Greening up the Square

We hear it's your Earth Day. And on this 43rd celebration of the wonders of this spinning orb we call home, the City of Pittsburgh welcomes you to a week-long series of events in Market Square during the first-ever Earth Market, April 23-27. Every day from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., more than two dozen green vendors will sprout up in the Square to promote sustainable practices that will reduce the size of the carbon footprint we all leave on this third rock from the sun. According to our intergalactic grapevine, the other planets are just, well, green with envy over our status as the most livable place in the universe. 

The Earth Market just happens to be part of a program Mayor Ravenstahl developed called "Green Up Pittsburgh." We like the clever word play and Hizzoner's determination to help everyone in the city and region realize how they can pitch in to protect Mother Nature, because she really does have the toughest job in the world. And the big reason why Earth Market will take root in the Square is because of the Square's central location and fast-growing reputation as one of the coolest places to spend time in Downtown.

Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola
One big takeaway of Earth Market is that it really IS easy is being green. Especially when experts will be on hand to point out how to reduce your utility bills with a simple energy audit — which Duquesne Light will be on hand to provide for free. Earth Market visitors can also find out exactly what days recycled materials are picked up in their neighborhoods and  exactly what type of things can be recycled. Now that tax time is over—whew!—you might have a pile of confidential papers to dispose of. Just bring those receipts, checks and other bits of paper to the Earth Market on April 27 to shred them into tens of thousands of hundreds of unreadable strips that will be reused again and again — for just $5 a box of documents. That same day, the sweet folks of Coca-Cola will be passing out vouchers to anyone who would like to transform one of the company's 55-gallon syrup drums into a convenient, economical barrel for catching rain that can be used for watering gardens. And speaking of gardening, the city will be giving away 1,000 free baby evergreens as part of an initiative to plant 20,000 trees throughout the city.

Photo courtesy of CMU
Now there's a lot of practical info to learn at Earth Week — like where to find "safe" car pooling buddies to cut down on the number of cars on the road. But there's tons of fun stuff happening, too. We're looking forward to the creative artist who makes new outfits from discarded clothing and plastic grocery bags. And we'd really love to take a spin around the Square in the "Charge Car," a Honda Civic transformed to an all-electric vehicle by some innovative CMU students. We bet they got a lot of green credit for this gas-saving, class project.

These days Pittsburgh is deservedly earning all sorts of accolades for being a great place to live, work and visit. And if you've been paying attention, we're also one of the greenest cities around. In fact, when you stand in the middle of the Square, all you have to do is turn your head a little to the northeast to see the glimmering green glass facade of Three PNC Plaza, one of the biggest, LEED-certified, mixed-use building in the United States. So join us in the Square all next week for the greenest celebration since St. Patrick's Day.

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