Credit: iStock / Renee Lee

Want to celebrate a meaningful day: one that doesn’t require shopping, cooking an elaborate meal or hanging out with weird relatives? Earth Day might be the right celebration for you (although I must admit a bias for the chocolate holidays).

The origins of the day harks back to the early days of the environmental movement—when forward thinking US senator, Gaylord Nelson thought the state of our environment should be a political issue. His belief took a few years to gather steam—but on April 22, 1970, grassroots environmental organizations from across the US came together in a day of education and celebration.

Canada joined the movement in a big way in 1990—and these days about 6 million Canadians join people from 170 countries and celebrate our planet. The idea for the celebrations is to do something positive (eating organic chocolate sort of counts) or learn something new. To find an activity in your region check Earth Day Canada’s website.

Here are a few local Vancouver-area events to check out:

Evergreen’s Earth Day – Saturday, April 18

“Celebrate nature in the city at Evergreen’s 9th Annual Earth Day celebration.” Together with the Jericho Stewardship Group people will come together and plant 4,000 native trees and plants in Jericho Beach Park (west side). They will also have a First Nations drum group, strorytelling, a canoe blessing ceremony, and dancers.

Earth Day at Metropolis at Metrotown – Saturday April 18

From 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. the Grand Court of Metropolis at Metrotown shopping centre, “will be transformed into an artist fair showcasing designers and craft specialists that use recycled materials to create new and beautiful items. This interactive event will show how the many things people often throw away can be reused, recycled and recreated into unique, useful items.” (For a sneak preview of what to expect at this cool event, check out crafter Andrea Tucker’s guest blog –Eds.)

Richmond – Saturday April 18

Join community members in cleaning up East Richmond´s Cambie Community from noon to 3 p.m.

Surrey’s Celebration – Saturday April 18

The City of Surrey offers 10 reasons to celebrate Earth Day in Bear Creek Park from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The free event includes live music, story times, face painting, costume parades, and environmental displays.

Earth Day Rally – April 22

Join Green Party leaders and Granville blogger Emily Jubenvill on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Earth Day from noon until 1:00pm for a rousing rally.

Earth Day at Everett Crowley Park – April 25

Everett Crowley Park was once a landfill and now it’s a park—how cool is that? Head out to this park between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the celebration.

Wildlife Rescue Association’s Earth Fest – April 26

The WRA will host an event at the Burnaby Lake Rowing Pavillion from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. They will have community exhibits, wildlife releases, you can build nest boxes, and take part in other family-friendly activities.

If I missed an event that you want to include or attend an event and want to tell us how awesome it was—comment away!