April 22, 2020 Earth day At Home, Together

Inspired by the civil rights movement, the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 was a collective charge for the health of our families, the health of our earth, and a just economy. 

This year, Earth Day is a bit different. The coronavirus pandemic has touched all of our lives and illuminated the fact that our physical health and environmental health are inextricably linked.

To fight COVID-19, we need to take climate action. To fight climate change, we need to take part in COVID-19 relief efforts. This Earth Day, let’s take care of each other as we build towards a more sustainable and inclusive future.

April 22, 1970 FIRST EARTH DAY in NYC

On the first Earth Day 50 years ago, an estimated one million New Yorkers marched down 5th Avenue, drawing one of the largest crowds in the nation.

The protests led to sweeping environmental reforms in under five years, including the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts, and the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. All of these laws have had profound impacts on our health and environment. 

Half a century later, our work is not done. 

In the last 11 years From action to policy

As you care for yourself and our city, rest assured that our team at the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will keep on fighting climate change day in and day out.

Here are some achievements we have accomplished together.

  • 2009: Greener, Greater Buildings Plan

    In New York City, almost two thirds of heat-trapping pollution comes from buildings. The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan set the critical groundwork for subsequent climate legislation around building energy efficiency, energy and water consumption, and more.

  • 2012: NYC Clean Heat

    We launched NYC Clean Heat to protect public health from the combustion of heavy heating oils that could cause severe medical issues. The program converted nearly 6,000 buildings away from heavy heating oils and created a 65% reduction in asthma-causing pollution.

  • 2016: NYC Benchmarking Expansion

    The City expanded its energy and water consumption reporting requirements to buildings over 25,000 square feet, and launched the NYC Benchmarking Help Center to provide free technical assistance and local law compliance information.

  • 2017: Paris Agreement Executive Order

    One day after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order committing NYC to the Paris Agreement principles and goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

  • 2019: Climate Mobilization Act

    New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act, the largest climate reform ever enacted by any city. These laws will result in aggressive increases in building energy efficiency and pollution reduction throughout New York City.

  • 2020: NYC Retrofit Accelerator & Carbon Neutral Challenge

    First launched in 2016, the NYC Retrofit Accelerator program continues to expand to provide a range of services that guide building owners and managers across New York City in finding the right solutions to energy and water efficiency for their properties.

    The Carbon Challenge, launched in 2007 as a private-public partnership to accelerate energy efficiency in buildings across the city, now has more than 125 private sector partners committed to major pollution cuts. Over the past 13 years, the partners have reduced nearly 600,000 tons of carbon emissions (that’s equivalent to 130,000 cars off the road for one year), saved over $190M in energy costs, created 1,600 jobs, and prevented 2,300 hospitalizations. Later this year, we’re asking our partners to go even further and become carbon neutral by 2030.


    Tell us what a sustainable future looks like to you. Your answer will be read by our team at the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. We want to build a healthier NYC with you.

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