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All That We Leave Behind:
The Environmental Burden Our Youth Have to Bear to Restore Mother Earth

Should our children have to spend their weekends picking up other people's trash? Should they have to sit on the sand because the ocean is too polluted to swim in? Should they have to live with the fact that everyday species are disappearing off our earth at an alarming rate? Should they have to sit inside because if they exercise outside their chances of becoming asthmatic will increase 50%?

Not if the youth of Orange County have a say in it! On May 22nd, 2002, over 100 students from 11 different schools attended the Earth Resource Foundation "Rock Your World" Youth Empowerment and Earth Day Fair. The students went through a series of workshops designed to let them know about the pressing environmental issues but more importantly to give them the tools to make a difference in the world.

Earth Resource Foundation (ERF) works with the philosophy of interconnectivity, holistic problem solving and personal responsibility in order to solve the problems of the devastation of the earth. One of ERF's major reasons for bringing the students together is to share ideas and understand different viewpoints. Through events such as this students are able to learn not only about issues that would never be covered in any history or science class, but also about important events that are directly affecting them.

An important reality is that the youth of today are willing to have less so they can have more when it comes to a healthy Earth. ERF aims to help them take steps to change the current environmental burden into an environmental legacy by giving them the tools to understand their personal responsibility and play an active role in their environmental future. Change is possible, but we need YOUR help too. Your membership or sponsorship is needed to create more youth clubs, more neighborhood programs and to reach more businesses. $1 a week is a small price to pay to change the future: join today and help us ensure a brighter future for our youth.
Stephanie Barger

For more information on our membership and sponsorship options,
call us at
(949) 645-5163.

Environmental Wins

May 22: First Rock Your World, High School Youth Empowerment Event, attended by over 100 students from 11 schools at William R Mason Regional Park in Irvine.

July 17: Orange County Sanitation District voted to abandon their 301(h) waiver from the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act.

July 22: California becomes the first state to combat global warming by requiring reduced tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases.

Let's Talk Trash

This issue's trash item focus: plastic bags
Each month, thousands of Orange County residents travel to the local grocery store to purchase food. Some of us go with a memorized list of weekly purchases. Others visit the grocery store in a haphazard fashion, buying whatever suits our fancy that day. Regardless of why you go to the grocery store, each of us is asked the same question at the end of our trip, "Paper or plastic?"

Although this may seem like an easy question to answer (there are only two answers-how tough could that be?), these three words define a heated debate between the plastics industry, the paper industry and environmentalists. As consumers, we want to make the best choice for the environment.

  • Plastic bags take up less space in a landfill.
  • Paper bags are made from a renewable source.

Which is the better choice for the environment? While
environmentalists, educated activists, and business professionals argue this point, you as a consumer can do something!

The main point to consider is where your bag comes from and where it goes. The manufacturing of plastic bags uses a lot of resources from petroleum to energy and water. They are shipped from overseas: many boxes containing thousands of bags fall off ships, break open and make their way down to the Galapagos where sea turtles eat them.

Once used, even if your bag makes it to the landfill, the Santa Ana winds blow thousands of bags right back down to the beach. As you drive down PCH, take a look and see how many plastic bags line our ocean. Plastic bags that find their way to the ocean are sometimes mistaken as food by marine animals.

Finally, the market for buying recycled bags is almost non-existent.

When asked why paper vs. plastic, my answer is: "if a plastic bag makes it way to the ocean vs. a paper bag which one will kill?" So please say "PAPER" next time you are at the grocery store.

Of course, using a cloth bag is a better choice for the environment, or better yet use no bag at all: do you need to put your stick of gum in a bag? As a consumer, you DO have the power to make a difference!

-Stephanie Barger

Celebrating Clean water

In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, 2002 has been declared the Year of Clean Water. While the Act has resulted in lower water pollution levels, the battle for the protection of our lakes, rivers, wetlands and coastlines is not over yet.
In Orange County, it took months of campaigning by Earth Resource Foundation, along with the Ocean Outfall Group, the Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation and CoastKeeper, and the mobilization of thousands of residents, before Orange County Sanitation District (OCDS) finally voted to abandon their 301(h) waiver from the 1972 Federal Clean Water Act, on July 17 2002.

