Earth Day comes this year as more relaxed public health guidelines have brought an increase in in-person public events. The shift offers the chance for the community to gather for the first time in two years to raise awareness about climate change and promote sustainability measures.
The goal of Earth Day couldn't be more serious, but in addition to information and inspiration for those looking to help mitigate climate change, many events offer fun ways to learn about tools that make less of an impact on the environment, from electric leaf blower bowling at Atherton's Earth Day festival to electric vehicle test drives at several different events.
Here's our guide to Earth Day festivals, rallies, tours, films and more. Unless otherwise noted, events are free.
Festivals and events
We Love Earth Festival Visitors can learn about creating a climate-friendly home, sustainable eating, electric transportation, and local and state climate advocacy. The festival also features art projects and live animal encounters. Hosted by the city of Menlo Park.
When: April 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Flood Park, 215 Bay Road, Menlo Park
Project Green Home Tour To celebrate ProjectGreenHome.org's curbside charger having given away 200,000 miles of free electric vehicle (EV) charging, the owners of Project Green Home host a party with a chance to talk with EV owners, potentially test drive EVs and try cooking on an induction stove. The event also includes tours of the all-electric, passive, low-water-use, net-zero, LEED platinum home.
When: April 16, noon-3 p.m.
Where: Project Green Home, 314 Stanford Ave., Palo Alto.
Shoreway Environmental Center Tours RethinkWaste holds in-person tours of the Shoreway Environmental Center to celebrate Earth Month. Hour-long tours provide an inside look at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and Transfer Station. Tour guides will also answer questions about hard-to-recycle items.
When: April 16, tours at 10 a.m. and noon (10 a.m. tour fully booked).
Where: 333 Shoreway Road, San Carlos.
Seeds and Seedlings Swap The Friends of the Redwood City Public Library host this outdoor event where visitors can share, take and start seedlings for summer vegetable crops and also find supplies and tips for starting a variety of seeds from the library's Seed Library.
When: April 16, 10 a.m.-noon
Where: Downtown Redwood City Library, 1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.
Palo Alto Climate Cafe Climate Cafes are supportive meetups where participants can discuss their experience of climate change and listen to the experiences of others. Held outdoors with masking.
When: April 16, 2 p.m.
Where: 1899 Park Blvd., Palo Alto
Big Banks: Divest From Fossil Fuels Citizens from South Bay and Peninsula Jewish communities lead a rally at Lytton Plaza and then will walk to local banks, asking them to stop supporting fossil fuel pipelines and other infrastructure. Hosted by local Dayenu Circles.
When: April 20, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Lytton Plaza, 200 University Ave., Palo Alto
'Story of Stuff' Virtual Screening and Panel Rethink Waste hosts a virtual viewing party of the short film "The Story of Stuff," followed by a discussion and Q&A with a panel of experts who will share ideas on how to collectively work toward a more sustainable and equitable world.
When: April 21, 5 p.m.
March and Rally for Our Earth Bay Area students will lead a bike caravan to a rally with speakers Rep. Anna Eshoo, Assemblymember Marc Berman, Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt and other environmental leaders and musicians, including the Raging Grannies. Following the rally, students will lead a march around and back to King Plaza, where environmental organizations will have information tables and participants can hang their Earth Day pledges on a "pledge tree." Sponsored by the city of Palo Alto and Peninsula environmental agencies.
When: April 22, 4-6 p.m.
Where: King Plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto.
Foothill College Earth Day "Celebrate Our Changing Earth: Dimensions of Restorative Action" is the theme for this in-person and online event organized by Foothill's Science Learning Institute in partnership with NASA-AMES and featuring speakers on topics that include how scientists look at the Earth, managing humans' impact on the planet and citizen science at NASA.
When: April 22, 1-4 p.m.
Where: Online and at Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills
Palo Alto Earth Day Fair Palo Alto Youth Council hosts an event with information about electrification, climate anxiety and more. Activities include painting pots, planting succulents, and writing climate pledges to add to a community tree.
When: April 23, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Mitchell Park Bowl, 600 E. Meadow Drive, Palo Alto
Atherton Earth Day Festival The Atherton Environmental Programs Committee hosts an event with electric leaf blower bowling; an environmental vendor fair; an art exhibit by climate artist Sukey Bryan, local artists and students; kids' activities, an electric vehicle showcase; e-bike test drives, food, music and speakers that include Rep. Anna Eshoo and SFO Director of Sustainability Erin Cooke.
When: April 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Holbrook Palmer Park, 150 Watkins Ave., Atherton
Mountain View Earth Day Celebration The city of Mountain View hosts an event with presentations from groups such as Recology and Silicon Valley Clean Energy, plus a variety of sustainability booths and the opportunity to test drive an electric vehicle (EV) and speak with EV experts. Food trucks will serve a free vegetarian/vegan lunch for the first 215 people who check in.
When: April 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Mountain View Senior Center, 266 Escuela Ave., Mountain View.
Earth Day on the Bay The Marine Science Institute’s Earth Day celebration includes exploring the Bay aboard a marine science vessel, activities along the shoreline and live music. Registration required; admission varies per activity.
When: April 23 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Marine Science Institute, 500 Discovery Parkway, Redwood City.
Cost: Bay exploration $30 per person; shoreside activities $20 per family.
Plant Exchange The Mountain View Public Library invites community members to trade extra plants from their gardens. All types of plants are welcome, including seedlings, cuttings, houseplants, plants in containers, as well as shrubs and small trees. Identification tags or labels encouraged.
When: April 23, 1-3 p.m.
Where: Bookmobile Garage behind Mountain View Library, 585 Franklin St, Mountain View.
Wild & Scenic Film Festival Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen) co-host this festival showcasing environmental and adventure short films. Viewers can also learn more about the work of POST and Midpen.
When: April 23, 7 p.m. to April 29, 11:59 p.m.
Native Plant Society Wildflower Show "Community Science" is the theme of this show held by the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society and featuring hundreds of species of wildflowers and native plants from Santa Clara, San Mateo and surrounding counties. The show also includes flowers from native plant gardens and experts will be on hand to answer questions.
When: April 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Hidden Villa, 26870 Moody Road Los Altos Hills.
Earth Day Feast and Faire Valley Presbyterian Church's Earth Care Team hosts a food-focused event with a tasting menu of plant-forward dishes. Plus, information about sustainable appliances, such as induction cooktops, photovoltaic systems and heat pumps. Embarcadero Media blogger Sherry Listgarten speaks at 10:45 a.m. during the service preceding the faire.
When: April 24, noon-2 p.m.
Where: Valley Presbyterian Church, Valley Presbyterian Church, 945 Portola Road, Portola Valley.