Human Impacts Brings “Food Forward” to NYC!

Experience the Stories of Food Rebels Across the U.S.

Experience the Stories of Food Rebels Across the U.S.

On September 10th, 2014, The Human Impacts Institute co-hosted the Screening Premiere in NYC of Food Forward, a new PBS series about Americans transforming our food.  After screening the pilot episode and a few clips from various other episodes covering issues from composting to fish to urban gardening, there was a live performance from Ashlynn Manning and a lively Q&A.  On the Q&A panel sat Josh Goldman, Co-Founder & CEO of Australis, Shannon Eldredge Co-Founder of Cape Cod Community Supported Fisheries, Stefanie Sacks Author of What the Fork Are You Eating?; Vandra Thorburn, Founder & President of Vokashi;  Sophia Brittan, Founder & Chef at Victory Garden NYC; Sean Barret, Co-Founder of Dock to Dish; Paul Greenberg, Author of American Catch. There was a great turn out to the event, as the line wrapped around the block with people eager  to learn more about sustainability, food and the rebels that are making a difference in the way we eat.

unnamed-1FoodForward has been many years in the making since the Team set out to change food television. Our journey has taken us to more than 50 cities across America capturing the farmers, fishermen, ranchers, scientists, and teachers who are transforming the way we eat in America. And now the time has come to truly celebrate these FOOD REBELS in all of their delicious glory!

Watch Food Forward on WLW21 in NYC Sundays at 4:30pm, starting September 19th!


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July Tree Care

The Human Impacts Institute recently summed up July’s Tree Care Tuesday at Driggs Avenue and Monitor Street. Every Tuesday the Human Impacts Institute holds a two hour tree care event. At tree care the HII crew and volunteers help the city trees thrive; we clean out trash that surrounds the tree, aerate the tree bed, and put new mulch down. This month, with the assistance of many great volunteers, we helped 67 trees flourish in our urban environment.

Why are trees imperative to have in urban environments?

  • Trees reduce air pollution.
  • Trees conserve water.
  • Trees save energy!
  • Trees reduce noise pollution.
  • Trees are aesthetically pleasing.
  • And on those inescapably hot summer days, the best place to cool down outside is under a luscious tree.

There are certain trees that prosper in urban environments. New York City’s most common street trees are the London planetree and the Norway Maple. The London planetree is easy to spot with its shedding darker bark to reveal a lighter colored bark underneath. These plants do well in shady areas, making it perfect for New York City streets that are towered with skyscrapers. The London planetree can spread up to 80 feet, providing an ample amount of shade. The Norway Maple is a slightly smaller tree than the London planetree, with heights up to 50 feet. These are superb street trees that can adapt to a range of sands and soils.

For the month of August, Tree Care Tuesday will be held at Meserole Ave and Lorimer Street. Come join our crew and volunteer to illuminate your neighborhood!

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Native Species Planting


Planting at East River State Park.

This past Friday, The Human Impacts Institute held our Native Species Planting Day in East River State Park. We planting a range of plants that once naturally thrived in the New York City area; including switch grass, beach grass, blueberry bushes, plum trees, black-eyed Susan, Echinacea, and a few others. These plants were placed around the children’s area, close to the water. We had a great turnout of volunteers to enthusiastically help plant, including Brooklyn Dayhab.

East River State Park is an urban oasis located in North Brooklyn with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. The park is filled with character from the remnants of the 19th century shipping dock and old railroad yard that once inhabited the area. The newly planted native flowers, trees, and grass compliment the park’s historic beauty while adding to the plants already maturing.


Planting a blueberry bush at East River State Park.

The Human Impacts Institute’s initiative at East River State Park helps educated the public on the previous foliage that inhabited Brooklyn and its surroundings. We would love to see more native species planted in other parks around the area. If you are interested in having a native species planting in a park near you, we would be happy to help!




Four reasons to plant native species!

1) Fertilizer is not needed to plant native species. The plants are accustomed to thrive in the soil in their native areas. Less chemicals!

2) Native insects, birds, and mammals rely on native species for existence.

3) Planting native species will better ensure that your plant will survive, since it is already accustomed to the nutrients in the soil.

