Gear up for Earth Day with numerous local events and eco-friendly tips from Ecology Action
Each year, on April 22, citizens of the earth come together to raise awareness and demonstrate appreciation for the planet. And in today’s world of rising energy costs and changing weather patterns, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to Mother Nature. To gear up for this year’s event, we sat down with Anna Hirst, Marketing and Communications Manager at Ecology Action, to find out how to be environmental stewards, and we compiled a list of exciting Earth Day celebrations taking place in the Santa Cruz area.
Here are five tips for eco-friendly living, courtesy of Ecology Action:
1. Join the 100 Greywater Systems Challenge.
“Santa Cruz County faces water shortages during dry years, and 20-30 percent of household drinking water from our groundwater aquifiers, rivers and streams is used for landscape irrigation,” says Hirst. That number can be cut down by using leftover laundry water to water your landscape. “If a four-person household installs a laundry-to-landscape system, up to 8,000 gallons of laundry greywater can be reused for gardening,” she adds.
For more information about getting your own system, visit centralcoastgreywater.org.
2. Ride your bike and walk more.
“60 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in Santa Cruz County come from transportation,” says Hirst. Riding a bike, walking around town, taking the bus or carpooling can help cut down on emissions, as well as alternative vehicles like plug-in electric cars can help cut down on tailpipe emissions.
Visit driveclean.ca.gov/pev/Environmental_Benefits.php for other helpful tips.
3. Bring your own bags to the store.
“Save Our Shores volunteers have collected over 38,700 plastic bags since 2007 at our local beaches and rivers but many slip past and enter into the Monterey Bay,” Hirst says. “In the ocean, plastic wreaks havoc on marine life. It breaks down into smaller particles and is ingested by wildlife who mistake it for food.” By bringing your own bag to any retail store, you help recycle plastic and protect our wildlife.
Visit saveourshores.org for more information and volunteer opportunities.
4. Cut out the vampires in your life.
“Most households have many small appliances and electronics that use energy even when they are powered down. This phenomenon, known as vampire power, phantom load, standby power, or leaking electricity makes up approximately six percent of our national energy consumption and is increasing at an alarming rate,” says Hirst. Unplugging microwaves, coffee makers, TVs, computers, and even cell phone and laptop chargers when not in use but are still plugged in can save energy and money on monthly bills. If you are unsure which devices have phantom loads, Hirst suggests purchasing wattmeters or visiting a local library to rent a meter.
For more information visit ocf.berkeley.edu/~recycle/ssec/download/Phantom%20Load.pdf.
5. Shop at Monterey Bay Area Certified Green Businesses.
“Let the Santa Cruz business community know that you support their efforts to voluntarily go above and beyond environmental compliance, operate more sustainably and protect the local environment,” says Hirst. “Businesses get certified for implementing management practices that conserve water, minimize waste, prevent pollution and reduce their overall carbon footprint, helping Santa Cruz move toward multi-faceted environmental goals. If one of your favorite businesses isn’t certified yet, let them know about the free certification program and encourage them to apply.”
For more information and to find local certified green businesses, visit montereybatgreenbusiness.org.
Celebrate Earth Day with other community members at these seven local events:
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Now-April 21
Where: 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz
Details: The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is rewarding guests this Earth Day with free admission if they use alternative transportation, such as walking, biking, or public transportation, to get there.
Earth Day Jubilee
When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, April 19
Where: 705 Front St., Santa Cruz
Cost: $5/general, $3/students and seniors, Free/MAH members and kids under 12
Details: Love arts and crafts? Then head to the Museum of Art & History to celebrate Earth Day. Participants can create their own butterfly wings and animal masks, and learn about local environmental issues and ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Local artists will be on-hand to assist in the creation of sculptures made from recyclable materials. Activities designed just for kids will be available from 3:30-5 p.m.
Earth Day Santa Cruz
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, April 20
Where: San Lorenzo Park, 137 Dakota St., Santa Cruz
Details: This huge community event boasts more than 100 environmental booths, a recycled fashion show, arts and crafts activities for kids, tumbling gymnastics, compost workshops, an electric vehicle showcase and live music courtesy of Coffee Zombie Collective and SambaDá.
Earth Day Children’s Festival
When: 10:30 a.m.-Noon, Saturday, April 20
Where: Charlie Hong Kong, 1141 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz
Details: Charlie Hong Kong will host an Earth Day Children’s Festival which doubles as a fundraiser for Life Lab—an organization which teaches children and educators how to care for themselves, each other and the world through farm- and garden-based educational programs—located at UC Santa Cruz. The festival will feature face painters, music, kid-sized food, roaming veggies for photo opportunities and more. Adults must be accompanied by a child.
Celebrate Earth Day!
When: 12:30-1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 20 & 12:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday April 21
Where: Staff of Life, 1266 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz
Details: On Saturday, attendees can hear a presentation by Dr. Earth, entitled “Healthy Soil, Healthy You!” Then, on Sunday, there will be children’s activities with Live Earth Farms’ Discovery Program. A lecture about Hives & Honey will take place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Sunday, as well.
Earth Day, Capitola Style!
When: Noon-3 p.m. Sunday, April 21
Where: Whole Foods Market, 1710 41st Ave., Capitola
Details: Whole Foods invites the community to attend an Earth Day Celebration featuring a barbecue benefiting Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, ice cream from Mission Hill Creamery, Surf City Coffee, and sampling from local vendors. Tile painting with Petroglyph and a plant-your-own-seed station add to the fun.
Summit for the Planet
When: 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27
Where: Mount Madonna High School, 491 Summit Road, Watsonville
Details: This event features eco-friendly booths, a trash fashion show, a solar car race, student exhibits, an eco-carnival, live music and dance, arts and crafts, and a 5K/10K walk/run fundraiser open to all schools and organizations.