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Celebrating Earth Month & Sustainable Businesses in Downtown Raleigh

Happy Earth Month!

Earth Month is a time dedicated to conversations about environmental justice, sustainable development, and climate solutions culminating on Earth Day, April 22nd. People are encouraged to practice more sustainable habits and consider their personal impact on the environment. 

Keep reading to learn about the climate-focused work being done right now in your community and find some local businesses with commitments to going green.

Sustainable DTR Businesses

Did you know? The City of Raleigh is a national leader in urban sustainability. Raleigh is the first metro in the world to upgrade all city lighting to energy-efficient LEDs and has committed to reduce City-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 under the Community Climate Action Plan.

Recently, Raleigh was selected to be one of 25 Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities. This three-year initiative will support implementation of Raleigh's Climate Action Plan through innovative ideas to make our community sustainable, resilient, and thriving.

But that’s not all! Downtown Raleigh itself has...

  • 11,000+ trees in the downtown boundary
  • 14+ LEED certified buildings, with more working to reach certification 
  • 769 acres of parks within 2 miles of downtown
  • 190+ bike racks and 18 miles of bike lanes
  • A 97 walk score making it the most walkable area of the Triangle

Downtown Raleigh Alliance is proud to be one of the greenest urban downtowns in the country, but there is still more work to be done. We are excited to continue supporting climate-focused efforts across the community as our city changes and grows.

Last year, we hired a Planning and Transportation Manager to focus on a range of community initiatives– including urban sustainability–and support Bus Rapid Transit expansion where Downtown Raleigh is at the very center of the region.

Meet Mary Sell! 

My name is Mary Sell, and I am so excited to be part of the team at Downtown Raleigh Alliance to help advance a more resilient Raleigh and sustainable future for our community. In my role at DRA, I help work with stakeholders on Planning and Transportation topics to elevate Downtown Raleigh's efforts on multi-modal transportation, sustainability, and planning work. Day to day, you can usually find me rolling through one of Raleigh's bike lanes on my way to some of our favorite local spots, often with a kid or two along for the ride.

Sustainability means a lot to me and I think our actions - as a community, and as individuals - can lead to a brighter and better future for the next generation to inherit. It is a big task - setting up our community to be more sustainable and equitable by design. I know that we are up to it and by working together, I believe we can achieve significant progress to elevate sustainability as a foundational aspect of our community's ethos and design.

I'm thrilled to be where I am today to help work collaboratively with organizations and individuals to bring Raleigh forward. We're doing really great and important work to accelerate a more sustainable future, and it's going to take all of us collaborating closely to realize a better tomorrow. I'm committed to this community and so thankful for all the partners I've already met along the way. "Most Sustainable City in the South" has a really nice ring to it, yes? Let's put our combined efforts together to get there.

Shop Green + Support Climate-Focused Organizations

Working together to make Raleigh the Most Sustainable City in the South may sound like a daunting task, but there are small things we can all do that have a positive impact on our community and environment. One of the easiest ways you can give back to the community today is by choosing to shop independent and locally when you can.

Independently owned stores are more likely to source merchandise locally which mitigates excess carbon emissions, and they require comparatively little infrastructure investment making more efficient use of public services than larger chains. But we don’t have to convince you how important it is to shop locally. Our storefront community’s offerings speak for themselves.

If you’re looking for more sustainability-focused local businesses to support, check out these stores in Downtown Raleigh.

Curate, Munjo Munjo, Hartwell, and The Self Care Marketplace

These independently owned gift stores have merchandise sourced from small businesses located in-and-around the Triangle. Many of these makers create their products in small batches, with thoughtful ingredients, and using salvaged/recycled materials.

The Hightide Salon and Alibi Salon

These salons partner with Green Circle Salons to help them recover up to 95% of their beauty waste like hair clippings, foils, and color tubes, while also becoming carbon-neutral.

The Hippo Wine Bar + Shop

The Hippo specializes in low-intervention, sustainable wines produced with consideration for both the land the fruit is grown on, and the people who drink it.

Oak City Cycling and East Coast Electric Speed Shop

Are you ready to ditch your car and get rolling? Head to Oak City Cycling where they have everything you need to begin your biking journey, or East Coast Electric Speed Shop if you're looking for something a bit faster.

Raleigh Workshop + Curatory

Each month, Raleigh Workshop makes 300 pairs of jeans right here in Downtown Raleigh. Also known as “slow fashion,” small-batch and bespoke clothing is made with intention which leads to less waste

Unorthodox Vintage, Pallbearer, Father & Son Antiques, Raleigh Vintage, Revolver Consignment Boutique, ThriftWiz, and Boot & Trunk

Shopping second-hand is a fool-proof way to reduce your carbon footprint and keep perfectly good clothing, furniture, and decor out of landfills. Downtown Raleigh has a strong presence of second-hand and vintage stores so there are plenty to choose from based on what you’re looking for.

Other ways to give back to the Earth this month…

Raleigh Earth Day 2024 ⎻ Dorothea Dix Park

Friday, April 19th

13th Annual Bearthday Celebration Raleigh City Farm

Saturday, April 20th

SustainabiliDAYMarbles Kids Museum

Saturday, April 20th

Earth Day Extravaganza ⎻ Moore Square

Sunday, April 21st

More resources