Earth Day 2022

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday April 21, 2022

The first Earth Day was celebrated in NYCs Union Square Park on April 22, 1970. Fifth Avenue was closed to traffic between Central Park and Union Square as some 100,000 people gathered to participate in an ecological carnival designed to raise awareness about environmental issues.

Air and water pollution, largely from leaded gas and industrial contaminants, were the main concerns about the deteriorating environment in the US. 

Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Gaylord Nelson [D Wis] wanted to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests to organize campus teach-ins during the week prior to final exams at thousands of universities and colleges. He recruited Republican senator Pete Hayes as co-chair, and student activist Dennis Hayes as liaison.

By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.  Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act.  A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and soon after the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. These laws have protected millions from disease and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.

Earth Day went global in 1990, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. 

Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes as the ravages of climate change become increasingly apparent.

The Union Square events are organized by the NYC Parks Department, with many organizations offering programs throughout the city. The information above is provided by earthday.or


Thursday, April 21, 12 to 7 pm: Earth Day Festival, live at Union Square, NYC

Each year, this event provides a space for climate and environmental communities from all across New York City and the country to connect with the public and share meaningful environmental action.

The event will also feature a Virtual Stage that will live-stream an incredible line-up of speakers, presentations, and performances to explore climate activism, sustainable solutions, and community-building around environmental issues. See details here.  

Friday, April 22, 6:30 pm: Earth Day Off the Cloth Roundtable at White Box

Three feminist artists participating in “Off the Cloth”—an exhibition featuring works by Eva Petri, Isolde Kille, and Sandra Eula Lee--will address the ways in which their work takes up concerns with nature and the environment, and the ways in which this focus is tied to issues of gender and transdisciplinarity. The panel will be moderated by Karen Cordero Reiman, co-curator of “Off the Cloth”, and a scholar of feminist art and theory.  The event will also feature Eva Petri's video-performance "On the Day of my Birth" created for World Water Day 2022 in Dubai.

“Off the Cloth” continues at WhiteBox’s new East Village venue at 9 Avenue B, New York, NY Info At the roundtable, enjoy Earth cocktails while viewing the virtual roundtable and video-performance on a widescreen. Or you can connect and participate in the discussion via WhiteBox’s Facebook Live:


 Friday, April 22, 4-6 pm: Free Sketching with Art Students League in Central Park

Anyone interested in taking time to sketch or paint a beautiful landscape in Central Park can join this event hosted by The Art Students League of New York. The sketching session is free, and participants can share their work online for the opportunity to win a free plein-air painting kit, courtesy of The League’s store.

This free workshop led by League instructor Ricky Mujica will be held at the Arthur Ross Pinetum at the 86thStreet Transverse in Central Park. Register for this free event here

Friday, April 22, 9:30am-1:00pm: East Harlem Earth Day Conference at MCNY

Advocate for a healthier and equitable part of the city and take part in a discussion regarding the quality of life in East Harlem. The talk is hosted by Community Board 11 of Manhattan’s Environment Open Space & Parks Committee, and it will focus on environmental justice, and how a healthy neighborhood will yield better health outcomes for residents. The conference is free with registration, and lunch is provided to those who attend

Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Avenue, New York, NY / Website



Friday, April 22, 12:00-4:00pm: Bee-A-Pollinator: Earth Day Service Day at Queens Farm

At Queens Farm, volunteers can celebrate at one of the longest continually-farmed sites in the state. Participants will assist with sifting compost, mulching and other activities. The service day also includes free giveaways, apiary talks with the farm’s beekeeper, and $5 tractor-drawn hayrides. Info

Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens, New York



Friday, April 22-Sunday, April 24: The Climate Museum at Rockefeller Center and other venues

The Climate Museum is proud to participate in a range of community-building Earth Day activities this week. Thanks to new collaborations with the Center for Earth Ethics, Rockefeller Center, the United Nations Environment Programme, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the Columbia Climate School, and NYC & Company, we are excited to invite you to join us in Earth Day programs that elevate discussion of climate justice, climate science, and the climate arts.

 We can, and we must, act on that history lesson this Earth Day and going forward. It’s never been more urgent to express our climateawareness and join with others in climate action! 

Click for a complete schedule of events

I’m happy to share the news that my flag was selected to fly with 192 others from around the globe in celebration of Only One Earth. Based on a painting in acrylics, Crater #1, my flag  (left) celebrates the earth-shaping power of volcanoes. It flies from the fourth pole in from the southeast corner of the Plaza, in front of Kate Spade. @peggy.roalf


Saturday, April 23, 9:30am: Compost by bike tour of Manhattan community compost sites

Join LES Ecology Center’s 12-mile social ride from Harlem through Central Park to the East Village! In celebration of Earth Day, the organizers iwll show you how NYC’s food scraps are collected and processed on a local level at four community composting sites. We’ll tour Rodale Pleasant ParkHarlem Grown’s 134th Street Farm, El Sol Brillante, and Reclaimed Organics' East Side Outside Garden

This Earth Day celebration will end with an after party at Reclaimed Organics' East Side Outside Community Garden! 

Register here. Meet up at Central Park North (110th Street and Lenox Ave) at 9:30AM for check-in.


Saturday, April 23: Harlem Earth Day Festival at various venues

Harlem restaurant week invites you to shop and connect with local artists making one of a kind eco-friendly items: healthy food, fashion, wellness, accessories, arts/crafts and more. Enjoy vagan food from various parts of the world. Live music, with local talents and DJs spinning your favorite global sounds. Presented bCecil Harlem , Minton's Harlem and powered by ARW Agency (organizers of the African Restaurant Week).

outdoors 118th Street at St. Nicholas Park. 



Saturday, April 23, 2:00-6:00pm: Cebrate Earth Day at MoMA PS1 with art-making workshops, live music, and DJ performances

Join this Earth Day celebration featuring music, art-making workshops, and opportunities to seed a new green space at MoMA PS1. The day marks both the closing of Slow Factory’s The Revolution is a School in Homeroom and the unveiling of jackie sumell & The Lower East Side Girls Club: Growing Abolition, a new project unfolding around a greenhouse in the side courtyard of PS1, and offering points of connection between environmental justice and prison abolition. Visitors of all ages are invited to participate in the seeding of planters for the greenhouse, a project which continues PS1’s commitment to exploring urban green spaces as places of creativity, community building, and solidarity.Info

MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Queens, NY 



Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24, 11:00am-4:00pm: Earth Day at New York Botanical Garden

For this year’s Earth Day Weekend, visitors can embrace their relationship with nature while enjoying food, live music, and crafting activities on Daffodil Hill, where they can also meet NYBG scientists to learn how researchers collect, study, and conserve plants. Click for a complete schedule of events.

New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY