Greenpoint Gazette
Megan Soyars
Earth Man

Greenpoint Goes Green at 5th Annual Earth Day Festival

BY Megan Soyars

Despite the wet, chilly weather on Saturday, May 5th, residents flocked to Go Green! Greenpoint!, Town Square’s 5th Annual Earth Day Festival at McCarren Park. The event featured a smorgasbord of events, from art exhibits, to educational displays, to crafting and athletic activities, to live music and more!

And, as Town Square Chairperson Susan Anderson said, rousing speeches by Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilman Stephen Levin, “helped bring the sun back out.”

“Greenpoint already has G-R-E-E-N in its name; now it has ‘green’ in its future!” Markowitz told the crowd of earth-friendly vendors and families.

Go Green! had activities to please both environmentalists and art-lovers who perused exhibits curated by Williamsburg artist Sally Webster. “There are so many artists in the community; it’s a great community-builder to include them at the festival,” Webster said. There were also plenty of art projects for children at various vendors’ booths, like Mini Jake’s, a Brooklyn-based kid’s store selling items made with recyclable materials.

Megan Soyars

“We try to work with companies that are environmentally-conscious,” explained Inga Rogers, who runs the store along with her husband. Illustrator Brian Yanish, who sells his children’s book, The ScrapKins Build-It Book at Mini Jake, was helping the youngsters at the booth with their eco-friendly art projects.

“SrapKins shows kids how they make all kinds of stuff, like bird feeders or pirate ships, with materials they find at home,” Yanish said. Signs of children’s artistic spirit were everywhere at the festival. In a nearby booth, P.S. 84 displayed artwork school children had constructed.

“Parents bring their recyclables and we create art projects with them. We call this one the chandelier,” said Edwin Soto of P.S. 84, pointing out artwork made with a bicycle rim, beads, and aluminum cans. “We’ve even got some that light up!” He added that the school’s committed to teaching environmentalism—they’re even planning to install a Greenhouse Classroom where students can gain knowledge of sustainable farming.

Megan Soyars

Ellie, a representative at Brooklyn Food Coalition’s booth, agreed with P.S. 84’s mission of growing healthy, organic food. “There’s three pillars the BFC follows—sustainable food systems, fresh, healthy food for all, and farm workers’ rights,” she said. “We’ve got lots of farming and environmental workshops going on.”

Many other eco-friendly organizations at the festival held Q&A’s with participants. Greenpointers with suggestions on how to use the $19.5 million won in the ExxonMobil settlement could stop by the Greenpoint Environmental Benefit Projects booth.

“We’re in the early stages of working with the community, listening to their ideas on how to invest the money,” said Peter Washburn, policy advisor for the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau. Ideas generated that day included greater access to a greener, cleaner waterfront.

Megan Soyars

As adults shared information with key organizations on how to live sustainably, kids showed off skills in dancing, karate, and gymnastics, thanks to the Greenpoint YMCA and other community organizations.

“This year, we had more children’s activities, and we wanted to reflect and showcase as many local organizations as possible,” said Susan Anderson. “The Earth Day Festival belongs to the entire community.”

The kids’ bright faces reminded participants of why the festival’s message of sustainability is so imperative—to ensure the planet remains livable for future generations.

As Marty Markowitz aptly ended his speech, “The future of America and Brooklyn depends upon preserving our environment […] We’re all united in this—that’s the future for these young kids.”

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2 comments

  • JC:

    “As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute, “Is Meat Sustainable?”

    “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale and its potential contribution to their solution is equally large. The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency.” UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s report “Livestock’s Long Shadow”

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    Why would someone choose to be vegan? To slow global warming for one! Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org

  • Aneta:

    Wonderful family event, absolutely great art projects for kids, lost of great info about sustainable living. We are coming back next year :).

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