Earth Day New York 2019

by Joseph McKeown

This week the Earth Day Initiative hosted its annual Earth Day New York Festival in Union Square, meant to inspire attendees to make increasingly environmentally-friendly choices. This year’s festival was a special edition of the event — the start of a year-long countdown to Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020. In addition to the dozens of exhibitors, including non-profits, green businesses, kids' activities, and live performances, the outdoor festival featured artists who created works of art — live and on-site — surrounding environmental themes that were inspired by the recent Green New Deal proposal. Among those featured was Molly Egan, a Philadelphia-based artist who, in anticipation of the art installation, said that her artwork depicts “people making more sustainable choices like recycling, composting, replacing plastic water bottles with reusable ones, and eating more environmentally friendly foods.” John Oppermann, Earth Day Initiative’s executive director, emphasized the importance of interactive events like Earth Day New York and noted how important the event has been since its founding in 1970: “That was a time when people really raised their voices and said, ‘We need to do something about these environmental issues.’ A lot of the safeguards we have in place today, we take for granted.” He added: “That is something we should keep in mind…when we see attacks on environmental protections we have now.”