April–or “Earth Month” as many of us know it–is drawing to a close. With April’s end comes the end of a great series of events by Air Alliance Houston celebrating the tenth anniversary of Earth Day Houston. Thank you to everyone who participated in the celebration with us, whether you attended the environmental justice panel, the Earth Day Houston festival, the Earth Day Art Contest, or any of our other events throughout Earth Month.
For our part, the staff of Air Alliance Houston closed out the month with our big brother in Dallas, Earth Day Texas. Now in its fifth year, Earth Day Texas vies each year for the title of largest Earth Day event in the nation. The event is presented by a nonprofit organization whose mission is to present “an annual festival seeking to elevate environmental awareness and influence the way Texans think, live, and work.”
Earth Day Houston and Earth Day Texas (formerly Earth Day Dallas) have partnered for several years to learn from one another and share resources and contacts. This exchange led to Earth Day Texas featuring more Houston-based exhibitors then ever before.
In addition to sharing exhibit space with the City of Houston, Air Alliance Houston found itself near many of our peer organizations throughout Texas, including Public Citizen, the Texas League of Conservation Voters, Downwinders at Risk, and Environment Texas. While they share many of the same exhibitors and the same goal of celebrating planet earth, the festivals differ in many ways. Both events are free to the public, but Earth Day Houston is also a fundraiser for Air Alliance Houston. Earth Day Texas is much bigger, with more than 1,000 exhibitors and 75,000 guests.
Air Alliance Houston has drawn inspiration from Earth Day Texas as well. Most notably, Earth Day Texas includes carbon offsetting of the festival’s footprint and diversion of 70% of event waste from landfills. This year at Earth Day Houston, we worked with our title sponsor Waste Management to divert as much festival waste as possible. We set up waste sorting stations manned by volunteers and ably led by Steve Stelzer, Director of the City’s Green Building Resource Council and unofficial Earth Day Houston Waste Czar. You can read a firsthand account of Steve’s volunteer experience with Earth Day Houston here.
Earth Day Texas has in turn incorporated some of the activities and traditions of Earth Day Houston. This year was the first to feature Ozone Theater, our free youth education program about air quality and public health.
As you cans see, we enjoy this partnership and we hope that it will continue for many years to come. Thank you to all of our friends and partners at Earth Day Texas. We’ll see you next year!