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CEC Tallies Attendance at 35,894 for Weekend Earth Day Festival

This past Saturday and Sunday, 35,894 people attended the Community Environmental Council’s 2013 Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park.

Volunteer crowd counters at the festival’s six entry points tracked attendance for both days of the event.

This year’s event sought to inspire the community to learn from and encourage each other to find creative ways to protect and preserve the world we live in. Specifically, the CEC emphasized ways to fulfill its mission of moving the Santa Barbara region away from fossil fuels in one generation — Fossil Free by ‘33.

On the Main Stage, two individuals were awarded with the CEC’s 2013 Environmental Hero Award. On Saturday, activist Van Jones accepted an award from Geoff Green on behalf of CEC and The Fund for Santa Barbara, and on Sunday, Bill Nye accepted an award from Assemblyman Das Williams, also on behalf of the CEC.

“I’m really glad to be here,” said Jones, attorney, bestselling author and pioneer in the environmental movement during the acceptance of his award from the CEC. “There’s a breakdown happening in the nation’s capital, while there’s a breakthrough happening out here among the people. We’ve got to be clear about the peril that this breakdown represents, but we also have to be clear about the promise of the breakthrough.”

“It is fabulous to see so many people out here for Earth Day, because this is the future,” said Nye, scientist and award-winning actor and TV host. “The key to the future is to not just do less, the key is to do more with less: to go further on a gallon or a liter of gas, to get trains to run on time with less electricity, to make aircrafts more efficient, to make farming more efficient and to have less run-off run into our rivers and streams.”

The CEC reports excellent statistics for the 2013 Earth Day Festival:

» Approximately 1,026 bikes were valet parked; an estimate 1,000 more were self-parked.

» 628 people took a ride in alternative-fueled vehicles, like the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV, the first all-electric SUV on the market, the 2013 Chevrolet Volt, the top selling electric vehicle of 2012, and other electric and hybrid cars at the “Ride & Drive” at the 14th Annual Santa Barbara Green Car Show, the longest-running public focused Green Car Show in the United States.

» 35,894 people attended this year’s Earth Day Festival.

» Green Project Consultants, which handled all of the event waste by hand sorting each piece, estimates it will divert over 90% of the waste generated from the festival.

» 92 pairs of gently used sneakers were collected by GreenSneakers.org, which partnered with CEC to collect retired tennis shoes at the Green Sneakers booth. The donated sneakers will be reused and provided to people in need around the world.

» This year’s festival had about 250 volunteers.

“A particularly inspiring moment for me was seeing the throngs of youth here for Bill Nye,” said Sigrid Wright, associate director of the CEC and the festival’s director. “Having a scientist raised to rock star status gave me hope for the generation whose lives will be shaped by climate change.”

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the Community Environmental Council.

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