This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. The birth of the 1970's environmental movement gave rise to the public's collective voice in improving the health of our planet. Half a century later, this now-global day includes environmental education, eco-friendly events, conservation and clean-up efforts celebrated by 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.
Here in NYC, events and celebrations are held throughout the week, including the Earth Day 5K Green Tour, Union Square's Earth Day New York, and various online gatherings.
There's endless ways to go green. Celebrate Mama Earth all year long with these local organizations and efforts:
1. Adopt or plant a tree through MillionTrees NYC.
This citywide, public-private initiative allows New Yorkers to submit a request to plant a tree on your street or adopt a tree to take care of. For more hands-on care, you can also volunteer to plant trees. So far, more than 1 million trees have been planted!
Fun fact: According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a mature tree absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and releases oxygen in exchange every year.
2. Compost food waste using a pick-up or drop-off service.
Composting organic waste like food scraps, paper, yard waste, and even hair and nails reduces methane emissions and enriches the soil with nutrients. Did you know that these materials alone account for one-third (34%) of the NYC's residential waste stream?
The NYC Organics Collection Program uses this food waste to create compost and renewable energy. According to the website, "If your building has 10 or more residential units, you can fill out the inquiry form at www.nyc.gov/organics to begin the enrollment process" and order a compost bin.
For a community-supported effort, we love BK ROT, the city's first waste hauling and composting service powered by bikes. The group offers home and business composting for a monthly fee or food scrap drop-offs in Bushwick on Sundays 12-3pm.
3. Support GrowNYC: Greenmarkets, Stop 'N' Swaps, Community Gardens & more
GrowNYC leads environmental programs throughout all five boroughs. This includes Greenmarket farmers markets, fresh food box pick-ups, school and community gardens, textile and food scrap collection, and more. The organization also provide environmental education programs to more than 70,000 children each year. Learn more here.
By taking care of the land, plants, trees, and earth, we are taking care of ourselves and future generations. Thank you for your environmental advocacy and stewardship.