Artist and environmentalist Robert Wyland came to Santa Ana last week to talk about who is responsible for saving our environmental future.
“If you want to protect the environment today, talk to us. If you want to save the future, talk to the kids,” said Wyland to attendees of the third annual County of Orange Green Fair held at the Civic Center.
Wyland's Clean Water Mobile was one of the main attractions at the educational and interactive fair, which also included classes and lectures and drew an estimated 3,000 people.
The fair went beyond a learning experience for kids, said Ron Vienna, Orange County's purchasing manager. “This event is showcasing an environmentally preferable purchasing policy," he said.
In addition to vendors, students’ artwork lined the Civic Center with images of spiraling sea horses and lush landscapes.
“I’m so impressed with young kids and how much they care,” Wyland said. “It’s pretty exciting that people are getting it."
Wyland, among the world's most commercially successful artists, combines environmental activism with his art, which most often focuses on sea creatures. He is most widely known for his giant murals featuring whales, which he calls his whaling walls.
These days he spends much time traveling in his Clean Water Mobile, which has traveled across the United States and into Mexico.
One of the Clean Water Mobile's interactive activities allows students to pledge to save water by changing their daily habits. “Over five billion gallons were saved in April,” Wyland said. “My specialty is water. There’s no green without blue.”
On May 17, students and residents were given complimentary insulated reusable shopping bags and strolled among the booths, which offered green options to many common urban environmental tasks like recycling and choosing cleaning products.
“What we do in the next 10 years will affect the next 10,000 years,” Wyland said. “This is the generation that can affect the world.”
— LAUREN TYLER
Lauren Tyler is a Voice of OC intern. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.