Nothing quite like Earth Day to bring me back to my college days... back in 2012 when I helped organize the campus-wide Earth Day at The City College of New York on the upper west side, as a student leader for CCNY Green!
I believe it was around this time I contrived the true meaning of Earth Day, at least for a personal point of view. There is a social and moral responsibility we all must share to take care of our planet! Earth Day: characterized by waves of activism- the time of year which recognizes the individual's actions in a chaotic global climate crisis.
This year, I chose to commemorate Earth Day by attending the New York City Green Festival and visiting the Empire State Building. In the hopes of educating myself on my built environment, I set out to two sites.
The New York City Green Festival was held at the LEED Certified Javits Center. It clearly pulls in different interests. I was definitely pleased to see a handful of renewable energy vendors, hear talks on climate change, and read about local projects implementing environmental initiatives. However, the festival gravitated more towards 'green living.' A variety of organic food products (gluten-free, all natural) were available to the delight of many tastebuds.
I wanted to highlight several organizations who are doing amazing work for the environment! Click on their titles to learn more.
-Earth Day Initiative- Earth Day New York is an education awareness, event planning, and advocacy collaboration with community groups, businesses, and government groups. Year-round programming stir up the "wake-up call" for environmental advocates.
-Cafeteria Culture- Zero-waste New York City cafeterias are the mission of this waste-reducing group that partners with NYC Department of Education! Say goodbye to polystyrene (plastic foam) waste.
-Hell's Kitchen Farm Project- What could be cooler than an urban rooftop farm that produces 400 pounds of food annually, donates it to a local food pantry, and promotes composting? You're going to have to visit the rooftop site to learn more! Volunteer and become a part of the movement!
-Sustainable Fashion!: Mujus is environmentally conscious of it's materials and fashions beautiful jewelry and accessories from organic, raw materials: mujus, or 'seeds'. EcoPlum selects sustainable products- organic, recycled, fair-trade, vegan, low-toxicity, you name it!- and rewards it's shoppers for supporting the environment.
The Empire State Building (ESB) is one of the tallest LEED Certified skyscrapers in the world, and I felt it appropriate to finally pay a visit and cross it off my New York City bucket list. What better week to go than during that of Earth Day? I urge you to climb up, and check out their sustainability exhibit on the 2nd floor to learn about it's recent energy retrofit. Near the top, you'll come across an architectural and engineering exhibit too with accompanying historical timeline and photographs. Replacing windows, adding insulation, updating HVAC, creating better controls, and adding sensors... these are a few of the many upgrades the ESB has seen in recent years! The result? A whopping 38% in energy savings and over $4 million annual cost savings. Learn more here. In addition, I'll share a research presentation I've worked on regarding ESB Sustainability soon!