With spring here, many of us feel a sense of renewal, rebirth and, even here in Southern California, an appreciation for the splendor of seasonal changes. In the Los Angeles area, as it gets warmer, there’s a certain excitement in the air as beach season gets underway. As the first brave spring breakers dip into the still-chilly ocean, we marvel at the magnificence and beauty of our coastal paradise.
Earth Day was founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues, and Earth. As we celebrate “Earth Day” this month, I’m reminded that Our planet is truly a magnificent place. Known as the Blue Planet due to our abundance of water, the Earth is an incredibly complex and vibrant ecosystem, where living organisms interact with each other and their environment to create the ideal conditions for life.
To me, Earth Day is all about appreciating the uniqueness of our planet Earth and taking the time to increase awareness about the Earth, its issues and problems. People across the world are working on issues such as reducing toxins in the air, reducing air pollution, and planting trees and flowers to increase oxygen on Earth. My focus for Earth Day is on water and on environmental issues impacting the community in which I live and work.
Here in the Southern California, right near my home, the Woolsey Fire burned nearly 97 thousand acres of land, 1,643 structures, including 400 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Three people lost their lives and more than 295 thousand were evacuated. Today, even as we rebuild, many of the public and private beaches, parks, trails and museums are still closed because of the damage they sustained.
As a concerned and grateful homeowner and businessman, I got involved and visited firefighters to thank them for their courage and tireless work, and to make my own monetary donation. I wanted to help the LA County Fire Department Foundation in their mission to support educational efforts and under-funded programs that work to prevent fires from starting in the first place.
As I reflect on Earth Day, I recall the fact that wildfires in California are getting even more dangerous, many say, because of climate change and growing unsafe fire practices in rural areas. The importance of education about safety and stewardship can’t be overstated, especially when discussing better caretaking of our planet. It’s not a topic we can afford to become complacent over. In fact, in Southern California, a critical environmental topic, usually never suppressed, is that of fresh water.
Water matters – Water is Life.
In Southern California, we live next to the beautiful, magnificent oceans but their water is not fresh, or drinkable, as only three percent of the earth’s water is. Alas, drought has plagued us in California for many years. And even after a rainy winter, experts warn us that another drought is inevitable. Conservation of water is a lifestyle change we all must adopt. Freshwater is our most precious resource.
In California, we are drought-prone problems and as a business leader, I am committed to doing my part to remain green, especially when the business is based on water use. As the CEO of a business that washes cars, saving fresh water in operations is top of mind for me. At the new BLISS car wash we opened in Placentia, Orange County, last month, we’re using 70 percent reclaimed water to wash our customers’ cars. Our service uses 50 to 70 percent less water than a person does washing a car in a driveway.
We’re also donating freshwater wells to the nonprofit organization, Wells Bring Hope, that drills fresh-water wells in West Africa. We’ll donate a well each time we open a new carwash; we plan to open more than 50 in California.
Donations and spreading the word are important actions to me but so are mindful daily habits concerning my own water consumption and my own footprint on this planet. This year, I pledge to tread lightly on Mother Earth, saving her beauty for future generations to love and protect. For a list of good conservation habits, visit Global Stewards to learn more about sustainable living.
David Delrahim is a businessman, philanthropist and CEO of BLISS car wash.