The Brooklyn Community Foundation officially launched a 3 year, $750,000 green initiative program called Green Spaces yesterday, an exciting new project that promotes and implements sustainability practices and environmental improvements in Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg, and Cypress Hills. Inhabitat was excited to be a part of the unveiling event, which brought together prominent green activists, organizations, and New York politicians in a “Cool Roofs” painting event on a South Williamsburg rooftop.
“The world looks to Brooklyn to set trends, and there’s no trend more worth of becoming tradition than the push to make our communities greener and healthier, and to lessen our impact on the environment,” said Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. “By promoting collective action and shared resource through this initiative, we ensure that the successful efforts of these three communities will benefit the entirety of Brooklyn, to make it a model of Urban environmental improvement for years to come.”
The project, in a collaborative effort between three long time established community development groups — El Puente, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and the Cypress Hills Development Corporation — aims to create a “green roadmap” to implement “replicable strategies and tools to be used all across all of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods.” The Brooklyn Greens project is funded through the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Green Communities Fund, which will be used to develop green spaces and jobs throughout Brooklyn neighborhoods.
The launch also included prominent guest speakers like U.S Representative Nydia Velazques, well known for her support of green initiatives such as PlaNYC. “Government by itself, cannot solve all issues,” she said, as she raised the call to activism, making a clear point that in order for green initiatives such as these to successful, the community needed to get involved. Many other local leaders also emphasized the same point. Ibrahim Abdul Matin of the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability told the guests, “We need you to tell us what to do,” in order for the city to get in helping the local communities.
The Brooklyn Greens program, with the help of the participating community organizations, aims to engage young people and adults to becoming more active in the community by improving the local environment. To do so, Brooklyn Greens aims to promote energy efficiency standards in all neighborhoods, training and placing residents in green jobs through business and community facilities, and also by “applying conservation and environmental principles to affordable housing developments.”