"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." --John Muir, naturalist
Earth Day was conceived in 1969 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, and his assistant Dennis Hayes, after a trip they took to Santa Barbara following the devastating oil spill off the Southern California coast. According to legend, the men were so outraged by what they saw that upon returning to Washington, D.C., Nelson introduced a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the Earth. The date was chosen to help commemorate the birth of famed naturalist and conservationist John Muir, who was born on April 21, 1838.
It’s estimated that 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day in 1970. By the year 2000, formal events celebrating Earth Day were being observed in 184 countries, and more than 500 million people participated in those events.
This year marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. Events are planned throughout the month of April in dozens of communities throughout California. (Note: Please contact event organizers to confirm information provided in this listing.)
This year, celebrate Earth Day amid some of Nature’s finest at one of California’s national parks--and enjoy free admission, too. Admission fees are being waived April 21-29 at more than 100 national parks, including Yosemite, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Muir Woods, Pinnacles, Lassen Volcanic, and Death Valley. Additional fee waivers are planned this year on June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), Sept. 29 (Public Lands Day), and Nov. 10-12 (Veterans Day weekend).
The California State Parks Foundation has identified 19 major park restoration and cleanup projects on Saturday, April 14, in honor of this year’s Earth Day. Volunteers are asked to register in advance if they want to be a part of the cleanup projects. The 19 project sites identified for this year’s work parties are listed on the California State Parks Foundation website.
Anaheim: The Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim goes trashy from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in a tribute to Earth Day, as the MUZEO’s TrashARTist Challengeprojects will be on display. The expo will feature sustainability business booths, crafts workshops, live music and entertainment, and food from local food truck operators. Student winners of this year’s TrashARTist Challenge will be announced that day, and the winning entries will be on display at MUZEO between April 21 and May 28. The annual competition recognizes students’ artistic reuse of trash to promote a message of conservation and stability. Students and their teachers will be competing for a variety of prizes, including Disneyland tickets and movie passes.
Culver City: STAR Eco Station will host its 12th annual Children’s Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Billed as the largest children’s environmental event in Los Angeles County, it will feature environmental-themed games, food, crafts, prizes, vendor booths, face painting, children’s art exhibits, celebrity guests, and more. The event is free, but admission will be charged for tours of the STAR Eco Station.
La Cañada Flintridge: Entertainment, a barbecue, and family activities are part of the events planned for the weekend of April 21-22 as the Descanso Gardens celebrates Earth Day. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night will be presented by the California Shakespeare Ensemble in the Under the Oaks Theater, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, from noon to 2 p.m., the outdoor theater will host the Mobile Homeboys in concert, while an Earth Day barbecue will be presented from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Gardens’ Main Lawn. Children can explore nature through hands-on activities while families celebrate locally raised foods at Patina’s eco-friendly family barbecue. An admission fee will be charged.
Laguna Woods: Celebrate the spirit of Earth Day by safety disposing of your household hazardous waste, electronic waste, old paper files, and unwanted household goods. The city of Laguna Woods is hosting a “Goods Exchange” program from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at City Hall. Usable household products turned in by other residents will be available for those who can reuse the items. In addition, experts will be on hand to answer your questions about air quality, electric vehicles, recycling, and water/energy conservation.
Lancaster: Antelope Valley pays tribute to Earth Day and California’s official state flower at the annual California Poppy Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 21-22, at Lancaster City Park. The annual celebration carries on the Earth Day message of caring for the environment. The festival site covers 55 acres and boasts hundreds of exhibits and not-to-be-missed performances, along with food and beverage vendors. Free tram service between the festival entrance and parking areas. An admission fee will be charged.
Long Beach: Learn what you can do to help the planet’s oceans when the Aquarium of the Pacific hosts its 12th annual Earth Day program on April 21 and 22. Learn simple, everyday tips to protect the planet. Hands-on demonstrations, exhibit booths featuring Earth-friendly organizations. Regular aquarium admission prices will be charged.
Long Beach: A daylong festival to celebrate Children’s Day and Earth Day is planned for Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in El Dorado Park. Activities will include a park parade, music, cultural presentations, educational activities, games and relays, and more.
Los Angeles: Celebrate Earth Day with family-fun activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 15, at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park. Special events will include storytelling, a family craft activity, music programs, and museum tours with the Museum teacher. Visit the Museum’s current exhibit, “Art of Native American Basketry,” and make a basket of your own. A museum admission fee will be charged, but the event is free for Autry members.
Los Angeles: Celebrate Earth Day with an afternoon of environmental activities on Saturday, April 21, at the Augustus Hawkins Nature Park, 5790 Compton Ave. From noon to 4 p.m., there will be hikes of the 9-acre urban park, ranger-led nature presentations, kids’ crafts, and face-painting. Details are available by calling the park at (323) 581-4498.
