We love that we get to celebrate Earth Day in California and there’s plenty to celebrate! California is first in climate change policy and is the country’s leader in electric vehicle ownership and EV infrastructure, while Los Angeles is going the extra mile for energy efficiency.
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, and was created as a day of education on environmental issues. The day disappeared during the 80’s and was reborn April 22, 1990, with over 400 million participants in 140 countries across the globe. This year, Earth Day is back April 22, 2022.
The idea for Earth Day started in California in 1969 after a terrible oil spill off Santa Barbara threatened both local wildlife and the businesses that made money from seafood and tourism. Since then, California has been a leader in the environmental movement and policy change.
According to scientists, human-caused climate change is an immediate danger to both planetary and human health. Some of the effects of pollution, such as depleting the ozone layer, affect both environmental and public health. Destruction of the ozone layer destroys plant and animal life; it also causes skin cancer and lowers our immune levels. Despite the growing popularity of sunscreen, the odds of developing melanoma have more than doubled in the U.S. since 1990. Meanwhile, air pollution can cause allergies, asthma, COPD, and lung cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization states that 4.6 million deaths per year can be attributed to air pollution.
In response to this danger, California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, which required a sharp drop in CO2 emissions—15% under previous guidelines. It required a reduction of GHG (air pollution made up of 7 different gases) emissions by the business sector. According to the California Air Resources Board, “These efforts target GHG emission reductions from cars and trucks, electricity production, fuels, and other sources.”
Part of this campaign is increasing the number of EVs on the road. Last June, California passed a mandate that half of the state’s heavy duty trucks must be electric by 2035, and all of them must be electric by 2045. The move is expected to dramatically reduce particulate matter in the air and CO2 emissions.
This mandate works in tandem with encouraging California drivers to get behind the wheel of an EV. Today, there are approximately 700,000 light duty EVs on the road in California, with 930,811 chargers. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has been a major proponent of policy change to make owning EVs easier. He has helped enact the 2028 Zero Emissions Roadmap, with plans for 30% of vehicles on the road and 80% of those sold to be zero emissions by 2028.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles has its own energy pilot program. According to Energy. Gov, “Using $30 million in seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, Los Angeles County and its partner programs sought to develop and test new program models to cultivate their local energy upgrade markets.” By experimenting with pilot programs, LA County was able to figure out the most effective ways to identify and implement energy upgrades in different communities. The results revealed a flexible program was best for most homeowners, and LA implemented low-interest financing for private home energy upgrades, the Home Energy Makeover Contest, and the Energy Champions Program, which encourages energy savings for community organizations, such as churches and schools.
In California and looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day? Try the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival April 23 at the Arlington Theater, the San Diego Earth Fair April 24, or Los Angeles Earth Day April 27. Looking for volunteer opportunities this Earth Day? You can sign up to volunteer and join a Clean-Up in your community!
Need a ride? Arrive at a local Earth Day celebration or volunteer opportunity in a Chevy Bolt EV. BlueLA powered by Blink Mobility, is a smarter, greener transportation option in Los Angeles, improving the community and environment one ride at a time. BlueLA powered by Blink Mobility car sharing provides members with new, fully electric vehicles for their everyday needs. Clean and convenient EVs can be picked up and dropped off by members at 40 locations around the city, making the need for your own car the old way of getting around. Download the app to start your membership application and join thousands of members who are choosing greener transportation options!