‘Eco­log­i­cal City’ uses the arts to in­spire en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tion.

“The key com­po­nent is that it’s through the arts that you can build an emo­tional con­nec­tion to things,” founder Feli­cia Young said.

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - NIKKI M. MASCALI nikki.mascali@metro.us

For nearly three decades, Feli­cia Young has made it her life’s work to use the arts to raise aware­ness for the eco­log­i­cal is­sues fac­ing New York City, from cli­mate change and con­ser­va­tion to sus­tain­abil­ity.

New York­ers are en­cour­aged to be­come part of Young’s mis­sion on Satur­day, when her non­profit Earth Cel­e­bra­tions launches “Eco­log­i­cal City — Pro­ces­sion for Cli­mate So­lu­tions,” a six-hour pro­ces­sion of vis­ual art, gi­ant pup­pets, cos­tumes and more through the Lower East Side’s com­mu­nity gar­dens, neigh­bor­hood and waterfront.

“The key com­po­nent is that it’s through the arts that you can build an emo­tional con­nec­tion to things, that you speak to peo­ple on a dif­fer­ent level,” Young said. “It’s vis­ceral, di­rect ex­pe­ri­en­tial con­nec­tion to both phys­i­cal sites — whether it’s a river, a park, a gar­den, a tree, a flower — what­ever we have within our city or neigh­bor­hood, it’s rooted in sight.”

“Eco­log­i­cal City” is also rooted in sim­i­lar pro­ces­sions Young has spear­headed in the neigh­bor­hood since 1991 to suc­cess­fully save com­mu­nity gar­dens on the LES and around the five bor­oughs.

Satur­day’s pageant, which Young prom­ises isn’t so much a pa­rade as it is a “trans­for­ma­tive ex­pe­ri­ence,” will fea­ture dance, mu­si­cal, the­atri­cal and po­etic per­for­mances at 20 sites across the neigh­bor­hood to cel­e­brate the area’s cli­mate re­siliency and eco­log­i­cal sus­tain­abil­ity.

Green in­fra­struc­ture ini­tia­tives on the LES in­clude bio-swales, rain and pol­li­na­tor gar­dens, so­lar gaze­bos, ur­ban farm­ing and more, and “Eco­log­i­cal City” will con­nect res­i­dents to more than 50 part­ner groups to ex­plore not only these sites, but find sus­tain­abil­ity so­lu­tions.

“If peo­ple don’t have a con­nec­tion to the im­por­tance of our water or the im­por­tance of green and open space in our city, then they can’t ac­tively mo­bi­lize in want­ing to pre­serve that,” Young said.

Adding the arts into the mix of con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity ef­forts brings that con­ver­sa­tion to a whole new level, she added, “es­pe­cially when you’re not just hav­ing artists pre­sent­ing work about a par­tic­u­lar is­sue, but you’re ac­tu­ally en­gag­ing the com­mu­nity through the arts to cre­ate them­selves.”

Earth Cel­e­bra­tions’ “Eco­log­i­cal City” be­gins at 11 a.m. at Loi­saida Inc. Cen­ter, the event’s part­ner, at 710 E. 9th St. It will then pro­ceed through the LES to East River Park. (The event’s rain date is Sun­day.) For more info, visit earth­cel­e­bra­tions.com.

ALL PHO­TOS RACHEL ELKIND

Earth Cel­e­bra­tions’ “Eco­log­i­cal City,” a six-hour pro­ces­sion through the Lower East Side, uses the arts to raise aware­ness of the eco­log­i­cal is­sues fac­ing the New York City.

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