As a UCSB student currently studying abroad, I was glad to see the April 8 article “County Declares ‘No Float Zone’”. Although incredibly fun, last year’s Floatopia was a complete environmental, public health, and safety disaster. The amount of trash and human waste left on the beach and in the water was revolting. Say what you want about “out-of-towners” causing problems; the bottom line is we hosted and participated in an event that created a horde of problems. It’s time UCSB students stop placing blame on others for the aftermath of our parties.
The county made it clear that more organization was required of students to have this event, but we failed to step up and work with them. Instead, as per usual, students are now throwing a tantrum about “our rights being taken away,” when it was our lack of responsibility and disrespect that made it impossible for the County to let us have our freedom. While the People v. County of El Dorado case does essentially establish our right to access the beach and pollute it as much as we please, why do we want to? Coal Oil Point Reserve, beautiful kelp forests, and excellent surfing beaches are right nearby: Floatopia pollution only puts those areas at risk.
Last year’s disaster and this year’s lack of organization left the county no other option. The beach closure should make us realize that we need to take more responsibility and prove that we can throw epic parties without creating a hazard. Until then, we’ll just have to find a way to float on land. —Jenna Driscoll