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BC’s Largest Earth Day Celebration Kicks Off The 2017 Festival Season in Surrey

On Saturday our family went to the ‘Party for the Planet’, BC’s largest Earth Day celebration at the Surrey City Hall Plaza. This was an all ages free event organized by the City of Surrey offering a wide variety of activities, informative programs and entertainment. There was something for everyone ranging from the tree tips at the BC Plant Health Care booth, the Regeneration Light bulb Recycle Zone to the stories at the Eco dome and the Nature Play booth spreading awareness about natural surroundings through kids crafts. “These events remind of simple ways to connect with the earth, to experience nature and thus learn to value and conserve it too” were the words of one participant at the event who did not wish to be named.

Our first stop was at the ‘Metro Vancouver Region Parks’ booth where my daughter met a salmon fish! Lisa, Park Interpreter at Metro Vancouver informed us that Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system covers over 14,000 ha of protected land and welcomes millions of visitors annually. “This year is the Regional Parks’ 50th anniversary. People get to enjoy the parks, go on trails and hikes, and connect with our environment” said Lisa. Surrey residents can visit the Tynehead regional park and there is a special event coming up on May 13th at this park to mark the Salmon Send-Off

The ‘Sustainable Tiny House’ set up by the BC Tiny House Collective attracted my attention. The little house on display was made from recycled materials sourced at construction sites. Apparently this house belongs to Samantha Gambling the co-founder of the Tiny House Collective and she had opened it up for visitors on this day to highlight the advantages of a smaller footprint. Her house is ten feet wide, 22 long, on wheels and 320 square feet.

This was a unique and powerful way to promote creative alternative housing options and get us all to think about our living spaces in the context of climate change and rising costs.“The concept of Tiny living is to promote a more affordable and sustainable way to live.

You can also customize how these houses are built for accessibility and personal preference” said Stephanie Groz, a volunteer with the Collective. “And of course it takes less time to clean and less energy to heat” she added.

That definitely had an extra appeal! Perhaps embracing such small homes and the simple lifestyle will also encourage people to increasingly make use of communal spaces for a more social life too rather than being at home alone in the company of their numerous electronic devices.

Meanwhile the boys had headed straight to check out the electric car on display at the ‘Emotive’ stall. “We are here to promote electric vehicles as a viable alternative now for people looking to buy a car. You can go for 150 km in this car for as little as $2” explained Brendon James of the Emotive Campaign displaying a electric Kia car costing $35,000 for a basic model. The electric vehicles are currently free to recharge at various municipal or BC Hydro set up stations in the city. At such stations It takes 30 minutes to charge 80% of the battery which is optimum. The car can also be charged using a standard 110V or 220V plug in at home overnight. As part of this outreach campaign the provincial government is incentivizing potential buyers of an electric vehicle with grants up to $5,000.

My children were fascinated with the acts of children’s artists like Dustin Anderson aka the purple pirate more so than the main stage featuring crowd pulling local artists such as Juno Award-nominated Shawn Hook , vocalist Adam Robert Thomas and many more. Indeed the list of who’s who was never ending. For our family shaking hands with BC Plant’s Ladybug mascot was the high point of the trip!

Our last stop was at the ‘Environmental Extravaganza’ to learn about some of the hundreds of free nature related events they are running from April 22 to June 11 including guided explorations of Surrey’s scenic parks and shorelines, tree planting celebrations and park clean-up parties, environmental workshops, nature story times at your local Surrey Library branch and many more! So the celebration continues.

Asmita Lawrence
Asmita has been blogging for several years about food security, travels, faith, arts and culture. She enjoys community reporting to participate in the local conversation. She founded ‘Culture Chats’ promoting social connections through shared interests in literary and other arts. Asmita has over ten years’ experience in marketing and communications. Her professional interests include business strategy and relations, research and community development. Her family and two little ones are the center of her world.

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