By Roel Godinez
This Saturday, April 27th, downtown Oceanside hosted this year’s largest Earth Day Festival in North County. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., visitors poured into the intersection of Pier View Way and North Tremont Street to enjoy this bustling street fair.
“Today is our tenth annual Earth Festival,” said event coordinator Colleen Foster. “Ten years ago, this city started the Green Oceanside Campaign. We hosted our first Earth Festival with about 150 people, today we’re getting around ten thousand. It’s really exciting to see the community pride around sustainability in Oceanside and North County.”
There were over one hundred booths to accommodate this crowd, which were organized into the fashion of a compass. Facing north was the Sustainable Food Corridor. Vendors here were offering locally grown, organic food as well as recipes that promote a healthy body and environment. Facing east was Sustainability Street, the section of the event devoted purely to information and outreach. Booths here were primarily run by organizations that were offering newsletters, pamphlets, memberships, and even voting registration applications. Heading south was the Vintage Zone, an area that was occupied by vendors selling rustic, locally made wares. Finally, facing west was the Kid’s Eco Zone. This area was packed with interactive activities that could do much more than just charm a child. There was free CPR training, a firetruck, a psychedelic school bus, a couple of tame alpacas, and even a mini dump truck from Waste Management, one of the event’s sponsors.
Throughout the event, there were an eclectic assortment of live bands that added to the general mood and theme. These musicians included Billy Galewood, Roman, Untitled, Lee Coulter, and The Shift.
“We’re working with the community just to implement better practices and reduce our impact on our environment,” continued Foster. “Many of the things that we do during work or play can have a negative impact to this and also create more greenhouse gasses. That’s why we’ve put together all these great family fun activities, we just want people to be more conscientious.”
With so many enthusiastic participants in this event, it was not surprising how many issues were brought up. Oceanside and the cities the surround it remain fairly clean in comparison to others within the state, yet they are not exempt from the effects of reckless human behavior. Many Oceanside residents worry that unchecked development infringes on natural environments and that littering is harming the coastal regions.
Maria Sedo is a representative from the North County Climate Change Alliance that was running a booth during the event. She is concerned that the issue of global warming directly threatens southern California.
“Oceanside has Issues related to rising sea levels that erode the coast and rising temperatures that have the potential to disrupt the natural environments around here,” she said. “For example, we are already seeing the effects of climate change in Valley Center and Escondido where there has been a terrible outbreak of mosquitoes. This particular type of mosquito was not found in this area previously because it wasn’t warm enough for them. The fact that they’re now actually able to breed and sustain themselves here shows us that things are changing. I think it’s time to start thinking about it and acting upon it to get the conversation going”