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Sometimes I find myself thinking you have to go out of town to experience cultural activities. In fact, Santa Maria offers quite a nice variety, if I only look more closely.

Thinking locally can also be part of a comprehensive energy conservation strategy. The 19th Earth Day produced at the Natural History Museum in Santa Maria will combine a fun cultural activity while focusing on this year’s theme — “Conservation and Climate Change Solutions.”

Earth Day originated in response to the devastating 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel. Earth Day reminds the global community there are good approaches to interacting with Earth’s natural resources. What better time to be reminded than now.

News on climate change can be discouraging, but help is already on the way.

A 2017 book, “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming,” offers 100 reasons for hope. According to the author, 100 actions we can take can work to halt and reverse global warming.

Who would guess that “refrigeration practices” is the top solution in the chart? Electric cars were way down the line as a solution. In fact, experts made a list of what they thought the top solutions would be, and most of them did not get the top eight right. Refrigeration was followed by onshore wind turbines, reduced food waste, plant-rich diet, tropical forests, educating females, family planning and solar farms.

One expert said, “There are only two things we can do about global warming: Stop putting greenhouse gases up there, and bring them back home to Earth.”

Local conservation hero Bailey Hudson understood this and preached to all who would listen that trees were very good at sequestering carbon. Bailey was Santa Maria’s tree cheerleader. He encouraged valuing trees and planting lots of them. Bailey was an arborist with Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department for over 30 years until retirement. He received the Natural History Museum’s Earth Day Conservation Award in 2008, and was a former board member. Bailey passed away last year. The Natural History Museum will honor him with dedication of the live oak tree he donated through Santa Maria Valley Beautiful. He helped to plant the tree at the first Earth Day celebration at the Museum in April 2000.

This year’s Earth Day Conservation Award goes to Adam School and Principal Laurie Graack. Adam School employees, students and volunteers planted 45 trees on their elementary school campus in southwest Santa Maria last month. Some of those Adam School students may be future engineers, designers and bioneers who will deliver exciting solutions to Earth’s environmental problems.

We hope you can join us to celebrate your local Earth Day 2019 on Saturday, April 20, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at The Natural History Museum across from the Public Library. The party will begin with the oak tree dedication to Mr. Hudson, and presentation of the Earth Day Conservation Award to Adam School. Following this will be live 4-H farm animals and bees, Blue Bird house project, nature crafts for kids along with acorn planting, healthy Evening Kiwanis Club barbecue, fresh locally-grown fruit pies, live music, tours of the Native Garden, and information tables where visitors can make their own global warming pledge labels to hang from Museum oaks.

The day will be capped by a docent-led walk around historic downtown Santa Maria at 2 p.m., and sale of watercolor maps of historic downtown by renowned local resident artist Annie Lawrence. This event is free local fun for all.

Think locally, buy locally and give locally. These acts will not only reduce energy use and contribute to reduce global warming but perhaps just as importantly will strengthen the Santa Maria community and help it thrive. Hope to see you at Santa Maria’s Earth Day.

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Virginia Souza is a Santa Maria resident.

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