The Oil Spill That Sparked Earth Day
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About the event
Environmental pioneer Marc McGinnes shares his new book In Love With Earth: Testimonies and heartsongs from an environmental elder, featuring refreshments, historic images, a student art show and book signing.
A half-century ago, in January of 1969, a blow-out on Union Oil’s Platform A released about 100,000 barrels of crude oil into the Santa Barbara Channel, covering the coast from Goleta to Ventura and the Channel Islands, killing thousands of seabirds, fish and marine mammals, and fouling beaches and the local economy. Public outrage led to environmental legislation and sparked the modern environmental movement. In Love With Earth: Testimonies and heartsongs from an environmental elder shares an intimate view of a history of advocacy, gratitude and love for the planet, sparked by the 1969 image of Earth as seen from the moon.
Marc McGinnes, co-founder of the Community Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Center, UCSB Professor Emeritus and a founding member of UC Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies Program, shares his colorful eyewitness perspective on the role that the Santa Barbara community has played in launching and sustaining the environmental movement over the past half century.
Raised inside one of the secret cities of the Manhattan Project, Marc McGinnes graduated from Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). Following post-doctoral studies, he joined the San Francisco law firm of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges as an attorney, and in 1969 moved to Santa Barbara after receiving a call from his mentor, Representative Pete McCloskey, to begin work as an environmental lawyer in the aftermath of the offshore oil platform blowout and spill.
McGinnes chaired the January 28 Committee that presented the Santa Barbara Declaration of Environmental Rights at the national Environmental Rights Day conference on the first anniversary of the blowout and spill, on January 28, 1970. He then became the founding president of the Community Environmental Council (1970), one of the nation’s first community-based environmental education centers, and in 1971 he accepted the invitation to join the faculty at UCSB, where he developed and taught ten courses in the areas of environmental law, policy, dispute resolution, and ecopsychology, including the longest running undergraduate course in environmental law in the United States. McGinnes is the author of Principles of Environmental Law (Rainbow Bridge, 1980). In Love with Earth: Testimonies and heartsongs from an environmental elder is his third book.
McGinnes has been a pioneer in the professional practices of environmental law and legal ecology since 1969, and in 1977 he led the founding of the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), a regionally-centered public interest environmental law firm. According to EDC, “In 1977, the doors were opened, providing the people of the southern Central Coast an environmental watchdog, an advocate, and a legal voice to counter the power of oil companies and other corporate polluters. Since that time, EDC has represented more than 100 different nonprofit organizations, retiring 40 offshore oil leases, stopping multiple efforts to import liquefied natural gas, and permanently preserving more than 100,000 acres of open space.”
From 1970 to the present, McGinnes has served as a director and advisor to numerous non-profit organizations including the Congress on Optimum Population and Environment (Chicago), Earth Island Institute (San Francisco), Antioch University (Santa Barbara) and Viridis Graduate Institute (Santa Barbara). Marc lives and plays in Santa Barbara with his extended family. His passion for stilting and longstanding role at the head of the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade on stilts are documented in his second book, Rise Up: A Stilter’s Adventures in Higher Consciousness. Connect with Marc McGinnes on his website, http://marcmcginnes.com and http://facebook.com/TeacherMarcMcGinnes and http://twitter.com/marcmcginnes.