A devastating oil spill in 1969 blackened the beaches of Santa Barbara. The public was shocked out of complacency with pictures on the nightly news of oil-drenched seabirds and wave after wave of oil covering everything in its wake. Out of this tragedy came a national movement and the very first Earth Day in 1970.
Here in California especially, Earth Day is a time to reflect on how fortunate we are to be blessed with an abundance of natural resources, clean air and clean water, scenic open space, and unique wildlife. From the North Coast Redwoods to the desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, our state’s ecosystems are as diverse as the people that call California home.
We are also thankful for California’s leadership in sustainability and alternative energy. We congratulate Governor Jerry Brown and our legislative leaders for having the vision to adopt the most ambitious clean energy standards in the nation by committing that 33% of our state’s power be generated from renewable sources.
California can and must be a laboratory of innovation, demonstrating to the nation and the world that clean energy, environmental protection and a green economy create jobs, save money, and protect health. Our efforts on Earth Day and throughout the year are driven not just by environmental concerns, but also by economic necessity, health considerations and a moral imperative.