The waiver enabled OCSD to dump 240 million gallons of sewage into the ocean: half of this amount received only the most minimal treatment - which does not remove fecal bacteria and viruses - and none was treated to the more thorough tertiary treatment with disinfection which is required at all inland districts in this region. The end of the waiver means that all sewage will now have to be treated to secondary level. Over 350 people turned up for the decisive meeting and representatives from environmental organizations, including Frank Golbeck, founding member of Newport Harbor High School ERF Club, expressed their opposition to the waiver and highlighted its negative impact on the environment.

Despite all the evidence in favor of the end of the waiver, thedecision was passed by a narrow 13 to 12 victory: a clear sign that the battle for clean water still faces substantial opposition. EPA is inviting volunteer monitors, agency staff, and members of the public to join in the celebration of the Clean Water Act's anniversary by participating in National Water Monitoring Day, scheduled to commemorate October 18 -- the day the Clean Water Act was signed into law Hopefully, this will highlight the importance of the Act and encourage people to fight for it to be applied properly and. ensure the protection of our water.

-Valerie Allen

For a history of the Clean Water Act, go to:
For more information on the Year of Clean Water, go to:

Want to help? Join us for Inner Coastal Clean-up Day on September 21st
and our 2nd Annual Human Broom Beach Cleanup in November

Corner Clips
Organic Lawn & Garden Care

So, you want to have a beautiful lawn and garden without the chemical fertilizers and pesticides? Impossible you say? Nonsense!! Organic gardening is easier than you think. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

"If even 10 percent of homeowners began using organic techniques, it would remove 2.5 to 5 million pounds of toxic chemicals from the environment per year." Source:

  • Use grass clippings in place of mulch for your garden. Spread the clippings lightly (about 1⁄4" will do) over your flowerbeds. Grass clippings help keep moisture in the soil and break down easily to provide an organic fertilizer for your plants.
  • Fish emulsion works well as an over-all fertilizer if you can stand the smell. Fortunately, the smell goes away quickly.
  • Make your own compost pile in place of chemical fertilizers. You can either build a compost bin, or, if you're limited on space, purchase a small compost bin at your local gardening center. Simply use scraps of fruits and vegetables, some top soil, grass clippings, and worms. Do not use animal by-products.
  • Water your lawn sparingly. Let your lawn dry out between watering. This builds strong roots and greatly reduces the amount of water.
  • Use a soil conditioner to reduce the amount of water needed for both your lawn and garden. I use Shaklee's Basic-H, which is an organic, all-purpose cleaning solution that has also been approved for soil treatment.

-Sherri Loveland


Are you interested in starting an Adopt-Your-Neighborhood program in your community?

Do you want to spread the word about consumer action or the environment? Do you have suggestions for an article?

Need more information on something mentioned in this newsletter?


Call (949) 645-5163

Awesome volunteer

Kelly Koldus came to ERF in the spring of 2002 as an intern from UCI's social ecology program. Kelly brought with her a wealth of knowledge about the environment but more importantly a can-do attitude. With the limited staff we have at ERF, it is critical to have volunteers who can pick up the ball and run with it. And run Kelly did: from picking up electronic equipment, chasing after our high school students, to running the ERF booth at the HB Earth Day Fair all by herself, to educating 200 children with only 5 minutes of training, etc, etc. Need we say more??
Kelly, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope you are having fun working at the Grand Canyon this summer. Kelly will be completing her Master degree at UCI this fall. Hurry back Kelly, we miss you!!!

Volunteers needed

ERF & Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment are planning their first EverGreen Ball promoting eco-clothing, sustainability and responsible consumerism, Spring 2003.

Volunteers needed for the following:
Sponsorship- Volunteer Recruitment - Public Relations - Corporate Table Sales - Invitation and Registration -
Graphic Design - Silent Auction/Goodie Bags

Committee Meetings:
Wednesdays at 7:30 am , at Mimi's Café in Costa Mesa.

The Circle
ERF's newsletter


"In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We only love what we understand. We only understand what we are taught."
-Babia Dioum Senegalese Ecologist

230 E. 17th Street, Suite 208 Costa Mesa, CA 92627  |  Tel:(949) 645-5163  |  Fax:(949) 645-5173  |  e-mail: