Friday, January 22, 2021

Warning, This Article Is Positive And Will Make You Feel Good - Green Wave Surging Over Roosevelt Island Last Year And More To Come, Stay Tuned

Roosevelt Island resident and iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico reports

2020 Island Wins & More to Come!

Warning: This Article is Positive and Will Make You Feel Good

The numbers are in and they are impressive. Islanders are renown for caring for their neighbors and those efforts shined bright in 2020. Residents, Island groups, local leaders and small businesses came together last year and are still making masks and care packages, running a food pantry, giving new clothing and toys, and rallying to support our neighbors at Coler. 

What sometimes goes overlooked is the strong "green" wave surging through the island. And by green wave we mean efforts to sustain daily practices that are good for people and planet. These efforts include reducing litter, access to pollution-free transport like bicycles, upcycling and exchanging household goods, adding tidal energy turbines to the river, plantings that support butterflies and animals and spotlighting wins in the new "Green Corner" of RIOC's newsletter. 

Roosevelt Islanders stand united when it comes to keeping the island clean and healthy for all.

January often brings a look back so here are just a few from 2020, and as resident student Olivia S. said, "One thing I like about Roosevelt Island is how engaged the community is."

2020 Community Wins

  • 6 Engaged RI community events held to foster environmental understanding & boost sustainable practices on Roosevelt Island.
  • 1 garden renovation allowing more Octagon Residents to garden and grow food. 
  • 23,000+ pounds of food scraps diverted from landfill and transformed into compost for island projects (150,000+ since 2015).
  •  1 newly-created grassroots group, Haki Compost Collective, supporting compost initiatives, community connections and volunteering each Saturday at the Big Reuse Food Scrap Drop-Off from 9am - 2pm.
  •  500+ plants distributed to islanders along with 200 pounds of locally processed compost for at-home Plant Therapy Kits to grow food.
  • 2000+ used batteries collected for proper disposal through RIOC's battery tube program publically available at Public Safety on Main Street.
  • 200+ island advocates spoke up to restore the NYC Compost Program to the budget when cut in March. By September it was back each Saturday!
  • 75% more Christmas trees collected than last year and transported by Haki and Garden volunteers to Mulchfest in Queens.
  • 180 pounds of Christmas tree sale trimmings collected for compost.
  • 10+pounds weekly of finished compost given back since November.
  • 20,000+ pounds of organic matter processed into compost at the garden.
  • 50+ organized and attended a presentation for Climate Week 2020 featuring local resident's sharing sustainability tips and the Engaged RI efforts.

The Climate Week NYC 2020 presentation is an annual global event which had enhanced reach because it was virtual. Being part of it was a special honor for the island because it captured over a year of Engaged RI work that the community did when Cornell Tech received a grant to boost sustainability on Roosevelt Island. Not only did it feature Roosevelt Island youth and youth leaders but also spotlighted residents who are knowledgeable about composting, leaders who work at the Senior Center, and locals running small businesses.

Beatrice Ajaero, of IBARI & Nneji says, “As a small business owner sometimes you forget that you make a lot of decisions during the day, but we work hard to see that every product we source and every partnership we kindle is geared towards making a positive impact for the environment for the people.”

Be sure to watch the videos we created for Climate Week NYC 2020 to get inspired and view locals sharing tips on what you can do for a cleaner greener 2021. 

And the progress didn't stop in 2020. In addition to simple steps to reduce waste in the new year like for example, requesting no single-use utensils for Take-Out food, try participating in the following ways below…

  • Declutter! Every Saturday in January and drop USED pens/markers for recycling during the Food Scrap Drop-Off hours 9 am - 2 pm  
  • To connect or take action with Engaged RI click here 
  • To volunteer with Haki Compost Collective email: 

Be sure to stay tuned for island Plogging efforts in 2021 and how you can be a part of this. 

And as local compost guru, Anthony Longo of GRIN says, “We're trying to keep everything locally, specifically anything that grows out of the earth we are trying to keep it here and use it again here to the benefit of the community.”