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Here’s how to fight for the environment right here in NYC

Written by
Tolly Wright

Though global warming is more of a federal issue, there are still plenty of ways to advocate for new energy sources and to keep the earth we have happy with cleaner water and less waste. “Local, city and state changes are going to be important,” explains Nicole Crescimanno, coleader of Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s NYC chapter. “You can’t rely on other people,” she says. “You have to take ownership of the cause you believe in.” And the people have spoken: Instead of the usual trickle of one or two new chapter members per week to the lobby, Crescimanno has seen about 100 people join over the past month. If you care about this planet’s future, get your hands literally dirty, or flag down your local representative and tell ’em your fears. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to activism in NYC

Big Reuse

While it can seem like a daunting task to try to save the planet, Big Reuse (formerly Build it Green! NYC) helps New Yorkers make a difference on a local—but vital—level. Bring your food scraps for composting to the Big Reuse’s 14 drop-off locations in Brooklyn and Queens to reduce waste in the landfills and enrich the soil. Or participate in a regular volunteering day.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

The CCL wants to create a carbon-free infrastructure by giving alternate-energy sources a better chance at overtaking the market. Join an active and engaged community during the group’s monthly meet-ups to discuss upcoming legislation, write letters to representatives and, once a year, take a trip to Washington, D.C., to lobby on Capitol Hill for change. 

New York City Grassroots Alliance

Take a stand against fossil fuels—and explore the promising possibilities of wind, water and solar power—with this very active Meetup group. Its nearly 800 NYC members attend various meetings across the city to discuss actions to support the environment. Ongoing events include the every-other-Tuesday “Sane Energy” volunteer get-together, which covers ways to resist pipelines and other controversial energy methods, and the monthly alliance meeting, where you can learn more about the grassroots efforts and the group’s ambitions. Keep an eye out for rallies, marches, lectures and other one-offs, too.

New York Restoration Project

If you’re worried about the small green spaces around your neighborhood, then this is the nonprofit for you. At NYRP, volunteers plant trees, restore parks and beautify gardens—particularly in under-resourced communities that need protection from urban development. Warning: A lot of volunteer opportunities dry up during cold months, but you can subscribe to the newsletter so you can get to work as soon as the ground thaws.

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