Earth Day Fair 2009 – Not just 1 day out of the year!

by Robin Yeager on 04/22/2009

in Green Building, Green Education/Training, Renewable Energy, Water

Wednesday is Lobbying Day in Sacramento and Earth Day was no different as everyone from Planned Parenthood to the Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA) arrived to promote their cause or oppose someone else’s. It also was the site of exhibits on water conservation, solar energy and green building. I skipped the BHBA’s first meeting with a legislator to explore the Earth Day Fair on the Capitol’s south steps.

Reducing Water Worries
Getwise, which provides K-12 educational conservation programs to California students, touted a super-cool display showing how much water a low-flow shower head can save. When I asked about water pressure – a concern of many of us trying to balance eco-friendly practices with modern-day comforts — Zak turned on the water and told me to stick my hand in. Sure enough, it was plenty powerful. To see their demo set-up, check out their blog.

The feds were there too, promoting water conservation, and educating attendees about the ways of water. I left with a pipe cleaner bracelet loaded with multi-colored beads to represent each element of the water cycle. If you’re in the Sacramento area, consider a trip to the American River Water Education Center at Folsom Dam to learn about water management, a hot topic in the West. They also gave me a Sunset magazine article, “Smart Water and Energy Use in the West.” Copies are available for 75¢ at the California Urban Water Conservation Council’s (CUWCC) site.

TV Interview
During my stop at a solar installer’s booth, I was approached by a journalist and TV news cameraman. After Chris Riva of KCRA-TV confirmed that I’m not a “lobbyist” in the formal sense of the term and apparently decided that talking to a lawyer might be worth a moment, he grilled me about why I was there and whether this was just a 1-day event in my life. “Not at all,” I responded, noting that I’m based in Los Angeles County and I’ve been all over the state for workshops and similar events. In fact, I’ve attended renewable energy and green building workshops from Ukiah to El Centro.

After the news guys left, I chatted with Robin Harp of GraniteBayEnergy who said the biggest problem he confronts in promoting solar is educating consumers. Among the information that consumers lack are the financial incentives for going solar, which will be the subject of a future blog.

Green Building
Finally, I stopped by The Olson Company’s booth and was pleasantly surprised to meet their head lawyer aka General Counsel Katherine Chandler. Olson, which builds new homes in several California counties, is one of the homebuilders at the forefront of green living.

While it was interesting spending the rest of Earth Day listening to a slew of elected officials tell us why California’s budget is such a mess and what systemic changes should or shouldn’t be made to improve our dysfunctional government, it was rewarding to find so many individuals, non-profits and small and large businesses in pursuit of a greener planet, one step at a time.


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