Make the Connections

by Carolyn Chase


ver the ages, the connected nature of the life on Earth has been expressed eloquently. At the end of 19th century, Sierra Club founder John Muir put it this way: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."

In the middle of the 20th century, Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out: "All life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

At the end of the 20th century, with live broadcasts from warzones, 24-hours international financial trading and a global population pushing past the 6 billion mark, we have never been more connected. But we don't live our lives that way, do we? It's much easier to insulate ourselves and pretend that we are separate. Personal sanity pretty much requires it.

In the new standout book about separateness and connections, "My Year of Meats," author Ruth Ozeki puts it this way: "Fed on a media diet of really bad news, we live in a perpetual state of repressed panic. We are paralyzed by bad knowledge, from which the only escape is playing dumb. Ignorance becomes empowering because it enable people to live. Stupidity become proactive, a political statement. Our collective norm."

But the Industrial Age is indeed yielding to the Information Age. More and more people and businesses are coming to the conclusion that yes, "we gotta change." We are part of a system that's unsustainable and we must be part of transforming it. Making that connection and deciding to do something about it opens up new possibilities for the right psychological and physical circumstances so something special can happen.

What makes Earth Day a special time? Henry David Thoreau noted, "There must be the generating force of Love behind every effort that is to be successful."

But this is not your same old whining, liberal, "free love" hippies hoping that holding hands will make it happen. Earth Day in San Diego was founded and is managed by environmental entrepreneurs more interested in market satisfaction and results than endless meetings and regulatory mandates.

Although some of us will continue to deal with the inevitable and necessary regulatory processes, Earth Day is a chance to look beyond the politics of the moment and glimpse the politics of the possible.

Earth Day allows people to express their hope for a better future and do something about it. It gives them ways to connect with making a difference.

Let me express my love, right here and now, for the people of San Diego who care about the future and are working to do something about it. I feel truly blessed to live in region where the spirit of community exists to sustain an event like the EarthFair in Balboa Park.

Named one of the top five special events in the country by Events Business News, after ten years it is still an honor for me to be a part of the leadership team who assumes the risk of producing, with volunteers, the largest free environmental fair in the world. We can only pull it off thanks to the donations and support of hundreds of volunteers, attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and contributors large and small. It is an honor work with them and I thank them for their support.

Can we find ways to connect a one-day experience to the rest of our lives and our work? The ongoing success of events like the EarthFair in Balboa Park points to the fact that people want to see progress - not just via the symbolism of "Earth Day" - but every day.

To that end, San Diego EarthWorks is proud to invite businesses and workplaces to participate in the Earth Day 2000, Spirit of Business Challenge. Earth Day provides an excellent opportunity for all businesses, workers and sectors of society to make the connections to creating innovative environmental solutions for the 21st century.

Business leaders who have taken sustainability to heart repeatedly report that employees perform better when they are connected to "doing well by doing good." This has been described as "awakening a new spirit of business" where organizations increase employee satisfaction and retention and overall company morale while improving environmental and financial performance.

To help kindle that spirit, San Diego EarthWorks is making available "Earth Day at Work: Resources and Quickstart Guide" for businesses and workplaces of all sizes. EDaW contains the latest ideas for businesses to tap into successful networking and programs.

Earth week provides many opportunities for people to get together to discuss practical ways to create a sustainable, quality future for the San Diego region.

On Wednesday, April 21, San Diego EarthWorks and Sullivan Environmental Solutions are hosting a Business Breakfast at 7:45AM at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley entitled: "The Future of Environmental Management Systems: A Shift from Governmental Oversight." Keynote speaker Isis Fredericks is one of the world's leading experts on environmental management systems and their benefits. She has developed ISO 9000, BS 7750 and ISO14000 based management systems internationally in the manufacturing and service industries.

On Earth Day, April 22, San Diego EarthWorks will host the ninth annual VIP (Very Important Planet) Reception and EARTH Awards. This occasion provides an opportunity for business, community, and government leaders to make the connections between our actions now and a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future. The reception will be held at the City of San Diego Environmental Services Building located at 6901 Ridgehaven Court in Kearny Mesa.

Register online for either event and request more info on the "Spirit of Business Challenge" at:

Life can be a journey of adventures, of being alive and doing important work. Making connections is something everyone can do. Earth Day is something everyone can make a connection with.