POSTED ON APR 27 BY SEASONS MAGAZINE
Pictured left to right: Thea Vandervoort, Mental Wellness Center Development Associate; Annmarie Cameron, Mental Wellness Center CEO; George Kaufmann, Mental Wellness Center Supporter; Inge Gatz, Mental Wellness Center Supporter; Joe Cooper, Mental Wellness Center Board Chair; and Heather Ayer, Mental Wellness Center Supporter.
Start your spring training out on the right food when you join Santa Barbara Mental Wellness Center and Active Minds at UCSB for the Third Annual 5K Walk for Mental Wellness on May 17 at East Beach Bathhouse.
The walk supports adults and families affected by mental illness.
Members of Santa Barbara’s MWC recently celebrated a kickoff event at Arch Rock Fish.
The MentalWellnessCenter is a private, nonprofit organization providing recovery, education and family services to adults and families affected by mental illness.
Active Minds is dedicated to reducing the stigma attached to mental health disorders.
East Beach Bathhouse is located at 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.
For more information, visit www.mentalwellnesscenter.org or call 805/884-8440.
Read the full story here: http://sbseasons.com/blog/mental-wellness-kicks/
Annual two-day Community Environmental Council-sponsored event continues Sunday at AlamedaPark
not-yet-released electric BMW i3 was a popular attraction at the Santa Barbara Earth Day celebration’s green car show at AlamedaPark. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)
By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff | Published on 04.26.2014 2:21 p.m.
The number of orange stickers placed on a plastic-covered map of Santa Barbara steadily grew Saturday afternoon, as local bicyclists used dry-erase markers to map their routes — along with all-too prevalent problem areas.
“The Mission (Street) is not good,” an avid cyclist said, providing input for an interactive effort in its first year at the annual Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park.
The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition was collecting the information for bike master plans to be adopted by SouthCoast cities in coming months and years.
Attendees then filled out postcards identifying issues and addressed them to appropriate municipal or Santa BarbaraCounty officials.
The coalition also offered free valet bike parking, as well as bike tune-ups — services that will continue Sunday at the two-day event.
A strengthening of the partnership between the bike coalition and theCommunity Environmental Council, which has organized the Santa Barbara Earth Day festival for more than 40 years, was a key component of this year’s event, said Sigrid Wright, festival director with the CEC.
Hundreds of handpicked food and other vendor booths protected themselves against Saturday’s wind, many thankful that Friday night’s rain didn’t stick around.
Wright was among the grateful, since this year’s festivities included a new pop-up farm-to-table dinner.
Under the theme “Local Roots,” she said the dinner — with a sold-out guest list of 130 — would commence once the festival ended Saturday. It featured lines of plastic tables, four-course fare from Buellton-based New West Catering and a wine-pairing portion.
“We’re looking at all the things that make a building block of a community, and that includes food,” Wright said.
She said more than 2,000 volunteer hours went into the event, which also boasted the largest public green car show again this year.
Locals perused or test-drove some of the more than 40 hybrid and eco-friendly vehicles, including a BMW i3 — a new electric car not yet officially released.
Back at the bike route map, orange stickers covered the Highway 101 underpass at Castillo Street as a risky area.
If places like that were fixed, more locals might ride bikes because statistics show that 60 percent of residents want to cycle more but might be afraid, said Sam Franklin, bicycle coalition program coordinator.
“Instead of telling people what could be better, we want the community to tell us,” he said.
The Earth Day festival continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at AlamedaPark, 1400 Santa Barbara St. Click here for more information.
— Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at[email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk,@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
Read the full story here: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/santa_barbara_earth_day_festival_20140426
CEC’s Sigrid Wright “surfing” a wave made of single-use plastic bottles at the 2013 Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival.
Contemplate Joy, Despite the Facts
Saturday, April 26, 2014
by SIGRID WRIGHT
Santa Barbara’s first Earth Day in 1970 was a small but heartfelt affair. It was part of a nationwide day of “Environmental Teach-Ins,” modeled after the antiwar effort. The Environmental Protection Agency did not exist. The Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act did not exist. Recycling was not part of our daily public infrastructure. Even the bakery at the first Santa Barbara festival that offered whole wheat bread – symbolizing the beginnings of a health-food movement – was considered counter-culture.
