Everything you need to know about the St. Louis Earth Day festivities in 2021

Earth Day in St. Louis is a spring rite and a sight to behold. 40,000 people gather on the grounds of The Muny in Forest Park – or at least it was a pre-pandemic. Like last year, the pandemic has drastically changed festival schedules for Earth Day celebrations this month. Here’s what you need to know:

• Instead of gathering in one place for a few daysThe festival is now a month-long collection of virtual and socially distant personal events revolving around the theme of “Days of Resilience”. There will be online panels, addresses, screenings and performances, but the focus has shifted to safe hands-on programming.

• “A central part of our activities this year are the days of action for environmental justice.” says the managing director of earthday365, Dr. Jess Watson. “This is a way for people to get off their computers and learn about a church that is very close to their home but that they may not have gone to.” not the one-time volunteering days. “We’re focusing on this month,” says Watson, “but it will happen this year and next.”

• New this year is the Green Dining Week from April 16th to 25th. During these 10 days, 20 percent of the proceeds from selected restaurants of the Green Dining Alliance will go to earthday365. GDA-certified restaurants are committed to sustainable practices, a particularly current problem with the use of Styrofoam and disposable cutlery in times of increasing roadside and take-away service.

• The festival is in partnership with the Missouri Historical Society’s Global Freshwaters Summit from April 19-23. A robust online speaker series ends with a keynote address by architect and sustainability expert Mary Ann Lazarus, followed by a performance by the Consuming Kinetics Dance Company on April 23 at 3 p.m.

• You can also register voluntarily and impact some of the toughest barriers to sustainability. Among the volunteer opportunities, you can join a COVID-safe group of masked and socially distant volunteers:

  • April 10: Prepare the garden for growth at the North County Agricultural Education Center.
  • April 18: Participate in the cleaning and restoration of trash at O’Fallon Park, along with a presentation on environmental justice
  • April 24th: Cleaning up Dutchtown, meeting of the volunteers at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center in Marquette Park
  • As part of a food waste disposal program, you can take compostable food waste to the Tower Grove or Ferguson farmers markets to keep it away from the landfill where methane gas is produced rather than enriching the soil. You can also register as a volunteer at the drop-off points.

• If you miss the swag that comes from attending in personDon’t worry: you can sign up to receive a free Earth Day Celebration Kit with loads of goodies such as packets of heirloom seeds from Baker Creek, eco-friendly LED light bulbs and a collapsible metal straw. “There are a lot of fun ways to connect,” says Watson.

• The full schedule can be found here.

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