Earth Week 2012 Recap

by Sue Taggart

Earth Week was a busy time for the Eco18 team and New York had a lot of events going on all around the city to celebrate the 42nd Earth Day.  The Eco18 “Green Team” started Earth Week at a NYCLV Green Professional Spring Mixer at The Revision Lounge on Avenue B (look out for an article about this very cool and eco-friendly bar). Actor and activist Matthew Modine was the guest speaker. His passion for bringing more bicycles to our cities was inspiring, such a genuinely good person. Look out for an upcoming Eco18 Interview with Matthew.

Next we visited Grand Central Indoors and Times Square Outdoors. At Grand Central Station there were a wide variety of tented booths that caught our eye including Ball DPF with their Bonnie Plants natural plant food and TSB (Tri-State Biodiesel), whose diesel fuel for vehicles and home heating units is converted from recycled waste cooking oil gathered from restaurants.

At the Cross Roads of the World or better known as Times Square, we noticed Bridgestone, the tire manufacturer, exhibiting a new type of tire that keeps its round shape longer thus less energy is used in moving the vehicle. Enterprise Car Rental agency was touting its commitment to a better environment including an employee environmental compliance education program, investment in clean fuel research, and the planting of 50 million trees over 50 years in National Forests. Via Motors, a new company from Orem, Utah that converts trucks, vans and SUVs to run on Gas/Electric power had a pick-up truck with a 403 hp electric engine to handle commercial vehicle tasks. Nissan was showcasing their LEAF model car that was 100% electric and an exclusive from Seventh Generation—a well-known brand of environmental friendly cleaning products—they told Eco18 that they will be introducing skincare products in June, we’ll keep you posted on that!

On Thursday we hosted our first Twitter party, a great way to connect with fellow green and healthy lifestyle friends. It’s amazing how quickly an hour goes by on that Twitter feed. We want to again thank your expert panelists, Samantha Fuess from Have Sippy Will Travel, yoga instructor and blogger Randi Zinn, Jen Walters from Fit Bottomed Girls and Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen. They each brought a wealth of information to the table and shared how to make various aspects of life a bit greener.

The weekend found us at the Jacob Javits Center for the first Green Festival held in NYC (held in the LEED-certified North Pavilion at the Javits). This eco event brought out a crowd of more than 25,000 participants and included speaker demonstrations by Hip-Hop Mogul Russell Simmons, Activist Amy Goodman, New York Times Best Author Van Jones and Josh Silver, CEO of United Republic, as well as an organic beer and wine pavilion, a Green Economy Expo sponsored by UrbanGoGreen, a sustainable fashion show put on by Conscious Living TV, and the latest and greatest in sustainable products and services such as Mamma Chia, Divine Chocolate, Eco-Me cleaning products and Sprout Watches.

Some of our favorite presentations from the Good Food Stage included Vegetarian Hors D’ Oeuvres with Ellie Kumayama who is a natural food chef with a passion for healing and natural foods, and Green Your Kitchen with Yoli Ouiya. Yoli, inspired by local food, culture, and sustainable living – puts a unique spin on her recipes by combining her West Africa and Southern roots.

Other interesting speakers were Osiris James from Urban Go Green who shared his experience on  “going green” and his perspective that NYC green jobs are on the rise. Heidi Hutner moderated a discussion with Tomoi Zeimer and Yuko Tonohira about the Fukushima disaster last March and its impact, both in Japan and across the world. A sobering look at the state of nuclear reactors and the potential hazards. Valerie Mason Robinson gave a lively and interactive talk about Greening Your Beauty Routine with natural beauty products and what to look for on product labels, her blog, which is a great resource is. Professors from The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) gave a very interesting presentation about how Sustainability is Always in Fashion at FIT.

Ford offered ride and drives of their latest electric and hybrid vehicles and awarded a $5,000 grant to NYC-based non-profit, Green City Force, a service corps that prepares young people from low income backgrounds for sustainable careers, while reducing green-house gas emissions, and building the green city. A really cool addition to their display was a “Car Seat Salsa”. This great tasting salsa was made with the same vegetables that are used in the manufacture of the car seat.

So, a Earth Week was packed with fun and interesting things. We learned a lot, met some great people and are more inspired than ever to spread the green word! As we think back to the first Earth Day, we wonder what Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, who was then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, would think about the environmental issues facing us in 2012.

Our food supply is under constant threat from GMO’s, reusable energy is being stalled in favor of natural gas which in itself is not an issue—but hydraulic fracturing, “fracking” for short—an accelerated method for extracting natural gas, will seriously pollute our clean water and the people who drink it!  Forty-two years later and the gulf between big business and government and the environmentally conscious citizen seems wider than ever. With corporate greed and politics seemingly winning out over common sense and the collective good, it’s more important than ever before to become an educated consumer and advocate for a cleaner, greener more sustainable lifestyle.

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