The beginning of the modern environmental movement, some say, can be pinpointed to one day: April 22, 1970. That’s when former Washington Sen. Gaylord Nelson called on Americans to observe a national “teach-in” to celebrate grassroots environmental education and remind Americans to tread lightly on the earth. Nelson’s idea appealed to Americans across political parties, economic classes, races and ethnicities, and millions participated in coast-to-coast demonstrations and rallies.
Forty-two years after that first Earth Day, the movement to encourage environmental stewardship has become a worldwide phenomenon. Here in Los Angeles County, residents, community organizations, private businesses and government come together to work on a variety of issues, ranging from neighborhood cleanups and restoring native habitat, to effectively advocating for the expansion of our public transit system along Crenshaw Boulevard in South Los Angeles.
Over the years new challenges have emerged, and land use strategies of the past no longer are suitable to manage our growing population. For example, cars continue to clog our roads, and despite a generation of progress, air quality does not meet acceptable levels. The scarcity of bike lanes and safe sidewalks has made exercising more challenging in many neighborhoods, and weight-related illnesses are on the rise.
Yet the County continues to move forward. In 2012, the Board of Supervisors…
- Adopted a state-of-the-art Master Bicycle Plan that that provides a road map for expanding the County’s existing 144-mile network with 823 additional miles of new bike lanes over the next 20 years..
- Officially banned plastic bags at supermarkets, small businesses and convenience stores in unincorporated areas as a strategy to promote the use of reusable bags.
- Kicked off the Energy Upgrade California campaign, partnering with utility companies to provide thousands of dollars in rebates to property owners for energy efficient retrofits.
Furthermore, each of the Supervisors has worked to preserve the County’s natural resources. Supervisor Gloria Molina has led the effort to ban the use of Styrofoam in County facilities, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has helped preserve hundreds of acres of land in the Santa Monica Mountains, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich has drastically expanded the number of horse trails in the northern communities of the County, Supervisor Don Knabe has granted funding to 24 cities to enhance recreation and open space projects, and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has launched the ambitious Park to Playa project, which will create the a 13-mile regional pedestrian trail and bike path from the Baldwin Hills to the Santa Monica Bay.
Below is an abbreviated list of events celebrating Earth Day throughout the month of April. Please vote on your favorite below to let us know how you will be marking Earth Day 2012.
Eat Local and Celebrate the Ground Breaking for the Lennox Community Garden.
On April 14th, join the non-profit From Lot to Spot, the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and other members of the Lennox Community from 11am – 2pm to celebrate the opening of the first community garden on Lennox at 112th Street and Inglewood Ave.
Create a Recycled Art Project at the Earth Day South LA Festival.
Join Community Services Unlimited and the Normandie Avenue Elementary School on Saturday, April 14, 2012
from 11am to 4pm and participate in service projects for all ages, cooking demos and workshops including gardening with natives, recycled art and yoga.
Get informed at the Labor, Social, and Environmental Justice Fair at California State University Dominguez Hills.
Join The Labor Studies Club and the Labor Studies Department of California State University Dominguez Hills on April 19, 2012 from 11:00AM — 4:00PM at the Loker Student Union and network with over 50 social and environmental justice organizations. For more information visit http://cah.csudh.edu/labor/events.htm.
Get Dirty Restoring Habitat at Kenneth Hahn Park.
Join the County Parks and Recreation Department, Generation Water, Mujeres de la Tierra and other community stakeholders on April 22nd from 9am – 1pm and help replace exotic pests with native plants. All ages and levels of expertise are welcome. For more info click here.
Ride the new Exposition Line.
Take advantage of a free ride on April 28th and 29th along the new Exposition Transit Line. Metro will be celebrating their new public transit service that runs from Downtown at the 7th and Metro Station to La Cienega Boulevard. For more info, visit metro.net/expo.
Learn how to earn $8,000 for making energy efficiency upgrades to your home!
Visit www.energyupgradeca.org. or join experts from Energy Upgrade California at a series of workshops to get a step-by-step tutorial on the program, as well as receive tips from residents who have undergone the process themselves. For more information about a workshop, click here. While you are at it, visit the LA County Solar Map at www.solarmap.lacounty.gov to check out your homes’ solar potential.