For Leanne Koehn, when it comes to the whole point of celebrating Earth Day and what she hopes people take away from the yearly event is a concept rooted in basic economics.
You either pay a little now to avoid a much larger bill down the road.
But either way, it’s going to cost you, and for Koehn, the Maple Ridge Earth Day coordinator, the price of waiting is just too high.
“Everybody is an environmentalist, to some degree,” said Koehn, whose full-time job is the community engagement officer for the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society. “Everybody wants clean air. Everybody wants safe food to eat, and everybody wants clean water to drink. So if you want clean air, water and healthy food, you’re an environmentalist.”
It only makes sense, to her, to do your part when it comes to protecting the planet. She said it’s simply a lifestyle choice that doesn’t necessarily mean a higher cost of living.
“People think that to live a lifestyle that has a less impact in the world is more difficult or is more costly. But really, the rewards are much better because you go back to working with your community, or getting out in nature more, and those benefits are so valuable.”
That is the approach Koehn and the rest of the committee take when it comes to celebrating Earth Day.
Maple Ridge is invited to gather at Memorial Peace Park on Saturday, April 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the annual event, with its “Water, Water, Everywhere” theme.
Koehn thinks people have grown numb to the dire warning message surrounding the environment. So this year’s Earth Day celebration is about celebrating one of B.C.’s most abundant and highly sought after commodities – fresh, clean water.
“The goal, ultimately, it to make them think about water in all aspects of their lives. Here in B.C., we have an abundance of water and so many people here have memories associated with it.”
Koehn said she had a creek running through her yard growing up and that she was always playing in it and looking at the animals. And on those hot, sunny days, she and her family would pack up and go swimming at Alouette or Whonnock lake.
So this Earth Day, the goal is to get the community to start putting more thought into the one resource many take for granted.
“I think it’s because we have so much of it. We have these expectations. But, really, in a lot of other countries, they just don’t have that luxury.”
This year’s Earth Day will feature a number of local artists gathering in the park.
Local artist in residence Kat Wahamma will perform her specially crafter piece Water Body for the event, and visual artist Robi Smith will help people take recycled items and turn them into pieces that will be displayed during the event.
As well as arts and crafts, this year’s event will feature a special Haney Farmer’s Market and for the first time, a food truck festival. Koehn said all the vendors have agreed to provide a limited amount of $5 plates.
Plus there will be water play stations for the kids where they can build eco systems.
Koehn said by shifting each years focus onto a different them is what keeps the event fresh.
“It just a great way to get out and celebrate your community. Water is such an important issue and we hope people have fun and at the same time make it part of their every day decisions.”
Earth Day activities:
• Freecycle – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greg Moore Youth Centre, around the corner from the ACT. Pick up gently used books, toys and clothing.
“This is a 100 per cent free exchange. We will be collecting and giving away gently used books, toys, and clothing,” said Freecycle coordinator Tanis Green.
People are welcome to bring their gently used toys, books and clothing to the Freecycle at the Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 18, but there are earlier drop-off options as well. Several schools have donation bins to collect items for Freecycle, as well as participating local businesses, such as Monkey Business and Green Plant Care, and the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.
There will be a drop-off event the day before the Earth Day celebration, on Friday, April 17 from 4 to 7 p.m. in front of the ACT Theatre.
For more information or to volunteer at the Freecycle, email email@example.com.
• The Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Chapter of HUB Cycling is back with its fourth edition of Cycle Recycle. The group has collected close to 20 bikes that they have helped restore and will be given away in a draw at Earth Day.
• The Haney Farmer’s Market will be back this year, with vendors offering great fresh produce and foods, artisan crafts and handmade goods. Don’t miss this special first market of the year before they officially open for the season on May 9.
• For the first time at Earth Day, there will be a Food Truck Festival, featuring a number of different vendors. Come and try a $5 sample from each truck before they run out.
• Children’s activities: storytime, facepainting, crafts, and songs.
• Earth Day poetry and photo contests: The winners of each contest will be sharing their work on this year’s Earth Day event theme, “Water, Water, Everywhere.” Winning photos will be displayed at the event and winning poets will be reading their poems at the welcoming ceremony. The deadline for entries in the poetry competition has been extended to April 12. The deadline is 3 p.m. People can submit their poems online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earth Day acts:
Along with a host of other interesting activities, there are two entertainment stages.
ACT Stage, with host Pam Burns:
• 11:30 a.m. – Shades of Green;
• 12 p.m. – Etienne Siew;
• 12:15 p.m. – Shanel;
• 12:30 p.m. – Anita;
• 1 p.m. – Esther;
• 1:15 p.m. – Aaron Caden Darren;
• 1:30 p.m.- Kat Wahamaa.
Variete d’Arts Band Stand Stage – with host Chris Horne
• 11:30 a.m. – Ron;
• 12 p.m. – Kat Wahamaa and Tony Rees;
• 12:15 p.m. – The Basement Sweets;
• 12:30 p.m. – Shades of Green;
• 1 p.m. – Anita Jacobsen;
• 1:15 p.m. – Etienne Siew;
• 1:30 p.m. – Band for Good.
For more information about Maple Ridge’s Earth Day, visit http://rmrecycling.org/community/celebrate-earth-day-maple-ridge.