Skip to content

Earth Day 2023, a celebration of Earth in Xinhua Community

Ecology and Cultures Innovation Lab, Tongji University

Da Yu Community Design Centre
National Natural Science Foundation of China

☉ The organizing of this event has been supported by the National Natural Science Foundation Research Grant 2020-2022 (ID 6201101276)

“nature * fun * ideas: Feel Home in Neighbors Nature”

Each one would like to live the Earth’s day differently,
that is why on Earth Day,
this year, we created
an open station around
a black cargo bike
giving an open canvas experience to the people who came through.

My ideal Earth Day

A board and sticky notes to collect how residents and neighbours think about their own way to celebrate nature.
“How would you like to enjoy your ideal Earth Day?”

Last year we celebrated Earth Day completely online, in lockdown, offering a playlist of 24h curated content to reconnect with Nature, that seemed so far. This year we aimed to do totally the opposite: get as close as possible to nature in our neighbourhood and start a conversation with the residents about their own perceptions and relationship with urban-nature.

We spent all day in the community doing lots of activities with no fixed schedule. People could join us at any time, enjoy some chats and food, and understand a bit more what is the importance of this day of celebration, which was the very first day of Environmental consciousness created by United Nations more than 50 years ago.

Each of us had some ideas in mind, about our own favourite Earth Day, and we made them happen. It had been good to start exploring what “nature” means to people living in the heart of the city.

Mapping Wild Plants

To better understand our neighbours on Earth and all its inhabitants, Francesca started an exploration of wild plants living in the Xinhua Community Design Center. This was an interesting form of sociality with the more-than-human! Besides the beautiful grass loan at the centre of the CDC, Xinhua may seem like a place with not too much green, but it is definitely not like this! There are many small and hidden areas where plants are growing lavishly, they are just a bit hidden. So the idea is to continue this mapping and also share all these plants’ identities with the neighbours, one day.

There’s also a funny story about the process, because just after finishing identifying the plants at the entrance gate, a group of workers came and removed all the green next to the door. We were a bit surprised at first since nobody was expecting them, but we finally found out that there is another team starting a biodiversity-related project very soon, which is great, and we are looking forward to meeting with them! Also, all the plants that were removed and the soil has been gifted to the resident team that is maintaining the Xinhua garden, so nothing goes wasted or damaged on Earth Day. We will use this first map about wild plants to see if they grow back in a few weeks 🙂

Film Portrait

We took our old cameras out of the closet and brought them for a series of old-school portraits series. We gifted some of the Polaroid to our friends and participants and enjoyed very much this process of looking at our daily neighbourhood through new lenses! Many kids were amazed to see the photographs coming to life in their hands, and we hope they can keep the memories of Earth Day and their creations.


We brought some simple recycled materials and fabrication tools for making whatchamacallit (cool objects with specific functions but no names). We love this making process because helps us to bring real and imaginary tools to expand our perceptions towards nature and allow us to explore the Earth in totally new ways.


one fo the best things to do on a sunny, warm spring day is to bring soil and seeds and enjoy planting with kids, and of course, gift them a little vase or seed bag to take care of.

You draw, I guess

We also had a game called “You draw and I guess”, where participants draw in sequences natural elements or ideas related to nature they play around guessing what they are.

We’ll be back soon! This was just our first “team appearance” in Xinhua and we will build more exchange and interaction opportunities to explore Xinhua Nature. Are you interested in Xinhua Urban Ecology Lab? Stay in touch!

And here are some ideas that we gift to you for next year. Stay in touch and celebrate

Go to the park with friends, go to the market, buy and cook and eat food together, watch documentaries / Read books about the environment and ecology / See the sunset / Hug trees / Lie on the grass, not too hot and sunny / Midnight camera doing timelapse and play card while waiting outside / Recollect and search for things that can be reused in the house / Make a fire / Go hiking / Create something, DIY / Ride a horse / Bring dogs, pet party / Cook food and share / A pool filled with hulu / Do some gardening / Collect fallen leaves and make a painting / Yoga on the grass / Avoid produce any waste / Have a sustainable day / Be vegan / Walk barefoot / Make a map of a natural place of my childhood (memory) / Sleep outside (hammock) / Dig a hole (one or two opening) / Use mud to make something (…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *