That is the message and the purpose of Earth Day and our annual reminder of our sacred trust to preserve and protect our planet and its natural beauty.
Our stewardship of the environment begins with a single promise, but requires thousands of little actions in our city, in our neighborhood and in our family homes.
Those of us who live on the Westside are truly blessed by remarkable gems of nature: the Santa Monica Mountains, the Ballona Wetlands and the Santa Monica Bay. In our own neighborhoods, we are gifted with smaller treasures, just as precious and vital: the Sacred Springs at University High, the Venice Canals, the Dunes in Playa del Rey and dozens of neighborhood pocket parks.
We must cherish those resources. It is our responsibility to defend them and protect them. It is there ñ on a hiking trail or in the ocean waves, watching a blue heron or a dolphin ñ where our children will learn to marvel at the wonder of creation. It is there that they will learn how we are all connected to nature, and that our connection with the earth renews our spirit.
Protecting those resources starts in our homes and in our neighborhoods, teaching our children the need to care for the earth and for all creatures. We can all do more and Earth Day is a perfect occasion to ask ourselves how we can do better.
Protecting the Environment at Home
Am I recycling as much as I can in my home and at my office? Have I done a toxic check of all cleaners, detergents and sprays in my cabinets, garage and office and replaced toxic items with “green” alternatives? Will my next vehicle be either a hybrid model, or one that accepts alternative fuel sources, such as bio-diesel? Do I make it a practice to purchase only organic fruits, vegetables and meats whenever possible? If I maintain a garden, do I choose drought-free plants?
Protecting the Environment in Our Neighborhoods
Do I involve myself in efforts with local organizations to clean up recreational and high-use areas, such as the beaches, wetlands and parks? Have I organized my neighbors to discuss ways in which we can become more environmentally friendly?
Protecting the Environment Nationally
Do I support, with both my time and my finances, national organizations such as the Sierra Club that have a solid track record defending and supporting the preservation of our scarce natural resources? Have I reviewed the positions of those running for national office to ensure that our government is intent on preserving the environment?
Our answers to these questions can set our personal environmental agendas for the coming year, guiding our actions, and making sure that Earth Day is celebrated every day.
Mar Vista resident Bill Rosendahl, an environmentalist and candidate for the Westside’s LA City Council seat, has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and most LA-area environmental leaders.