The Coast News Group
Oceanside resident Jessica Flemming works on a piece of pastel art during the festival. Photo by Angela McLaughlin
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Oceanside Earth Day festival draws thousands

OCEANSIDE — April is Earth Month and to celebrate the city of Oceanside planned several themed events, including the Earth Day Festival held on April 14.

This year marked the ninth year of the event, which is considered the largest festival of its kind in North County, and had an estimated 12,000 attendees. Implemented by the city’s Green Oceanside campaign, the event featured booths and entertainment of all kinds, from environmental education and crafts to artwork, green household solutions and more.

Creative signs with slogans such as “Say ‘no’ to straws — 500 million straws are used in the U.S. every day,” brought awareness to visitors and promoted ideals of living greener lifestyles.

Guests enjoyed getting their hands dirty with planting projects, crafting reusable bags from old T-shirts and visiting with alpacas. And nature-inspired artwork and jewelry topped off the experience.

The festival supported the Green Oceanside campaign initiatives through engaging the community to be more conscious of sustainability practices.

“Green Oceanside is a citywide environmental campaign that seeks to broaden awareness of all sustainability goals including zero waste, water conservation, clean water, energy conservation and climate action,” said Colleen Foster, the city’s senior management analyst, solid waste and recycling-water utilities.

She added that the Green Oceanside team includes a combination of city staff, local community groups and more than 125 Green Oceanside business network members.

Foster said the goal of the festival was to broaden awareness and provide a venue to celebrate Earth Day and general environmental conservation.

This year was the 48th anniversary of Earth Day, which is celebrated each year on April 22. According to the Earth Day Network, the idea for a national day came from Earth Day founder, and then-U.S. Senator from Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who announced a “national teach-in on the environment” following the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans took to the streets to rally for a more sustainable environment. With support from both major political parties, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Today, nearly five decades later, cities, businesses and individuals are still advocating for policies and changes that support a healthier environment. And the city of Oceanside hopes to be the No. 1 city in sustainability.

Foster said that when the Green Oceanside campaign and festival started nine years ago, there were only 300 attendees and minimal staff support. Since then, the city has committed to zero waste and has taken aggressive community-wide steps to conserve water and protect the waterways. And it has supported school districts’ efforts toward zero waste, organized dozens of community groups and aided hundreds of businesses to be more green — and now seeks to make a difference tackling climate change.

“The Earth Festival today, with over 12,000 attendees, along with a major citywide environmental campaign, shows the pride and commitment our city has for the planet,” Foster said. “The Green Oceanside story is inspirational to all of us residents, businesses, staff and visitors alike.”

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