4) Promote biodiversity!

Written by Erica Prince, Environmental Leadership Intern

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Human Impacts Salon – July 2014

On, July 16 2014, The Human Impacts institute hosted a Human Impacts Salon on Creative Climate Communication – encompassing art and climate, here in Manhattan. The evening comprised of networking as well as a panel discussion on the topic of re-communicating climate change, and how to inspire people to participate. The evening began with a dance performance choreographed by Jody Sperling, interpreting the movement of Ice in the Arctic.  Tara DaPorte, Human Impacts Institute’s Executive director led the discussion on what impacts art and science have in changing the state of the climate today.

Panelists included Althea Viafora, curator and founder of Althea Viafora Associates; Katie Holton, visual artist; Jody Sperling, dancer and choreographer as well as Founder and Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance; Julian Cheevers, advertising professional and Group Account Director at Droga5; and Sabine Marx, Managing Director at the Center of Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia.

The discussion began with a simple yet thought provoking question, “are there opportunities or obstacles when it comes to art versus science?” The panelists agreed that while science and art are different on many levels, when combined they are effective in introducing key ideas and actions that can be taken to change the current state of the environment.

Salon july 2014








When the panelists were asked, “what does climate change look like?”,  Katie Dalton explained through a piece of her own art. What looks like constellations as seen by humans from earth, is actually a recreated image of the amount of lights we have created. Her piece shows that we are making an impact on the way our planet is viewed, without even realizing it most of the time. When a viewer understands what they are seeing in her art, they must also acknowledge their impact on the planet.

Many of the panelists agreed that the main catalyst that would enable communities to truly take part in change is accessibility. Art can provide such availability, it can provide an emotional trigger which can be supplemented by further scientific information.  It is also important to initiate steps that are not overwhelming and attainable in many situations. Julian provided the example of donating a dollar for tap water at restaurants, to be donated to the UNICEF.  These measures can be a simple way to begin the changes that need to occur.

Salon july 14

After a provoking discussion on art and science, and how they both contribute to the public understanding of climate change, the solon closed with panelists giving their opinion on what a climate win could be.  Among the answers were technology and big business. Big business can set an example of change, and drive positive goals in how they practice. Initiatives from these businesses along with the way technology has increased in such a short amount of time could help facilitate the change we need to see.

Here are a couple of videos that were shown at the Salon.  Do they inspire you?

Written by Jessica Carlisle, Environmental Education Intern 


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This Will All be Yours

July 30 2014

For the next several weeks the TGB Theater in Midtown Manhattan is presenting a play called This Will All Be Yours. The Human Impacts Institute had the chance to see the play last week.  The show takes place in Middle America, and discusses the decline of family farms in the 1970’s.  The Price family has been running their own farm for many generations; however, it is becoming apparent that American life is changing.  There is an emphasis on the fact that during this time period, the demand for produce in America was vastly changing, and placing a demand on small farmers, which was often too heavy. The Price family had to find their own way to adapt to these transformations.

this will all be yours








By the end of the twentieth century, fruit and vegetables were being imported from outside of the United States so that they could be purchased throughout the year. Many farms had been knocked down, and subdivisions were built in their place. While these fruits and vegetables were easily accessible, they often lacked flavor, as they were frozen and damaged in the shipping process.  Fortunately some small farmers have lasted though the decline, and are still able to provide fresh fruit.  In the past decade the support of local farmers has increased and so has the popularity of farmers markets. Many consumers regained appreciation for fresh fruits with full flavor, which are much easier to find in this type of setting.

This Will All Be Yours does an excellent job in educating viewers about family farms that once existed in the United States, and the change that occurred which lead to their decline. It may also help viewers appreciate fresh fruit and vegetables that are still available today, and perhaps lead them to support local farmers in their practices.

Would you like to learn more about local farms and the food that they provide? Just Food is an organization that seeks to join communities with local food as well as educating them about agriculture and healthy practices. Learn more at



The TBG Theatre

312 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor

New York NY 10018





It’s 1979 and progress is about to land on everybody’s doorstep, sometimes gently and other times with a giant thud. Not all members of the Price family feel the same about what change means, but by the time they acknowledge that the landscape has shifted, it may already be too late to save their way of life.