Now, a generation or two later, Santa Barbara’s Earth Day Festival has changed significantly, as has the landscape around us. Some say we are now in the midst of an extinction crisis – what Elizabeth Kolbert calls the Sixth Extinction. We have crossed the threshold of acceptable levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Population, climate change, and resource limits are at the root of major systemic stress. It’s been a long time since a scientific study has been released saying that things are looking great.
We have work to do. But, as the poet Wendell Berry says: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” The counter balance to the difficult realities we face is not conjuring up false optimism, but knowing how to stay centered and clear in intention in the face of droughts and polar vortexes and resource conflicts.
The biggest problems of our time aren’t necessarily climate change and human-induced collapse of systems. Those are the symptoms of a world out of balance, of people disconnected from nature and each other. This is why I like to suggest that people take two Earth Days — one to get out into nature, preferably alone or with someone you can be quiet with, leaving behind the twittery technology.
And then, on your second Earth Day, gather. Dance with friends, share a meal with your community. Learn how to grow your own vegetables and save the seeds. Dig out your bike with its splashy tires and bring it to the festival for a tune-up. Think about plastic and how insane it is that we would turn our remaining oil into bottles and bags that we use for five minutes before throwing them away. That is the disconnected world we are going to start stepping away from.
Someone somewhere will drive to Earth Day in a gas guzzler. Some company will try to sell you a product you don’t want; some organization will espouse a doctrine you find too heavy-handed, or not enough. But that’s part of the growth of the movement, isn’t it? Not the hypocrisy or posturing or greenwashing, but the fact that with 7.2 billion people now on the planet, we are negotiating our own definitions of what it means to be “environmentalists,” or of this Earth.
Sigrid Wright is the director of the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, which is organized by the Community Environmental Council (CEC). The event will be held Saturday, April 26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, April 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at Alameda Park. Those interested in hearing more about the history of Santa Barbara’s environmental movement are invited to hear former CEC Executive Director Paul Relis speak on Sunday, April 27, at noon in the CEC booth at Earth Day.
Read the full story here:
Santa Barbara’s “bag lady” Kathi King celebrates Earth Day and the environment everyday.
By Michael Bowker
First as a community activist, and then as the development activities manager at Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council, Kathi King has shaped the city’s environmental consciousness. (Laura Bertocci)
[This is the first story of an ongoing series on the people and newsmakers who help shape Santa Barbara].
The thing you notice about Kathi King is that when she talks, her blue eyes roam the room as though she is searching for the exact phrase she wants to use, or maybe the next environmental challenge that needs to be addressed in Santa Barbara. She is friendly, soft-spoken and gentle, but she also possesses a tenacity and relentlessness that have helped create changes that affect nearly all of our lives.
First as a community activist, and then as the development activities manager at Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council, King has primarily been a behind-the-scenes force in shaping the city’s environmental consciousness. Although she has worked on a number of issues for the CEC, including water, clean energy and gathering major sponsors for this weekend’s Earth Day Festival at AlamedaPark, she is best known for helping to sack the city’s plastic bag habit—something King fought against for several years.
“People call me the ‘bag lady,’” she said laughing. “But I felt validated when the city council finally banned plastic bags from stores. It’s going to ultimately mean that Santa Barbara residents will drop their usage from 47 million plastic bags a year, to zero.”
The plastic bag controversy was headline news for months before the council passed the ban in 2013, and King was a central figure. A two-part phase-in of the ban will begin in May of this year. Large stores of more than 10,000-square feet will not be allowed to use plastic bags, while the ban will go into effect on smaller stores in November of this year, according to King.
“The idea is to encourage everyone to bring their own bags when they go grocery shopping,” said King, who was a leader in the anti-plastic movement even before she joined the CEC. “I just felt it was the right thing to do. The amount of plastic we use and discard is enormous and much of it ends up polluting our oceans. It had to be done.”
There are those who feel that environmental zeal is irresponsible and harms the economy.
They argue that government does not have a right to interfere with private industry and that environmentalists like King are the cause of government overregulation. King disagrees, of course, but she does so without the fiery rhetoric that often accompanies this argument.
“Government not only has a right, but a duty to defend the environment against those in private industry who would abuse it,” she said. “But we have to be practical about it. For example, one of the most important environmental issues facing Santa BarbaraCounty right now is oil extraction, but we can’t simply say, ‘close the oil operations in the north part of the county down.’ We do, though, have to weigh them against agricultural and open space needs.”
