It’s your day, earthlings!

It’s officially Earth Day, and in the spirit of Asheville, people have devised a variety of ways to celebrate.

Asheville’s Question Why Youth Empowerment Center, for instance, is hosting its first annual Earth Day Cigarette Butt Pick-up from 4 to 6 p.m. at Montford Park. The butt cleanup is being organized by Question Why coordinator Christine Laucher and local nonprofit Quality Forward. The United States accumulates 176,250,000 pounds of cigarette butts annually, according to a press release: The mostly nonbiodegradable remnants of some 470 billion smoked cigarettes. Much of that waste ends up discarded as litter in parks, along roadways, or along coastlines, where they leach trace amounts of toxic chemicals into the environment and pose a threat to animals if ingested. “It’s important to do a cigarette butt pick-up, because cigarettes are the most littered item in the world,” says Question Why Youth Leader Chelsea Kennedy, a high-school sophomore.

Quality Forward, of course, is hosting an Earth Day Concert in Asheville, featuring six bands, Asheville’s-own designer fashion show featuring recycled materials, a VIP reception offering sumptuous food, local beer and wine and an educational component to promote green practices and help preserve natural resources.

UNCA students are holding their own Earth Day shindig on the quad. From noon to 3 p.m., there will be environmental groups tabling, local politicians, music, and food and drink. The university bike shop will be doing free bike repairs throughout the day. At 8 p.m. there will be an outdoor showing of a film from the series Planet Earth.

There are a host of other down-to-earth workshops, events and more going on, too — too many to touch on in one post, in fact. Read about them here.

Meanwhile, upscale development firm Biltmore Farms has hatched an interesting plan to commemorate Earth Day. As part of yet another partnership with Quality Forward, the company is holding a “native plant rescue” at The Ramble, an upscale gated community under construction near Biltmore Forest. Two-thirds of the 1,000-acre property, which will feature luxury homes priced at from $1 milliion to $2 million, will eventually be cleared — but staff horticulturalist Amy Fahmy is bent on rescuing every last native botanical growing there naturally before the bulldozers have at it. The ferns, box huckleberry, partridgeberry, wild ginger, galax, pipsissewa, rattlesnake plantain, bellwort and other native treasures they dig up today will find new homes in the gardens of N.C. Seed Savers members.

Is saving plants from being demolished by your own operation a good way to celebrate Earth Day?

Well, everyone has to start somewhere.

— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor


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2 thoughts on “It’s your day, earthlings!

  1. Hmmm, that’s a good way to spin it Biltmore Farms. Let’s demolish the land, increase the gentrification and division of classes in the area, and destroy overall community by putting people behind gated ‘communities’ –

    But hey, we saved the native endangered and rare plants of our blessed mountain terrain – so it ain’t all bad.
    To be honest, it is the very least of the least they can do.

  2. theButtUglyguy

    Cigarette butts….yuck!!!!

    I’ve litterly picked up thousands of nasty little toxic bombs thinking that I was making a difference. In the process, we have had people flick cigarette butts from their car windows at our clean up crews as we were doing our well intended roadside deeds.

    I have learned that rather than spending time picking cigarette litter up, it a better use of time and money focusing energy on prevention and education!

    How about encouraging law enforcement to ‘enforce the litter laws’? By doing so the cost of enforcement would be paid for simply by enforcing what existing laws are already in place.

    Although the efforts of the Youth Empowerment Center is greatly appreciated, addressing cigarette litter habits have greater potential than picking up someone littered butts. Truthfully, by next week the cigarette butts will return…

    Check out the following video. We are looking for contributors to our cause…

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