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Celebrating Earth Day

Go green this weekend with local family friendly Earth Day events.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, 
nothing is going to get better. It's not.”  — "The Lorax" 1971, Dr. Seuss

This Sunday is Earth Day, an internationally celebrated day for environmental awareness and activism started in San Francisco in 1970 by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.  

Residing in Alexandria presents both benefits and challenges for green living.

On the downside, we live a stone’s throw from a major airport, have nationally ranked traffic congestion and, , are home to GenOn Potomac River Generating Station, which wreaks havoc on our air quality. Area runoff results in a dirty Potomac River, and metro-area living lends itself to both noise and light pollution. 

On the upside, living in the D.C. area gives us access to more advocacy and activism resources than most other areas of the country. We have an improving public transportation system, a healthy market for green businesses (check out this listing of 16 D.C.-area businesses and groups named Green Heroes), a wealth of local parks and trails to enjoy, and a local government that keeps environmental welfare on its action list.

In honor of Earth Day, the Alexandria will host the 19th Annual Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration at Ben Brenman Park Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Events will include a “Trashion Show” by local public schools, an Arbor Day tree sale, games, educational displays and live-animal encounters. 

Other Earth Day weekend events:

  • Saturday:
  • Sunday:
    • Mobilize the Earth Sunday: Earth Day on the National Mall, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Performers will include Cheap Trick, Dave Mason, The Explorers Club and Kicking Daisies. Speakers will include EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli, Indy Car driver Leilani Münter and various senior government representatives.
    • Eco Art and Design Depot, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 3401 Water St. NW in Georgetown. This “flash” exhibition, hosted by Benevolent Media and SCRAP DC, will feature artists, vendors and interactive workshops to inspire “creative reuse” and sustainable living.
    • Earth Day at the National Zoo, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This free event will have green-themed crafts, games and educational displays, and special opportunities for children to make plant pots and garden journals at the kids’ farm.
    • Earth Day: A Family Celebration at Tudor Place, 1 to 3 p.m. The historic Georgetown home will have games, a scavenger hunt, flower-pot painting, seed planting and eco-friendly refreshments. 

If you want to get involved but can’t participate in an event, have no worries. Take this weekend to take one step, no matter how big or small, toward reducing your footprint. 

Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents, and turn off lights and unplug appliances when they’re not needed. Leave your car at home and bike to work (or just for fun!) using our area’s network of trails and bike lanes. Skip the paper or plastic, and tote your groceries home in your own reusable sacks. Or improve your health and save money while reducing your carbon footprint by jumping on the Meatless Monday bandwagon! 

To encourage your budding environmentalists, read Dr. Seuss’s book "The Lorax" or watch Pixar's "WALL-E" or the documentary "Earth" by Disney Nature and then discuss the importance of being green. Also, check out the EPA’s list of eco-focused children’s books or the Mother Nature Network’s Top 10 Eco-Movies for Kids.  

For great Earth Day crafts, homemade gifts and kid-friendly recipes, check out these ideas by mom-bloggers Tip Junkie or Secrets of a Super Mommy.  

Finally, Earth Day is a day to creatively think about ways to minimize our impact on the planet.  Every little effort counts.  If you have a good idea, share it here!

Do you have a neighborhood Earth Day event to share?  What are your conservation ideas? Tell us in the comments.

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