If you've ever felt guilty about the number of bags on the curb come trash day, the amount of water it takes to keep the lawn looking green, or how your electricity bill spikes during the summer, then you've already taken the first step toward a zero waste footprint.
Where there's a will, there's a way, and eco-savvy folks will be on hand April 14 for Green Mountain Energy Earth Day, with information about recycling, rainwater harvesting and solar energy. Earth Day at Discovery Green is one of many citywide events and is presented by Citizens' Environmental Coalition in partnership with Green Mountain Energy.
The environment is a serious subject — CEC has been fielding tons of calls from people concerned about the ITC fires in Deer Park — but organizers have managed to introduce a bit of fun to the Earth Day festivities.
"For example we will have an activity called Pitch the Poop for kids," says Rachel Powers, CEC's executive director and managing editor, though she assures us that the dog mess in need of pick-up is actually made from Play-Doh.
"It should be fun. We’ll have the electric car petting zoo with several cars on display," says Powers. "I know that Magpies & Peacocks will have a bunch of kids' opportunities related to fashion; they use reused and repurposed material and they’ll have textile recycling materials."
Visitors can test their knowledge with trivia contests; look inside a giant METRO bus, a mobile air quality van, and a tiny house; and ogle an art car that has been decorated with plastic pollution. A foodie farmer's market managed by Urban Harvest, live acoustic music, and short Earth Talks round out the event.
It's not easy to go zero waste, but every step in that direction helps, including learning the five Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, rot and recycle. Powers says it's a goal for the Earth Day festivities, too.
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"We're working towards having a zero waste event where we divert 90 percent of the waste generated, by weight, to composting, recycling and other means. It was 70 percent last year; we'll hit 80 percent this year," says Powers, who says that vendors at the farmer's market will be introducing more compostable food containers.
"We’re working with a bunch of partners: BCycle will be there; they are providing a code so you can have free rides on BCycles that day. BikeHouston will be hosting a Bike Valet for people that want to ride their own bikes. It's very accessible by METRO bus; the Greenlink provides free rides from downtown Houston," says Powers, adding that there is free street parking on Sundays at metered spaces.
Earth Day is scheduled for April 14 at noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney and Avenida Houston, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. For information, visit discoverygreen.com/earthday. Free.
Discovery Green's Earth Day is one of many Earth Day events taking place citywide; view more opportunities at earthdayhouston.org/events.