Earth Day weekend: Not just another marketing opportunity

Earth Day

weekend is upon us.  I can tell because my email inbox is jammed with pitches for "green" products and corporate campaigns: Clothing made from recycled plastic bottles; natural skin care products; hybrid auto accessories, even pet waste collection bags.


Marketing has its place, I suppose. But in keeping with the origins of Earth Day, there are plenty of opportunities to demonstrate concern about the state of our planet and community, without having to buy stuff. Here are some:

is holding a week's worth of activities from April 21 to April 28 in celebration of Earth Day. On Saturday, there'll be tree plantings and other activities in the morning, followed by EcoFest at

Druid Hill

Park from noon to 5 p.m. Gardening workshops, hikes and walks, bike rides, entertainment and a tree giveaway.

Also on Saturday it's the 1


, which mobilizes community groups across the city to clean out clogged storm drains and collect trash from gutters and vacant lots. More than 200 community groups and 5,800 volunteers have registered to participate. The deadline to sign up is past, but city residents should check with their neighborhood association to see if a cleanup is planned nearby they can jo

in. If nothing else, join Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at 10 a.m. at
1501 N. Bethel Stree, one of the formerly trash-strewn vacant lots converted to community open space under a new city initiative

Out in Frostburg, you can learn about healthy streams, creepy crawly insects, and "blind"


at a free open house at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's

. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday. 301 Braddock Road, 1/4 mile north of exit 33 on Interstate 68.  For more information, contact Heather Johnson at 301-689-7111.

On Saturday and Sunday (which is "officially" Earth Day), the

National Aquarium

is holding an eco fair and conducting an electronics recycling drive. On Sunday, they're offering free bicycle tuneups and giving away trees to plants as well.  Details


On Sunday, there's a "Mobilize the Earth" rally on the National Mall in DC, featuring music from

Cheap Trick


Dave Mason

, Kicking Daisies and The Explorers Club, speakers such as


Administrator Lisa Jackson,

Rev. Jesse Jackson

, Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli, politicians and others. Tens of thousands are expected to show to listen to the music, speechmaking and walk around the EcoVillage. Noon to 7 p.m. Details


If you just can't make those, or group activities are not your thing, of course, you can always conduct your own independent, ad hoc celebration of the earth by taking a hike in a nearby park, cleaning up litter in your neighborhood, or planting trees or gardens.  Happy Earth Day!