The 39th annual Earth Day will be celebrated around the world this week. Santa Barbara is the birthplace of Earth Day, having experienced the ecological disaster of the huge oil spill in 1969. As thousands of animals – birds to dolphins – were dying, human consciousness was changing. This change had begun in the early sixties, when Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring opened our eyes about the poisons we use and how they would change our environment forever.
Decades later we brilliant and powerful humans are still learning how we might rein in those powers, or use them differently in order to live more lightly on this planet that we all share with myriad other incredible creatures. We are learning that resources like oil and water are finite and that our use of them is affecting the earth’s ecosystem in so many ways, some still unknown, that profits and financial success can no longer be the only bottom line/goal, if we are to preserve life on this great earth.
Santa Barbara’s Earth Day theme this year is “Reduce Your Eco-Footprint”. Here is how: we need to know when we are having an impact – on a daily basis. This awareness is the tough part. From there, walking softly becomes easy. The right choices are more obvious. And life might even become more meaningful, more truly wonderful along the way.