The Village Of Great Neck Plaza’s Earth Day Celebration

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Part of Jacob Mamiye’s presentation about the Alley Pond Environmental Center. (Photo by Julie Prisco)

On Wednesday, April 27, the Village of Great Neck Plaza hosted a Zoom Earth Day event for 2022. The Residents Group of Great Neck Plaza put the event together to educate and inform residents on climate change and how the public can help.
Mayor Ted Rosen, Deputy Mayor Pamela Marksheid, Trustee Michael DeLuccia, Trustee Alex Au and members of the Residents Group were present for the Zoom event. Mayor Rosen and Deputy Mayor Marksheid are part of the Residents Group that puts together informational and entertaining public programs for residents to build a sense of community in the village.
Mayor Rosen opened up the Earth Day event by discussing the first Earth Day celebration 52 years ago.
“We’ve been celebrating Earth Day since 1970,” said Mayor Rosen. “I remember in the early 1970s walking on 14th Street in Manhatten on one of the very first Earth Days, and the street was closed from east to west to demonstrate a celebration of our planet.”
“The challenges to our Earth are still here; climate change, the emergence of more extreme weather patterns, the need to end our reliance on fossil fuels, and the need to transition to green energy,” said Mayor Rosen. “This program will provide us with an opportunity to renew our focus on important issues that led to the creation of Earth Day back in 1970.”
Deputy Mayor Marksheid proceeded to introduce and give an overview of the event.
“In the decade that followed the first Earth Day, [citizens] saw the creation of America’s most popular and powerful legislator,” said Marksheid. “This includes updates to the clean air act, the creation of the clean water act, the endangered species act, and the establishment of the environmental protection agency. Today now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally.”
Marksheid discussed the guest speakers present on the Zoom and introduced the first speaker, Jacob Mamiye, who works at the Alley Pond Environmental Center. Each speaker gave a description of their job and their passion for the environment.
“I think that reaching young minds is probably one of the most effective ways of spreading the message,” said Mamiye. “Igniting a passion in young kids helps in monumental ways.
The Alley Pond Environmental Center has many classes and programs that Mamiye works in to educate children and teens in helping the environment.
“One of our most popular classes is called Animals Alive,” said Mamiye. “Where kids get to observe animals and learn why we need to observe animals and why we need to protect them. We have a class about endangered species, we teach about Native Americans who lived here, and we have a high school class that tests water quality and observes native and non-native plants.”
Alley Pond Environmental Center does a lot of community outreach, including park clean-ups and beach clean-ups. Alley Pond’s work gives back to the community, educates the youth, and teaches people of all ages how to help the environment.
The next speaker, Dr. Jeff Howard, is an environmental activist, poet, and environmental studies instructor at the University of Connecticut. He focused on the systematic challenges we face regarding the climate crisis.
“The issues in climate change and the nitrogen cycle and so forth are all deeply interrelated and systematic issues,” said Dr. Howard. “We are not separate from natural systems; we are integrated in them. Ultimately we cannot fully know ourselves without understanding our place within the environment because we are a part of it.”
“As we work to confront environmental challenges,” said Dr. Howard, “such as biodiversity, climate chaos and so forth, we must ecologically understand our place in the world.”
Two members from the New York Department of Public Service (DPS) presented information about their company’s roles and responsibilities in helping the climate crisis.
According to the PowerPoint presentation, the department “Regulates investor-owned electric, gas, steam, telecommunication and water utilities, oversees electric service on Long Island and the cable industry and ensures safe, secure and reliable access to utility services at just and reasonable rates.”
A cornerstone project from the DPS is currently being worked on called the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
“The act set a target for a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and an 85 percent reduction in emissions by 2050,” explained Beth Fiteni of the DPS. “We have a goal in the law of 100 percent of electricity generated from zero-carbon sources by 2040.”
A representative from PSEG Long Island spoke about the programs PSEG offers to help customers. The representative discussed different technologies and systems available to purchase for the home to promote energy efficiency and benefit the environment and the economy.
After each speaker shared, the meeting opened to discuss tips to get involved in environmental community action and ways to spread the word. All the speakers that the Residents Group of Great Neck Plaza coordinated to be at the Earth Day Zoom provided informational presentations to educate residents on different ways to give back to the environment.
Visit alleypond.org, climate.ny.gov and psegliny.com to learn more about the programs and initiatives the speakers offer.

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