Act Locally for the Earth

by Carolyn Chase


his week is "Earth Week" across the country and around the world. The EarthFair in Balboa Park on April 19th is the big kickoff for Earth Week hereabouts, but "Earth Day" itself is officially this Wednesday, April 22nd. There are many fun and meaningful opportunities to participate in observing this year's local theme "Consider the Source."

In choosing this theme local organizers are asking us to consider the sources of our water, air, food and energy. Consider the sources of pollution and degradation. Consider the sources of products and information. Consider and identify your sources of action and become a source of inspiration for others.

Here are some highlights:

On Earth Day, from 7:30 to 9:30 AM there will be a breakfast discussion on "Urban Growth/Open Space: San Diego's Future in the Balance." The moderator is Ken Sulzer, SANDAG Executive Director. The panelists are: Chris Chambers, Continental Homes, BIA Past President; Duncan McFetridge, Chairman, Rural Heritage and Watershed Initiative Committee; Mark Steele, MW Steele Group, Chairman, City of San Diego Planning Commission; Joe Raguso, San Diego Regional Technology Alliance.

The event will be held at the Cruise Ship Terminal (next to Broadway and Harbor Drive). The costs is $15, which includes continental breakfast and validated parking on the pier. The event is sponsored by the Urban Land Institute, APA, BIA and C-3 in conjunction with the San Diego Council of Design Professionals. RSVP to Tami at 686-7221. Pay at the door.

From 6-9 pm, the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department will be hosting the SOlar Turbines-sponsored "Very Important Planet" or V.I.P. Reception and Silent Auction benefit for San Diego EarthWorks, the non-profit organization responsible for the EarthFair. The VIP reception is a forum for community members, environmentalists, business people and government officials to consider the sources of a
sustainable future in San Diego.

This year's event will feature the presentation of the EARTH (Environmental Action and Restoration That Helps) Awards by EarthWorks and the Recycling Awards and Waste Reduction Awards by the City of San Diego

The buffet dinner is a smorgasbord of delectable items donated by an assortment of San Diego's fine restaurants. The evening will include entertainment from the Decaf Dulcimer group and from John Katchur, a local singer and song writer. Jeff Gelder, 103.7 the Planet radio personality, will emcee the evening.

While it looks much like any other office building, the Environmental Services Department's home at 6901 Ridgehaven Court, site of the event, is anything but. This "green" building, a source of inspiration for building redesign, is one of the top ten environmental buildings in the country. The building incorporates such state-of-the-art features as the recycled (and recyclable) squares of carpet that can be rotated from heavy traffic areas, and motion- and temperature-sensitive lighting and heating/air conditioning systems. Over the past year, this building has saved more than 52 percent of utility costs, compared to its non-refurbished twin building next door. It is a source of inspiration and a demonstration of what can be accomplished.

To reserve a $25 pre-event ticket, call (619) 496-6666 or send email to

All Earth Day long, you can shop at the two San Diego-area Whole Foods Markets where 5% of the gross sales that day will be donated to San Diego EarthWorks. Whole Foods offers a complete selection of environmentally-preferred foods and household items.

After Earth Day and into the weekend, events are happening all around the county and into the weekend.

John Muir College at UCSD will be hosting "Environmental Visions for San Diego County" on Friday, April 24. This day-long series will feature panel discussions and presentations on Local Biovdiversity, Environment and the Media and Local Environmental Policy. Free. 8:30am - 5pm @ Price Center. Info: (619) 534-3589.

Habitat for Humanity is just one of the hosting groups of the Sustainable Community Action Network's
Sustainable Technology Seminars on April 25th at the Naval Training Center. Programs will cover strawbale design, solar cooking, water purification, organic gardening and edible landscaping, permaculture, vermiculture and local sustainability issues. $20 general public/ $12 students. Enter at the Rosecrans Street, Gate 3. Contact: (619) 565-2603.

Join San Diego EarthWorks volunteers on Saturday, April 25, from 9am to 1pm for Earth Day Community Restoration & Renewal Projects at Tijuana River Estuarine or the Torrey Pines State Preserve, sponsored by the California State Parks Foundation and Enron.

San Diego EarthWorks volunteers will restore the delicate watershed area at the Tijuana River Estuarine by clearing debris from the area and planting native species. Volunteers will assist park rangers at Torrey Pines Sate Park by clearing debris and non-native vegetation from trails. Afterwards, volunteers will enjoy complimentary Odwalla juice and other free goodies from KYXY at Torrey Pines and 91X at Tijuana River Estuarine Reserve. To register for one of the projects, to find out the location of the next volunteer meeting or to schedule a presentation for your organization, call their 24-hour voice mail at (619) 496-6666.

At San Dieguito River Park, in recognition of both Earth Day and California Trails Day, guides will lead a hike for children at the popular Piedras Pintadas trail near the shore of Lake Hodges on Saturday, April 25 at 10:30am. Volunteers are also asked to come a help with a special trail maintenance beginning at 9am. Contact: (619)235-5445

Through education and direct action anyone can become a source of a clean healthy prosperous future. For more event listings check and look for the "Earth Friendly Events Calendar."