In April 2017, P.S. 31 students generated a guide to Greenpoint’s environmental history, all the way back to its origins as wetlands that served as a hunting ground to the Native American Mespeatches tribe (a name which, ironically, translates to “at the bad waterplace”) through 2017. Noted strides included the creation of GCEF (Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund), launch of two community gardens, plans for the new Brooklyn Public Library on Norman Ave., and the granting of their Eco-School status.
In 2015, the Greenpoint Eco-Schools initiative was launched at P.S. 31, P.S. 34, P.S.
110, and M.S. 126 by then New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,
NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, and National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara thanks to a $1.75 million award from the GCEF.
According to the Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Toolkit, the program is guided by its green goals:
Increase student and staff environmental awareness, connection to nature, and understanding of key environmental science concepts
Increase student and staff participation in environmental and sustainability activities and events at school, home, and in the community
Increase student leadership and community involvement
Improve the Greenpoint environment and increase sustainability of school, homes, and the community
Strengthen the connection between Greenpoint schools and the community, and increase environmental awareness among all Greenpoint residentsGreenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Toolkit
GCEF was created with funding from ExxonMobil’s settlement over its Greenpoint oil spill, and the Eco-Schools program aims to empower and develop future leaders in the fight against climate change and pollution right where it’s needed most — in their own neighborhoods.
With help from their teachers and appointed sustainability coach, the students also created a special eco-chant verbalizing their commitment to make “every day Earth Day” and “stand globally and learn locally.” Later in 2017, the school earned the coveted Green Flag Award, the highest achievement possible in the Eco-Schools USA program.
Whitney Houston said it best (especially when it comes to mounting concerns about pollution in Greenpoint): the children are our future.