United States Senator Gaylord Nelson enacted Earth Day back in 1970. 39 years later, in 2009, the United Nations agreed to name April 22nd International Mother Earth Day to recognize the importance of the world’s vital ecosystems. As it is in most places, Earth Day in NYC is a very real holiday—as it should be! Events reach hundreds of thousands of people in the City annually, and this year will be no different. The Earth Day Initiative program as a whole has been going strong since Senator Nelson started it all. To date, billions of people have been educated on the action we humans need to take in order to create positive change in this world. But the work isn’t over yet.
The Earth Day Initiative is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote environmental awareness and solutions to our world’s bigger problems. Perhaps the greatest gift this initiative gives us, though, is its Earth Day events that take place every year. It serves as an annual call to action—and boy, has it worked wonders. As we said before, this year, there are even bigger and better things on the horizon for Earth Day 2017. The festivities for our Mother Earth will be on Saturday, April 22nd—but there’s a lot going on even before then in order to celebrate properly. Let’s run down what’s coming up.
Earth Day kicks off a few days early on Tuesday, April 18th, from noon to 7 pm in Union Square (very close to our Greenwich Village hotel) for the Count to 50 Campaign. There will be tons of exhibitions by green businesses and environmentally focused non-profits, live performances, activities for the little ones, and much more. Over 70 organizations will be present, so no matter what your fancy is for this special day, there’s almost guaranteed to be something for you.
The Initiative will also be holding an event on Friday, April 21st from 10 am to 7 pm—the Earth Day 5k Green Tour! Getting outside on Earth Day is just part of the celebration, and the 5K is another great reason to get up and move. The 5K is more than just a way to get participants outside, though… as you might have gathered from the title, it’s also a tour! During the event, you’ll stop at a number of sites that are environmentally friendly and earth-conscious. The tour always makes a point to include spots like those elusive, innovative green skyscrapers around Manhattan (did you know that those exist?!), as well as any number of grassroots initiatives. Past events have taken peeks at a rooftop farm in Midtown, the Lowline Lab (now sadly closed, this was a proposal for the world’s first underground park—imagine how cool it was to be one of the first to see such a sight!), and a very NYC-composting site—we’ll let you consider what that one might mean for yourself. The tour brings its visitors to places one would generally not assume exist within the confines of our urban environment. But, low and behold, they most certainly do! This is a great way to take part in the Earth Day celebration and get involved in a particularly green way.
The folks over at the Earth Day Initiative aren’t the only ones seeking to make a difference this year. The New School is holding Earth Week: Going Beyond “Green” on April 19th from 10 am to 6 pm at the Theresa Lang Student Center. The event will be an interactive showcase of “community-based, participatory research led by New School faculty and students addressing the impacts of climate change and other environmental threats to community well-being and social justice.” The daylong festival will include a series of speaking engagements by the likes of Wendy Pop (“Beyond the Polar Bear: Alternative Visuals for Communicating about Climate Change”), Stephen Metts (“Environment and technology: Mobilizing Maps for Sustainable Communities”), and Tanya Kalmanovitch (“Tar Sands Song Book” Lecture-performance with readings from the work-in-progress), among others.
Camp BKB will be held at Brooklyn Boulders’ Queensbridge location. From 4 pm on April 21st to 11 am on April 22nd, the good people over at Brooklyn Boulders will celebrate and honor Mother Earth the way she deserves—with a 24-hour party, of course! The day/night will feature a sign-making event for March for Science, a live musical performance by Small Black, eco-friendly meals, sustainability workshops, yoga, meditation, and lots more. On top of all that good stuff, 10% of all ticket sales (more information on those as well as what’s happening at what time can be found here) will directly benefit the National Parks Foundation.
There’s a lot happening for Earth Day this year, and we couldn’t be happier about it. There is truly nothing more important than protecting the soil on which we live, and the air that we breathe. Each of these events seeks to bright light those facts. We hope you’re able to take part in at least one—or, as is always an option, all of them. Enjoy!