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Immediate Release Contact: Marjorie M. Wass/Chris Davis

(805) 687-3322

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Community Environmental Council’s 2011 Earth Day Festival Attended by 38,214 People


Santa Barbara, CA, April 18, 2011 – 38,214 people attended the Community Environmental Council’s (CEC) 2011 Earth Day Festival, this past Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, in Alameda Park. Volunteer crowd counters at the festival’s six entry points tracked attendance for both days of the event.

This year’s theme was “Powered by the People,” aligned with the CEC’s Fossil Free by ’33 campaign, which emphasizes the power of daily choices in making Santa Barbara one of the first fossil-fuel-free communities in the nation.

On Sunday, April 17, at 2 p.m., on the solar and bio-diesel powered Festival Main Stage, actress, filmmaker and environmental activist, Daryl Hannah, received the CEC’s 2011 Environmental Hero Award.  James Cameron, Academy Award® winning director of Avatar and winner of the CEC’s 2010 Environmental Hero Award, was also at the event to present the award to Hannah.  Before presenting the award to Hannah, Cameron toured the Green Car Show, stopping at electric vehicle charging units and a solar carport.

“Environmental concerns, humanitarian concerns and the welfare of other species are all inextricably linked. You can’t be a humanitarian without being an environmentalist, and visa versa. We are deeply interconnected and with the global crisis we currently face and we all need to be proactive,” said Hannah.  “I’m thrilled that people in Santa Barbara are focusing their energy and thoughts to their community and ways to exist more harmoniously with the earth on these special days and I feel lucky to be part of it.”

California Congresswoman Lois Capps also spoke briefly to the crowd on Sunday.

The CEC reports excellent statistics for the 2011 Earth Day Festival:

  • Approximately 2,000 people arrived to the Festival by bike. 1130 bikes were valet parked/ the remainder were self-parked.
  • 523 people took a ride in alternative-fueled vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, at the FIRST EVER “Ride & Drives” at the 12th Annual Santa Barbara Green Car Show, the longest-running public focused Green Car Show in the U.S.
  • Event organizers found a way to keep everyone hydrated without disposable water bottles with two Water Monsters, which take local tap water, filter it and serve it cold.  This year, the Water Monsters went through 800 gallons of water which is equivalent to approximately 3,200 plastic bottles.
  • 38,214 people attended this year’s Earth Day Festival!

Festival sponsor MarBorg handled all of the event waste and is sorting it this week. MarBorg will provide a waste diversion rate by the end of the month.

“It is an incredible testament to Santa Barbara and to the festival organizers that 38,000 people peacefully gathered with no major incidents and no arrests, said Jeff Theimer of PlusOne Events, one of event’s production partners.  “We enjoyed working closely with the various City departments to ensure a safe, fun and memorable event that worked for all of us.”

Sigrid Wright, Associate Director, Community Environmental Council, agreed. “The Santa Barbara community turned out in full force to support and learn about ways we can be Fossil Free by ’33.  We cannot thank our sponsors, our volunteers and our community enough.  We’re getting very positive feedback that people had a great time. We hope everyone was inspired to make decisions in their daily lives that create a healthy environment and strong economy for us all.”

Santa Barbara Earth Day History: In the wake of the devastating 1969 oil spill off of Santa Barbara’s shores, a group of local concerned citizens began talking about a different way of looking at environmental systems. Over the next few years, around the country the environmental movement was born – including the Community Environmental Council, which was incorporated in the spring of 1970. During that time, Senator Gaylord Nelson visited Santa Barbara to view the damage from the oil spill. When he returned to Washington, D.C., he introduced a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. In CEC’s first act as a newly established non-profit, it hosted one of the first Earth Day celebrations in the country in 1970.

About the Community Environmental Council

Since 1970, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) has led the Santa Barbara region – and at times California and the nation – in creative solutions to some of the toughest environmental problems.  Today CEC is focused on eliminating the use of fossil fuels in the Central Coast region in one generation – Fossil Free by ’33. Find the CEC on the web at www.cecsb.org on Twitter @CECSB and on Facebook, Community Environmental Council (CEC).

For more information on Earth Day: go to www.sbearthday.org follow the event on Twitter @SBEarthday, “Like” “Santa Barbara Earth Day” on Facebook or call (805) 963-0583 ext. 100.

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