Santa Barbarans take credit for not only starting the modern environmental movement but also for inspiring Earth Day. Like many conceits, this notion has almost as much fact as fiction to back it up. In fact, former U.S. senator Gaylord Nelson is the one credited for hatching the first Earth Day back in 1970. But Nelson said his visit to Santa Barbara after the catastrophic oil spill of 1969 spurred him into action. That incident was the dire midwife for a lot of environmental legislation that came to be in 1970-like the Environmental Protection Act and the Clear Air and Clean Water acts. Closer to home, the spill generated the political momentum that brought about the California Coastal Act, as well as the commission that bears its name, into existence. The spill also sparked the genesis of the Community Environmental Council (CEC) and the Environmental Defense Center (EDC). Just recently, the EDC led the charge against plans for an LNG facility in the S.B. Channel, while the CEC has realigned its sights and is now focused almost exclusively on global warming and the campaign to be Fossil Free by ’33.

Regardless of our history, the South Coast is no ivory tower and, with daily doses of global warming popping up on weather forecasts across the country, we here at The Indy have chosen to celebrate Earth Day ’07 by assigning report cards to facets of life in Santa Barbara. Heck-we even took a pretty grim look at the decidedly un-groovy eco-reality of our own offices. We’re hoping that somewhere in these pages you will find some ideas you like well enough to steal. Enjoy, and don’t forget to recycle this darn thing when you’re done.

Earthday Report Cards Click on the following links:

The Independent


Cottage Hospital

Higher Education

Small Businesses


Santa Barbara County

City of Santa Barbara



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