Why isn’t Earth Day a mass celebration in Charlotte?

Happy Earth Day Eve. In 1970, April 22 was dubbed “Earth Day” to mark a day of education about environmental issues.

I was surprised by the overall scarcity of local Earth Day events I pulled up on my Google search for this year. Why hasn’t Earth Day become a mass beer celebration like St. Patrick’s Day, or worthy of excessive candy consumption and house parties like Halloween?

There’s hope.

Shannon Binns, Executive Director of Sustain Charlotte, told me a city/county partnership is putting on an event Saturday, April 23 in First Ward Park, which Sustain Charlotte will be part of. More than 20 organizations will be onsite to contribute to the festivities, including music and an acrobat show, from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

“Many large companies in the area (like Belk and UTC Aerospace) hold Earth Day events for their employees this week,” Binns said. “It would be great if we came together in a bigger way — maybe an Earth Day parade — but hopefully this year’s event in First Ward Park will be the start of something big. Why? According to the Earth Day Network, ‘more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.’ Our shared reliance on the Earth is the one thing that unites us all.”

More ways to jump in on the Earth Day action:

Sustain Charlotte Awards

Sustain Charlotte is hosting its 2016 Sustain Charlotte Awards + Earth Day Celebration April 21 at LaCa Projects to recognize individuals and organizations who have contributed to Charlotte 2030: A Sustainable Vision for Our Region.

Get tickets to the awards event — the menu includes wine and local beer and food by ROOTS Catering.

5:30 p.m., 1429 Bryant St.

DIY Planter project

Go to Luna’s Living Kitchen at Atherton Mill from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, April 22, with empty juice bottles to turn them into seed sprouters with the help of Goldmine Journal lifestyle curators. Read about the process here.

2000 South Blvd #300

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Explore Discovery Place

Discovery Place is celebrating Friday, April 22, in its Explore More Life Lab, where visitors can learn how to help the environment with hands-on activities.

Bonus: Trees Charlotte will distribute free tree seedlings to take home and plant.

9 a.m.-4 p.m., 301 N Tryon St.

Go to a Knights Game

Yep, you can get a tree from Trees Charlotte here, too. The Knights are playing the Gwinnett Braves at 7:05 p.m. Friday, April 22, at BB&T Ballpark and Trees Charlotte will be handing out free seedlings while supplies last.

Plant a tree and contribute to Trees Charlotte’s 20-year canopy goal of planting 500,000 trees, or “canopying” 12,000 acres.

324 S Mint St.

Get outdoorsy at Tuck Fest

Commune with nature (and some man-made rapids) April 22-24 at the U.S. National Whitewater Center with biking, kayaking, trail running, live music and more.

5000 Whitewater Center Parkway


Make a pledge

The Charlotte Nature Museum is throwing an Earth Day Pledge event in their Great Hall Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. How will you go green?

1658 Sterling Road

Miscellaneous solo activities

– Bike, walk, or take public transportation to work. I plan to cruise into town on my new bike. [Related: An idiot’s guide to buying a commuter bike]

– Start composting. Sign up for bike-powered Crown Town Compost’s services.

– Buy coffee to brew that’s USDA Organic certified, which indicates that the beans were produced through methods that preserve the environment. Local Pure Intentions Coffee is one label that qualifies.


No matter what you do, Binns said, “Earth Day should not, however, be viewed as the one day of the year we do something positive for the planet, but rather a day in which we re-commit ourselves to making choices every day that will positively impact our planet for those who come after us.”

Photos: AFP/Getty Images, U.S. National Whitewater Center, Remy Thurston