I may not have lived through it, but I have definitely heard plenty of stories about the infamous decade of bell-bottoms, disco fever, and flower power. While concern for the planet definitely comes to mind when I think of hippie culture, until recently I wasn’t aware that the 1970s is considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement.
So while some men were putting on their three-piece suits and some women were aspiring to achieve the perfect “Farrah flip,” others, like Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, were looking to capitalize on the desire for social change. Nelson took a cue from anti-war protests and organized an environmental teach-in, thus establishing the first-ever Earth Day.
Decades later, Earth Day is an internationally celebrated holiday. As April 22 rolls around, here in Minnesota you will find a variety of ways to celebrate and learn how easy—and fun—it is being green.
Midtown Global Market (April 21): Here at this Minneapolis market you’ll find live music, demonstrations, and information tables all centered around the theme of providing “tools for a greener future.” Hungry? You can sample from a number of food vendors using zero waste, compostable serving ware.
Como Zoo’s Party for the Planet (April 20-22): With more than 1,000 animals and 10 gardens, there isn’t a better place to learn how to reduce home energy use while preserving habitats both near and far. Check out free educational activities, interactive games and crafts, meet plant and animal ambassadors, and learn why “it’s cool to conserve.”
Winona Earth Day (April 21): Head down the Mississippi River to Southeastern Minnesota and celebrate Earth Day amongst the picturesque bluffs of Winona. At Unity Park, you can walk through the farmer’s market, participate in a disc golf tournament, or listen to some live music. Other activities include an instrument petting zoo and various workshops.
Wishes for the Sky (April 22): Spend the day on Harriet Island in St. Paul celebrating spring and connecting with nature. Inspired by Asian traditions, attendees are invited to write wishes on a (free) kite and fly it. The contemporary art event also features music, sculpture, poetry, and an interactive sound collage.
Earth Day and Healthy Homes Event (April 19): At the Red Lake Casino Event Center, you can learn how to reduce your carbon footprint at home and on the go by visiting booths on topics such as healthy habits and homes, lifestyle choices, natural resources, and energy conservation. You can also trade in your plastic bags for reusable grocery bags and bring in your hazardous household wastes for proper disposal.
Wells Fargo Nature Center (April 21): Head to Lino Lakes for a “family earth day celebration” where you can scale a climbing wall, go canoeing, learn about native gardens, and create art projects. Local organizations and businesses will also be at the center for information and activities about earth-friendly practices and products.
Iron Range Earth Fest (April 21): Learn about how you can incorporate local traditions and new technological approaches to live sustainably. The fourth annual festival in Mountain Iron will feature youth activities, speakers, exhibits, demonstrations, vendors, local foods, and free electronic recycling. Speakers will discuss topics such as solar energy, wind generation, rainwater harvesting, green building, and container gardening.