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Unplugging From Technology and Subscribing To Nature

By: Guest Contributor, Patricia Evans

Not a single day seems to pass by that your kid doesn’t have his laptop or tablet in his hands. You may find yourself convincing your kid endlessly to, for once, give it a try to enjoy what nature has to offer, but to no avail.

Convincing your child to enjoy and appreciate the benefits outdoor activities bring may prove to be challenging. However, if you can only be patient and determined, you’ll surely find yourself succeeding in making your child discard his gadgets in favor of enjoying some time outdoor.

An Extraordinary Camping Experience

Get ready for the return of outdoor vacations! Backyard camping among kids and their families has increased its popularity in the past years. Indulge in a cozy experience, engaging in creative camping play in a DIY budget backyard playground.  Enlist your kids’ help to build a camping playground that the whole family can truly enjoy without spending a lot of money. Build a two-storey haunted house with your kids in your playground. Have a good ol’ scary time playing ghosts at night while camping. Delight in seeing your kids actively yelling and screaming all night long.

Get to Know Your New Friends

Birds are the most common wildlife friends you encounter on a daily basis. Organize a nature-themed playground project by attracting birds to your own backyard. Make homemade feeders or nesting boxes for songbirds and hummingbirds to enjoy. Alternatively, you and your kids may just listen to the birds singing. You may subsequently ask your kids to indicate the types of birds they hear singing according to the sounds produced.

Photo via Zoe Flickr

Expand Your Nature Collection

Turn your kids into natural collectors in your playground. Keep the seeds, pine cones and rocks. Your kids may gather these things from your backyard as tools for a handicraft project. Better yet, make a space on a windowsill or table so you can showcase your child’s nature collection.

Sing and Get Wet

Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg via Flickr

Change the way kids play. Don’t wait for the rain to go away and for sunshine to come back. Grab a pair of rubber boots and a raincoat for your child. Have fun playing with your kids in rain-damped yards and wet mud puddles. Don’t think twice about joining your kids for some water-shocking good time.

Don’t be Afraid to Take a Night Hike

Even though too much technology can harm children, most kids are fond of playing video games after school at night. Motivate your children to go on a nature walk with you after school. Going on an outdoor adventure is not simply restricted during day time.

Bask in the serenity and the views of the moon and the stars offer. Bravely interact with night animals that you may encounter. Take a moonwalk, study the star constellations, and get to know nocturnal insects. Give your child a moon journal to help him better remember the different phases of the moon.

Discover the Animal Homes

Discover the homes of different animals in your backyard, neighborhood and nearby parks with your kids. Nests, webs, hive, and holes signal signs of wildlife in the area. Your child can easily gain stock of knowledge about the natural habitats of animals they can proudly boast about in school.

Draw a Neighborhood Map

Guide your child in making a map of your very own neighborhood; drawing only the natural landmarks. This activity can tremendously enhance your kids’ observation abilities. It can also initiate the creation of a nature field guide around your neighborhood.

Get Carried Away With Imagination

Photo by John Mueller via Flickr

Your kid doesn’t need to be a brainer to pick out shapes in the clouds. Picking out the shapes of the clouds brings out the visual learner out of your child. Drive your imagination wild just by staring out into a sky filled with big fluffy cotton ball shaped clouds.

Snack and Paint with Berries

Photo by Dan McKay via Flickr

Berry picking is a great activity that can let your kids know that food doesn’t originally come from the supermarket. Pick berries with your kids in a nearby farm or your backyard. Use the extra berries to make watercolors your kids can use in their art projects.

Nowhere but Up

Photo by Matt Patterson via Flickr

Kite flying provides a classic pastime experience that brings enjoyment to the whole family. Fly your kite on a windy day at a local park. Keep track on how long your kid can keep the kite up in the air.

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

If you enjoy catching a fish on your own, consider taking your kid to catch one, too. Teach your child how to use the rod. You’ll be amazed to see the stars in your child’s eyes as he catches his first fish! Take games and books to heighten your fishing experience. Absorb the serenity by telling imaginative stories and playing discreet eye spy games.