Los Angeles: Radio station K-EARTH and the Los Angeles Zoo will team up to present the Los Angeles Zoo Earth Day Expo on April 21 and 22. The weekend events will include recycled crafts, information booths, and K-EARTH deejays. This year’s expo includes a celebration of the special California wildlife all around us, maybe even in your own backyard. Paid zoo admission required; free to GLAZA members.
Los Angeles: Celebrate Earth Day at the Los Angeles County Art Museum on Sunday, April 22, because, as the museum explains, “Earth Without Art is Just ‘EH.’ ” Starting at noon, there will be artist-led workshops, bike-related films, storytelling, nature sketching, and a guided walk through the natural art on the museum campus. Free museum admission to those with a bike helmet, or a receipt for bike parking, or who use alternative transportation to visit the museum that day.
Los Angeles: Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley will once again host the city’s annual World Fest celebration for Earth Day, scheduled for Sunday, May 20. The program gets under way at 10:30 a.m., and activities will wrap up by 7 p.m. The event will feature live entertainment, speakers, kids’ activities, environmental exhibits, pet adoptions, more than 100 eco-friendly or pet-friendly exhibitors, an extensive food court and beer/wine garden, and more. The park is close to Metro’s Orange Line for those who want to leave their cars at home. An admission fee will be charged; advance discount tickets are available online.
Manhattan Beach: Music, dancing, eco-displays, family fun events, and more are promised for an Earth Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Polliwog Park. Live bands will play from 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m., preceded by a kids’ concert at noon and the city’s Environmental Hero Awards at 1 p.m. Earn a chance to win prizes, and increase your eco-awareness, by taking an Eco Quiz. There will be food, commercial booths, and more.
Mission Viejo: A combined celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day is planned for the morning of Saturday, April 28, along the Village Green in Oso Viejo Park. The day’s events include a community cleanup and planting from 8 a.m. to noon along Oso Creek, a free compost giveaway sponsored by Waste Management of Orange County, compost workshop, and Green Expo from 9 a.m. to noon, with dozens of educational and eco-friendly exhibitors.
Newport Beach: The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center (2301 University Drive) will host this year’s Earth Day program presented by the Newport Bay Conservancy, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22. The event--titled “Learning from Nature”--will include environmental exhibits, scavenger hunts, science discovery and craft booths, live entertainment, and drawings for some great prizes. Last year’s event drew more than 1,000 participants.
Northridge: Planet Green Recycle of Chatsworth, which remanufactures inkjet cartridges, is teaming up with Cal State Northridge for a two-day electronic waste collection drive in honor of Earth Day. Unwanted old electronics, cellphones, GPS devices, MP3 players, and used printer ink cartridges will be collected from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27 and 28 in Lot G10, located at the corner of Lassen Street and Zelzah Avenue.
Pasadena: The 10th annual Earth & Arts Festival is planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Memorial Park and The Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave. This free event will include Earth-friendly art workshops, special film screenings, live entertainment, an interactive drum circle, eco-friendly exhibitors, local food truck vendors, a sustainable beer garden, and a guided bike tour of Pasadena’s sustainable sites. Follow the event on Facebook.
Redondo Beach:A community beach cleanup will be followed by a family-friendly celebration on Saturday, April 21, in a program co-sponsored by the SEA Lab and Redondo Beach Public Works Department. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include the beach cleanup at 10 a.m. and a composting workshop at 11 a.m. Participants will earn a free gift by leaving their cars at home and walking, biking, or using public transit to get to the event. Bring some old single-use plastic bags and trade them in for a reusable tote bag. Bring “gently used” work attire and shoes to a reuse booth sponsored by the South Bay Business Environmental Coalition. Download the event flyer to get free parking at the Redondo Beach Marina.
San Clemente: A waterfront celebration of Earth Day is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Parque Del Mar, overlooking the San Clemente Pier and Pacific Ocean. There will be educational displays, live entertainment, recycling demonstrations, and giveaways.
Santa Clarita: A combined celebration of Arbor Day and Earth Day is planned for Saturday, April 14, in Central Park. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and give participants an opportunity to remember the importance of being green and taking care of the planet. The Santa Clarita Valley Family of Water Suppliers is sponsoring this year’s celebration. The event will feature live entertainment, educational displays, and water conservation techniques.
