Newton entertains and educates with Earth Day festival

“When you get down to the actual nitty-gritty, we want people to stop and learn about things like induction cooking — learn about why electric vehicles are so much better than buying an old gas drunk,” Cooper said in an interview.

Marcia Cooper, president of Green Newton, who co-organized the festival, led the booth to educate residents about the organization’s work.
Taylor Coaster

The Newton Citizens Energy Commission found in their latest 2019 report that 60 percent of Newton’s total greenhouse gas carbon emissions come from homes and cars. Cooper says the most effective way to reduce this percentage and Newton’s overall greenhouse gas emissions is to first acknowledge that everyone has a role to play in climate change.

“People need to stop and think about that. It’s not the next person,” Cooper said in an interview. “It belongs to each of us.”

Cooper encourages citizens to consider making changes in their lives.

“If it’s 60 percent of how we use energy in our homes and how we transport ourselves, then maybe people will stop to think and say, ‘Wait a minute. Maybe I should adjust the thermostat in my house. Maybe I should consider electric vehicles for my next car, or more walking or biking,’” Cooper said.

Emmy Tolsdorf, intern for Green Newton, talks with participants about the organization’s work.Taylor Coaster

At the Green Newton booth, Emmy Tolsdorf and Elizabeth Sockwell spoke with guests about how the global issue of climate change could be localized to the Newton region. Elizabeth Sockwell, Green Newton board member and founder of the 4C Tree Project, said Earth Day gave Newton the opportunity to spread more awareness and reach out to residents to bring about change.

“Earth Day is an excellent opportunity to get new people who may care about the planet but don’t know the appropriate action they can take,” said Sockwell. “And with Green Newton, our work is local, so we want to give Newton residents real, truly local action that can really help them contribute to saving the planet.”

Sockwell started the 4C Tree Project, which aims to bring people together through planting trees to commemorate local lives lost to COVID-19. So far, project volunteers have raised more than $50,000 and planted more than 260 trees in the last year with the help of the Newton City Forestry Department. Sockwell said after working on the project, he learned about how trees are vital in flood prevention, rainwater management and avoiding runoff.

“Through this project, we have brought people together and created a lasting memorial to those who died during the pandemic here in Newton,” said Sockwell. “So, again, this is a global issue, a global tragedy, but we try to focus on what we can do locally both for the people and for our planet at the same time.”

Dark Crushes, a local 80’s Alternative rock band, opened the festival with live music. The band chanted “Buy less stuff, no more plastic” during their performance.Alanis Broussard

Chali’Naru Dones, co-founder of the Newton Day Committee of Indigenous Peoples, led the guests in voicing the Land Recognition, an official statement recognizing Indigenous Peoples and their lands.
Alanis Broussard

Chali’Naru Dones, co-founder of the Newton Day Committee for Indigenous Peoples, concluded the event by reading the Land Confession, an official statement showing gratitude and respect for Indigenous Peoples as the original stewards of the land.

He hopes more visibility will be given to Indigenous Peoples on Earth Day.

“This is our land,” said Dones. “Many people don’t realize that this is customary land. Whichever way you look at it, we are here first. ”

Indigenous Peoples Day The Newton Committee is currently planning an all-day Indigenous Peoples Day event this year in Newton planned for 11 October. The committee is seeking volunteers and donations to make the event happen.

Zayamuka Sheraton, 5, wearing fox face paint, licks ice cream from a Frosty Boston ice cream truck as she watches animals from the Enchanted Animal Party zoo. Her mother, Tamara Sheraton, says their family is always trying to do something for Earth Day whether it’s baking a blue and green earth cake in Newton or turning off all their lights for an hour at 8 p.m. in South Africa, where they are from.
Taylor Coaster

Children and families flock to the Enchanted Animal Party zoo at Newton’s Earth Day festival. The queue to see the animals stretched along the grass to the street where the traders were selling.
Taylor Coaster

The festival features a variety of activities for kids and families — such as a zoo, face painting, nature-themed tables, ice cream trucks, bingo, and an educational booth.

Jing Wu reached out to interact with the farm animals on display at the children’s zoo hosted by the Enchanted Animal Party.
Alanis Broussard

Etsko Meyers painted a rainbow on the forehead of Adelyn Huang, 5, in the grassy lawn outside Newton City Hall for the Earth Day festival.
Taylor Coaster

George Kirby, a member of Newton’s Electric Vehicles Task Force, organized a display of 10 electric vehicles, which circled the driveway at City Hall.
Taylor Coaster

Waneta Trabert, director of sustainable materials management for the Department of Public Works at Newton, brings the compost bin for Black Soil Compost. Black Earth Compost provides a roadside composting service.
Taylor Coaster

This year’s Newton Earth Day Festival is being held at the War Memorial Circle at Newton Town Hall on April 24 from 1 to 4 pm
Taylor Coaster

Justin Grimes (right), a worker for the Newton of Landry’s Bicycles location, stands behind an electric bicycle, who was present at the event for a test ride.
Taylor Coaster

Veckyv Hernandez and Leigh Meunier led a booth focused on the work of Climate CREW, a network of community leaders working to help people prepare for and respond to environmental crises.
Alanis Broussard

The festival features the work of the Climate Community Responds to Extreme Weather, a local network that shares information on how to proactively prepare for and respond to environmental crises, such as the projected Charles River flooding due to more intense storms and climate change-related rainfall. .

Leigh Meunier, project coordinator for Climate CREW, said they were working on a solution.

“A lot of the work is thinking about things we can do ahead of time,” Meunier said in an interview. “Getting to the root cause of the things that caused a lot of crises and caused a lot of trauma around the crises.”

Claire Eidson stands with her children, Andrew Eidson, 7, and Piper Eidson, 8, at the booth of NEC Solar, one of the vendors at the festival.
Taylor Coaster

Andrew Eidson, 7, fills a water bottle at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority portable filling station at the Earth Day festival.
Taylor Coaster

Ava Novack, 3, feeds the ball into the award-winning robot, along with high school Newton North and South “LigerBots” FIRST Robotics Team 2877. Children will roll the ball into the robot and catch the ball that is shot to the other side.
Taylor Coaster

Alexander Yam, 4, and Amanda Yam, 8, smiling with painted faces in front of purple flowers at the end of the event.
Taylor Coaster

Taylor Coester and Alanis Broussard can be reached at newtonreport@globe.com.

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