Earth Day

Earth Day 2020

April  22 -  December 31,  2020 

WHEREAS, the first Earth Day was created 50 years ago, recognizing the importance of every person in preserving our natural resources; and on that first Earth Day, 20 million Americans rallied for a healthy, sustainable environment; and 

WHEREAS, the global community now faces extraordinary challenges, such as global health issues, food and water shortages, extreme weather events, and economic struggles; and 

WHEREAS, all life forms on Earth have a right to a healthy, sustainable environment and as caretakers of the planet, we all have an obligation to change the human behaviors that contribute to climate change and environmental degradation to preserve the Earth’s beauty and its resources; and

WHEREAS, this obligation extends not only to today’s caretakers but also to the future generations of caretakers who will inherit the planet from us; and

WHEREAS, Sierra Madre is blessed with a wealth of open space, represented by our proximity to the San Gabriel Mountains which enrich the lives of both residents and visitors alike, providing habitat for varied flora and fauna, sustainable natural resources, the source of most of our water, and many diverse recreational opportunities; and

WHEREAS, Sierra Madre understands that planting trees and caring for them are two of the smartest investment we can make; providing shade, reducing energy costs, cleaning the air, reducing greenhouse gases, capturing polluted urban runoff, improving water quality and adding beauty to our neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, Sierra Madre supports projects that demonstrate and encourage energy conservation, sustainability, and the usage of renewable energy; and

WHEREAS, many local community members, schools, businesses, and environmental organizations are working together in the interest of the planet to inspire intergenerational participation through local actions and global environmental consciousness.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, Mayor John Capoccia and the members of the Sierra Madre City Council do hereby proclaim April 22 as Earth Day, and I encourage all citizens to become engaged in local and global efforts throughout the year to improve the environment.

Dated this 22th day of April, 2020 

Sierra Madre City Council

Mayor John Capoccia, Mayor Pro-Tem Rachelle Arizmendi,

     Council Member Gene Goss, and Council Member John Harabedian

Article from former Natural Resources Commissioner, and current Council Member, Robert Parkhurst

Earth Day 2020 Reading List

April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.   On that first Earth Day, 10% of Americans, nearly 20 million people, participated in coast to coast rallies.  This movement ushered in the most consequential and comprehensive environmental regulations – the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Normally, cities throughout Los Angeles County would be gearing up for activities to educate and courage residents to protect and preserve our environment.  Unfortunately, the challenges faced by COVID-19 means we need to rethink Earth Day this year.  This offers us a unique opportunity to reflect on what Earth Day means; what previous generations have done to make the planet a better place; and what each of us can do.  Below are suggestions of things we can all be doing this Earth Day while following the Stay at Home orders and social distancing requirements.

Get out in the garden

Many people are growing this century’s version of the World War II Victory Garden.  It is the perfect time to plant almost any warm weather vegetable right now and many nurseries will deliver dirt, seedlings, and fertilizer right to your door.  As you prepare for your summer harvest, consider planting heirloom vegetable varieties like the Cherokee Purple tomato, Dragon's Tongue bean, or Straight 8 cucumber.  They are delicious, easy to grow and encourage genetic diversity in our produce. 

Read about the environment

Since we are staying at home, many people are catching up on their reading lists.  Below are a number of great environmental reads.

  • The Lorax – This classic is great for all ages.  It reminds all of us speak up and stand up for those who can’t.

  • A Sand County Almanac – This 1949 non-fiction book was written by American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist Aldo Leopold.  It contains easy-to-read chapters about his travels through the outdoors in Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Sonora, Oregon, and Manitoba.  Leopold highlights the responsible relationship all people have with the land we inhabit.

  • My First Summer in the Sierra – In this classic book, John Muir recounts his early travels in the Sierra.  In the summer of 1869, Muir set out from California’s Central Valley and hiked all the way to Yosemite Valley where he stayed for four months.  His visit to the Sierras spurred him to make Yosemite a National Park and create the Sierra Club.

  • Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet – This book was co-written by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Sierra Club president Carl Pope.  It details the benefits of taking action to reduce the impacts of climate change.  Chapters switch between the authors and explore concrete solutions that will make the world healthier and more prosperous.

Renew Your Energy

No matter where you live in the San Gabriel Valley, you have an option to get your energy from renewable sources.  Residents of Altadena, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena get their renewable energy from the Clean Power Alliance and residents of Arcadia, Duarte, Pasadena and San Marino get their power from Southern California Edison.  No matter where you get your power, all electricity providers have options to get your electricity from 100% renewable sources.  If you are on a budget right now because of the pandemic, there are programs that can offer you discounts, even on renewable energy programs. 

This is also an excellent time to think about replacing those light bulbs with something more efficient.  Investigate the latest LED light bulbs and have some on hand when your older bulbs fail.  Just don’t buy too many bulbs, lighting tends to innovate quickly, and many companies have been able to save money by replacing their lighting every five years.  And don’t worry if you have an antique looking bulb or odd socket type.  There are energy efficient options for every type of fixture and purpose.

Reflect and Plan for the Future

It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and we are facing a once-in-a-century pandemic – both things that cause many of us to reflect.  The COVID-19 infection graph looks a lot like the graphs of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.  Before this crisis, I was wondering how we could transition to a zero-carbon economy.  Now we know what it looks like when we dramatically reduce air pollution – the Himalayan Mountains are visible from Punjab for the first time in decades; air pollution has dropped by 30% in many Northeastern cities; and on April 7, Los Angeles saw some of the cleanest air of any large city around the world.  In fact, the US EPA data shows that this March broke the 1995 record for consecutive days with clean air in the Los Angeles air basin. 

Once we start to open the economy, what will our economy look like?  What should it look like?  What could it look like?  As I think back to the 20 million Americans who held teach-ins and sit-ins during the first Earth Day in 1970 that launched the modern environmental movement, I wonder what we can do to reshape the post-COVID economy.

Have a wonderful, safe, and environmentally friendly Earth Day.

Adopt-A-Tree Program

Residents are encouraged to participate in the stewardship and enhancement of the Community Forest by adopting a parkway tree.  For additional information and an application to participate in this program click HERE.