Earth Day takes place this year on Friday, April 22, and the local nonprofit Clean Bushwick Initiative is putting on a series of Earth Day events to raise eco-awareness and clean up the neighborhood.

Nicole De Santis, the group’s director, says she’s excited for this year’s Earth Day programming. “It’s about giving people information and saying, these are some of the things we can do as a community and as individuals to create change,” De Santis said. “Don’t minimize the impact of the individual as part of the collective.”

Her volunteer group has been active in the neighborhood since 2014 and, during the rest of the year, hosts bi-weekly community cleanups, which have collectively cleaned up thousands of pounds of garbage in the Bushwick area over the past seven years.

Here’s a breakdown of the group’s events this weekend.

Friday, April 22

Earth Day Social: How You Can Be Part of the Climate Solution

Hosted at Farm To People’s spacious location on Flushing Avenue, entry is free, with optional donation. Mix and mingle with other eco-minded folks while munching on free light bites provided by Farm to People. As this is a fundraiser, drinks will be sold, proceeds going to the Bushwick Emergency Relief Fund, which tasks itself with combating food insecurity in Bushwick. 

At the center of the Friday night event is an approachable sustainability workshop session, hosted by Nicole Grossberg, who runs her own group called Zero Waste NYC, as well as a “food scrap demo” that’s run by Katherine Sacks, who works for an organization called FoodPrint. She plans on sharing some everyday tips to reduce food waste.

Where: Farm To People, located at 1100 Flushing Avenue in Bushwick

When: Friday, April 22 from 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Cost: Free, donations accepted.

Register here.

Since 2014 the Clean Bushwick Initiative has hosted bi-weekly community cleanups.

Saturday, April 23

Earth Day 2022 Community Day: Cleanup And More

Maria Hernandez Park will be the nexus of a series of Earth Day activities organized by Clean Bushwick Initiative. A yoga instructor named Jennie Epland will kick things off with a mindful moment of meditation, which will be followed by a community street and park cleanup. Trash bags, gloves, and other cleanup supplies will be provided.

Post-cleanup, the group reconvenes at the Maria Hernandez Park for free snacks, live music,  comedy performances, art projects, and community info booths. Here’s who’s doing that:

Music: Ornithology Jazz Club, Nate and Hila

Comedy: Patrick Holbert

Community info booths: DSNY, RiseBoro, 18ByVote, CupZero, and more.

Guest speakers from government offices are expected to attend too, including local lawmakers like New York State Senator Julia Salazar and New York City Council District 34 Representative Jennifer Gutiérrez, who both represent the district in their respective capacities.  

De Santis said getting these politicians to show up is an important way to get locals to engage with and ask questions directly to Bushwick’s representatives.

De Santis speaking at a Clean Bushwick Initiative event.

Where: Maria Hernandez Park

When: Saturday, April 23

  • 10:45 AM:  Mindfulness, movement & meditation 
  • 11:00 AM:  Community cleanup
  • 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Guest speakers, performances, art projects, and info booths

Cost: Free, signup encouraged to ensure enough supplies are provided for the cleanup.

Register here.

“Climate issues are overwhelming and people feel concern about the climate…it’s important for people to gain as much knowledge as they can,” De Santis says about the energy that animates Clean Bushwick Initiative events.

Ultimately, De Santis says, these Earth Day events are about spreading information in an approachable way.

“Climate issues are overwhelming and people feel concern about the climate…it’s important for people to gain as much knowledge as they can,” De Santis said. “As a community, we can make change locally…my impact might be small, but when people start doing something as a result and they pass that on, that’s the power of community.”

Keep in touch with the Clean Bushwick Initiative events on their Instagram page.

Images via the Clean Bushwick Initiative

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