Expose Your Kids to Lovable Pets

Pet shops are the best places for children to find out how animals smell, sound and move. Take your child to a pet shop for a visit in your free time during the day. Talking parrots will surely make your kid laugh. Moreover, colorful fish will definitely not fail to brighten up your child’s somber mood.

You and your kids can help reduce carbon footprint by managing a healthy lifestyle outdoors. Enjoying nature-related activities doesn’t mean making things difficult for you and your kids. Your kids may enjoy these outdoor activities by spending a minimal amount of money only. In certain times, you and your kids may even enjoy having these activities for free, while not having to sacrifice living a healthy lifestyle along the way!

Patricia Evans is a Huffington Post UK blogger. Connect with her via Twitter.

by Editor

Celebrate July 4th With an Ice Cold Responsible Beer

Friday is the Fourth of July, which for many Americans means fireworks and BBQ. Most likely, if you’re enjoying a BBQ, you’re going to want some ice cold beer available. Beer is a refreshing drink for the summer (when drunk responsibly, of course), but like many food products consumption of beer can have an environmental impact.

The process of making beer requires a lot of energy and water.  Brewing beer requires the heating and cooling of water and the ingredients to produce the flavor from the hops. According to ColdRiverBrewing, to complete this process breweries use 5 to 10 times more water then leaves the brewery as beer.   Many breweries are now working on ways to make brewing beer more efficient, like reusing the heat used to warm the water and using CO2 recapturing systems.

Consider the following while stocking up on beer for your BBQ:

-If you’re having a lot of people opt for renting a keg. The average keg is reused 20 times a year and can last 20 years.

-There is a debate over which is more eco responsible option, cans or bottles of beer. Can’s are lighter which makes them easier to ship, and they are also easier to recycle. But can’s are made of aluminum which can come from environmentally hazardous mining.

-Remember to recycle.

-Look for organic beers that use locally grown ingredients.

-If you’re going to a bar opt for an on tap variety.

-Celebrate Fourth of July with an American brewed beer, not only are you supporting local breweries reduced shipping saves energy.

PS Check out ENN’s Earlier article on organic wine!

beer and flag via shutterstock

beer in flag bucket via shutterstock

 

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Get Smart on Staying Cool

Installing the AC has always been a summer ritual in my house. It is the day I admit that I am weak and need some electronic help to stay cool. Yesterday I installed the power sucking bundle of cool joy into my bedroom window, making summer official, even if the calendar says otherwise.

Of course this cowardice is not exactly a green solution to the “heat problem”.  In fact, wasted heat from air conditioners have been shown to warm the outside air temperature in cities, creating an even stronger dependence on the energy guzzling monsters.

As someone who admittedly uses the AC frequently during the summer months I can’t forbid my fellow users from the powerful cool air blowing beast. I can give tips of using the AC more efficiently, and give more “natural” tips on keeping cool and controlling the heat.

1. If Buying an Air Conditioner Buy One That Is Energy Star Rated

If your Air Conditioner is over 10 years old buying one that is Energy Star rated can save 20-40 percent on cooling costs.

2. Improve Your Insulation

Sealing your ducts and improving insulation can keep you from “loosing” cool air and save on energy bills.

3.Keep AC Filters Clean

Replace filters when possible, dirt limits airflow.

4. Program Your Thermostat

If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to turn on about an hour and a half before you come home from work, that way you don’t leave it full blasting all day.

5. Don’t Turn Your House Into an Ice Box

The AC doesn’t have to turn your house into an icebox in order to make it comfortable. Keep your house at ‘higher’ temperature like 78’ when your home and 85’ when you’re out.

6. AC Your Rooms Efficiently

For those of us without central air who instead use window, ACs it is not always possible to keep the whole house cool.  Choose small rooms that are used a lot. It is more efficient to AC small rooms then large open ones.

7. Limit Use of The Stove and Oven During Hot Weather

During hot weather try to serve ‘cool’ foods likes salads and sandwiches.  Not only will the food be more ‘refreshing,’ but using the stove could warm up the house.

