It was a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969 that sparked the idea.
Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was appalled at the devastation caused by the 3 million gallons of crude that spilled into the waters off Summerland and spread along the coastline. He rallied other lawmakers to take a stand for the environment.
The result: Earth Day. Nelson picked April 22 to mark the day because it fell between spring break and final exams.
That first year of Earth Day, 20 million people around the country took to the streets and parks to rally for the environment, according to the website earthday.org. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.
“Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values,” according to earthday.org.
Now, Earth Day is celebrated around the world.
Locally, people come together at clean-ups and educational gatherings to show their love for their planet.
Though events have been going on since last weekend, there are still plenty of ways to help out Friday and Saturday.
OneOC: “Spirit of Giving – Environmental Literacy.” A countywide program from 8:30 to 10 a.m. to help first-grade students improve literacy skills with a discussion of environmental topics. Volunteers will assist teachers, reading and talking with students. Schools in areas of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Tustin and Westminister need volunteers.
School Gardens “Harvesting for Hunger.” Countywide program from 9 to 11 a.m. at various schools. Volunteers remove debris, amend the soil and re-stain raised beds, as well as assist students in planting or distributing seeds to classrooms and teachers.
Go to oneoc.org for locations and to sign up.
Santa Ana College Child Development Center: Volunteers will assist in an inaugural Earth Day purge, including cleaning, organizing and repairing outdoor equipment and planting areas. Address: 1720 W. 17th St.
Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, Newport Back Bay: A focus this year will be on conserving water, and Rain Barrels International will be on hand with water conservation tips and tricks. About two dozen educational booths will be set up, and there will be arts and crafts and face painting. The free event, open to the public, runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rain barrels will be available for $10 after a rebate; prior purchase is necessary. Rebate information can be found at ocwatersmart.com. There also will be a place to recycle clothes, with US Again accepting clothes, shoes and household textiles such as blankets for resale in the U.S. and overseas. Address: 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach.
Coastkeeper Garden, Orange: Coastkeeper is teaming with SmartScape tours to teach about drought-tolerant gardening. Activities will include investigating insect habitats, trying on beekeeper suits and running through natural obstacle courses. Girl Scouts will demonstrate how to grow vegetables and showcase an Edible Garden. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Address: 1560 E Santiago Canyon Road.
Ocean Institute, Dana Point: The Ocean Institute will host Earth Day celebrations Saturday and Sunday. Activities include a native plant garden tour, building a butterfly garden and “A Lily Lab: Flower Dissection.” There will also be an e-waste recycling company on hand Saturday to collect old computers and cellphones. Proceeds from the donated e-waste go to the Ocean Institute. There will be a coastal clean-up at the beach and harbor from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday. Clean-up volunteers will receive free admission to the Ocean Institute for the day. Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive.
Crown Valley Park, Laguna Niguel: Volunteer to plant, weed and clean up the Niguel Botanical Preserve from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The grounds include an 18-acre preserve. Volunteers should wear old clothing and be prepared to get in the dirt. Drinking water and light snacks will be provided. Address: 29751 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel.
Parque Del Mar, San Clemente: Join the city of San Clemente and the Watershed Task Force from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park by the pier. There will be informational booths about how to make a difference in reducing litter and pollutants, which end up in streets, storm drains, and eventually the beaches and ocean. Beach clean-up starts at 8:30 a.m. The main event, with music, displays, giveaways and kids arts and crafts, starts at 10 a.m.
Habitat for Humanity, Santa Ana: A “Be Green and Recycle Earth Day Fair” will have a furniture DIY event from 1 to 3 p.m., and electronic recyclables will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required; go to habitatoc.org. Address: 1400 Village Way, Santa Ana.
By LAYLAN CONNELLY / STAFF WRITER
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Orange County Register