On April 22, 1970, Americans all over this beautiful country joined hands to celebrate the very first Earth Day. This event was inspired by the vision, hard work, and efforts of former Senator Gaylord Nelson, who recognized the great need to “thrust the environment into political awareness.” The need to act responsibly towards our earth has never been greater than it is today. Luckily, every person can do their part and as residents of Santa Monica, you are fortunate to have a government that has set-up a framework to help you adopt responsible lifestyle choices that will collectively support the goals of the Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan. So on April 22, let’s join together as friends, neighbors and a caring community to celebrate our Earth by hopping on the sustainability bandwagon and reduce our environmental impact. Here are just a few specific lifestyle choices to help you kick-off a green year. Happy Earth Day Santa Monica!* * * *Greener Gardens! Although they’re green and seemingly innocuous, our traditional lawns and landscapes account for roughly 60% of California’s potable water, introduce high levels of fertilizers and pesticides into our waterways, and pollute our local air through the use of fossil-fuel dependent equipment used to upkeep such high-maintenance gardens. So replace your lawns and non-native flower beds with a native or edible garden. You will not only see drastic reductions in your water and energy bills, but will also enjoy the sound of birds and the sight of butterflies that will replace the noise and dust from mowers and leaf blowers. And if you need to hold onto some lawn, then consider switching to more eco-friendly varieties such as buffalo grass, pacific sod “no mow” lawn or clover. Visit the City’s website for information on rebates offered for native landscape conversions. Want to help build or receive help building your own edible garden? Sign-up for The 100 Garden Challenge, May 16th & 17th: www.gardensofgratitude.com. * * * *Skip a Trip! Did you know that 20% of the air pollution found in the Grand Canyon can be traced back to the South Coast Air Basin? And that 70% of the smog in Southern California comes from motor vehicle emissions? Help minimize air pollution, reduce summer gridlock, and save gas by linking your car trips, opting to walk or bike, and taking public transportation at least once a week. Santa Monica’s very own Tide Ride is an electric summer shuttle servicing local hot spots. Remember, for every gallon of fuel you don’t use you will keep 20 pounds of polluting CO2 out of the atmosphere. * * * *Skin-Safe Sunscreen! Protect yourself from harmful rays, but make sure you’re not lathering your skin and the environment with toxic chemicals. To find the best sunscreen options, as well as checking the safety of your other cosmetics, check the Environmental Working Groups’ comprehensive, online “Skin Deep” database: www.ewg.org/skindeep. * * * *Join a Green Living Workshop, by Sustainable Works: www.sustainableworks.org. These engaging and entertaining workshops will provide you with everything that you will need to know about Santa Monica’s Sustainable City Plan and how you can take small steps to help achieve these goals while saving money in the process of doing so. *Sustainable Works is a non-profit environmental education organization which supports the Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan and aims to foster a culture of sustainability in cities, colleges, and businesses.
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