The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Our Earth Day celebrations will look much different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic than in the past as we continue to stay home, stay safe and save lives. Much has been accomplished over the last 50 years, and new generations of thought leaders continue to address our environmental issues. (Fun fact and local ties: the idea for a nationwide day of events that became Earth Day was first announced at a conference in Seattle in 1969, and original organizer Denis Hayes was a Washington native.)
Even though there won’t be group events on the Olympic Peninsula this year, there are still many ways to honor the tremendous progress we’ve made over the decades to improve air quality, protect our water resources and save land. This year some ways we’ll honor the day will be virtual, noted below, and some simply by acknowledging the excellent work being done to help protect our planet here on the peninsula.
Take a virtual tour of Olympic National Park
Although our parks and trails are currently closed, this week is National Parks Week and you are invited to take a virtual field trip of Olympic National Park, provided by Washington’s National Park Fund. Additionally, previous virtual tours of Washington national parks are archived here.
More virtual celebrations and at-home activities
Join a virtual Earth Day musical for the whole family from noon to 1 pm April 22 as Finnriver Farm & Cidery, located in Chimacum, features live music with Elle Bella Bee and the Pollinators, a two-bees musical. To join, go to Finnriver’s virtual gathering space called the Incider Space on their Facebook page.
The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center has launched a virtual exhibit in commemoration of Earth Day. Earth: An Abstract features 50 abstract artworks that reference the natural world. This is a celebration of the earth’s beauty and diversity, exploring the fascinating science of nature and addressing the environment’s very real vulnerability.
Check out the North Olympic Salmon Coalition’s virtual bingo game for all ages that is played at home. The bingo board has environmental actions you can take part in, like “Make a spring bouquet,” or “Remove an invasive plant from your yard.” LEARN MORE
Since April is also Keep America Beautiful Month, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is offering a “Backyard Edition” of activities you can do at home this month to reduce your family’s single-use footprint. LEARN MORE
Take the “Planet Pledge”
Join the project to help reduce waste at local businesses and promote more ecologically positive practices for recycling and composting. Because the human impacts on our ecosystems are getting increasingly problematic, a coalition of local organizations have initiated the “Planet Pledge” to support our community in implementing best practices. TAKE THE PLEDGE
Jefferson County International Airport, just outside of Port Townsend, became Washington’s first solar-powered airport with the help of a group of investors. The Port of Port Townsend created a large solar array located at the airport that feeds enough power back into the grid to illuminate the beacon and all navigational aids, like the runway lights. It’s great to see a government harnessing the power of the sun to accommodate critical infrastructure to provide renewable energy.
In July 2019, Finnriver Cidery installed an expandable, grid-tied 65-kilowatt system using 212 solar panels. After one year in service, the solar panels have produced around 74,500 kwh, which is enough electricity to cover almost 80% of Finnriver’s portion of electricity use at the Cider Garden property. LEARN MORE
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Sequim is the Pacific Northwest’s only solar-powered hotel and conference center. Installed in 2010, their solar panels provide 17% of their electricity or 11,000 kw hours per year. This has given them the GreenLeaders Bronze level, along with their ENERGY STAR windows, compostable dishware, energy-efficient light bulbs and their rooftop garden designed with local plants. In 2019, they switched from using high waste small amenity bottles to a bulk, refillable service, and they also offer eight Tesla super charging stations.
Electric vehicle charging stations on the Olympic Peninsula
Looking to travel by electric vehicle and wondering where to charge it when it’s safe to visit the Olympic Peninsula again? For a searchable map of EV charging stations, go to PlugShare.com.
Recycling and technology
From its state-of-the-art facility in Port Angeles, the Composites Recycling Technology Center is developing and demonstrating new technology to convert carbon fiber scrap material into value-added consumer and industrial products. A few of these include park and transit-stop benches for Clallam County, a carbon fiber pickleball paddle and other high-end sporting goods. LEARN MORE
The Elwha Dam RV Park, just outside Port Angeles, has a vegetable garden that uses recycled water from their aquarium. All the water gets filtered through in a circular manner, so no water is wasted. They grow enough vegetables for the entire park to eat from while visitors are there.
Did you know Port Townsend’s Northwest Maritime Center was the first LEED Gold building on the Olympic Peninsula? It was built to minimize impact on the environment, lower operating costs, reduce energy and water use, improve indoor environmental quality and make more efficient use of materials and resources. LEARN MORE
Even though the spring Coast Cleanup has been canceled, Washington CoastSavers plans to continue with the 2020 International Coastal Cleanup on September 19. Registrations open this summer. LEARN MORE about what you can do year-round to help protect our fragile marine environments.
This year celebrate Earth Day differently—from home and virtually. Think about ways you can help to save the planet right where you live by appreciating nature on a walk or in your backyard, not littering and helping with Climate Action, this year’s theme for Earth Day.