8. Take Advantage of Water

Cool down your body temperature by taking a cold bath, applying a soaked bandana to your forehead, or spritzing your exposed areas with water.

9. Use a Clothesline

Take advantage of the sun, ignore the clothes drying machine and hang up a clothesline instead.

10. Get Some Shade

Prevent excess heat from finding a way into your home by closing your shades in the morning before the sun hits your house. Keeping windows closed during the day keeps the warm air from outside from coming in. Open your windows at night to take advantage of cross ventilation, when the air outside is cooler.

11. Turn Off Lights

Keep your lights out whenever possible because the heat/energy given off by the light can warm up a room.

12. Know When To Use Your Fan

Fans provide the house no benefit if no one is there is appreciate their magic.

 

Enjoy Your Summer!

 

Fan via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

This Ball Is A Generator

With the World Cup only days away it is obvious to see that soccer, or futbol, is the most popular sport in the world. Not only is soccer a great fan sport, it is also a fun and easy sport to play. Soccer has limited rules and requires limited equipment, making it a fun game for children of all ages around the world.

During a group project at Harvard University students Jessica Lin, Julia Silverman, Jessica Matthews, Hemali Thakkar, and  Aviva Presser came up with an idea to harness the popularity and enjoyment of a soccer ball and put it to something practical. They came up with the idea of a soccer ball, the Soccket, that could store kinetic energy from use and then be used to power a light. Jessica Matthews eventually took this idea and evolved it into the company Uncharted Play.

The Soccket Ball has a gyroscopic pendulum that can generate six watts of power. After 30 minutes of play, the ball can later be used to power a small lamp for up to 3 hours.  According to Uncharted Play, nearly 2 billion people around the world lack access to a reliable energy source. Instead, they may rely on riskier sources for light like indoor fires and kerosene The Soccket ball is designed as a “fun” way to give them freedom to do safely do activities at night like homework.

Since coming out, Uncharted Play has received a lot of positive praise. In 2013 they went on Kickstarter to raise money and received praise from Bill Gates. They have also received praise from Bill Clinton and TED.

But not all responses to the product have been positive.  Some follow up has shown that the product may not have been ready for distribution since many had stopped working within days. Also many question the distribution and efficiency of the product.

I think the most important part of this invention is not that it will change life as we know it for those that use it, because it won’t.  Instead the idea of adding pendulums to everyday objects to give them a second a life as a generator, lessens our reliability on the grid, could change things. Imagine being able to plug your cell phone into your spoon after a bowl of cereal? Or a living in a fully powered house that relies on the power of your everyday routines?

Soccerball via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Helping Kids Gain Balance between Gadgets and Nature

By: Guest Contributor, Kimberly Grimms

The world is hurriedly becoming an incubator of technology and innovation. Every minute a child is born, a robot is honed. With every gadget, the more robotic entertainment and interaction get. Indeed, technology means it when it brags about staying connected 24/7.

As we all experience plodding cultural change, an extinction of outdoor play among kids is observed. Every one couldn’t agree more.

 

Photo courtesy of Aperturismo via Flickr

Seeing this plight, it is pertinent to ask certain questions to ourselves. Should we continue moving on in this vicious circle involving technology on our kids’ daily life? Or, should we renounce the confines of daily life and start having our kids in the lap of the future? One more pick, should we take a path somewhere in between?

You and your kids don’t have to choose between technology and nature. Combine nature and gadgets with these exciting outdoor play activities with your kids!

1.     A Nature-themed Photowalk

Ask them to prepare their phones and cameras, not to take pictures of them but, go outside and take pictures of nature, the whole family and your outdoor activities. You can get the kids fall in love with nature through bighearted photowalk or make a family video, while having picnic outside.  Let kids use their gadgets to capture the most amazing nature shot. Let them look for birds and flowers to take pictures of it. Prepare mouth-watering and healthy food and prepare mindful and nature-based games. Before the day ends, take a look at the pictures they took and see who have the eye for photography.

