Words by Georgia Brisco
Earth Day – it’s the day we eco-warriors totally know about, but might not really, truly know about. First thing’s first: it’s not Earth Hour, as much as we loved turning our lights off and dancing around – grapefruit and ginger candles – burning, this year. But that was last month. We know – they could have changed the names up slightly. But seriously: now that we’ve got that minor confusion smoothed out: what is Earth Day, and how do we get involved?
48 years ago, in 1970, the world began to wake up to the environmental mess we were quickly plummeting towards. Back then, the smell of air pollution equalled thriving industries and people were doing a pretty great job at ignoring the bad stuff, or pretending it wasn’t that bad at all (what’s a couple of oil spills, sewage waste, toxic dumps, and loss of wilderness, in the name of economic prosperity, right?)
Except it was bad. And eau de pollution wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. After witnessing the effects of a pretty awful oil spill in California, peace activist John McConnel pushing for a national day to raise awareness around environmental protection in North America. Flash forward to the 22nd of April that year, and it happened – in a huge, we-have-impossible-FOMO sort of way: 20 million people filled the streets and parks, coast to coast, to demonstrate for the environment and sustainability. By the end of the year, the first Earth Day led to the passing of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act.
But FOMO not, because Earth Day 2018 is as huge as ever – and our planet needs us more than ever, too. And luckily, being born and all, we can take part in it.
Also, the best news? This year, Earth Day 2018’s major focus is ending plastic pollution (we mean, we’re not saying we inspired this or anything, but great minds, amirite?). Through a global network of organisations, Earth Day Network plans to work with key influencers, big and small, to build a world of knowledgeable consumers, who understand the environmental consequences of single-use plastics (that’s you guys!).
What To Do
Earth Day is sort of like summer holidays: there’s so much to do. The easiest way get involved this Earth Day on Sunday, the 22nd of April, is to help plant a tree, but we’ve got far more on our agenda than just virtual gardening. So, we’ve highlighted some of the coolest events happening around the world:
Fashion from Nature Exhibition:
In true overachiever mode, we’re beginning our earth Day festivities a day early in London Town by heading to something we are high-key extra excited about: the Fashion from Nature exhibition. This exhibition explores fashion alongside natural history, and encourages visitors to think about the materials we use for fashion and the sources of our clothes. Uhm, yes please?
Earth Day Yin Yoga Class:
We can’t think of a lovelier way to kickstart Earth Day than with an outdoor restorative Bliss Yin yoga practice in the Italian Water Gardens.
Somerset House has got it going on:
From 12 pm onwards, Somerset House has got us covered, beginning with a whoa-sounding art installation: a Choropleth flag will be raised that will react in real-time by changing colour according to radiation exposure levels in London, turning the invisible, visible. We told you it was awesome.
After that, there are tons of things to do and see. From talks and other art installations on pollution pods and how wearable technology could keep us more in tune with coral reefs and more, to workshops on herbal detoxification and earthworms*, Somerset House has seriously got it all going on.
New York, USA
Few places do anything like New York City, and their Earth Day celebrations are no exception.
Sustainable Designers in Soho:
NYC’s also on that begin-a-day-early vibe, so you can kick-start things on Saturday the 21st of April, with the Sustainable Designers + Zero Waste Earth in Soho. We’re not even going to try hide our FOMO here, but basically, you have the chance to meet and chat to four sustainable designers (Malaika, Veera, Monica Varela, and Grip Handbags), get a personalised styling consultation, and learn about how these pioneering designers are working towards making sustainable fashion the new archetype of luxury style.
On Earth Day itself, you can head to Earth Day at Union Square. From dozens of exhibitors, including environmental organisation, kids’ activities, and live performances, we sort of wish we could split ourselves in two and be there too.
Oh, and for the rest of next week and beyond, you can catch a show by the Broadway Green, a theatre company dedicated to environmental awareness in the performing arts. Oh, New York, we love you.
Toronto is totally playing around this Earth Day – in the best way ever. With a mission to encourage people to consume less, play more, Toronto’s Spring Free for Earth Day Pop-Up Adventure Playground’s is exactly what it sounds like: a playground for kids and adults alike (we pride ourselves in being both). The idea is that our love for nature is strongest when we’re playing in the outdoors. And although we’re more usually found beach-frolicking than jungle-gyming, we couldn’t agree more.
We knew we liked the Aussies for more than just their accents and beaches. For Earth Day, you can head to the Metta Centre’s The Tiny Blue Dot for a meditation session, a screening of the documentary Blue, and a discussion and reflection lead by Bhante Sujato, a Buddhist monk, on how we can move towards a more cared-for planet. That’s like, a whole lot of amazing-ness happening all in one place.
After that, you can head to the End Plastic Workshop to kickstart your plastic-free lifestyle. You’re just showing off at this point, Sydney.
San Francisco, USA
San Fran’s Earth Day Festival is sort of the stuff dreams are made of, what with it involving a sustainable chef showcase and organic food court, an eco-fashion show, DIY workshop, live music – *takes a breath* – art galleries and a “clean energy zone”. Yeah, we’re not sure what that last thing is, but we want to be a part of it anyway.
We know, we know – there are hundreds of other events worth mentioning, too. Bear with us and our blog aesthetic-imposed word count. And promise us one thing: wherever you are in the world, go fall in love with our planet all over again this Earth Day and get involved any way you can.
* We’re not kidding. Wormeries, i.e. worm farms at home for your organic waste, are a total thing, and we love those little guys.