CEC hosts virtual Earth Day festival
The Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, hosted by the Community Environmental Council, began Thursday with an emphasis on youth leadership.
“Youth have a lot to be rightfully upset about when it comes to the climate crisis,” Sigrid Wright, CEO of the CSC, said in the welcome address. “And we know that there is no issue more threatening to our very existence.
“We’re in a position now where we have to do twice as much twice as fast. We have to basically crush our carbon emissions to avoid the worst case scenarios on climate, but we’re also in an unusually powerful moment where we can really match the magnitude of the problem, if we can build the leadership to do so.”
Laura Capps, Santa Barbara Unified board member, delivered a keynote address about climate activism in Santa Barbara’s schools.
She gave an update on the district’s solar initiative, a large project bringing solar structures to school sites.
Currently, the district has a few solar panels but 0% reliance on solar energy. By 2022, the district will be over 90% reliant on renewables, she said.
“Our schools need to be safe havens,” she said. “And if you create microgrids, small networks of independent energy sources through solar and battery storage, we can keep our schools running.
“So right now, the plan is to have 14,000 solar panels at 14 sites; six schools will be designated micro grids, including the three big high schools and La Cumbre Junior High and a few district sites, and the district will save $14 million over the next 28 years.”
She included a pre-recorded demonstration of the compost and gardening initiative at Monroe Elementary.
After lunch, Monroe students separate their leftovers into compost, recycling and trash.
A young boy in the video expressed enthusiasm in keeping the earth “healthy and clean” so that it can produce more food.
The youth focus continued with a skit about water conservation led by Obediah Thomas, an educational presentation by Explore Ecology and a conversation among members of UCSB’s environmental affairs board.
Florencia Ramirez, director of the Pesticide-Free Soil Project and author of “Eat Less Water,” emceed Thursday and talked about the purpose of switching pesticide-free.
Notable speakers include Sen. Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara and Assembly member Steve Bennett, D-Ventura.
“It’s been fascinating for me to recently see the huge increase in youth leadership around this issue of climate change, and we need the fierce urgency of youth. Right now more than ever, we have this global crisis and the youth out there, bring that sense of urgency, and they have so much at stake in this,” Mr. Bennett said.
Kenny Loggins and singer/songwriter Jackson Gillies performed in support of Earth Day.
As part of the celebrations, muralists are currently painting in honor of Earth Day at Paseo Nuevo. The final creation will be presented during Saturday’s festivities.
To view past events or join today and Saturday’s celebrations, go to sbearthday.org.