Art from Scrap Competition at Earth Day 2016

In 2016, Earth Day The Hague has two themes: Less trash, more Beautiful City and Green Energy.

First, let’s talk trash. Our goal is to make the whole process of trash more transparent and, through a number of activities and workshops, explain the importance of buying and recycling mindfully. Here are some ideas we hope to incorporate: buying second hand and doing clothing exchanges; purchase (hopefully Fairtrade) items with minimal packaging or make your own products (home made soap anyone?); upcycle; use your plastic items at least twice before recycling, etc).

We are also inviting local elementary schools to participate in a school-wide contest to create Art from Scrap. Each school is then encouraged to choose their top winners and bring them to Earth Day 2016 where a panel of professional judges, from artists and gallery owners to environmentalists, will award the top projects. We are inspired by artist Merijn Tinga, a.k.a The Plastic Soup surfer. This piece, entitled The Plastic Capman can be seen at the Victor Laurentius Gallery in New Babylon.

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The Plastic Capman, by artist Merijn Tinga, also known as Plastic Soup Surfer. 

What happens when you throw your plastic bag in the recycling bin? Is it actually recycled or is it burned? Is it really better to recycle, or is just a gimmick of sorts? Well, according to this Upworthy article from 2014, every piece of plastic ever made still exists. That means, it never goes away; it only gets smaller and smaller. So what’s the point of recycling? Well, actually, “Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials.  If you throw that plastic bag on the sand and it ends up in the ocean, what happens to it? Who cleans it up? If you throw something away, what is away? Where does it actually go?

We have invited organizations like Seafirst Foundation, Gemeente Den Haag trash and recycling division, and more to help explain these things to us.

Our second theme is exploring renewable energy as well as energy-saving ideas for your home and office. Renewable energy companies are invited to showcase their products and energy experts invited to make green energy choices more understandable, or user-friendly.

The final line up of workshops and participants is still in the works, but you can get updates here or on our Facebook page.

Mind gardening for Earth Day The Hague 2016

This past Sunday, the Earth Day The Hague team met up at Fine Fresh Foods on the Korte Houtstraat in The Hague for a reunion lunch.

Fine Fresh Foods vegan sun dried tomato and beet burger.

Fine Fresh Foods vegan sun dried tomato and beet burger.

As we perused the menu with choices like sun-dried tomato and beet burger on gluten-free bread, goat cheese, honey and walnut salad, or ratatouille made of “forgotten vegetables” (not like forgotten in the bottom bin of the fridge, but forgotten as in vegetables that used to be common to the early Dutch menu, but are now largely unknown or forgotten), we reminisced over Earth Day The Hague 2015, reviewing what was successful in our eyes, and what could be improved.

Successes: The gardening and soils workshops, the art-from-scrap projects for kids, the eco-market and environmental non-profit presence, the musical performances, informative speakers, eco-art and crafts, the delicious food– in other words, just about everything. (I guess you can say our optimism is not a forgotten quality!)
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Room for Growth: Reaching more of you, finding more folks that want to volunteer on the day, and creating an environmental action for the day (plant a tree! Use a cloth bag! Sign the no TTIP petition, gorilla gardening, etc).

We spent the beautiful fall afternoon mind gardening (aka brainstorming) on how to make Earth Day The Hague 2016 even more fun, exciting and informative than last year, and the ideas were swirling around like autumn leaves–engaging, plentiful, brilliant, practical, each a promise of change.

Want to get involved? Let us know by leaving a comment to this post, or contacting us on Facebook. www.facebook.com/EarthdayNetherlands/

But there is one thing you can do right this instant: save the dates! Friday, April 22nd, 2016 (tentative evening program) and Saturday, April 23, 2016 (Earth Day festival with workshops, eco-shopping and food, valuable information and calls to action for the earth).