Small Steps for a Greener World

Three grad students from Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies decided that New York City was an environmental wasteland. Okay, it was not quite that dramatic. But when the trio left Yale and moved to the Big Apple they were struck by the surprising absence of apple trees.

Erin Barnes states: “Green initiatives seemed within the purview of the wealthy and educated. This segment had high-minded goals and resources—but no real plan for change. Instead, real change—the kind that watches over streets, sidewalks, trees and tiny urban farms—slipped under the radar. That kind of small, everyday change wasn’t branded ‘green’ at all—by anyone. It was invisible.”

So four years ago, Erin and her two former classmates, Brandon Whitney, and Cassie Flynn created a plan of action: IOBY: a crowd-funding platform for the urbanly green.

Ioby’s website asks,  “Recycling and buying local or green are great. But if you want change that goes deeper—change you can really invest in—what about starting in our backyard?


So what can you do if you really want to go greener and help advance real positive change in your urban environment?

A few cool initiatives:

Saving a Tree in Brooklyn: The 400’s East 25 Street Block Association in Flatbush wants your help in beautifying the neighborhood by planting trees and flowerbeds. The initiative to build community pride has raised $110 of the $464 needed. The project manager states: “We want to replace the sounds of gunshots on our block to the sounds of birds chirping.”

Supplying a Food Desert in Harlem: The Mad Fun Farm hopes to create the Rainbow Garden. The 7 & 8 year-old children enrolled in the program will learn how to plant and grow vegetables. The produce will be used to teach parents and grandparents in the East Harlem neighborhood how to prepare healthy organic foods. $435 more is needed to finance the initiative.

Ioby calls itself: “a new face for change—one that’s hopeful, positive…and visible.” The non-profit “crowd-resourcing platform” states: “Small steps have big impact. They can ripple through the city. To us, that’s real—and it goes far. It goes beyond your intentions, beyond the abstract, beyond the simple ‘click.’ Take a look around! Pick a project close to your home or your heart—and help us spread the word.

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