Ucluelet Aquarium volunteer Pat Sieber shows off an arrangement of plastic-free products. The bamboo toothbrush she holds is made from 100 per cent plant based material. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Earth Day 2018 focuses on ending plastic pollution

“Choose one easily changeable plastic item that you can work to eliminate from your day-to-day life.”

While some say every day is Earth Day, in actuality, Sunday, April 22 marks the official celebration of the world’s largest environmental movement. And how can one honour Mother Earth this weekend?

Surfrider Pacific Rim chapter manager, Lilly Woodbury, said the international theme for Earth Day this year is ending plastic pollution.

“With that in mind, I think people can take a pledge on Earth Day to eliminate a single-use plastic from their life,” said Woodbury.

She recommended putting together a plastic free travelling pack that includes a re-useable water bottle, re-useable cutlery, and re-useable bags.

According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines produced 5.2 million tons of waste in 2016, and will produce over 10 million tons annually by 2030.

Ucluelet Aquarium curator Laura Griffith-Cochrane said to look for plastic-free products when making purchases.

“Choose one easily changeable plastic item that you can work to eliminate from your day-to-day life and set yourself a milestone to celebrate your success,” said Griffith-Cochrane.

“You could choose to only buy peanut butter if it comes in a glass jar, purchase some shampoo bars instead of liquid shampoo in a plastic bottle; find something that you like that works for you and make it happen.”

Clayoquot Action’s Bonny Glambeck said Earth Day could be a time for reflection.

“Everyone has a special gift that they can use to speak up for Mother Earth. On Earth Day people could reflect on what theirs is and how to use it,” said Glambeck.

“In my life, I’ve seen the power of people acting together to change history for the better. Every voice matters,” she said.

Staying hopeful and staying positive is an important part of embodying the Earth Day movement, said Woodbury.

“Optimism is a total strategy for creating change. If we don’t believe something can be better than how are we going to make something better?”

Woodbury went on to say that enjoyment of our outdoor spaces is just as important as protecting it.

“The more you spend time in these places and you enjoy them you’re going to have a lot more personal responsibility to want to protect them and keep them clean and keep them beautiful and challenge the roots of these issues like plastic pollution.”

There are several wonderful Earth Day minded activities planned on the Coast this weekend.

On Saturday, April 21, Clayoquot Action is hosting a screening of ‘Maker of Monsters’ at the Clayoquot Community Theatre in Tofino. Doors open at 7:30p.m., show starts at 8. Admission is $10.

In Tofino on Sunday, April 22, Surfrider Pacific Rim and the Wickaninnish Inn are hosting a clean up of the multi-use path. The event runs from 1-4p.m. with three clean up stations: Cox Bay Visitor Centre, Jamie’s Rainforest Inn, and Tofino Botanical Gardens.

In the evening, the Surfrider Youth Club is hosting a screening of ‘Landfill Harmonica’ at the Clayoquot Community Theatre. Doors open at 6p.m., show starts 6:30p.m. Youth are invited to make their own musical instrument from marine debris for free entry.

In Ucluelet on Sunday, April 22, the Ucluelet Aquarium is hosting a Debris Derby from 10a.m. to 3p.m. Participants will have three-hours to collect as much debris as they can. Meet in front of the Ucluelet Aquarium fron door from 10a.m. to noon to sign up.

On Sunday, April 22, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is hosting a free guided exploration of the Seashore at Wickaninnish Beach. The tour leaves from the Kwisitis visitor centre at 11a.m. and will last about 60-minutes.

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