- A report initiated by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams found that New York City schools need more financial assistance to make progress in sustainability. According to "Supporting Sustainability in Schools: A Greener Path Forward," 199 schools have not appointed sustainability coordinators, despite a law mandating them to do so. The report also found 322 of them had failed to file a sustainability report during the 2014-15 school year, also required by law.
- "Where we dedicate resources demonstrates our priorities," said Adams, as reported in the New York Daily News, citing money spent on athletics and academics. "The same principle applies to sustainability."
- Adams is calling on the Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability to pay and train coordinators and for them to have time allotted during the school day to develop programs.
New York City has had a laser focus on zero waste, which has affected all types of city residents—including children. By teaching sustainability practices at a young age, NYC leaders are ensuring that better habits will be learned and carried forward.
The DOE and DSNY are partnering to try and get the ball rolling where efforts are lagging, and to increase momentum where it has already started. So far about 100 schools, with DSNY’s support, are launching a Zero Waste Schools initiative. Their best practices will be shared citywide.
Included in this zero waste push is the effort to divert organics. The 2012-13 school year marked the launch of an organic collection program, piloted in 90 public schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. One year later the program was in over 360 schools. The NYC Organics Collection Program currently operates in over 720 public schools—40% of them.
One young woman has shown what happens when you make a concerted effort to pull youth into the sustainability movement with guidance. She has proven with a little direction and motivation, it’s quite possible to start a domino effect, ultimately impacting whole communities.