Most of us know Leonardo DiCaprio as the lovable Jack Dawson, reckless Jordan Belfort, or legendary explorer Hugh Glass. But over his career, Leo has made another, albeit lesser known, name for himself: a champion for environmental change.
In 2014, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed DiCaprio as a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change. Ban cited DiCaprio’s credibility in the environmental movement and highlighted his “considerable platform to amplify its message.” Through this platform, Leo uses his celebrity to share an urgent message with the world about the state of our planet in the new movie Before the Flood.
Before the Flood follows Leo as he explores the impact of climate change on communities and ecosystems around the world. Through the lens of Leo’s own journey to understand the science, politics, and social movements surrounding global warming, the film provides a climate change crash course to its viewers. During his travels, DiCaprio sits down with influential players such as President Obama, Pope Francis, and Elon Musk. He witnesses Greenland’s melting ice caps and Indonesia’s dwindling forests, and learns about the carbon tax, Paris accords, and energy storage technology.
Why is it so important to live, work, and eat green??? I need only point to the Flint Michigan water crisis for one of my many motivations and inspirations to work, live, and eat green. On March 5, 2016, A federal state of emergency was imposed in Flint Michigan due to widespread lead contamination in the Flint water supply.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Center Of Disease Control, lead can be particularly harmful to children’s health and can affect physical or mental development.
In April 2014, Flint Michigan began using the Flint River for its water supply as a cost saving measure. But, what are the long term ecological and economical costs of choosing a more heavily polluted water source while utilizing an antiquated and eroding filtration system and aging and faltering infrastructure?
Thousands of Flint Michigan residents (most of them poor) are being forced to purchase bottled water to avoid contaminated water and they are also very concerned about the amount of lead poisoning and mental damages already suffered by their children.
Due to this crisis, Flint Michigan residents’ homes cannot be sold since they are now worth nothing, Legionnaires Disease has increased ten fold, crime and murder in Flint Michigan has increased significantly, the poor have become poorer and the rich have become richer with government imposed program cuts and higher bracket tax breaks, and most of the residents of Flint Michigan are wondering if they or their children will even have a future.
Why is it so important to live, work, and eat green???
During the past month or two, Green City Challenge has been very busy!
On Thursday, April 21 we participated in an Earth Day celebration at Baruch College. Erik Nevala-Lee and Les Judd presented three of our iconic, fun and interactive games. They were Recycle It, What’s the Watts, and Build it Green. Students enjoyed playing the games and learning about waste prevention, energy conservation and green building. Green City Challenge co-hosted the event with the Baruch College Eco-Club, the Student Life Organization, and other student organizations. Green City Challenge sold raffle tickets and awarded several raffle prizes including a free bike rental from Central Park Bike Tours, free admission to Wave Hill, a discount coupon for Green Apple Cleaners, and other items.
On Sunday, April 24 Green City Challenge co-hosted a screening of the new film Love Thy Nature at the Village Cinema on East 12th Street. We met the Director Sylvie Rokab and saw a very moving and inspirational film!
Les Judd and his wife Pamela attended the International Young Environmentalist Youth Summit on Saturday, May 14 at the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers sponsored by Greening Forward. We met students, parents and teachers from Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey and Connecticut as well as from New York. It was very exciting to meet young environmental leaders who are taking the environmental movement into the future with new and innovative ideas and energy.
What’s next for Green City Challenge?
Mark your calendars for our annual fundraiser on Wednesday, September 14 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Raymour & Flanigan, 1961 Broadway at West 66th Street. We will have good food, raffle prizes, and lots of fun!
The tentative date for Eco-Carnival 2016 is Sunday, October 16 at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden in the East Village. Plan to bring your family and friends and enjoy playing our fun and interactive games that teach New Yorkers about sustainability. We are hoping to have the New York Mandolin Ensemble play a concert in the garden on the same day to provide beautiful music for us!
We are always looking for energetic and enthusiastic volunteers to help us make Green City Challenge the best it can be. If you are interested in volunteering for Green City Challenge, please send your resume to Les@greencitychallenge.org or call 718-530-5074.
If you would like to make a donation to Green City Challenge, please go to our website at www.greencitychallenge.org and click on the donate button or just send a check made payable to Green City Challenge and send it to us at 474 West 238th Street, #6i, Bronx, NY 10463.
On Sunday, April 24 at 1 pm Green City Challenge will co-host a screening of Love Thy Nature at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street in Manhattan. Narrated by Liam Neeson, Love Thy Nature is a cinematic journey through the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. With mesmerizing artistry and fascinating details, the film explores how nature nourishes us. Love Thy Nature shows us that a new era of connectedness with the natural world is key to ensuring our species’ future. Avi Offer of Rotten Tomatoes said this of the film: “Breathtaking…Enthralling! It will replenish your hope in mankind and nature. A must see for everyone, young and old!”
Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children. Green City Challenge is co-hosting the screening of Love Thy Nature to help raise funds for our organization. Please buy your tickets today! Here is the link:
For more information, go to www.lovethynature.com
We hope to see you there on Sunday, April 24!
What’s the Fuss About Farm-To-Table Restaurants?
Farm to Table restaurants are all the rage these days. But, what does farm to table mean exactly?
In the last 5 – 10 years, there has been increasing demand by diners for food that is locally grown and seasonal, preferably grown without pesticides and other chemicals and grown in a way that is kind to the animals, the environment and to humans.
Most restaurants, whether they are inexpensive fast food chain restaurants or expensive and elegant, serve food that is produced with industrial agricultural methods. Industrial agriculture produces food using a lot of fossil fuels, which creates large amounts of greenhouse gases and contributes significantly to climate change. Additionally, industrial agriculture creates large amounts of air and water pollution, uses a tremendous amount of water, treats animals raised for human consumption as factory products, not intelligent, feeling creatures and applies large amounts of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals on crops.
Unfortunately, the restaurants that market themselves as farm to table in New York City tend to be rather pricey. If you are looking for fast and inexpensive food, this is not for you! On the other hand, if you are a discerning diner, who wants to try quality food that is grown in sustainable ways, here are a few restaurants you may want to try in alphabetical order.
Note: moderately priced means that entrée prices average between $18 and $25 while expensive means that average entrée prices are more than $30.
ABC Kitchen – 35 East 18th Street, Manhattan – expensive
AWOL Eatery – 336 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn – moderately priced
Black Tree – 131 Orchard Street, Manhattan – moderately priced
Blue Hill – 75 Washington Place, Manhattan – expensive
Foragers Table – 233 8th Avenue, Manhattan – moderately priced
Gramercy Tavern – 42 East 20th Street, Manhattan – moderately priced
Market Table – 54 Carmine Street, Manhattan – expensive
Mas Farmhouse – 39 Downing Street, Manhattan – expensive
Print – 653 11th Avenue, Manhattan – expensive
Roberta’s – 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn – moderately priced
Telepan – 72 West 69th Street, Manhattan – expensive
The Green Table – 75 9th Avenue, Manhattan – moderately priced
The Marshal – 628 Tenth Avenue, Manhattan – moderately priced
Alas, I have not eaten at any of these restaurants so I will not recommend any of them. I invite our readers to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know your experiences at any of these restaurants.