Going Green: Asheville Community to Celebrate Earth Day

Asheville invites residents to celebrate Earth Day this Saturday, April 22, with a variety of events, volunteer opportunities, and programs across the city.

Created as a grassroots educational movement in 1970 following an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, Earth Day has become a day of action for more than 1 billion people across the globe; the day promotes education, inspiration, and advocacy for environmental protection and preservation.

To celebrate Earth Day this year, Asheville will offer an all-inclusive round-up of events, ranging from festivals and concerts to demonstrations, workshops, and video screenings throughout the weekend.

The WNC Sierra Club and Creation Care Alliance of WNC will be hosting a free viewing of “Before the Flood” – a documentary film narrated by U.N. Ambassador for climate change, Leonardo DiCaprio — on Friday, April 21, at 7 p.m. the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 1 Edwin Place.

“[The film follows] Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels around the globe to witness, first-hand, the effects of climate change and what can be done to solve the problems through interviews with global leaders such as Pope Francis and former President Obama,” said Scott Hardin-Nieri, Director of the Creation Care Alliance of WNC.

For families, the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) will offer a day of hands-on science and educational activities, free of charge, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 22.

“Beginning at 10 a.m., Buncombe County Public Schools will be hosting ‘Rachel Carson Bingo!’ in the AMOS STEM lab. At 2 p.m. the University of North Carolina-Asheville (UNCA) Chemistry Club will be leading live demonstrations with hands-on chemistry activities. Also at 2 p.m., the Asheville Radio Museum will host fun interactive activities that explore radio waves, as well as interesting items on display,” said Corey Van Auken of AMOS. “As always, AMOS will have their Hall of Mineral scavenger hunt available, as well as their maker machines, dinosaur fossil dig, and interactive panorama.”

In addition to AMOS’s events, UNCA will be hosting the fourth Annual Mindfulness Festival — its largest zero-waste, solar-powered event — on campus from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 22.

“The Mindfulness Festival is a student-run event, built as a platform for cultivating community empowerment through mindfulness practices and environmental stewardship. This year, the event takes place on Earth Day, April 22, which has further emphasized the environmental aspect of the festivities,” said Lyric Antio, Lead Coordinator. “[There will be] an abundance of interactive workshops, yoga classes, massages, musical performances, and unstructured play areas [with a] keynote address featuring Megan Toben — owner of Pickard’s Mountain Eco-Institute in Chapel Hill — speaking on mindful ecology and the importance of mending the relationship between humans and the Earth.”

The Mindfulness Festival is free to the publi and will feature 30 local vendor booths, a charity raffle benefiting Green Opportunities, and food for purchase from The Real Food Truck, Cecilia’s Kitchen, the Hop Ice cream, and Silvermoon Chocolate.

The weekend will culminate in an Earth Day Vigil, hosted by Creation Care Alliance of WNC, to be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Pritchard Park on Sunday, April 23. 

The Earth Day Vigil will be celebrated with song, reflection and messages of inspiration from local faith and community organizations and leaders including Rabbi Justin Goldstein of Congregation Beth Israel, Rev. Shannon Spencer of the Asheville Poverty Initiative, Rev. Steve Runholt of Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church, Tyrone Greenlee, Director of Christians for a United Community, Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri, director of the Creation Care Alliance of WNC, Rev. Howard Hanger of Jubilee! Community, Rev. Samantha Gonzales-Block and youth of the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Poetry will be recited by Abbey Ende and Claire Grady from Asheville High School.

For more information on Earth Day events visit exploreasheville.com, or:

Asheville Museum of Science: http://ashevillescience.org/events/

Creation Care Alliance of WNC: https://www.creationcarealliance.org/about1

Mindfulness Festival: mindfulnessfestival.org

By Whitney Cooper