Participants in the Toyota Green Initiative at the Blodgett Urban Garden at TSU in 2017
Participants in the Toyota Green Initiative at the Blodgett Urban Garden at TSU in 2017. Credit: Aswad Walker

Earth Day 2023 is Saturday, April 22, but the city of Houston has Earth Day events happening all week.

But first, what is Earth Day?

Earth Day is …

Earth Day is an annual day held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, Earth Day now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EARTHDAY.ORG including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. The official theme for Earth Day 2023 is “Invest in Our Planet.”

Some cities have begun celebrating Earth Week in their locales, and it seems like H-Town is moving in that direction.

Earth Day in Houston

Case in point, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is inviting everyone to celebrate Earth Day HTX, the largest Earth Day event ever presented by the City of Houston. An environmentally-focused speaker series has been taking place April 17-18, with Earth Day HTX culminating with an outdoor interactive festival at City Hall on April 19 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. “The Earth Day HTX Festival will feature citywide accomplishments like advances in recycling, water conservation, and solar technology, plus hands-on activities such as a tour of a tiny house, a stroll through a simulated forest, and an electric vehicle ride and drive. The outdoor event will also have food, performances, musical guests, and giveaways,” read a statement released by the Mayor’s Office.

But wait, there’s more.

Discovery Green Conservancy®, in partnership with Citizens Environmental Coalition has announced this year’s Green Mountain Energy Earth Day, combined with the popular Houston Public Works’ Water Works Festival. This free event will take place on Saturday, April 22, from noon–5 p.m. and feature live music, performances, interactive exhibits and more. “Since the park opened in 2008, Discovery Green has committed to the highest standards of sustainability in its design and operations. Green Mountain Energy is Discovery Green’s official green energy provider, powering the park with 100% renewable energy.

Customers of Green Mountain Energy have collectively helped avoid 100 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, and the impact is the equivalent of planting more than 12 million new trees. Discovery Green is LEED certified at the Gold Level by the U.S. Green Building Council,” said a statement release by Discovery Green ahead of their April 22 event. This year’s Green Mountain Energy Earth Day is themed around one of the most vital natural resources, water. It features the popular Houston Public Works Water Works Festival with the goal of highlighting one of the central environmental issues that affects all Houstonians. The proper care and management of Houston’s water is vital for the city’s future.

The Water Works Festival will bring its interactive exhibits to educate families about water as an essential resource. Houstonians can expect family-friendly performances, live music, crafts, and activities. The event will also feature a bike valet service and an electric vehicle petting zoo with the world’s first electric vehicle, the Mars Rover. Visitors will enjoy a Magpies and Peacocks fashion exhibit made from Trash Recycled materials, Mad Science demonstrations, photo opportunities and chalk painting.

Other speakers include environmental justice activist Hilton Kelley, Space City Weather journalist, Eric Berger and others.

“Green Mountain Energy celebrates Earth Day every day, but April provides an especially great opportunity to raise awareness for taking care of our planet,” said Mark Parsons, Green Mountain Energy vice president. “Joining forces with Discovery Green for this tradition of family fun allows us to continue our sustainability work in the community and reinforce our commitment to providing 100% renewable energy to power the park.” This free event will be zero-waste, and patrons are encouraged to bring refillable water bottles and utensils; exhibitors will ensure waste is minimized by only providing reusable or compostable items.

Karla Aguilar, development director at National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures and an Indigenous Peoples activist believes Blacks and all people of color should recognize there is tremendous power in all of us being able to connect with the source of all life and strength in nature.

“She (Earth) is the source of tremendous teachings and guidance from the ancestors wound into the regenerative soil the deeply rooted trees,” Aguilar said. “It is our very disconnection from nature that keeps us divided from each other as people because we instead look at the world from a colonizers lens rather than the one of our ancestral lineages – whom virtually all had land-based spiritual practices.”

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Aswad WalkerAssociate Editor

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...