 

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk via Flickr

 2.     Technology-themed Treasure Hunt

Encourage group cooperation, problem solving, following directions, thinking and reasoning with this extremely exciting game – treasure hunt.  Prepare colorful costumes and props. Make it look like the real treasure hunt they see in the movie. Put a twist. Make their gadgets available with them and let them research online the answers for each station question. You can also use gadgets to cue for the clues, like picture texts, simple math problems, text formatting quiz and many others. At the end of the day, make sure to prepare something special for the kids. Discuss too, what they learn with the treasure hunt play you prepare.

Photo courtesy of Kiven Lawver via Flickr

 3.     Bring them (and their gadgets) to the Playground

Blend technology with nature and play. Bring them and their gadgets to the nearest commercial or residential playground. Ask them to play their gadgets while sitting and see if she/he would prefer playing video games than playing with swing, slide, marry-go-round and other playground equipment. If she/he prefers playing with gadgets, ask him/her to invite friends to join him or tell him to take pictures of her/his friends. If she/he prefers to play with kids in the playground, let her/him. Children have the opportunity to decide for themselves, stimulate their problem solving skills and creative thinking. When they explore the outdoors, they feel freer to wander. Seeing such scenario is just priceless, go create your own nature-themed play project for you and your kids.

 

Photo courtesy of Brisbane City Council via Flickr

  4.     Introduce them to Outdoor Science

Set everything you need outside, it can be in your backyard, near play area or your community playground. You can use simple and easy concepts of science to make kids hold their gadgets and be the next Einstein, modern Einstein. Awe them with do-it-yourself rainbow or the mentos-coke experiment or the all-time string telephone. After accomplishing each simple experiment, explain the basic concepts behind them and let them asks questions. Answer each patiently. Ask them to draw or write a simple review or analysis. You can also ask them to present their simple hypothesis in the front and illustrate it using their ipads or gadgets.

Photo courtesy of Isola di Einstein via Flickr

5.     Game for an Outdoor Quiz

Chances are you and your kids have had quite good and memorable experiences with nature recently. Then, it is now time to dipped your toes in the mud and relieve your outdoor moment through a simple quiz. Ask them the name of the bird you just saw or maybe as simple as asking him what color is the flower you’re holding. Let him/her search in on the internet through his/her gadget and at the same time, see and experience it real time. Make sure to take pictures of him/her too and upload it online. In this manner, he/she will appreciate more of nature while he/she is using his/her gadget.

 

Photo courtesy of Justin Henry via Flickr

We often hear negative effects of almost nothing and everything. Why not go between the lines and try a different approach. Work with technology for nature and your kids. Stimulate all of your kids’ senses, including their innate nature-lover.

 

Kimberly Grimms is a futurist who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search for new consumer trends. 

by Editor

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Solar Power: 4 Steps to Harnessing the Power of the Sun

By: Guest Contributor, Barry Snyder

Superman is powered by the sun and, for most people, solar power remains an elusive fantasy – something relegated to comic book superheroes. And, while solar power isn’t taking over the coal and oil plants, there are some specific uses for solar panels that make sense. Up until now, most consumers haven’t bothered with the technology because it provides only intermittent power, and it’s expensive to set up. But, if you live in a really sunny area, it might make sense to set up your own mini power plant. Here’s how.

Do Your Research

This seems obvious, but research is critical. If you live in Seattle, for example, solar power might not be the greatest investment of time or money. If you live in New Mexico, it might be able to power your entire home. The U.S. Department of Energy makes this rather easy to figure out. Its solar energy potential map shows you year-round solar potential.

Even when you’ve figured out whether you live in a sunny area, you’re not done with the research. You’ll need to look into costs for both the equipment and the installation. In some areas, feed-in-tariffs will speed up the payback period for you because excess energy can be sold back to the power company or used to offset the need to buy electricity from your utility company.

These systems tie directly into the energy grid, and do not rely on battery banks. As such, they are not ideal for off-grid power generation, but they are good for supplemental energy purposes.

