Residents of Malibu and surrounding communities observed Earth Day early with an event at Malibu City Hall on Saturday, April 18, that promoted sustainability and other eco-friendly causes.
Representatives from several environmental organizations sat at booths to inform attendees of the event. The organizations included the Surfrider Foundation, the Malibu Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Surf and others.
Jessica Wolfe, who lives in Simi Valley but works in Malibu, attended the event to get information about helping the environment. She said because she spends so much time in Malibu, the city is “my kind of place to take care of.”
“Especially for the younger generation, it’s good to bring them around this kind of stuff so they know,” Wolfe said. “It’s their world.”
Wolfe recycles, eats locally grown food and uses cloth bags in an effort to be more sustainable in her own life, she said.
At the event, City employees provided literature and free items for people at its booth. They encouraged attendees to fill out what they called an Eco Passport, which had pages people could stamp if they visited all the informational booths.
Those who got the entire passport stamped were entered in a drawing to win free merchandise from the City.
Jennifer Voccola Brown, senior environmental programs coordinator for the City, believes water usage is the biggest sustainability issue that Malibu has to tackle.
“Ideally, just cut back on the landscaping,” Brown said. “Is it an emergency to have a big, lush lawn? No. Is it an emergency to have water to drink? Absolutely.”
Malibu was named in a recent Los Angeles Times article as one of the affluent areas that use more gallons of water than less well-off areas of the state. The city was among four that used more than 150 gallons per capita, or per person, in January, according to the article.
Brown said it can be difficult to reach those in the community with properties that use more water than others. But she said the City is doing its part to give the right information to those residents.
“We’re really trying to get the message over to them now that this is [their] first step, this is going to get the biggest bang for the buck if [they] cut that back,” Brown said. “I think once we can reach them and give them that message, we’re going to see a big change.”
The fair attracted dozens of people through the course of four hours. Refreshments were served and a man playing handmade Native American flutes entertained the crowd with his music.
Joseph Nitti, resident of Topanga Canyon, attended the event and said he learned a lot from the information about sustainability and the environment provided by the various booths, and felt that it was valuable to him and others.
“I think it’s very important that the education part of this is met in some way, and this seems like a perfect venue to learn about new things,” Nitti said. “I think education is the most important thing because that prompts change.”