EARTH DAY: MAKING A DAILY DIFFERENCE

California wildflowers
California wildflowers burst into bloom

As seasonal wildflowers spring to life, and the birds chirp excitedly in the sky, many of us experience the infectious tug of nature. It compels us to run, hike, and explore in the great outdoors. No matter how many gadgets or gizmos vie for our attention, there is an overwhelming urge in most of us to connect to the earth at this time of year. With all the benefits that nature provides, both physically and psychologically, this is an impulse that we would all do well to follow. And yet, how much time do we spend protecting that which gives us so much? Far too often we take “Mother Nature” for granted in much the same way that many of us do our actual mothers, and this is perhaps how the moniker came to be. How many times have you repaired to Nature in times of stress or loneliness? How many times has it healed or buoyed you in a way that nothing else could?

As we revel in all the gifts that Nature provides, it behooves us not to take it for granted. If each of us doesn’t take at least some simple measures to protect our environment, we all risk losing what we love and what nourishes us. What we do in our everyday lives, from how we garden to the products we buy and services we use, has wide-ranging impacts on everything from soil microbes to pollinators to predators. So on this Earth Day, we encourage you all to not only celebrate this magnificent place we call home but to also take one or two tangible steps to safeguard the ecological integrity of our beautiful planet.

Earth Day is more relevant now than ever. We are at a point in time where climate change is accelerating and pollution levels are climbing. The personal and policy choices we make now will determine whether or not we can avert serious, imminent effects from our fossil fuel-enabled economy and our dependence on agrichemicals and other environmental toxins. Making matters worse, we are now confronted by an Administration that is overtly hostile to science and environmentally protective policies. In response, we must redouble our local legislative efforts and personal actions to offset the adverse changes we are seeing at the federal level.

Beyond the moral imperative of environmental justice, there are economic and health consequences to exploiting and destroying the environment. Clean air, pure water, and healthy food are essential for life. When air, water and food integrity are compromised, we become ill. Cancer and asthma rates are on the rise, especially among the pediatric and young adult populations. You simply cannot have a healthy society without a clean Earth. Earth Day forces us to take a step back and examine the relationship between our actions and their consequences.

There are a number of things we can all do TODAY to protect the earth, reclaim our health, and nurture the wildlife that depends on our prudence for their continued survival. Here are just a few ideas. We welcome you to write in and inspire us with your own thoughts. The possibilities are endless!

1. GARDEN FOR WILDLIFE: The Topanga Town Council is a proud and early adopter of this fantastic program from the National Wildlife Federation which enables individual homeowners to certify their own backyards as wildlife habitats. If you haven’t already, sign up as a Topanga “Certified Wildlife Habitat” (CWH) today, and commit to gardening your own backyard in a way that supports wildlife. It’s easy, fun and so rewarding.
http://www.nwf.org/Garden-For-Wildlife.aspx

The local CWH leader for Topanga is Carrie Carrier. Please contact her with any questions, ideas, or photos at: tcbrc27@gmail.com.

2. GET SERIOUS ABOUT GREYWATER: Thinking about installing a simple greywater system but still aren’t sure what’s legal or feasible? Check out the Greywater Action Group’s website (https://www.greywateraction.org/)   for accurate and up-to-date information. The group offers many free workshops in conjunction with local water purveyors. If you’d like to reach out to a local expert, we are fortunate to have among us greywater guru, Sergio Scabuzzo, who is both a Greywater Action Group leader and Topanga Creek Watershed Committee member. If you have questions, Sergio has answers: sergio@thegreenmanproject.com

3. EXPLORE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: If solar panels have proved too costly or cumbersome for your home, there’s a brand new option available to residents of Los Angeles County. Thanks to Supervisor Kuehl, many residents will now have access to greener and cheaper energy. How? Through a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program in which the county buys energy from the market (often at a reduced rate due to its high volume purchasing power) and then sells it to consumers at close to cost. An important feature of the new option is that the public energy program will derive much of its power from green sources. For more information on the CCA, see this article in the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-county-utility-20170418-htmlstory.html

4. VOLUNTEER WITH A LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL NONPROFIT: While there is no shortage of good causes, there is often a dearth of good help. Please reach out to one of your local environmental nonprofits to lend a hand at an upcoming event, like the Topanga Creek Watershed Committee’s Creek Clean-up on May 21st from 9:30-noon. Volunteers will meet in the Pine Tree Circle parking lot (near Abuelita’s). For more information, contact TCWC Chair, Carrie Carrier, at tcbrc27@gmail.com