Get quotes from at least three different installers so that you have an idea about how much the market rates are for the setup you want. You’ll also need to figure out whether you want a system that will partially or fully offset your electricity use. A system that is designed as a replacement for utilities will generally cost more, because you’ll need more panels and a more robust system capable of powering your entire home.

 

 

Select A Good Area For Positioning

Before you buy anything, figure out where you will put them, and if your property is conducive to panels. Just because you live in a sunny geographical area doesn’t mean your property is conducive to generating solar energy. The best position for fixed panels will be north-facing. That’s because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, and you want the solar panels to be facing the sun as much as possible.

If you have panels that can move with the sun, then the position will be within a specific range as opposed to a set, fixed, position.

Choose a Good System

Certain energy related companies make commercial-grade solar energy equipment. In general, these types of companies will produce a high-quality product compared to consumer-grade companies. They also tend to cost more for the initial installation. However, that upfront cost is usually worth it if you plan on keeping your system for life.

Maintain Your System

Like any piece of technology, there are maintenance costs. The panels need to be cleaned from time to time, and possums and birds can damage the components, decreasing the efficacy or efficiency of the system, so that’s something to consider. Repair costs can be expensive too, if something does break. Ask installers and manufacturers about costs for replacement parts and tech service, as this will be part of the long-term costs of your system.

Barry Snyder is an energy researcher. When not putting hypotheses to the test, he greatly enjoys writing about the emerging research in the field. Visit the Infinite Energy website for more solar power ideas and information.

Solar power image via Shutterstock.

 

by Editor

Be A Mindful Camper

Some people like to spend their vacations in a luxurious spa with the AC blasting, a never ending buffet, and a chlorinated pool they never step into but instead just lie around. That’s good and fine, but many of us prefer a more back to nature approach to vacation, like camping. The experience of a good camping trip is incomparable.  Going to sleep under the stars and waking up to birds chirping and fresh air makes you really appreciate nature.

But appreciating nature doesn’t give campers a free pass to disrespect it. A lot of times when people go camping they forget that they are not the only things living there. When camping, it is important to be sustainable and limit your impact.  We need to respect nature if we want future generations to be able to experience it.

Here are some suggestions for limiting your impact while camping:

-          Do Not Feed the Bears, or any other wildlife for that matter. Follow the campgrounds/campsites guidelines for safe food storage. Not only can feeding wild animals bring danger to humans but animals stomachs are not designed for a bag of extra spicy cheetos or cool ranch Doritos.

-          Bring refillable water bottles. Instead of bringing dozens of plastic single serving bottles opt for reusable bottles and a large container of water to refill your bottles with.

-          Use Reusable Utensils.  Don’t rely on paper plates and plastic solo cups, bring your plates from home and wash them with biodegradable soap. Most campsites have “take out what you take in” policies, so bringing reusable supplies won’t require extra work.

-          Stick to the Paths.  Not only is it safer for your ankles to stick to the pre-designated paths but walking off the path can cause erosion. There is nothing lame about bringing a map!

-          Use a Tent Made From More Sustainable Materials. Purchase a tent that is less toxic and made PVC and Solvent Free with poles made from recyclable aluminum. When buying accessories look for products with a low carbon footprint.

-          Be Thoughtful About Where You Poop.  If you are staying at a campsite/campground without bathrooms, choose a ‘business’ site at least 200 feet from your campsite and water sources. Dig a 6 inch cat hole. When done, cover it.

-          Do Not Take Souvenirs.  Leave the flowers to pollinate and the berries for the birds.

-          Let  It Burn, Controlled. Minimize campfire impacts by avoiding bonfires.  Use pre existing fires pits when available, or create a low impact fire mount. Remember that “only you can prevent forest fires,  so make sure your fire is out before you leave.

Happy Camping!

sunset camping via shutterstock

 

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Mother Knows Best?