Starting in the 1930s right through the 1980s, a quiet shift was taking place – family-owned farms began to slowly disappear from the American landscape.  They were replaced by huge malls, housing developments, or absorbed by larger commercial enterprises. The vanishing of America’s farming community serves as the inspiration for This Will All Be Yours, a play with music by playwright and former New York Times columnist Laura Pedersen.  THIS WILL ALL BE YOURS is one of the featured plays of The 2014 Midtown International Theatre Festival.


$15 Tickets (regularly $18)



ONLINE:CLICK HERE, select a date and use code TWABYREDGEN

PHONE: Call 866.811.4111 and mention code TWABYREDGEN

RESTRICTIONS: Subject to availability. Not valid on prior purchase.

Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.  Additional blackout dates and

restrictions may apply. No refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked at any time.

Standard service fees apply to all phone and internet orders.  Seating is General Admission.

Written by Jessica Carlisle, Environmental Education Intern


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Applications Now Open! Fall 2014 Internships with the Human Impacts Institute

Applications Now Open!

Fall 2014 Internships with the Human Impacts Institute




blogApplications for internships are due Wednesday, September 17th, by midnight EST

Our internships provide unique, behind-the-scenes learning experiences where you join us to develop, implement, and monitor our diverse programs.  As a Human Impacts Crew member, you work in a collaborative environment with our dynamic team.  We are looking for passionate and creative minds who know how to turn ideas into action and promise to support your personal goals, while building your leadership potential.   We want crew members who are passionate about environmental and social issues, and really get excited by marketing and communications, education, mission-driven business, policy, research, and/or the non-profit sector.  In addition to this.  You will be a great Human Impacts Crew member if you’re self-motivated, organized, a team player, creative, and like diversity in your days.

Our past interns were international lawyers, media professionals, teachers, as well as graduate and undergraduate students from over 30 universities and colleges and five continents.  They are now working in diverse institutions, including: the United Nations Environment Program, the Earth Institute (IRI), Bloomberg, the Climate Group, GrowNYC, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Worldwatch Institute, Arcadis, and P&C Insurance.

Internship Application Details:

Internships will last for 12 weeks and will take place in NYC. Only applicants available for the full term (September to middle of December–with some flexibility for start and end dates) and who can commit a minimum of 15 hours per week will be considered. Preference will be given to those to can commit 20-40 hours per week. All internships are unpaid.

We understand that we all work best at different hours of the day and in different settings.  As an intern with us, you will have the flexibility to complete some of your hours on your own schedule–in your favorite coffee shop or while sitting on the beach.  However, we require a minimum of two days of face-to-face time at our NYC headquarters per week (we want to hang out with you!).  You also get priority if you can commit at least 20 hours per week.

Our crew gives strong preference to applicants who receive college or occupational training credits. We welcome international applicants (you must have your U.S. visa before starting an internship) and professionals looking to expand their experience base. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide stipend, travel, or lodging assistance at this time.

Your application must include:

  •       An Introductory letter, which includes: why you want to join our crew, your preferred internship(s), and your passion relating to that internship(s)
  •       A current resume
  •       Two reference contacts
  •       One paragraph with an original idea for a creative project

We currently offer the following internships:

Creative Design: As a Creative Design Intern, you support our online and visual presence. You work with our crew to develop creative tools and a consistent look for increased collaboration, outreach and open-source engagement of our partners. As an ideal candidate, you have proficiency in web development and Adobe Creative Suite, in addition to experience in graphic design, illustration, and/or marketing. If you’re applying to this internship, submit your three best work samples in your application.

Environmental Consulting: As an Environmental Consulting Intern, you support our consulting programs by providing our private and public sector clients with tools to integrate environmentally and socially-conscious practices into their business models.  A research and outreach heavy internship, you also develop curriculum, employee engagement opportunities, special events, impact assessments, as well as monitoring and evaluation tools.

Experiential Education: As an Experiential Education Intern, you support our Learning By Doing programs. You focus on curriculum and program development, teaching classes, and community outreach. You should have an interest in environmental education and hands-on learning.  Experience in STEAM topics or teaching is a plus.

