From Fossil Fuels to Food, Climate Week Pushes for Environmental Responsibility

This week will be the 10th anniversary of Climate Week NYC.



John Kerry delivering the opening remarks at a former Climate Week NYC event. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of Climate Week NYC.

Elise Birkett, Contributing Writer

What do net-zero carbon buildings, native Hawaiian plants and the Global Citizen Festival all have in common? They’re all part of the 10th annual Climate Week NYC.

From Sept. 24 to 30, the week-long summit features events that promote actively combating climate change. The Climate Group, in coordination with the United Nations General Assembly and the City of New York, will put on the summit. However, the summit isn’t just for environmental activists, said the group’s head of Media and Corporate Communications Adam Lake, it’s for everyone.

“Climate Week NYC is the biggest climate week event in the world because it is one of the only events of its kind that brings together national leaders, senior figures from business and the public,” Lake said.

Over the course of the week, there will be over 140 affiliate events taking place across the city, many of them open to the public. They include panel discussions, activities, lectures, forums and more.

As individuals, companies, groups and government leaders gear up for the week’s events, restaurants want to jump on the bandwagon, where they can share sustainable, plant-based meals with customers.

New York-based nonprofit Brighter Green will lead Eat for Climate Week, a campaign to promote vegan, environmentally-friendly cuisine.

Oaxaca Taqueria is one of 23 restaurants participating in Eat for Climate Week. David Shaap, the restaurant’s culinary director, is excited to show customers Oaxaca’s plant-based options, such as its vegan tacos.

“We waited until we found a product that we could truly stand behind, one that not only leaves a minimal-eco footprint, but that tastes amazing as well,” Shaap said. “We love the fact that the food is not only better for people, as well as the environment, but doesn’t sacrifice any of the flavor we need in our tacos.”

Executive Director of Brighter Green Mia MacDonald hopes the initiative will show people that plant-based foods can be just as delicious as those containing meat, but without the added environmental costs.

“Rethinking food choices is an important way for New Yorkers to play a part in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions and helping to meet — or exceed — the Paris Agreement goals,” said MacDonald. “In this most global of cities, New Yorkers can be an example of individual climate leadership and eat delicious food from visionary chefs at the same time.”

Whether people make environmentally-friendly changes to their diets or to other parts of their lives, one of the goals of the summit is to make people more conscious of their carbon footprint and ways to reduce it.

“Individually, they may not change the world,” Lake said. “But what we have seen as we launch our 10th Climate Week NYC is that when you bring all of those actions together, not only does it add up, it also puts pressure on government and business leaders to accelerate climate action too.”


Email Elise Birkett at [email protected].