Today is Earth Day 2012, a day filled with celebrations of the environment and all the things being done to try and improve it and make it more sustainable . You can go to events where you recycle your old paper tax records, your motor oil, your cellphone, computers and other electronics.
You can go to festivals and visit the booths of green nonprofits and solar energy companies, take part in composting workshops, learn about wildlife protectors and electric car companies. You might even get the chance to hug a person wearing a polar bear costume.
You can participate in beach cleanups, ride your bicycle with large groups in parades or march in protests against coal-fired power plants, polluters and planet-pummeling profiteers. You can even watch NBC-Universal TV and see how they turned their logo green and laugh at their funny PSAs about cutting your energy use or carbon footprint.
But what you cannot do at any Earth Day event – or any other day’s events – is change the sense of urgency of the U.S. government or the majority of our population about taking the immediate and dramatic steps necessary to avoid runaway climate change or the hell and high water that’s coming with it.
The latest news on global warming could not be worse. Climate scientists now agree that we won’t be able to restrict warming to just 2 degrees – which would have been bad enough. Those in the know, including NOAA say there is no doubt that the world’s extreme weather is being caused by climate change. And last week’s The Planet Under Pressure conference, made up of planet’s top scientific experts on the climate issued an urgent plea for action as we reach the tipping points for runaway global warming from which there will be no reversal or respite.
“Civilization is at risk,” they warned.
But no one is listening. You don’t read these stories in your newspaper or on mainstream news sites or see them on your TV news. The fossil fuel industry floods the airwaves and Internet with lethal lies and propaganda in a nonstop assault on reason and intelligence. News of the Mega Millons lottery jackpot and the gunning down of individuals in American cities trumps the most important story of the last 100 years. Distracted by the bread and circuses of our time and doomed by our own lizard brains half of the United States population believes that global warming is a hoax designed to make scientists wealthy. Every Republican running for President of this country agrees with that ruse and vows to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. Nothing I do can change any of that.
Faced with this bizzaro world reality I have opted out of futile protests and demonstrations and chosen to do the only thing I can do – increase the amount of renewable energy, energy efficiency, tree plantings and sustainability practices in the most effective way I can. Which is why I now work for EcoMedia, who is responsible for doing all of those things, and more.
I have seen the future and it looks like a solar-powered greenhouse, a solar-powered pump driving aquaponics, a non-toxic termite treatment for buildings, students growing their own fruits and vegetables on their high school campus irrigated by captured rainwater, and other sustainable practices paid for by grants from corporations with no strings attached.
In a still repressed economy during an era when “no new taxes” is the mindless mantra that forces cutbacks and the elimination of educational programs and resources, the only place the dollars are going to come from are nontraditional, innovative sources. You can argue the merits of that if you want, but I’m done arguing. I just want to see projects get funded, renewable energy put to work, energy efficiency retrofits instituted, conservation measures adopted and sustainable practices replace business-as-usual before the climate crisis makes any positive action a moot point.
That’s why for the past week I’ve been working at my new job in Manhattan Beach where I’ve transitioned from the volunteer advocacy efforts I’ve been contributing since 2008 to a professional role in sustainability partnerships for CBS EcoMedia. EcoMedia employs exactly the kind of nontraditional, innovative business practices I’m talking about through their EcoAd program – the kind of innovative business practices that found me on the campus of Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) in Lawndale on Friday morning to celebrate the ribbon cutting for their new solar-powered greenhouse.
With school starting up again it’s easy to remember what an exciting and terrifying time this is for high school freshmen making the giant leap from middle school to the intimidating and initially confusing big-time campus.
They don’t get any more big-time than Redondo Union High School‘s 56-acre campus, one of the largest in all of California.
With a history going back 105 years and an outstanding reputation in academics, robotics, journalism, band and so many other areas it is a very cool thing indeed to be a new Sea Hawk joining the other 2,294 RUHS students.
But there’s another high school in the area that Redondo Beach students are also eligible to attend that few even know about, let alone consider applying for. At first glance you might think I’m nuts to even suggest it: I don’t think any Redondo Beach resident has ever opted to attend, although kids from Lennox, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena, Bellflower, Maywood, Carson and Lawndale have.
That’s your friendly, neighborhood Creative Greenius volunteering his time for the South Bay Environmental Services Center at the 2009 Torrance Environmental Fair. I’ll be back again this year, at Madrona Marsh on Saturday, March 27 from 10am t0 3pm talking about ways to save energy, save water, save money and cut your greenhouse gas emissions.
Check out the roster of speakers and presentations after the jump.
On Monday I wrote about how some of my friends on the Hermosa Beach City Council had ignored citizen requests that they stop using disposable Arrowhead plastic water bottles as their source of drinking water at City Council meetings. We had told them they were not only wasting money, water and resources – they were also setting a bad public example on television and on the web where their meetings are broadcast.