Earth Day in Mt. Shasta: 'feeling of community and happiness'

Sarah Kirby

’Sustainable solutions to preserve the environment were expressed in conversations, songs, dance, design, and a community Om during Sunday’s Mount Shasta Community Earth Day Celebration at Mount Shasta City Park.

Vendors framed the festivities as musical acts such as Zahira and Rising Buffalo Tribe took to the stage with their soul/pop/reggae beats. Healthy cooking classes were presented by The Boys & Girls Club and the School CAFÉ. A permaculture panel consisted of experts discussing aquaponics, cannabis, and regenerative landscaping.

The event’s theme was “Bring It Back to the Earth,” and it began with a cold wind and a drum ceremony. Along with outreach and education programs about items such as prescribed fire, the Siskiyou County Arts Council provided an array of children’s activities ranging from crafts to musical instruments.

The night before Earth Day, the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center celebrated their 30th Anniversary with featured violinist Tim Snider, who performed with Nahko and Medicine for the People. Dori Mondon, owner of Farewear, vended at the event. She creates earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that are made with recycled materials.

“I love Earth Day,” Mondon said. “This is my fourth Earth Day at Mount Shasta. Having people outside is great. I love watching people hula hooping in the grass, and dancing outside. It’s the kind of Mount Shasta that I’m excited to live in.”

Before Zahira and Rising Buffalo Tribe took the stage, Big Water from Portland, Ore. entertained the crowd with his folk/country/blues grooves. Mondon mentioned that she likes Big Water’s sound, and that he has proven to give a solid performance.

The Black Widow Belly Dancers from Redding shared their abilities with the crowd during Zahira’s performance. Local resident Patricia Moran, owner of Shasta Earth Art, enjoyed vending outside under the large trees. She said, “I love being outside. I think this celebration is great. It’s so fun. I have such a feeling of community and happiness. The music was the biggest surprise. I love it. My message for others on Earth Day is to take care of this planet.”

Educational presentations were provided throughout the afternoon. Jay Ma presented a talk about the benefits of aquaponics. Ma explained that aquaponics provides a bridge between the excessive use of water used in traditional farming methods and the toxic build up of nitrogen that can be produced in commercial fish farming. Amy Parscal, co-founder of Ebb & Flow, explained the future of regenerative cannabis farming and the uses of hemp.

Elijah Pine Cohn spoke about regenerative landscaping. In the same vein as permaculture, regenerative landscaping seeks to manage landscapes in a sustainable way that improves the natural resources available at an intrinsic scale, which includes healthy nutrient cycling.

Tom Ward, aka Hazel, spoke about the importance of people not being afraid to learn what is going on, but not buying into the fear so much so that one does not act. Ward has a long background in permaculture design. He teaches classes throughout southern Oregon and northern California, and he has written a book on herbal remedies.

He suggests everybody have a seed bank saved up and a hard-copy library in case the “brittle” grid of the internet is interrupted by a solar flare.

Local vendor of leather shoes and gemstone jewelry, Gambheera feels she did well at the event. “I think this event is beautiful,” she said. “The layout this year is great. There is nice food and drink and entertainment. I would come back next year.”

The event ended around 6 p.m. with many of those in attendance joining hands and repeating three Om’s.