Wednesday, October 22 , 2014, 1:21 am | Fair 57.0º




Environmental Defense Center Parties for the Planet

Eco-conscious movers and shakers gather for a monthly TGIF shindig

By Chris Hahn |

The rustic downtown courtyard of the Environmental Defense Center was the place to be last Friday night under the silver sliver of the new moon, for the “best summer monthly pro-environment party in Santa Barbara.”

Claude Hopper and Friends rocked with a quiet intensity, from The Allman Brothers to Steve Earle.

Generous, environmentally concerned local businesses provided great eats, grog and auction items. We lapped them up enthusiastically between laughing, talking and connecting with friends new and old.

Just a smattering of the happy, progressive people partying for the planet:

» Community Environmental Council Executive Director Dave Davis, who reminded us that Santa Barbara began the international environmental movement 40 years ago, and we need to keep it going to end global warming and find global environmental solutions.

» The Fund for Santa Barbara’s Geoff Green, working to end social injustice wherever he may find it.

» Charming Kelly, who’ll wear a matador’s red scarf on State Street and get it caught in the back wheel of her bicycle.

» Fashion consultant Teri Breier, providing organic, eco-chic clothing for women.

» Surfrider’s Scott Bull.

» Erin Feinblatt, Brooks Institute-trained photographer extraordinaire.

» Judy Pirkowitz, great grand-niece of John Muir, who carries out her environmental activism by helping the EDC with all things financial.

» Island restoration ecologist Peter Schuyler, rounding up sponsors for EDC’s upcoming Ride on the Wild Side.

» Lovely Megan Birney, with a flower in her hair, who rides her bike everywhere and works as CEC’s renewable energy specialist.

» Paul, who isn’t going to waste mental energy complaining about Faugust but instead is grateful.

» Lindsay Blount, cancer doctor, who works to save lives by day and generously supports EDC by night.

» Jackie Goodman, graphic designer, beautiful dancer, aspiring artist and wise friend: “I may be cynical about the human condition, but I’m not completely cynical. Spending a day in the Musée d’Orsay cured me of that.”

» Nathan Alley, EDC attorney, defending the environment in the courtroom — and winning.

» Indefatiguable Betsy Weber, directing EDC’s communications, and stepping in to help just about everywhere else, too.

» EDC’s new development director, Kelley Skumautz, who may now have the best job in Santa Barbara.

» EDC Chief Counsel Linda Kropp definitely has the most important job in Santa Barbara, and somehow is always smiling about it.

» The whole physical therapy team from the Rehab Institute came by, those smart, compassionate, persistent people who help rebuild broken bodies, including Leslie, who may have a lot to do with Linda’s smile, Heather, Amber (“the Negotiator”) and Michelle, who is just getting into road cycling but already is developing Lance Armstrong-killer competitiveness.

» Wonder woman Katherine Anderson is creating by hand a wonderful organic farm in the heart of the Good Land, and had to leave early to drive to Sonoma and deliver a goat. (Not “deliver” as in UPS truck; “deliver” as in midwife.)

» Standing out from the rest of us outdoor hedonists, pantheists and pagans was Michael, who believes that it’s the teachings of the Judeo-Christian Bible that set the ethical foundation for environmentalism and conservation. The Bible’s Genesis story depicts nature as the miraculous, beautiful creation of God, over which man has the responsibility to steward. In fact, great early church leaders such as Augustine believed that nature is actually a kind of divine revelation that demonstrates to humanity the goodness and nature of God. So surely it should be respected and cherished. Michael also believes that Jesus’ exhortation to store up spiritual treasures in “heaven,” rather than material treasures here on Earth, requires Christians to forsake the consumerist lifestyle.

Finally, he believes that vigorous environmental protection is required by Jesus’ love and concern for the poor, since it is the poor who suffer first and worst from virtually every environmental threat — from global warming and desertification to ocean CO2 acidity and water, food and air contamination, and loss of agricultural land to deficient urban planning. So Michael works to encourage all Santa Barbara Christians and churches to support EDC and the environment. We wish you great success, Michael, you fire-breathing revolutionary!

The next chance to get in with the in crowd is Saturday, Aug. 21, as the WheelHouse throws a kickoff party for EDC’s Ride on the Wild Side. After that, there are two more TGIFs — Sept. 10 and the Oct. 1 Fall Feast. Party on!

— Chris Hahn is a member of the board of directors for the Environmental Defense Center.




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