Pathways to a Better Normal is the theme of this years Earth Day event in Maple Ridge, the first in-person celebration since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme was chosen to encourage people to take small, simple steps toward a world they want to create, said Leanne Koehn, with the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society.
“The idea for ‘Pathways to a Better Normal’ had been in my head for a while,” said Koehn, noting that many people want to start doing something that will make their lives and the planet better – but don’t know where to start.
“The reality is that our community is full of people who follow their beliefs and values to build community and sustainability and they are more than happy to share their knowledge and skills,” explained Koehn. “Coming out of the pandemic, the theme just seemed to fit for people who are looking for direction and guidance.”
This years festival will include lots of the popular free events of the past like the Family Freecycle, Cycle Recycle Bike Draw, and a Repair Cafe. There will also be tons of crafts and entertainment, interactive booths, flash mobs, an electric vehicle display, a Food Truck festival, and lots more.
In addition, a special Haney Farmers Market will be taking place.
Currently donations of gently used books, toys, and clothing are being collected for the Family Freecycle. A drop-off event is being held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, April 22 – the evening before Earth Day. Items can be dropped off in front of the ACT Arts Centre.
All items will then be sorted into sizes and categories and put out on tables at the Leisure Centre for Earth Day where anyone will be welcome to pick out what they would like and take the items home for free.
“We live in an abundant society – most people have too much ‘stuff’ and are more than happy to give it away,” said Koehn, who is hoping people will take the opportunity to declutter their homes and then find something new at the event.
On Earth Day, members of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association will be on hand to teach people about the different types of electric vehicles – even giving demonstrations.
Volunteers will be ready at the bandstand for the Repair Cafe, to help repair or give advice on repairs for everyday broken household items including sewing, small electrical items, carpentry, jewellery, or bike repair needs. Glue, tape, tools, sewing machines and equipment will be available to use. There will also be a Tinkerbell station where children can get hands-on experience with tools as they take stuff apart and learn how everything works.
The local HUB Cycling group will be holding a free free bike draw at the Cycle Recycle event. The group collects secondhand bikes and fixes them up for the draw.
More than 30 vendors will be on site for a special farmers market before the regular season begins in May.
And food trucks will also be on site, including Hunger Management, to offer tasty lunch and dessert options.
Koehn is looking forward to seeing the community gathered once again and to having a good time.
“I have seen so few people in person during the last two years and I think we underestimate the positive impact just seeing a friendly face can have,” remarked Koehn.
The event will be a chance to check in with friends and acquaintances, she added, and reassure one another after the difficulties and limbo of the past two years, and start to look forward again.
“We can start planning the future again with a little more certainty. We can invite people out to lunch,” she said.
Earth Day celebrations will be taking place in Memorial Peace Park, along 224 Street between Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road, from 10-2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.
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