Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Publisher’s Notebook

• Happy Malibu Earth Day •

BY ANNE SOBLE

Given all of the concerns facing Planet Earth at this point in time, some might argue that there is little to celebrate on the 41st anniversary of its day, but the presence of still unsolved problems doesn’t alter the fact that the vast majority of people everywhere consistently voice concern about conservation and the environment, even if they are not in complete agreement about how to achieve general goals.
March 26 through April 30 was designated Earth Month in the City of Malibu and numerous events were planned. Earth Day itself, on Friday, April 22, will be marked by a celebration at Legacy Park from noon to 4 p.m. that will feature a wide array of children’s activities, including an interactive story time, a puppet show, music, arts and crafts projects, a seed giveaway and a scavenger hunt, all taking place across the street from the Malibu Library. These events will be fun, as well as help to send a message to future public policy makers that the planet’s well-being will depend on them.
Also planned is an Eco Fair featuring educational and promotional booths on topics such as water quality, water conservation, smart gardening, recycling, and home energy efficiency. A native plant sale and composting demonstrations are expected to round out the afternoon’s schedule.
After the Earth Day celebrations are over, what goes on the other 364 days of the year is what really matters. The extent of personal involvement with issues related to the protection of natural and human resources is the real test of a commitment to community and planetary welfare.
As articles in this week’s issue of The News illustrate, some Malibuites are acknowledging the planet with activism on the local level that is related to concerns that have galvanized these residents in a way that the political process is rarely able to do during elections.
The broader based of these issues is the State Parks Restoration Plan for Malibu Lagoon—actually a complete lagoon redesign project—that its opponents think is a disproportionate response to conditions that will continue as long as the lagoon is home to a thriving native bird population and a critical way station for migratory species. State Parks dismissed these people’s concerns, only to have what was perceived as the state agency’s arrogance and indifference toward any criticism help to catapult what began as a small group into a much larger one that is willing to turn to the courts and recall of elected officials to redress its grievances.
At an important city council meeting on the lagoon project last Monday, a State Parks spokesperson may have thought a majority of council members already had made up their minds, or didn’t care whether they or the public had questions, and did not stay for the council’s Q-and-A segment. For many in the meeting room, the specifics of the project have been overshadowed by a sense of bureaucratic disregard of the public.
Another issue generating local concern is focused on the west Malibu area where out-of-state commercial property owners’ service of a 30-day eviction notice on a small folksy garden center of long standing has led to a backlash that exceeds that for any of the many business closures that have become the Malibu norm. If the owners are who the state public paper trail appears to indicate that they are, they are no strangers to public wrath over development sensibilities. But they still may be surprised at the depth of the local fury.
Looking out for the planet takes many forms. There is no issue so small that it is not interconnected with numerous other issues, and their cumulative effect is inestimable.

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