Community Programs

Earth Day Santa Cruz

Earth Day Santa Cruz is a yearly community event that offers educational information, activities for kids, live music and a focus on green businesses. The City of Santa Cruz, the County of Santa Cruz, Ecology Action, Coastal Watershed Council, local non-profits, and concerned citizens work together every year to make Earth Day the premier environmental event for the greater Santa Cruz community.


The idea for Earth Day came to founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Ecology Action revived and began managing the Santa Cruz Earth Day event in 2008, and it has been a favorite community happening ever since.


Earth Day Santa Cruz is an opportunity to gather with other people who care about the environment, to share stories and ideas, to enjoy food and music together, and to take inspiration for ways we can create a healthier lifestyle.


  • This premier community event brings together more than 6,000 people each year to celebrate, connect and learn how to be better stewards of the earth.
  • Earth Day Santa Cruz focuses on green businesses that incorporate sustainable practices and help conserve resources, all while being more efficient.
  • Earth Day events throughout the world put a sharp focus on the health of the earth, and reducing our carbon footprints.