La Casa Verde program has lessons for respecting Earth.

We must learn to treat our planet with the respect it needs to stay healthy for our children and grandchildren.

La Casa Verde, a celebration of all things green and sustainable, is being held today in the Granary District for its third consecutive year. We salute event organizers for their commitment to construction and home repair techniques that not only save energy but also use products that are less harmful to the earth’s environment.

The event was the brainchild of, among others, John Mead, founder of Cellar Ridge Construction. Mead, an area pioneer in the art and science of green building techniques, worked together with his partner, Carson Benner, and McMinnville Public Market Manager Shannon Thorson on their first event in 2010.

They are joined each year by an increasing number of volunteers and business owners who share their dedication to the environment. Vendors feature products and services from solar panels to landscaping, flooring to countertops, high-efficiency windows to reclaimed wood and home-design services.

Each year, organizers stage events for kids that teach the benefits of conservation and sustainability. Youngsters build bird houses, learn about solar energy and tree planting.

New this year is the unveiling of the company’s new division, Cellar Ridge Energy Works, which is set up to test a home’s energy efficiency performance using a thermal imaging camera that can spot air leaks or missing insulation. It can assist home owners in determining where energy is being wasted and suggest corrective measures.

Our purpose in writing abut La Casa Verde is not to elevate one for-profit company over another in the list of firms and nonprofits dedicated to sustainability and preservation of the earth’s resources. Rather, it is to bring attention once again to the fact that those resources are finite, and unless we all take steps to conserve, re-use and recycle materials, we will leave a dying planet to future generations.

La Casa Verde gives attendees an opportunity to learn about sustainability, partake in great activities, listen to music and enjoy the food and drink. But more importantly, we can – really, we must – learn to treat our planet with the respect it needs to stay healthy for our children and grandchildren.

That’s a lesson plan we will hear repeated a week from now, April 22, when millions of people participate in the activities of Earth Day 2012, which is taking an activist approach with its slogan, “Mobilize the Earth.”