In a region brimming with edgy eco-conscious types such as cyclists, locavores, organic growers and even straight-up tree huggers, some folks still wait until Earth Day to give the environment even a passing thought. But in ardently green Western North Carolina, Earth Day is typically an action-packed affair, so we’ve devoted extra ink to spotlighting upcoming events held to celebrate a planet that we just couldn’t live without.
• Rockers and minerals: Local gems will hit the Orange Peel’s stage Tuesday, April 22, for Quality Forward’s Earth Day Asheville 2008. Aaron LaFalce, Brushfire Stankgrass, Ruby Slippers, Jazz The Ripper, Snake Oil Medicine Show and Chris Cates & the Master Plan will all grace the stage; there’ll also be a fashion show featuring designer recycled threads. Doors open at 7 p.m.; cost is $10 at the door. (For details, see “The Green Party” elsewhere in this issue.)
• Natural habitat: Build It Naturally, a natural-building-supply center at 76 Biltmore Ave., will host an Earth Day celebration Tuesday, April 22, from 3 to 8 p.m. as a prelude to Quality Forward’s Orange Peel bash. Circle of Song—featuring Jenny Greer, Pierce Edens, David Earl Tomlinson, Oso Rey, Moses Atwood and Brian McGee—will perform, along with Ensemble Djembeso, a local African drum-and-dance group. Circus acts, juggling, balloon making and unicycle riding will add to the fun. Workshops and demonstrations on low-impact living will be presented by representatives from Build It Naturally, Blue Moon Water, RiverLink, FLS Energy, the WNC Green Building Council, the Canary Coalition and more. There’ll be a seedling exchange for gardeners, and a raffle for a solar hot-water system donated by FLS Energy, on behalf of the Evergreen Community Charter School. Seven-Star Inc., the “green event experts,” will be on hand to ensure that waste generated by this celebration is diverted from the landfill.
• It takes an (eco) village: Greenlife Grocery will host a free event at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Asheville to “promote environmental citizenship and year-round progressive action.” An “expansive eco-village” will feature booths for environmentally friendly businesses and vendors of handmade-crafts. In addition, there’ll be educational speakers and performances by jazz group Porter Batiste and Stolz, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Asheville Horns, Shining Rock, Boo Ray, Grand Pappy & the Brutha Ship, Mother Song and Mayan Dancing Group. The event, which will go from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, is free, and will include activities for kids.
• The birds and the beats: Bicycles will be in high rotation Sunday, April 20, at the Cathedral of All Souls Earth Day event, sponsored by Quality Forward. The family-friendly affair on the lawn of the Biltmore Village church will feature a bike rodeo, food, live music, a plant sale, live birds of prey, crafts made of recycled materials, plus green games and exhibits. The free event runs from 12:30 to 4 p.m.
• Be square now: UNC-Asheville students will hold Earth Day on the Quad Tuesday, April 22, at UNCA from 12 to 3 p.m. In addition to music, food and drink, and environmental groups doling out green info, the campus bike shop will do free repairs throughout the day. At 12:30, there’ll be a lecture on Colony Collapse Disorder—a mysterious illness that’s killing bees—and the day’s activities will end with an outdoor screening of a film from the Planet Earth series at 8 p.m.
• The incredible edible landscape: A sustainable-agriculture workshop will be held at the Long Branch Environmental Education Center in Sandy Mush, about 18 miles northwest of Asheville. “Earth Day is Every Day: Permaculture Design and Edible Landscaping” will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22. The ecological sanctuary and land trust occupies more than 1,600 acres in Buncombe County’s Newfound Mountains. For more information, call 683-3662 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Homeward bound: Cyclists are gearing up for the annual Beating the Bounds bike ride, a 64-mile workout that begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 20 at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. Riders may join in or stop off at various points throughout the ride, which encircles Asheville, traveling to the city limits in all directions. “At each boundary, riders will gather and raise a ruckus,” says event organizer Robbie Sweetser. “Beating the bounds is an ancient tradition to bless fields and crops, to emphasize village boundaries, and simply to bring the people of a community together.” Timed to coincide with Earth Day and the annual Strive Not to Drive campaign, the ride—free and open to all experienced cyclists—is being led by the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club. No registration is required. All riders are encouraged to bring noisemakers and wear festive costumes.
• Rush of inspiration: RiverLink received more than 300 entries for its second annual Earth Day River Art and Writing Contest, which targeted youth from kindergarten through 12th grade. Contest winners are on display through Sunday, May 4, at the Pack Place Community Gallery, and honorable mentions will be on display at the Orange Peel during the Earth Day event (see “Rockers and Minerals” above).
• Treaty for a small planet: While not billed as an Earth Day event, an upcoming lecture by Leonard Bernstein titled “Climate Change: Negotiating a Post-Kyoto Agreement” is timely and relevant. Presented as the John and Hazel Fobes Memorial Lecture by the United Nations Association USA, Bernstein’s talk will cover what is required to respond to the threat of climate change, while giving an overview of climate negotiations since 1990. Bernstein recently completed work with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which he and a group of scientists received a Nobel Prize. The lecture, free and open to the public, will take place Thursday, April 24, in UNCA’s Owen Conference Center, starting at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.