Santa Monica: A three-day festival of yoga and music will celebrate the spirit of Earth Day at the Tadasana Festival from April 20 to 22, sponsored by the eight yoga studios located within Tadasana’s Yoga Alley, at the edge of the beach facing the Pacific Ocean. The festival will feature themed yoga tents, lecture domes, artwork, chill zones, an organic food court, and more than 60 vendor booths promoting eco-goodness. An admission fee will be charged.
Torrance: Your commitment to the environmental protection extends well beyond Earth Day, and in that spirit, Torrance is combining its annual Environmental Fair with a Corporation Yard Open House and Disaster Preparedness Fair on Saturday, June 9, at the City Services Facility, 20500 Madrona Ave., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature energy-efficient appliances and zero-emission vehicles, displays on water conservation and natural landscaping techniques, energy conservation tips, and more. A free recycling drop-off event will occur concurrently at City Hall (Maple Avenue entrance), where residents can drop off paper records for shredding, e-waste, old shoes and clothes, and used oil filters. Free bags of mulch will be given away, too (while supplies last).
Whittier:A family-friendly celebration that promotes environmental awareness is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the headquarters of the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, 1955 Workman Mill Road, Whittier. There will be more than 50 exhibit booth displays, composting and gardening workshops, landfill and water reclamation plant tours, eco-friendly arts and crafts, environmental puppet shows, and train rides around the exhibit grounds. Free shuttle from satellite parking lots on Crossroads Parkway North.
Chula Vista: A celebration of the environment, healthy living, community, and social consciousness is the message behind Earth Day Jam 2012, presented April 27-28 at the Chula Vista Center Mall. This free eco-festival runs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. both days. It features live entertainment, more than 150 exhibitors, educational speakers, children’s events, an eco-fashion display, cultural arts, and more.
La Mesa: A free family-friendly celebration of the environment for East County families is planned from Sunday, April 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Mt. Helix Park. The event will feature food booths, live music, children’s events, conservation education, eco-friendly vendors, and more. Free shuttles will be provided to event site from remote parking lots, the La Mesa fire station, 10105 Vivera Drive, and Grossmont High School.
Oceanside: A full week of activities will culminate with a daylong festival on Saturday, April 28, as the Green Oceanside Campaign celebrates Earth Day 2012. The annual Green Fair will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater. It will include dozens of environmental exhibits, kids’ activities, live entertainment, a composting workshop, environmental youth art contest, and nonprofit organization educational displays. Other events during the week will include an environmental film festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at the Sunshine Brooks Theater, free used oil filter exchange, compost workshops, free e-waste collection, and Loma Alta Creek/beach cleanup. Pre-registration for the cleanup efforts, from 9 a.m. to noonSaturday, April 28, can be completed online.
San Diego: Support programs to help wildlife by collecting aluminum cans during the Cans for Critters program. Register online and collect as many recyclables as possible by Earth Day,Sunday, April 22, then take the recyclables to a community recycling facility and donate the proceeds to the Cans for Critters Fund page. Prizes and incentives offered for the top recyclers.
San Diego: Balboa Park will again host “Earth Fair,” which bills itself as the world’s largest free environmental celebration, on Sunday, April 22. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The celebration will feature hundreds of exhibit booths, three entertainment stages, special themed areas, a food pavilion, a kids activity area, a children’s parade, the eARTh Gallery art show, and an exhibit of emission-free autos.
San Diego: Students at San Diego State University are planning a full week of events for Green Fest Earth DayApril 22 to 28, beginning with a 5K walk/run on Sunday, April 22 (proceeds benefit the campus Children’s Center). There will be daily “Know Your Food Campaign” programs with rotating topics, a GreenFest fashion show, guest speakers, environmental films, and the SDSU Green Challenge on Friday, April 27. The week’s events wrap up with the GreenFest Festival, 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in Parking Lots E & F.
San Diego:Students at UC San Diego have a week of Earth Day events planned on campus April 16 to 20 in honor of pioneering naturalist John Muir, including an inspirational address by the Dalai Lama in his first visit to San Diego. The campus will host a free e-waste collection event April 16 to 18 and the “Muirstock” music fest from 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, April 20, on Muir Quad, and the campus Sustainability Resource Center is hosting a daylong open house on Monday, April 16. The Dalai Lama will speak on campus on Wednesday, April 18, 9:30 a.m., in RIMAC Arena, but the event is sold out. The campus Earth Day observances culminate on Sunday, April 22, with Earth Fair, billed by organizers as the world’s largest Earth Day festival, in Balboa Park.
Vista:Alta Vista Gardens will be hosting an Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Special events will include music and dance performances, children’s games and activities, guest speakers, art exhibits, plant sales eco-friendly vendors, garden tours, gardening demonstrations, raffles, and the Duchy of Brandenburg Medieval Village, including sword-fighting demonstrations throughout the day.