For most of its recent history, the city of Santa Monica has cultivated a reputation as being environmentally friendly, and perhaps even slightly bohemian. If one looks around, it isn’t hard to see where such a reputation would originate: surfers flock to the beaches at dawn, yoga groups are everywhere (though not quite as much anymore), and environmental groups abound. It is from within this milieu that Santa Monica’s annual Tree Hugging Day has taken form.

Image via Tree Hugging Day
Image via Tree Hugging Day

Originally organized in 2009 by local peace activists Jerry and Marissa Rubin, the event, as its name would suggest, involves the physical hugging of trees. In an interview with the SMDP, Jerry Rubin described the purpose of the event:

“This seems like it would be a positive way to show caring and appreciation for the trees as a community. I’m tired of people that use the word ‘tree hugger’ in a disparaging way to demean an environmentalist.”

Who: People of all ages are encouraged to take a moment of time to hug a tree.

What: The event is based around a group tree hug at the Children’s Tree of Life, a specially designated “peace tree” that was planted on Earth Day, April 22, 1983 at a public peace celebration.

Next Sponsor

When: Thursday, March 20th (the Spring Equinox) from 6-7 p.m.

Where: The Children‘s Tree of Life is located in the Santa Monica Palisades Park at Ocean Avenue and Colorado Avenue, just north of the Santa Monica Pier. Participants will also be invited to “branch out” and give hugs to other trees in the nearby park area.

Other Events:

  • Thursday: The Los Angeles World Affairs Council hosts “An Evening with John McCain” at the Loews Santa Monica Beachside Hotel. The senior U.S. senator from Arizona will talk about his views on America’s role in the world, drawing from his extensive international experience. McCain, who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Foreign Relations, has consistently argued for a strong U.S. foreign policy. To hear him expand on his opinions, click here to reserve tickets online or call the Los Angeles World Affairs council at (424) 258-6160.
  • Saturday: The Edison Language Academy PTA hosts a pre-screening of the highly anticipated biopic, “Cesar Chavez,” directed by Diego Luna. The event will take place at Santa Monica High School and will be accompanied by food trucks. Tickets are $25 with proceeds going to Edison Language Academy, the Samohi and JAMS Spanish Immersion Programs, and the SMMUSD Education Foundation. From the website: “‘Cesar Chavez’ chronicles the birth of a modern American movement led by the famed civil rights leader and labor organizer, played by actor Michael Peña.” Click here to watch a trailer of the film and click here to buy tickets to the pre-screening.