The Earth Day Alliance (EDA) will host the 22nd annual Earth Day SLO festival on April 22 to celebrate and bring awareness to environmental issues on Earth Day’s 42nd anniversary.

This year’s theme, “Get Down to Earth,” aims to get more people serious about environmental issues.

Started in 1990, the EDA is a volunteer, non-profit organization with a main purpose of celebrating the earth in.

“Our hope is to get as many people as possible from the county to Earth Day and promote education and fun opportunities for people to learn about the environment and what they can do to pursue the beauty of our county,” EDA Director Molly Johnson said.

The event will hopefully raise awareness of both positives and negatives in the county and will show people how to be green as well as different types of actions they can take to help sustain the earth, according to Earth Day SLO 2012 program coordinator Sandra Marshall.

Founded in 1970, Earth Day is a day of recognizing and appreciating the Earth’s natural environment.

“There was so much pollution; there were pesticide problems, all kinds of things,” Marshall said. “A lot of colleges do protests and different kinds of activities to bring attention to it (because) a lot of people didn’t know it was happening.”

The event will feature nearly 100 exhibits, including speeches on how to protect the planet and preserve our natural resources, as well as ocean and animal-themed.

“It’s going to be like a fair, except this one (is) strictly about the environment and how to live lighter on the planet, how to conserve energy,” Marshall said. “That’s what (the theme) means about getting down”.

Along with having food and beverages– including beer and wine– there will be a Green Zone specifically for children and live entertainment.

Local bands and performers Calinambe, Oso Sol, Mr. Eco, Midnight Express and Up in the Air will perform.

Well-known recording artist Brendan James will headline the show on the solar powered stage. James is an American piano-based singer and songwriter from New Jersey who has had his music featured on numerous television shows including “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Mr. Eco, also known as business administration junior Brett Edwards, will perform several environmental raps from his new CD, “Get Green or Die Trying.” CDs will officially be released at the event.

“There are so many things that people need to do,” Marshall said. “It’s bringing attention to them, whether it’s (to) stop using plastic or what kind of food you eat.”

Official sponsors for the event include San Luis Obispo County Parks and San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden (SLOBG). Major sponsors include the Information Press, New Times, SLO County Air Pollution Control District and Regional Transit Authority (RTA). RTA will provide free bus rides all day long.

SLOBG executive director Mike Bush said they are pleased to be a full partner for the event. SLOBG first partnered with the EDA when the celebration was moved to El Chorro Regional Park last year.

“We need to stop and rethink to reuse, recycle, repurpose,” Bush said. “I think we need to slow down and make sure we do it.We’re all so busy doing our day to day lives that we can overlook (things).”

Johnson said he feels San Luis Obispo has become greener because of education. “(It’s) because of people that make sure and get everyone informed. That’s (the EDAs) goal,” Johnson said. “When people are exposed to these things, they become more aware and want to become greener.”

“If we didn’t bring it to people’s attention, I don’t know who would,” Marshall said.

The festival will be held at El Chorro Regional Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is a free event for all ages.

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