There is more than three century’s worth of trash in New York City, in various forms. Some estimate that we, as NYC locals, produce 12,000 tons of trash each day, and we only recycle about 17 percent of our total waste. It’s also estimated that 36 percent of trash we throw away is actually recyclable.
We can do better. On Earth Day, it’s time to explore some of the ways that we can help our community and the world at large.
Earth Day Events in NYC
- Union Square in Manhattan will be overrun with happy hippies on Sunday, April 17. It’s pretty neat that in the middle of one of the densest and most nature-less cities in the world will be a huge celebration of life. Dozens of vendors and activist groups will be there to talk about their various campaigns. It’s a great day for the kids, with plenty of activities and live performances to keep them entertained.
- The second annual 5K Green Tour will be happening at the Lowline and many other cool, natural locales in the city on Friday, April 22.
- For water enthusiasts, there’s also going to be a celebration on Sunday, April 17, at the Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park.
- Many other parks will have their own celebrations:
- Prospect Park will be having a celebration at the boathouse on April 17. It will feature fishing lessons, naturalist lessons, mulch spreading, and a “Bash the Trash” parade, which celebrates recycling.
- You can help plant new plants at Fort Tyron Park on April 17, too.
- Or you can clean up litter in Highbridge Park on Friday, April 22.
- On April 23, the Greenbelt Nature Center in Staten Island will be having an open house. There will be a wildlife meet-and-greet event with reptiles, including turtles and snakes.
- Celebrate Arbor Fest with the Queens Botanical Gardens on April 24.
Other Ways You Can Take Part
- Reduce Your Trash: You don’t have to be as intense as this fantastic New Yorker, who managed to produce no trash in two years. Little contributions like using a reusable bag for grocery shopping, creating a compost pile in your apartment, avoiding excess packaging, and finding creative ways to reuse old containers go a really long way.
- Buy Locally: It takes a lot of fuel and a lot of money to get food and rare items to NYC. That causes pollution. When you can, buy products that are grown locally or close to the city, such as in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or upstate New York. Eating less meat can help with this as well.
- Conserve Water: Water may become the biggest issue of this century. Contribute by not being wasteful of it.
- Use Less Chemicals: Chemicals cause pollution both in their creation and their disposal. On this blog, I’ve talked about plenty of green alternatives for cleaning; check some of the posts out.
- Sell and Buy Secondhand Products: There’s nothing wrong with secondhand goods. End the cycle of production, consumption, and waste by reintroducing items into the market, either by selling or by buying used good.
- Donate to a Cause: Protect wildlife, reduce waste, and support scientists hoping to find solutions!