Santa Barbara’s Historic Environmental Legacy
In 1969, the devastating images of a massive oil spill from an oil platform off Santa Barbara’s coast galvanized California into action and caught the attention of the rest of the nation, including Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, who visited Santa Barbara shortly after the spill. The resulting swell of outrage and concern gave rise to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as to the creation of the Community Environmental Council – one of the most established environmental organizations in the region, and the host of Santa Barbara’s annual Earth Day Festival.
Today, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) pioneers real life solutions in areas with the most impact on climate change. Our programs provide pathways to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems and reduction of single-use plastic.
Sustainability at the Festival
At CEC’s annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, we pride ourselves on making this one of the cleanest, greenest and most sustainably-minded events around, improving every year as we go. Our notable onsite successes and efforts include the following:
- By working with Green Project Consultants, we divert over 90% of the festival’s waste stream from the landfill every year.
- We reduce plastic consumption by encouraging use of reusable cups and by providing water refill stations throughout the festival. We use compostable cups in our beer and wine garden, have offered Kleen Kanteen stainless steel cups when possible, and require our food vendors to use compostable utensils and foodware.
- We’re changing the food festival experience by making sure all of our food vendors are selling products that contain locally grown and sustainably produced ingredients.
- Our free bike valet allows thousands of festival goers to ride to the event, reducing gas consumption, energy use and traffic while also encouraging some good ol’ fashioned exercise. In addition, we strongly encourage vendors and participants to walk, carpool or ride the bus to the festival.
With an event of this size, we recognize that there will be environmental impacts regardless of how much we try. If you have suggestions on how we can improve, please let us know! In the meantime, join us and take advantage of all the festival has to offer.
Press and Media
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