Honor and Connect with the Earth, and Each Other, on Earth Day
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Earth Day, April 22, is the only yearly U.S. holiday the Earth gets, but as many people have pointed out, when you live on this planet, every day is Earth Day. Before white settler colonialists came, the Seattle area was an important ecosystem, home to the Coast Salish peoples, who are still here and have taken care of the lands, watersheds, and local ecosystems since time immemorial. Today, as we assess the impacts of colonization and its displacement or erasure of Indigenous peoples, it becomes evident that environmental degradation and the climate change crisis are interconnected with systemic oppression, racism, and poverty.
South Seattle in particular bears the brunt of the area’s environmental pollution, whether from airport emissions or the toxic industrial waste that permanently damaged the Duwamish River (Dxwdəw).
But the story doesn’t end there. At the local level there’s a number of organizations and individuals working at the intersections of climate and social justice, BIPOC land ownership, and general conservation and restoration efforts. Read on for a listing of some Earth Day events on the South End, from film screenings and walking tours to educational activities and community cleanups.
Check out our Emerald Guides to Reducing Your Carbon Footprint on the South End. For reflections by Nia Tero, an organization that promotes Indigenous guardianship of the Earth, read their Seedcast essays. For more volunteer cleanup opportunities around the Duwamish watershed, visit Duwamish Alive! Coalition.
Know of something that should be on our list? Send us an email at Community@SeattleEmerald.org.
“Earth Deserves More Than A Day”
Rainier Avenue Radio
4916 Rainier Ave. S, Seattle
A week of Earth Day and environmental programming is happening now at Rainier Avenue Radio in the historic Columbia City Theater. From screenings of films like The Doctrine of Recovery to community mixers and talks like “The Intersection of Black Liberation and Environmental Justice,” this series illuminates the efforts by frontline communities to honor and defend Earth. “Earth Deserves More Than A Day” is presented in partnership with Front and Centered, Rainier Avenue Radio, and The Social Justice Film Institute. All events are free, and most can be viewed afterward on YouTube or Facebook, although some require an RSVP. Head to the official website for more information.
Free Compost Giveaway
South Seattle College West Seattle Campus
6000 16th Ave. SW, Seattle
April 22, 9 a.m.–12 p.m
Seattle Public Utilities, ECOSS, and Lenz Enterprises are teaming up to give away compost for your garden needs. Bring a bucket and a shovel to collect your free ½ yard of compost on Earth Day.
Black Earth Day
715 Yesler Way, Seattle
April 22, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
The Black Farmers Collective is hosting Black Earth Day at Yes Farms on April 22, centering Blackness and connection to the Earth. This family-friendly event features music, workshops, kids’ activities, food and drinks, free plant starts, and more.
High Point Earth Day Festival
High Point Commons Park
3201 SW Graham St., Seattle
April 22, 1–3 p.m.
Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting this mini Earth Day festival at High Point Commons Park. This free family-friendly event includes arts, games, and educational activities.
Earth Day Day of Service
Mapes Creek Walkway, Seattle
April 22, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Mapes Creek Walkway is more than just a pedestrian path in Rainier Beach, it’s an important habitat for salmon going to Lake Washington. For Earth Day, volunteers will refresh Mapes Creek with mulch and add new tree rings for some trees along the street. The cleanup is in partnership with Rainier Beach Action Coalition, Serve Ethiopia, Green Seattle Partnership, and The Mission Continues. Volunteers will meet at the walkway entrance across from Rainier Beach High School and next to Planet Fitness. Email Ali.Lakehart@Seattle.gov with questions or for more info. Free snacks and lunch will be provided.
Earth Day Tours of Duwamish River People’s Park and Shoreline Habitat
April 22, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Take a free guided walking tour of the Duwamish River People’s Park and Shoreline Habitat presented by Port of Seattle staff on Earth Day. Learn how these areas have transformed from an industrial site to wildlife habitat sites. Walking tours are 30–40 minutes long and interested participants must RSVP in advance at DRCH@PortSeattle.org.
Earth Month Park Cleanup
12010 71st Ave. S, Skyway
April 29, 9 a.m.–12 p.m.
Facilitated by West Hill Action Mob and King County Parks, this Earth Month edition of their quarterly cleanup events is in need of volunteers. The 23-acre Skyway Park is home to three wetlands and the headwaters of Taylor Creek, a salmon gateway to Lake Washington. Register to volunteer at the official King County TreePlotter website.
This article is funded in part by an Environmental Justice Fund (EJ Fund) grant through the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE).
Mark Van Streefkerk is a South Seattle-based journalist, freelance writer, and the Emerald’s Arts, Culture, & Community editor. He often writes about restaurants, LGBTQ+ topics, and more. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter at @VanStreefkerk.
📸 Featured Image: Participants on a walking tour of the Duwamish River People’s Park. (Photo courtesy of the Port of Seattle.)
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