Earth Week roundup: how to get involved

Your schedule of events for taking part of the planetary celebrations, April 16-22

Celebrate your community and your planet with a picnic in time for Earth Day.

As environmental degradation, global warming and unsustainable ways of living increasingly threaten our planet, and with a population that now exceeds 8 billion people, Earth Week has grown into a world-wide event of over 6 million Canadians joining 1 billion people in over 170 countries staging events to address environmental issues.

A time to promote awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment and sustainable living, Earth Week has become a powerful catalyst for change and positive action. Environmentalists all over the world will recycle and conserve energy, school children will take part in Earth Day activities, and hopefully we’ll all take pause to reflect on in what small ways we can take steps to be more responsible and conscious of our daily energy-consuming and earth-impacting activities.

If helping out the planet isn’t enough to get you fired up during Earth Week, then maybe the array of lively and festive community events will get your spark going. With everything from cloth diaper-changing to drumming and invasive species removal, there’s something for everyone during Earth Week, a time to celebrate, to connect and to take action for the planet.

Creatively United for the Planet Festival (April 20 – 22)

Round up kids, friends and family for this elaborate arts, culture and healthy living festival and fundraiser to be held indoors and outdoors at 600 Richmond Ave. at Richardson (St. Matthias Hall). The event will kick off with an all-ages Disco meets Mardi Gras dance party with Candu Music and DJ Grandpa Phunk (Friday, April 20, 7-9:30pm), and will feature everything from favourite local live bands The Woodsmen and The Soul Shakers to DJ Rowan, dance performer Tan-nauz, a fashion show, photography, face painting and art making for children. Once you fill your boots with the array of performers and activities to entertain, a number of charities such as the Sierra Club, The Dogwood Initiative and Ancient Forest Alliance will be on-site to answer questions about the work they are doing in our communities. It’s sure to be a fun-filled weekend, and a chance to take part in positive action for the environment while raising funds for progressive environmental-based charities. (see article)

Most events are free, with some by-donation and ticketed events. For more info and tickets, go to creativelyunitedfortheplanet.com.

Earth Walk (Saturday, April 21)

Join Alexandra Morton and the Wild Salmon People for Victoria’s largest and longest-running community gathering since 1982.  Pre-Earth Walk activities will kick off at the BC Legislature with a rally for Salmon and talk by Alexandra Morton on the dangers of fish farming at 10:30am, followed by Earth Walk welcome with UVic drummers at 11:30.

The walk will start at 12 noon, with Samba Masala leading the walk down Government Street to Centennial Square, to be followed by a lively festival of music, dancing, local food tasting with various eco-groups and speakers (with Keynote speaker Bob McDonald, host of the CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, and Master of Ceremonies Janet Marie Rogers, Victoria’s poet laureate and author of Red Erotic).

Snacks and treats, face-painting, songs and drums. For more info visit earthwalkvictoria.ca.

Great Cloth Diaper Change (April 21) 

What do diapers have to do with Earth Day? Come and find out at the Great Cloth Diaper Change, where more than 35 parent and baby pairs will be participating in an event that will simultaneously take place in 126 other locations in five countries. Why care about cloth diapers? Heather McNamara, Executive Director of the Real Diaper Association explains: “Each year billions of disposable diapers enter landfills where it takes hundreds of years for them to decompose, if ever. We hope to show the world that cloth diapers are a real option for today’s modern families, particularly catching the eye of expecting and new parents who may be seeking more planet-friendly and affordable alternatives to disposable diapers.””

The diaper-changing frenzy will get started at 9am at S.J. Willis School (923 Topaz Ave.), where there will be door prizes, a 50/50 draw, children’s activities, and several local vendors including Mothering Touch, Abby Sprouts, Hip Baby and Love & Stuff, as well as a donation box for ‘Cloth for a Cause’, and organization that refurbishes old cloth diapers and donates them to families in need.  Several local midwives and doulas will be there to give information on cloth diapers.  If that isn’t enough to entice you, then maybe participants’ attempt to break last year’s Guinness World Record ™ of 5, 026 cloth diapers changed simultaneously will win you over.

For more information, or to participate in the event, email victoriaclothdiaperchange@gmail.com or visit greatclothdiaperchange.com. The Cloth Diaper Change can also be followed on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GreatClothDiaperChange, and on Twitter at www. Twitter.com/ClothRecord.

Northern Gateway Slideshows (April 21 from 6-9pm)

Join Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Elizabeth May on Saturday, April 21 at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney, B.C. for an evening on the Engbridge Northern Gateway Project. Panelists include: Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands; Robert Bateman, Art for an Oil-Free Coast; and Captain Brian Falconer, Loaded Dice and Slick Assessment, with MC Arthur Black, former CBC radio host and author. Admission by donation. For more info, contact saanichgulfislands@greenparty.ca

Earth Day Picnic Celebration at Uplands Park (April 22, 12-3:30pm)

Celebrate your community with Friends of Uplands Park and the Community Association of Oak Bay-hosted Picnic, and music by Ron Carter and the Bald Eagles band. Bring your family and a picnic, and learn about the Garry Oak Meadow while enjoying the wildflowers, rare plants and animals on an expert-guided nature walk, or participate in invasive Scotch broom removal and park clean-up. Enjoy some bubble-blowing, face-painting or a family treasure hunt. The event will take place at Uplands Park at the Beach Drive entrance to Cattle Point, rain or shine, free-of-cost with drink and treats available, and donations welcome. Walk or cycle with your Community Association from the Oak Bay Municipal Hall at 11 am to the Picnic site. For early-risers, join in some birdwatching at 7 am at Cattle Point. For more info, contact Margaret Lidkea at 250-595-8084. M

Looking for some more ways to make a difference during Earth Week? Earthday2012.com has some great ideas via earthday2012.com:

•    Less is More – Purchase items with less packaging.

•    Paperless Technologies – Invest in a kids ereader or kids tablet

•    Go Chemical Free – Adopt a chemical free lifestyle

•    Hybrid Light Bulbs – Use hybrid light bulbs in your home and office

•    Paperless Tablet PC – Unless you are a “committed luddite” – Invest in a Slate/Tablet PC

•    Green Energy – Advocate the use of sustainable, renewable, clean energy.

•    Earth Day Songs – Celebrate Environment Week with Earth Day Songs

•    Recycling – Start a recycling program at your school, office, or workplace.

•    Eco-Challenges – Convert waste materials into new things that are functional or beautiful, or both.

•    Sustainable Reading – Plant a new tree for every book you read

•    Earth Day Movie – Check out Disneynature’s Chimpanzee Movie at a theater near you

•    Green Transportation – Walk, ride or bike – Skip the car!

•    Plant a Tree or Garden – Green your environment with trees, gardens and flowers.

•    Turn off the lights – Turn off all unnecessary lights

•    Go Flexitarian – Give up meat for one day

•    Phantom Energy – Unplug Appliances to reduce the use of phantom energy

•    Pick up the Garbage – Spend some a couple hours picking up litter at your local park, river or highway

•    Earth Week Activities -Teach children how to be environmentalists early! They are the future.

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