Earth Day at a local level

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Art Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. On March 1, 2014, only a few hundred people joined the sendoff of the L.A. to D.C. Great Climate March. Media coverage was close to invisible. After all, this protest was against an invisible pollution: greenhouse gases.

Even though the greenhouse gases are putting the health of our planet in peril, it is proving far more difficult to mobilize the public to combat this invisible enemy.

Sobering, fact-based, rock solid scientific reports from the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change have made the challenge clear. Yet, at the national level, our Congress is loath to act. For them, it seems the energy producers’ current bottom line profits trump the well being of our nation’s grandchildren.

We can, however, make a difference locally.

First, we need mass awareness. We call on all local media to step up to this issue.

Second, we need to lower the carbon footprint of our communities. We laud the fact that our state and local governments have made a solid start. Waking up our citizens to do their part is being done by WAEC, the Whittier Area Environmental Coalition.

On Saturday, April 26, at St. Matthias Episcopal Church from 1:30-5:30 p.m., the third annual Earth Day and World Environmental Day event will explore ways we can do this.

We will hear from one of the local leaders who set off that national march. We will then discuss four areas where we can affect change by reducing our energy needs.

Energy for houses. The first step is to seal up our buildings. This can cut energy consumption by up to one-half. The break-out group will tell us how. Go solar? That’s the gold standards, but how to make it happen?

Energy for transportation. Our cities need a strong dose of public transportation. How can we get trains, bus routes and bicycle lanes that link?

The energy consequences of Land Use. Our cities are but molecules of a sea that is greater L.A. Can we find creative ways to improve our communities when we infill areas? Is the LEED standard for building efficiency achievable?

The energy consequences of greater community self reliance. How can we increase the sharing of time and agriculture products in a way that will reduce energy expended and bring us closer together as a community?

The momentum is already there. Come, join in and be a part of making this area a leader in going green.

John Beynon is president of the Untied Nations Association – USA, Whittier Area Chapter



Published: April 24, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 02