What makes the best mother? Is it a mother who is completely dedicated to her children and will defend them at all costs or one who is supportive, letting their children make their own decisions, even if they are mistakes?  The answer is not easy because there are all types of good mothers that share a mix of these qualities.  Unfortunately the answer is even harder when talking about the animal kingdom. For many animal mothers, rearing offspring can seem to be more about keeping the species strong, then being what a human would consider a good mother.

This brings me to the subject of bad mothering.  How can we determine what makes an animal a good parent if their unusual actions helps makes them a successful species. Acts that may seem atrocious to humans like infanticide or the mistreatment of unsuccessful offspring may be what makes their species successful.

None the less, as humans, we still consider their mothering practices as offensive. Here is a list of some of the most offensive yet interesting mothers in the animal kingdom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Hamster

Everyone’s favorite classroom pet  is well known for eating their babies. First-time hamster mothers will eat their babies if they feel intimated by the babies or if the babies are undersized/ abnormal.  Hamster owners are advised not to touch a hamster’s litter for the first two weeks or the mother hamster will eat or ignore her babies

Dracula Ant

Dracula ants practice “non-destructive cannibalism”.  The queen and her workers chew holes into larvae in order to feed on the haemolyph for its nutritional value.  Larvae act not only a potential next generation but also as a food source.

Giant Panda

It is common for panda to give birth to twins even if they only have the resources to take care of one.  In the wild the mother panda will ignore her weaker offspring in favor of taking care of the stronger one. Another murderous habit pandas have is they have been know for rolling over in their sleep and accidently crushing their babies who are only a fraction of the size as their mothers.

Black Bear

Black bear motherly habits are kind of the opposite of the pandas.  Black bears usually have litters of 2-3 cubs but mother bears prefer to raise multiple cubs at a time for economic reason, it’s just as easy to raise more than one.  If a black bear has a litter of only one cub she will abandon it and wait for the next year to raise a larger family.

Burying Beetle

Burying beetles raise their young inside dead mouse carcasses. They then eat the mouse and regurgitate it back to their larvae. There is usually not enough mouse to go around so only the first larvae to get the mothers attention get fed. The mother then eats her larvae that don’t get proper nutrition from her.

Horse

Male horses have been known to kick and kill foals that are not their own. In order to protect her foal when a mother horse realizes she is pregnant, she will have sex with all the stallions in order to confuse them as to who is the father. If she is unable to achieve this it is possible for her to have a spontaneous abortion.

Cuckoo Bird

Instead of raising their own chicks cuckoo birds lay their eggs in the nests of other unsuspecting species. The cuckoo chick will usually hatch earlier then the other birds eggs, hogging all the food and attention.

House Sparrow

Male house sparrows tend to have multiple families. In order to get the father sparrow to bring all his attention to her chicks mother sparrows have been known to kill the chicks of competing mothers.

Lions

When a pride of lions gets a new dominant male he will kill all lions under the age of two and chase off any other competition. Lionesses, unable to anything about it, go into heat.

Galapagos Shark

A mother Galapagos shark will eat anything she comes upon while looking for food, even if it is her own offspring.

Hamster Mom via Shutterstock

Pandas via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

The Impact Of A Great Divide

Often we forget the impact our political gestures have on wildlife. There have been many examples throughout history. One such example is the rabbit populations that lived predator free within the Berlin Wall. By living between the two sides of the Berlin wall, the rabbit population was protected from outside predators and populations grew exponentially. After the wall was taken down the rabbits had to relearn how to live without being “shielded” by German policy.

Walls and fences can disrupt migratory patterns, access to food resources, breeding diversity, and proper population control. The building of the Great Wall of China has lead to significant genetic differentiation among flora on either side of the wall. In India, a wall meant to protect Indians in the Kashmir Terror from Pakistani Guerillas interrupted migratory patterns of bears and leopards causing them to wander into villages and attack humans.

Recently our Affiliate Care2 wrote an article I found particularly interesting and wanted to present in the blog. The article was a list of animals whose populations would be greatly affected by a Mexican/American Border Fence.   While the building of a fence separating Mexico and the United States is a hot social and political issue, it will affect wildlife as well.

