Get ready for Vancouver's annual Earth Day celebrations, including a fun parade on Commercial Drive

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      On this upcoming weekend, it's easy to pick the liveliest and most planet-friendly event in Vancouver.

      Take public transit, ride your bike, or walk—but don’t you dare get in your car—to the always joyful annual Earth Day Parade and Festival on Commercial Drive.

      Reusable water bottles, environmentally friendly costumes, and cameras are recommended for all.

      The event brings green-minded students and adults together, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday (April 20) at Commercial Drive and East Broadway. From there, a colourful, zany, and sign-filled procession heads north to Grandview Park, where educators and performers will keep the crowd entertained.

      This event was launched back in 2011 by young environmentalists with the help of the Wilderness Committee. And it’s still going strong eight years later, thanks to the continued involvement of the Wilderness Committee, with assistance from, Youth for Climate Justice Now, Recycling Alternative, Britannia Community Services Centre, Windermere Leadership, and the Vancouver School Board.

      Swedish teenage environmental leader Greta Thunberg may be capturing headlines around the world, but at this event you’ll discover that we have more than our share of young climate heroes here in Vancouver.

      Hugh Boyd students have made big plans for Earth Day.

      Hugh Boyd students organize for Earth Day

      This has been a year in which secondary students have really stepped up their climate activism, including through school strikes inspired by Thunberg in Sweden.

      On Earth Day, the students at Hugh Boyd secondary have made big plans to draw attention to the future of humanity on Earth.

      On Thursday (April 18), they and the staff will be wearing a green shirt and blue jeans. There's an Earth Day mural in the lounge, which is collecting messages, images and symbols from students about environmental protection.

      There's also a bake sale to benefit the World Wildlife Foundation, as well as an hour without power from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday.

      Michael Taylor's Grade 12 social justice students have even teamed up with a company called Rice Straw Technologies, which is supplying 200 biodegradable, compostable, rice-based straws for a bubble-tea sale on Thursday. Once again, the proceeds will go to the World Wildlife Foundation.

      Dixon elementary students joined social-justice students at Hugh Boyd for a clean-up of the school grounds earlier this week.

      5 other Earth Day events in the region

      Earth Day falls on Monday (April 22), so celebrations are taking place over the next two weekends.

      Here are five other events in Metro Vancouver planned for later this month:

      1. The Stanley Park Ecology Society is waiting until the following Saturday (April 27) for its Earth Day Celebration. From 12 to 4 p.m., it will host heron colony walks, Indigenous plant use walks, restoration site tours, invasive plant pulls, ivy weaving workshops, and, yes, cookies.

      2. Surfrider Vancouver plans its annual Earth Day clean-up of Wreck Beach on  April 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at Trail 6, 6572 Northwest Marine Drive.

      3. The Wesbrook Community Centre (3335 Webber Lane on the UBC Point Grey campus) will be the site of an Earth Day event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 27. It includes a clothing-repair workshop, a seed exchange and seed-saving workshop, a recycling drive, and free drinks for those who "BYOM" (bring your own mug). The event is organized by the University Neighbourhoods Association.

      4. Earth Day at Everett Crowley Park runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 27, courtesy of the River District and Everett Crowley Park Committee. Young and old residents of South Vancouver will gather to plant native flowering shrubs, create "seed bombs" for beets and butterflies, and enjoy nature walks.

      5. The annual Earth Day Pilgrimage in Burns Bog takes place on Sunday (April 28). Guest speakers from the Burns Bog Conservation Society will educate people about the Delta Nature Reserve, which is also known as the "lungs of the Lower Mainland". There will also be Indigenous music, snacks, and beverages.

      At the first Commercial Drive Earth Day parade, students created this message for the adults who were ruling the world at that time.
      Charlie Smith