Lights Out Santa Barbara Good Idea, But Why Stop There?

All too often groups attempting to spawn “awareness” about global warming and profligate energy consumption end up using massive amounts of resources in order to “spread the word.” This summer, for example, Live Earth, a concert series promoted by the zinc-mine-owning, private-jet-flying multi-millionaire and multi-mega-mansion-owning Al Gore, attempted to “reach out” to “two billion people” with a series of concerts promoting global warming “awareness.” Performers and audiences arrived – many by private jet and other pollution-spewing heavy transportation devices – from all around the world to attend the events, which, as it turned out, was one of the least viewed well-publicized TV events of all time.

If that didn’t imbed a few gigantic boot heels into Earth’s carbon footprint, I don’t know what could. Besides, what was the multi-city Live Earth concert supposed to add to the body of global warming hysteria that couldn’t have been added via television studio or podcast? In fact, the failure and environment-crushing extravagance of the concerts provided a good example of how technology, rather than over-regulation and/or excess taxation, will enable humans to cut back on energy consumption. Each performer could have taped their performances – live – from a studio near home, rather than pack their things into a bus to take them to a plane to…

Eventually, one must ask: if we didn’t spread “awareness” how much energy could we save? Every week, I recycle and throw away an entire MarBorg garbage can full of press releases, junk mail, and “awareness” pamphlets.

If one were to add up all the burnt carbon it took to create, print, ship, and deliver each flyer promoting “global warming awareness,” just think how much energy could be saved, not to mention trees, if we just dispensed with such efforts and utilized the energy-efficient web instead. Thanks to the Internet, mail and information travels much faster than it once did, and with considerably less waste.

After the collapse of the Santa Barbara Blue Line “art” project, it should be clear the only way to promote “awareness” is to strive for baby steps in the quest to wean humans off the consumption of oil. Give people something they can tangibly accomplish and we may see a difference.

That’s why I was pleased to receive an email from a grassroots group supporting an initiative aptly named “Lights Out Santa Barbara.” The group has one simple goal: to convince people of Santa Barbara County to turn off all non-essential lights for one hour between 8 pm and 9 pm, Saturday October 20.

We fully support this effort. In fact, we plan to make a romantic evening of it. We’ll turn off the lights, light a few candles, and make dinner. We will save money on our power bill, and – who knows? – this is an idea that could spread to two hours, three, four, maybe even a 24-hour cessation of all power use, including vehicles, one day a week. If the Lights Out Santa Barbara people are serious, so are we. Count us in!

So Close to Completion

In July, the Santa Barbara High School Theater Foundation was $23,500 short of its goal to complete the renovation SBHS’s Theater. To date, the Santa Barbara High School Theater Foundation has committed $134,000 toward the project. The funds must be delivered to SBHS by December 31. Although construction is completed, there is still money to be raised. How much? $7,000.

The renovation project was launched in 2005 to mark the 100th anniversary of the SBHS Theater Arts program. In addition to looking like a brand new theater, the renovated space boasts new seating, plush carpet, refinished wood, and ADA upgrades.

For more information or to help fill the $7,000 gap, please contact Gillian Richardson or send a letter snail mail to Gillian Richardson, SBHS Theater Foundation Treasurer, 720 Mission Canyon Road. SB 93105.

100 Miles for Miguel

We ran a story earlier this year about Miguel Garcia, a Santa Barbara teenager plagued with a disease called Epidermoloysis Bullosa. The condition renders his skin extremely fragile and he has lost all the fingers on both hands, except for a thumb. If his skin is bruised, it does not repair itself, so he is in constant danger of infection and must bathe his hands in bleach regularly. Upon reading our story, Robert Gilcrest, a local resident (and long-distance runner), called and offered to try to raise money for Miguel and Becky, his mom. The effort has taken flight and the “100 Miles for Miguel” fundraiser is based upon the 100-mile Javalina Jundred ultra marathon to be run on October 27 & 28 in McDowell Mountain Park, Arizona. We’ll have more next issue, but anyone interested in supporting this, should call Nikki Katz at Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation at 805-962-7466.