Friday, April 19, 2013

Love Your Mother: Earth Day 2013

Earth Day 2013 is coming up! Although its official date is April 22nd, many Earth Day events begin tomorrow, the 20th. In past years, City Repair has produced Earth Day Portland, but this year too few people showed interest in volunteering. This unfortunately means that there won't be a big celebration, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate on your own! What better way to recognize Earth Day than to spend some time outdoors? (Weather permitting, of course.) But first, here's a little rundown of two Earth Day events that will be happening.

  1. TONIGHT! From 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm is the Earth Day Evening of Music and Song organized by the Center for Earth Leadership. This event does require an RSVP, so call 503-227-2315 to see if there are still spaces available. This event will be hosted at the First Unitarian Church on SW 12th Avenue and Salmon Street, and features musical performances by Michael Allen Harrison, Sky in the Road, Raphael Spiro String Quartet, and the Portland Peace Choir. Celebrate with song!
  1. On Monday, April 22nd (official Earth Day), Portland State University is hosting its 6th annual Earth Day Festival in the Park Blocks behind Smith Memorial Student Union. There will be local art and food vendors.

But if you'd like some one-on-one time with lovely Mother Earth, that's great, too! Here are five of my favorite ideas for celebrating nature outdoors:

  1. Go on a nature walk (or roll)– I'm sure Kiwanis campers know how nice it is to simply be outside enjoying the natural beauty around us.

  2. Make art—Try taking that nature walk a step further. Pick up interesting things you find along the way (extra Earth points if it's trash), take them home, and make some art with your findings. I used to do this with my friends when I was younger (and sometimes still do when I find neat “junk” on the ground).

  3. Find a horse—This is another Kiwanis favorite. Not only is horseback riding a fun way to spend time outdoors and get in touch with Earth's creatures, but it's relaxing and therapeutic.

  4. Ride a bike—Oregon is a great place for bicycling, and there are many different bike options for people with disabilities. There are hand crank bikes, which allow wheelchair users to power themselves by hand; side-by-sides, which allow people with mobility difficulties to cycle with somebody else as support; tandems, which have similar benefits as side-by-sides, but are particularly useful for visually impaired cyclists; and tricycles, which are great for individuals who have trouble with balance.

    An adaptive side-by-side bike. Cool, right?

  5. Have a picnic—This one is possibly my favorite because it involves one of my favorite things: food. Grab a blanket, a friend, and some tasty snacks (burritos and pie, anyone?) and spend the afternoon at a park. Make sure, though, that you bring your provisions in a reusable lunchbox, basket, or bag. After all, it would be silly to bring paper bags and plastic water bottles to an Earth Day picnic, right?

Whether you prefer organized events or creating an event of your own, take some time to look around and appreciate what a beautiful place we live in this weekend. It's up to us to keep it beautiful and healthy. If we want to keep our home clean and make it even cleaner, we have to continue keeping it healthy even after the Earth Day festivities end. We live in such a wonderful place! Go out an enjoy it, and share with us what you did to celebrate Earth Day.

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