Although King is now a recognizable figure in the city’s environmental movement, her route to that role, and to Santa Barbara itself, was an unlikely one.
She grew up in Oxnard and worked in the television industry in Los Angeles for years, including as an associate producer on the hit show, Full House. While she grew up aware of environmental issues, they weren’t her passion—yet.
“My mother was a dancer and had a fine arts degree from BostonUniversity,” she said. “My first love was theater and the arts. I never wanted to be a performer. I wanted to be behind the scenes; producer kind of stuff.” King attended San DiegoStateUniversity primarily because of its strong, “hands-on” television production curriculum. She majored in telecommunications and film. She also married her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they set off for Hollywood after graduation. In a way, it was their romance that brought them ultimately back to Santa Barbara.
Kathi King is best known for her work in helping to sack the city’s reluctance to get rid of its plastic bag habit. (Laura Bertocci)
While Jeff worked as a writer and King managed post-production for Full House and other TV shows, life in Los Angeles was not what they wanted.
“We always talked about Santa Barbara, we had gone to our high school prom at the Biltmore Hotel and then we honeymooned there and we completely fell in love with the area,” she said.
Then something happened that changed everything. Their daughter, Miranda, was born.
“I started thinking that if the s— really hits the fan during our lifetimes, at least I would be able to look my children in the eyes and say that I tried. I wasn’t driving a Hummer when it all went down. My children, in this case, are symbolic of their generation. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to protect the world around us.”
Today Miranda is studying English and environmental science at UC Berkley and King’s son, Duncan, is a junior at Santa BarbaraHigh School.
“Part of the reason I’m motivated every day is that it would be easy for us to say, ‘well, it’s up to the younger people now’ but it is not up to them,” King said. “I am cautiously optimistic about the next generation’s willingness to protect nature, but right now it is still up to us, it is still our generation’s responsibility to do whatever we can to strengthen, not destroy, the environment.”
She considers each step an uphill battle.
“I get really frustrated by all those who are willing to trade short-term profits for long-term damage to our surroundings,” she said. “Right now, we go a step backward for every step we take forward.”
The plastic bag battle itself was almost a bust, and it was only due to the persistence of King and others that the ban was finally passed.
“When I started working on it, I was excited because Santa Barbara could have been the second city in the state, behind San Francisco, to pass such a law,” King said. “As the birthplace of “Earth Day”
Government not only has a right, but a duty to defend the environment…but we have to be practical about it.
thought it would put Santa Barbara back on the forefront of environmental activism, but it didn’t work out that way. We finally wore the city council down, the ban ended up passing on a unanimous vote, but we ended up being about the 90th city to do it. Los Angeles even did it before we did. We were part of the mob, but it is an important mob.
The energy we’ve shown has helped prompt the State Legislature to start thinking about a state-wide ban.”
She credited the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, the EnvironmentalDefenseCenter, Save the Mermaids and many other organizations for being critically important to the city’s ban.
Her work on behalf of the Earth Day Festival typically begins the prior November, when she begins to make lists of the potential sponsors who are critical to the event’s success.
This year she was able to land several large companies, including Cox Communications and Klean Kanteen. The two-day festival was organized by the CEC around five concepts: choose electric, go solar, ditch plastic, eat local and drive less.
I started thinking that if the s— really hits the fan during our lifetimes, at least I would be able to look my children in the eyes and say that I tried. I wasn’t driving a Hummer when it all went down.
King plans to continue working on two major issues this year, including a school program called “Rethink the Drink,” which involves the installation of portable water fountains, which reduce students’ use of bottled water.
Twenty-six schools are involved so far, and King hopes to add 15 this year. She is also involved with CEC’s primary effort to eliminate America’s reliance on oil by 2033.
Called “Fossil-free for 33,” the program calls for the development of electric cars, solar and wind energy and many other technologies that do not depend on fossil fuels.
“While we fight these big fights, I try to find happiness in the small things,” King said. “I drove over the hill to ShorelinePark yesterday and saw the ocean and Santa Cruz Island and I thought about how much I love my family and this beautiful place.”
King was quiet for a moment after she said that, and her eyes settled and were quiet, too. She seems at home in Santa Barbara, and it appears that she means to do whatever she can to protect it.