuel industry, and yell, “Charge!”
This year’s theme—One Air, One Water, One Earth—is inspired by Corbin Harney (1920-2007), who famously said, “The Mother Earth provides us with food, provides us with air, provides us with water. We, the people, are going to have to put our thoughts together, to save our planet here. We’ve only got one water, one air, one Mother Earth.”
Come to Earth Day!
The 24th annual Earth Day Fair & Music Festival takes place on Sunday, April 27, at El Chorro Regional Park. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., enjoy live music, food and drink from vendors, informational displays, and interactive experiences. You can ride the RTA, SCAT, or SLO Transit Bus for free to Earth Day, or carpool and park for free at Cuesta College (shuttles will drive you to the event across Hwy. 1). Buses leave the SLO City Hall Transit Center starting at 9 a.m. every hour on the hour until 4 p.m. The last bus back to SLO leaves at 4:30 p.m. In an outdoor fair setting, nearly 100 exhibits will share their thoughts, messages, products, services, and solutions to beat climate change. Highlights include a Kid's Zone, Pacific Wildlife Care presentation, The Green Magician, Mr. Eco, and live music from the Earth Day Music Festival stage.
Glen Starkey takes a beating and keeps on bleating. Keep up with him via twitter at twitter.com/glenstarkey, friend him at facebook.com/glenstarkey or myspace.com/glenstarkey, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.