City-wide Earth Day events encourage reducing waste

Columnist Marisa Steinberg offers advice on the various places to celebrate Earth Day without draining natural resources. Had society developed according to my plan, community farms would overtake this city instead of vacant lots. Whoever

marisa steinbergColumnist Marisa Steinberg offers advice on the various places to celebrate Earth Day without draining natural resources.

Had society developed according to my plan, community farms would overtake this city instead of vacant lots. Whoever suggested bottling and selling water would have been promptly, yet politely, excused from that business meeting and from offering any input on matters regarding the environment ever again. The word “smog” would still exist, but instead of denoting harmful pollution, it would be short for something delightful like, say, “smirking dog?” Farfetched, yes, but for Earth Day an environmentally conscious girl can dream, right?

The entire world population can’t all live on farm co-ops and commute by bicycle, I suppose. However, Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, always provides me with a glimmer of hope that civilization might shift in line with my eco-friendly daydream. At the very least, it encourages a ton of awesome events in and near Philly to get people focused on going green.

The best place to celebrate Earth Day is outdoors, obviously. People should take a break from refreshing their Instagram feeds and visit one of the many educational festivals going on in the coming days. Join friends at Ambler Campus for the 10th annual EarthFest on April 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The outdoor celebration will feature dozens of exhibitors including the Philadelphia Zoo, the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

While in Ambler’s neck of the woods, check out its arboretum filled with lush green spaces, like a sustainable wetland garden and green roof. All those aromatic flowers will clear noses of the unpleasant scents that all too often ooze from the Philly sewer grates. Visit during the week to catch a free bus to Ambler that departs from 12th Street and Polett Walk.

For some Earth Day celebrations closer to Main Campus, check out the fourth annual Earth Day Festival and Flea Market at Clark Park in West Philly. On Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can stroll through the park to learn about a variety of sustainable topics like environmental justice and how to start a community garden. Don’t forget to peruse the flea market for some sweet secondhand clothing, jewelry and records.

Another great way to say “I love you” to Mother Nature on her special day is by properly disposing of all that potentially toxic electronic junk piling up in your desk drawer. The sustainability organization Green in Chestnut Hill is holding a “Weird Waste Day” on April 21, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Norwood Academy in Germantown. Use this as an opportunity to recycle those unfortunate electronics that met their untimely fate after some sticky party foul or a lapse in your depth perception.

Also, for those lucky enough to have time to kill around lunch on Fridays to attend WXPN’s forever-entertaining Free at Noon concerts, eForce Compliance will be collecting electronic waste at this Friday, April 20, event. Now, if you happen to spend Friday’s at noon chained to – or sleeping on – your desk, drop off your unwanted electronics for free during the entire month at eForce Compliance’s offices at 3114 Grays Ferry Ave.

Although at this point in the semester it may seem physically impossible to do any additional learning outside mandatory classes, there are a bunch of Earth Day classes and workshops going on that you should save some brain cells for. If, like me, you have yet to bring your bike to Philly for fear of crossing paths with crazy aggressive drivers, a random horse or ATV cruising down Broad Street, a quick overview of the rules of the road can be a great confidence booster.

Bike Temple is sponsoring a short workshop on urban riding tomorrow, April 18, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. at 1810 Liacouras Walk. To get a little more green in your life, register for City Planter’s how-to on making terrariums on April 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can feel a little closer to nature, even seven stories up in Johnson and Hardwick residence halls, by building your own eye-catching arrangement of plants in a glass container.

If you’d rather spend your Earth Day hibernating indoors recovering from Spring Fling, maintaining the little eco-friendly tips I’ve been offering all semester should suffice as a proper celebration. You know them by now: unplug your laptop charger before heading out to classes for the day, invest in a reusable coffee mug to score awesome java discounts, embrace the dirt-cheap world of thrift shopping, buy local whenever possible and always reject plastic bags.

Actually, I think that would be the final aspect of my green dream world: Toss whoever suggested plastic bags out with the bottled water guy, too.

Marisa Steinberg can be reached at


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