EcoFest Reminds Busy New Yorkers of Bigger Picture

August 16, 2015 Updated: October 5, 2018

NEW YORK—For your typical, highly aware New Yorker, green living is already par for the course. You recycle, look for organic groceries, conserve power, and possibly even compost. But to be a New Yorker is also to live a frantic life, and sometimes you run out of clear trash bags, sometimes you fall asleep binge-watching Netflix with all the lights on, and even the initial excitement and bragging rights of having an apartment compost can wane.

New York’s annual EcoFest is a place to recharge one’s environmentalist zeal, offering a selection of eco-minded causes to explore, and an opportunity to remind oneself of why we are in the ecology business to begin with.

With all the flashy technology and endless “to do” lists, New York “is a very easy place to get lost,” said Olivia Harris, a singer of Guyanese origin from Brooklyn, shortly after she left the stage of the EcoFest in Times Square on Sunday, Aug. 16.

Harris, who performs under her stage name “Olivia K,” also works in technology and tries to find the harmony between that and ecology. For her, ecology is more than just composting, it’s about overall awareness and bringing that awareness to all parts of our lives. We have to use technology, for example, “in ways that aren’t just about us making 10 years really fine and next hundred years misery,” said Harris.

June Stern, a retired public school teacher, lives on 43rd Street. She caught a glimpse of the EcoFest on her way home and decided to stay for a while, mainly for the music and the Times Square view, she said.

But she’s no stranger to chipping in for the environment. “I always reuse all my plastic bags for my doggy stuff,” she said, adding she also sorts her trash for recycling. “It’s automatic,” she said. “It’s what should be taught from the very beginning.”