Despite the universality of living on Earth, the day we celebrate our home planet can be very complicated. Some see it as an opportunity to lobby, others to volunteer, many to conserve, and still more as an excuse to get out and enjoy nature. Not everything can be done in a day, but Earth Day is a great place to start. We've rounded up a few ways Austinites can celebrate an annual holiday that really deserves more press time than 24 hours.
While it is unclear — and hotly debated — how much consumer behavior affects climate change (i.e. what most people can control on a personal level), a 2021 survey by French company Ipsos reported that 41 percent of Americans changed the “products and services [they] buy or use, specifically out of concern about climate change." The report also placed a global average at 56 percent.
These numbers may reflect a good start (or a huge deficit, depending on how you look at them), but each human being is most effective in their own community. This Earth Day (officially Friday, April 22), Austinites can make a tangible difference through these three local groups and organizations. Consider walking, biking, taking the bus, or carpooling to one of these three events around town to address what happens to consumer goods at the ends of their life cycles.
Plogging with Outdoor Voices
This activewear company headquartered in Austin is famous nationwide for its rugged-but-fashionable performance wear and ethical company practices. Locals might also recognize the brand for its constant community programming, from workout classes to pop-up markets. On Friday, April 22, it’s helping the Rowing Dock with lake cleanup, and on Saturday, April 23, it’s offering a slightly higher impact exercise. “Plogging,” as the company has dubbed it, is a combination of jogging and picking up litter — a great way to get those endorphins flowing.
For one hour only, starting at 10 am at the store on Blanco Street, a guided jogging tour will take a route of 1-2 miles, armed with biodegradable trash bags and reusable gloves. Afterwards, Outdoor Voices will host a cool down with snacks, a chance to win its exercise dress, and free skincare wipes from Public Goods. RSVP at outdoorvoices.com.
Rowing Dock’s Kayak Crew
Most volunteer opportunities need people to volunteer from the goodness of their hearts, but this one draws them in with a free paddling ride. Every Saturday, this boat launch on Lady Bird Lake sends out a “Kayak Crew” on kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. The crew goes out equipped with bags, gloves, and grabbers to hunt for trash along the shores. This Friday, April 22, the regular cleanup event is supercharged with food and drink, T-shirts, a goodie bag, and prizes for exceptional achievements.
Crews are being launched from two locations, Rowing Dock and Epic SUP, at multiple time slots: between 8 am and 4 pm. And while online registration is currently closed for this one, the regular weekly events are always free and always helpful.
Future Front’s Earth Day Upcycling Party
Future Front, one of Austin’s most active progressive-event organizers, is hosting a pop-up market this weekend. For Earth Day, it’s teaming up with GOOD girls ATX, an organization that hosts clothing swaps, creates merchandise from secondhand clothing, and shares styling tips. This collaborative market only sells upcycled goods, so everything is new-ish, without introducing excessive new materials into consumers’ closets. Some garment-saving sellers attending are Sew Bad Sew Good, Flavors Creative, Soul Studio, and Feral Kinds.
Visitors can bring their own damaged or less-exciting clothes to an upcycling bar ($25 for labor and materials), with plant dying by Soul Studio and onsite screen printing by Goose Prints MFG. This new-to-you party saves clothing from landfill and runs Friday, April 22, from 6:30-9 pm at the Future Front TX Deck on Springdale Road.