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One of the reasons I’m so adamant about protecting public parks, is that I use some of them. And I know the ones I don’t use are important for urban sanity for other people, pets and picnics. If you don’t have the time to fight City Hall, there are many other ways to help protect and maintain our public parks.

For the past 18 years, mainly in a volunteer capacity — but in recent years finally compensated — I’ve helped to organize the nation’s largest Earth Day festival: the EarthFair in Balboa Park.

Our organizing ethos is to leave the park cleaner than when we found it. When you’re hosting more than 60,000 guests, this has its challenges every year. So in addition to being a festival, the EarthFair is also a massive clean-up for many areas of Balboa Park.

(An aside: Most of the cigarette butts I’ve picked up over the years have not been as a result of Earth Day.)

With this year’s hot theme, “Cool the Earth,” we’re seeking a few volunteers to help — a few hundred volunteers that is — from set-up to take-down. And we’re still looking for a few team leaders — those who wish to step up with additional time and management skills.

To volunteer or for more information, visit http://www.earthdayweb.org Or email me.

There is also still time to register for an exhibit, to enter the Children’s Earth Parade, or take out an ad or a sponsorship. This year’s event takes place on the national official Earth Day, April 22.

And if Earth Day isn’t your cup of tea, you can volunteer in a park near you most days of the year: city of San Diego, county of San Diego.

Or check with your own City Hall.

And that’s really the point of Earth Day — to make every day a time when we leave our parks, and our planet, a little better than it was the day before.

CAROLYN CHASE

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