In Memoriam

educating the public on environmental issues

Earth Alert Wins Grant to Produce Coastal History Video

Documentary To Show Impact of Oil and Gas on Central Coast

Oxnard, March 24 (2006)---Oxnard-based environmental nonprofit Earth Alert has been awarded a grant by the California Council for the Humanities to produce an environmental history of the coastline of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

Grant winners were notified by mail last month.

The grant is part of the "California Stories" program sponsored by the Council. It continues the Heroes of the Coast project Earth Alert began more than a year ago to interview many of the state's foremost coastal activists.

"It's encouraging to receive this validation of our efforts to create video documentation of the astounding contributions of coastal activists," said Earth Alert founder and director Janet Bridgers.

"The program began," she said, "when I knew that my friend and mentor, Ellen Stern Harris, known as "the mother of the Coastal Act," was in the last stages of her battle with cancer. I wanted to honor her while she was alive, and in some way, to preserve her spirit. I wanted to show people in the future how a handful of people had successfully campaigned for successful passage of Prop. 20, which created the California Coastal Commission and the Coastal Act."

Harris died at her home in Beverly Hills on January 3 of this year.

"The interview with Ellen was the first of what is now 22 half-hour interviews recorded in Adelphia's public access studios in Eagle Rock and Santa Monica," said Bridgers. The interviews have been cablecast in Los Angeles and will soon begin appearing in Ventura County.

Bridgers described the phases of the grant project: "Initially, we'll be producing more half-hour in-studio interviews with Ventura and Santa Barbara coastal activists, and other individuals who have had roles in the turbulent history of fighting the effects of oil and gas interests along the Santa Barbara Channel. We'll begin with the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969, an event called "the environmental shot heard ëround the world." The half-hour interviews will be cablecast as stand-alone shows, at times to be announced.

Footage from the stand-alone shows will later be edited into a half hour documentary, along with footage from the field. Both series will feature several Santa Barbara residents former Santa Barbara News Press reporter Bob Sollen, who covered oil issues for the newspaper for 17 years, and Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center based in Santa Barbara. Ventura County residents will include Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter Conservation Chair Alan Sanders, Ventura LNG Taskforce Chair Trevor Smith and Pt. Mugu Wildlife Center Executive Director Dan Pearson, among others.

Free public presentations of the documentary are scheduled to take place 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28 at the main Santa Barbara Library, and at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29 at the main Oxnard Public Library.