On April 22, 1970, when millions of people around the world took to the streets to protest the adverse effects of 150+ years of industrial development—like smog, a decline in biodiversity and a direct relationship between air pollution and developmental delays in young children—a new movement was born: Earth Day. To honor this date, more than 1 billion people in 192 countries, including major political and religious leaders (like the Pope!), come together every year to honor Planet Earth with what is now the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
This year, the theme for Earth Day 2019 is “Protect Our Species.” It was chosen because, due to humanity’s effect on climate change, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since the dinosaur age 60+ million years ago. Continuing the charge for a healthy planet, cities all over the world celebrate Earth Day with large-scale initiatives, festivals, concerts, expos and more.
Here are how some of our favorite U.S. destinations are spreading the 2019 Earth Day message this year:
Friday, April 26th to Sunday, April 28th
Driving distance from Virgin Hotel Dallas: 10 minutes
Did you know the largest environmental festival in the world happens every year, in Dallas? Taking over the city’s Fair Park, this fun-filled and educational weekend is part festival, part expo, part conference and part film festival. Car aficionados can set up shop at the EarthxAutoShow, where top “green” automobile producers will be on hand displaying the latest eco-friendly cars, like hybrids, zero-emission cars, electric automobiles and more. Kids can learn about the importance of recycling at the Art 4 Dumpsters station, where they can use blank garbage dumpsters as a literal paint canvas. 400+ speakers and panelists will lead public discussions and TED talk-style presentations about sustainability, and share perceptions about different innovations coming on to the “green” market, how we can be eco-friendlier at home and more. If you’re a tech-wiz, join the 24-hour EarthxHack codefest competition and prove how we can use technology to fight environmental issues. Have fun learning about trees in Tree World, the benefits of hemp in the Hemp Pavilion or learn how to make “seed balls” using seeds, compost and clay. Go scuba diving with master divers, feast on bites from different food trucks, listen to live music, see a movie at the film festival, attend a gala, join a community cycling ride, watch a solar-powered car race or roam through the Tesla Car Club Exhibit. There will be so much to do at Earthx 2019 that you’ll wish you had more than three days to do it.
Earthx 2019 is open to the public. Admission to the general expo, conference and festival is FREE if you register online in advance and $5 at the door. Individual tickets for movies, the gala and special events are priced separately here. Fair Park is located at 3921 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. This event will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Virgin Hotel Dallas is slated to open in 2019.
NEW ORLEANS, LA
Earth Day at New Orleans Botanical Garden
Tuesday, April 16th
Driving distance from Virgin Hotel New Orleans: 15 minutes
Every year, right before Earth Day, New Orleans reminds travelers and residents alike why this holiday—and the world we live in—are important. Designed to teach locals how to foster a better relationship with Planet Earth, this festival offers educational exhibits and activities for kids, free meditation classes, live acoustic music by The Necessary Gentlemen, cooking demonstrations, good food, crafting booths and more. Through this annual afternoon, attendees learn how to lead an eco-friendlier lifestyle from the experts themselves.
Earth Day at New Orleans Botanical Garden is free and open to the public, though donations are encouraged. New Orleans Botanical Gardens is located at 5 Victory Avenue. This event will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Virgin Hotel New Orleans is slated to open in 2021.
Earth Day SF
Saturday, April 20th
Driving distance from Virgin Hotel San Francisco: 8 minutes
This Earth Day don’t miss the festivities in The City by the Bay! Created to motivate the public to incorporate sustainability into their everyday lives, this hip, annual event has everything from organic and vegan chef demos, eco-friendly fashion shows, renowned speakers and activists, to innovative products, live bands, artists, craftspeople and a bevy of non-profit organizations with powerful messages about Mother Nature and sustainability. This year’s emcee will be none other than Jessica Jane Robinson, author of Resilience Birthright—a comic about a superhero who fights climate change. She will introduce speakers like acclaimed author and cosmetic safety leader, Stacy Malkan, and environmental justice activist, MonaLisa Wallace, while local bands like Pamela Parker and the Fantastic Machine, Katdelic and Kevin Lash keep the party going all day long.
Earth Day SF is free and open to the public. This event will take place on Valencia Street, between 19th and 20th Street, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Looking for a place to stay? The newly-opened Virgin Hotel San Francisco is located at 250 4th Street.
17th Annual Nashville Earth Day Festival
Saturday, April 20th
Driving distance from Virgin Hotel Nashville: 10 minutes
Even on Earth Day, you better believe a place like Nashville is going to celebrate with a little live music. Kicking off at 11 a.m. at Centennial Park, the 17th Annual Nashville Earth Day Festival will feature live performances from Nashville’s own Sam Bush Band, a world percussion band, a children’s music program from Rock and Roll Playhouse, and a dance performance that mixes African, Latin, Polynesian and Flamenco dance styles. In addition to the music—which will be hosted by WRLT Lightning 100, Nashville’s longest-running independent radio station—attendees can enjoy 100+ “green” exhibits, family-friendly booths, hands-on activities and “KidsVille,” for the younger environmentalists. Don’t forget to browse the goods at Green Market, which sells environmentally-friendly and locally-made items like food, wine, beer, clothing and more. Recycling and disposal drop-off stations will collect unused or expired pharmaceuticals, paper, art supplies, tools, office tools, fabric and more, capping off a fun-filled day that reminds Nashvillians how to “live green.”
The 17th Annual Nashville Earth Day Festival is free and open to the public. Centennial Park is located at 2500 West End Avenue. This event will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Virgin Hotel Nashville is slated to open in 2020.
Saturday, April 20th
Driving distance from Virgin Hotel Las Vegas: 20 minutes
VEGAS, BABY! Now going ten years strong, GREENFest is how Sin City strives to make a change: with a fun-filled weekend festival that brings together southern Nevada’s top sustainability activists and organizations. Taking over Downtown Summerlin, this free event promises fun for all ages. Grab a beer from the Beer & Wine garden and peruse the 100+ vendors and interactive displays, arts and crafts booths and conservation exhibits, or take the kids to the dedicated “Kidz Zone,” watch live bands and performing artists, see a gardening demo, wander through the onsite farmer’s market or hop on the GREENFest Treasure Hunt and see what prizes you find. If you have a hybrid, battery-powered or electric vehicle, join the Drive Clean Energy Las Vegas procession of bikes, cars, e-scooters, motorcycles and more. The entire festival is solar powered, and because pretty much anything goes in Vegas, you can even stop by just to adopt a dog.
GREENFest 2019 is free and open to the public. Downtown Summerlin is located at 1980 Festival Plaza Drive. This event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Virgin Hotel Las Vegas is slated to open in 2020.
Writer: Jennifer Agress