Are you getting ready for Earth Day weekend? Earth Day is on April 22nd, the weekend we speak of is April 20th to 21st. If you live in NYC (or are visiting) then here are 2 cleanup events that we are organizing or facilitating. These events will make you realize your power as a human and as a community. You will leave feeling like a steward for the environment.
This is Stay Blooming’s first ever cleanup event taking place at Ferry Point Park in Bronx, NY. It is in collaboration with Marjorie Velazquez of the borough. We put this event together to bring people into this lesser known park. It has a lot of visitors during the warmer months and is mostly used for its soccer fields and fourth of July views. Although there are plans for the MTA Ferry to service this part of the Bronx in 2021, the park can still use a lot of attention with its growing usage.
The second is a Veggie Mijas event that I am organizing and walking through. This even includes a mini recycling lesson and requires participants to RSVP beforehand. I organized the event to take place in Pelham Bay Park as it is a local park that I frequented growing up. It also features a bunch of back trails that are good for hiking and riding bike. Although this is a well known park and a well known area, the back trails do not get cleaned up like the BBQ sections and picnicking parts of the park.
The purpose of getting involved for Earth Day weekend is to learn how to treat out earth better. It is to raise awareness for issues like pollution, overconsumption, and climate change. When we are able to act out good deeds that promote a positive trajectory for our earth, then we are making that positive future more likely. Raising awareness can be teaching a workshop, a cleanup, community gardening, etc. The scale of the awareness does not matter, it only matters that it is happening. That
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We do not hear enough about the importance of civic engagement and the advantages it has for communities. Very often, it seems as though decisions that are made for communities do not actually involve the voices they home.
So, what is civic engagement? Any political or non-political action that is taken by someone in order to bring about a positive change to society or their community.
There are so many layers and paths of being civically engaged that it can actually intimidate residents from wanting to be involved altogether. In the New York City area, it is especially overwhelming with having a large population. However, there can be help navigating through it. All neighborhoods have a community board. These democratically run groups are ideally the foundation of all planning that takes place in NYC. The changes that they are typically involved with include local decisions like new construction projects, positive change for the community, or even safety enforcement.
Community boards are not responsible for reaching out to residents though, it is quite the opposite. If someone is passionate enough about something, they need to do research on how they can get involved in order to carry out the change they want to see. Following community boards are councilpersons. Each district in the NYC has an elected person for this position who is responsible for representing their district on a local, city level. Similarly to how a Congress person represents their district federally.
You can contact your councilperson in regard to a problem you notice in your community or a difference you would like to make. They will either lead you in the right direction as to how you can make it happen, or you just might find out you are the one to create the path to change. Nonetheless, finding resources betters your chances and you cannot do that without engagement.
The main benefits of civic engagement include…
enhancing the quality of life for society, the local community, and generations to come.
developing access to resources and distributing those resources to the public.
creating confidence as a community/society instead of individuals out for their own self-interests.
motivating communities to further partake in community involvement, thus continuing the cycle of positive change.
A perfect example of community involvement is the public meeting that was held for the discussion of NYC’s Orchard Beach‘s Pavilion Restoration recently. This well-known beach in the Bronx was first opened in 1936 and has not seen any construction since. It has been in desperate need of infrastructural attention for years. The pavilion restoration was jumpstarted by a $10 million initiative taken by the Bronx borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr., and that has now grown to $60 million thanks to other contributors.
The Bronxites that came out to be apart of this meeting participated by asking questions and talking over what they would like to see at Orchard Beach as well as what they would not like to see. Although improvements are absolutely necessary for a beach that has 1.5 million visitors a year, it is imperative to see what will be most functional and useful for the community. If it is not practical for the beach’s users then it will not be an effective and successful restoration for the community… that is the exact reason why civic engagement is highly valuable.
Getting involved locally is the most direct way you can begin to make an impact. Not only does could it change lives locally, but it may change futures for some and that is an amazing power and influence to have.
In just 2 months (on Saturday, September 8th) we are demanding that our elected officials take a stand for our environment now. A sustainable future is something we hear of often and want to create but we are not striving enough to create it. That window of time humanity has to reverse the effects of excess carbon dioxide emissions and plastic pollution is closing fast.
Change certainly does occur from the bottom up, but we don’t have time to wait around. Citizens need to press their representatives about doing what is in everyone’s favor and not for profits. And this is what we are rising up for… to ensure that the decisions we are making cohesively fit with a healthy environment, to ensure that policy changes happen immediately, to ensure people and justice are prioritized above profits, and to ensure that our humanity is becoming sustainable now. (Click any below image to enlarge.)
As we demand these actions take place, we also understand the incredible amount of work that goes into it. Learning what old habits are not good for the earth, putting the effort into teaching others, and working together to build an infrastructure that respects the earth’s natural cycles. The Global Climate Action Summit takes place the following week from September 12 through September 14, bringing leaders from across the globe to talk environmental politics. It is a new era in time!
Ocean health is not something that we hear about often but it definitely affects you. With our planet being made up of 71% water, salt water makes up 97.5% of that. The quality and condition of our oceans affect marine life, coastlines, weather patterns, and more. All of which affect life as we know it so we must act. Taking care of our ocean means understanding how human behavior contributes to the biggest ocean health issue: pollution.
Here are 3 major ways you can help keep our oceans clean:
Get in on the action. Send pictures of how you help clean the ocean to firstname.lastname@example.org or us #istayblooming on Instagram for a feature!
I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a People’s Climate Movement of New York event today. The evening kicked off with PCM‘s very own Leslie Cagan speaking and opening the floor for what the rest of the event would be like. We heard from more speakers from various organizations that shared information about the following campaigns and their efforts: Climate Works for All, DivestNY, Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, National Legislation, NY Renews, and last, but not least, Puerto Rico Recovery.
The purpose of the event was to bring like minded individuals into a space where they can collaborate their efforts into where it’s needed most. Among some of the causes that were discussed today include:
Fracking and how it affects nearby communities.
Climate changes direct link to increased natural disasters.
The humanitarian and environmental crisis that Puerto Rico is currently experiencing.
Elizabeth Yeampierre, of UPROSE, elaborating on the crisis in Puerto Rico.
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James thanking the group and toasting to the collective good work as well as the work ahead.
I had such a good time connecting with people who share the same passions as myself. I was initially afraid of going because I’ve never sat down and discussed these kind of things just because. But more than ever it’s becoming an important conversation to have. Right now the conversation is among those organizing positive change but soon enough it will be a regular thing for everyone — because the environment is our counterpart.
I’m glad that I took a chance and encourage everyone to. If there is an effort listed here that you would like more information on, please let me know. I will be more than happy to guide my readers in the right direction of something that draws their interest.
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