 

Pumas

Pumas require land to roam. The placement of a fence will greatly limit their range and most likely make them move to another area.

 

Coatis

Because Coatis are small, they are less likely to be able to remove themselves from a disturbed area like pumas. This may lead to diminished resources resulting in a possible population collapse.

 

Pygmy Owls

Pygmy Owls are low flying birds and do three quarters of their flying below the height of the proposed wall. Juvenile owls prefer colonizing areas with vegetation.

 

Big Horn Sheep

A fence would divide up the Big Horn population reduces genetic diversity. Isolated populations are more susceptible to disease and drought.

 

Bobcats

When bobcats’ territories are disturbed, they are likely to cross into zones more populated by humans where they are at risk of being hit by cars.

 

Great Wall of China via Shutterstock

Coati via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Let the Earth Day Festivities Begin!

This coming Tuesday, April 22nd, will be the 44th Annual Earth Day. During the premier Earth Day, in 1970, 20 million Americans participated by demonstrated against the deterioration of the environment leading to the creation of the EPA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.   Earth Day began in the United States but is now celebrated worldwide.  Though Earth Day is less than a week away it is not too late to attend a pre planned even or even start one of your own.

This year’s Earth Day theme is Green Citites. It is the hope that this year Earth Day will mobilize citizens to encourage their cities to make greener policies and decisions.

Below I have compiled a list of interesting events in a few major US Cities. If you do not see any local events below I suggest visiting Earthday.org and using the Events Tool Bar (find the local events search on the right). You can also join the Billion Acts of Green Campaign or Mobilize the Earth Campaign.

 1. Washington DC

This year Washington DC will celebrate Earth Day April 21 through 23 at Union Station. There will be a bunch of interactive activities and experiences in hopes to raise awareness of the environment. The event will be held by the Earth Day Network and sponsored by NASA.

Other Earth Day events in the Washington DC area include Earth Day at the National Zoo (April 22),  Earth Day at the United States Botanical Gardens (April 25)  Thee Green living Expo at George Mason University (April 26), and Earth  Day in Alexandria at Ben Brenman Park (April 26).

Also, Don’t forget to check out the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

2. Chicago

Friends of the Parks will be hosting a Parks and Preserves Cleanup in over 100 Chicago Parks on Saturday April 26 from 9 am until noon. To find the park nearest you go to http://www.earthdaychicago.com/ and click on “View Registered Sites”

3. New York City

Earth Day New York, a non profit, is holding exhibits April 22 at Union Square and April 23 and 24 at Grand Central Station.  Events will include Earth day crafts and a Green motor vehicle runway show. Earth Day New York

“The Green Festival” will take place at Pier 94 on April 26 and 27th . The Green Festival is the largest sustainability event in the world and includes an array of speakers and exhibits addressing fair trade, green business, jobs, food, social justice, and fashion. This year it will include a Yoga Pavilion and a Sustainable Beer and Wine Garden.

4. New Orleans

The New Orleans Earth Day Festival and Green Business Expo, organized by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, is taking place April 19 Louis Armstrong Park. This year’s festival theme is Go GreenArmy. Activities include bingo, solar powered daiquiris, interactive art, a second line, and lots of live music.

5. San Francisco

Earth Day San Francisco is scheduled to take place April 19 at Civic Center Plaza. There will be an electronic dance stage, a eco-fashion show, bike repair lessons,  artists from burning man, and cooking demonstrations, to name a few activities.

6. Austin, Texas

Austin Earth Day will take place April 26 at Mueller Hanger and give attendees the opportunity to listen to a range of speakers, participate in interactive community drumming, dance, and listen to great music.  Educational demonstrations for all ages will be available on topics like cooking, composting, and turning dumpsters into livable homes.

7. Philadelphia

On April 19 there will be the 33rd 5K Run for Clean Air. The Navy Yard will also holding education sessions for Earth on April 21 through April 25.

For more Earth Day Events Click Here or feel free to post your (or your city’s) events in the comments section.

Happy Earth Day!

hands with dirt via shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

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