Eco fair celebrates the environment

ENCINITAS — What began as a vision by activist Bob Nanninga to bring the community together in celebration of the environment a decade earlier, was realized when the Encinitas Environment Day educational fair kicked off a slew of activities for the fifth straight year.
Cottonwood Creek Park was abuzz with vendors and musicians, films and lectures and thousands of attendees, June 5 — all with Nanninga’s original mantra in mind: “Think globally, act locally.”
“This has really grown into an event that the community looks forward to every year,” said Fran Hueber, an Olivenhain resident. “It’s in a beautiful setting with a family-friendly atmosphere that lends itself to learning about what we can do to help sustain our earth.”
In fact, the festival, which started with a handful of vendors in the niche “green” market, was overflowing with over 50 local, regional and national merchants endorsing sustainable products and practices. Solana Center for Environmental Innovation co-hosted the event for the first time this year. Director Sandy Atkinson said that the increased attendance is a reflection of peoples’ desires to be more involved in sustainability practices.
Enjoy Handplanes creators Ed Lewis and Kipp Denslow talked to people about their unique bodysurfing accessories. The local company started as a way to save broken surfboards, old wetsuits and production waste from going to the landfills. The company’s mission is to keep broken boards and manufacturing waste from the landfills while creating products that are “fun to use and environmentally responsible.”
“We use materials that do not currently have a means of recycling and would end up in the landfill,” Lewis said.
Held in conjunction with the United Nations’ World Environment Day, the event has grown steadily over the years as interest in environmental issues has come to the forefront in education, politics, business and leisure.
“Our natural resources are an issue in every decision we make now,” said Karen Petersen, an Oceanside resident. “I think it’s very mainstream to talk about buying local food or building a house that’s more eco-friendly.”
Children flocked to the popular papermaking and recycled art booths. Adin Ackerman, 8, created his own work of art using objects otherwise destined for the trash bin.
“This guy has a name,” he said referring to his eclectic recycled object. “His first name is ‘Can with Glasses’ and his last name is Glasses with Can,” he said. “He’s one day old.”
Other nonprofit groups, including the Leucadia chapter of Kids for Peace, took the opportunity to shine a light on global issues. The group collected notes of support written by event goers for those impacted by the Japanese earthquake.
“I want people in Japan to know that I care about them,” said Patina Laramie, 6.

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