Global Leadership: As a Global Leadership Intern, you support our Curated Action programs to develop local to international opportunities for personal action.  Your responsibilities include content development for outreach materials, establishing strategic partnerships, events creation and planning, as well as research and policy development.

NGO Management: As an NGO Management Intern, you support our organizational development and structure. You work closely with our Development Manager in strategic fundraising, such as: grants writing, sponsorship proposals and deck development, individual donor requests, events planning, as well as earned income generation tools.  You also develop and maintain monitoring and evaluation tools and assist with partnership development.

Strategic Communications:  As a Strategic Communications Intern, you support our outreach and communications campaigns, develop social media content, blogs, and other online content.  You will also develop strategy and content for press and funder interactions, organizational brochures, newsletters, as well as other marketing and communications tools for our programs.

About the Human Impacts Institute: As an international non-governmental organization based in NYC, the mission of the Human Impacts Institute is to inspire action for strong communities and a healthy environment through hands-on education, coalition building, and using arts and culture for social good.  Our partners range from the United Nations, U.S. Department of State, and Federal Republic of Germany to major universities and research institutes to community-based, grassroots groups.  Learn more:

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City of Water Day – Hoboken

This past Saturday, July 12, The Human Impacts Institute Crew trekked over the Hudson River to Hoboken, New Jersey to attend City of Water Day. This year the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance held Hoboken’s first City of Water Day, along with the annual celebration on Governor’s Island. In previous years, The Human Impacts Institute attended the daylong event of Governors Island. Although there was a small turn out compared to the event on Governors Island, we were still able to spread the word about the organization and have fun while doing so.

We brought a few activities along- such as native bird and fish species cards and an inspirational white board. The pictures represent birds and fish that are native to the New York/New Jersey area. Young children as well as adults enjoyed identifying the various birds and fish. We also enjoyed hearing what people would like to see more of in New Jersey, as the answers contrasted the usual ones we get around New York City streets. Many asked if they could eat the native fish that live in the local waters. Every year the DEC comes out with a document for the NYC region that reports which and how many of each fish are safe for human consumption. This document gives detail on the popular catches in the local waterways. It is important to check on what should be kept for safe consumption and what should be thrown back in the water!

City of Water Day was a great opportunity for The Human Impacts Institute and other like minded organizations to come together in hope to use New York City’s waterways to there fullest potential. The day also promoting fun on the water with free kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and sailing lessons!

Fun facts why you should support the local fisheries!

- Local fish costs less!

- You get better quality fish with less traveling time

- Buying local fish offers a unique variety

- You are supporting local businesses

- Learn more about your region and the native species that share your home


View this video to learn more about native bird species in NYC!
▶ Helping the Wild Birds of New York City – YouTube




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The World Cup and the Environment

The advertising campaign from Paddy Power

Other than England’s failure to get through and Spain’s early knockout in the group stages, one of the more memorable things that have happened this World Cup has been Paddy Power’s Rainforest prank.  As you can see above it is a pretty simple campaign. They clearcut the Rainforest which sustains millions of organisms, houses at least 10% of the world’s known biodiversity, and requires decades to grow. All of this in order to support England in their, at most, monthlong campaign for a World Cup win.


Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest

According to WWF, in the past 50 years, the Amazon has lost at least 17% of its forest cover.  The Rainforest has been here for over 55 million years and has sustained our need for oxygen and a variety of other ecosystem services. In fact, it absorbs about 20% of the atmospheric carbon emitted by the burning of fossil fuels!

At what point does the justification for logging outweigh the social and environmental consequences? We have to ask ourselves as consumers, is this a step in the right direction? Human-induced climate change may cause the Amazon to emit more carbon into the atmosphere than it absorbs.

While this advertising campaign from Paddy Power is a hoax, it’s an amazing one that truly shines a spotlight upon a real issue that we face in our present – the degradation of our natural resources. While advertising such as this will only bring attention to the issue, a discussion surrounding this will bring solutions to the table.

This advertisement does just that and more, by putting into perspective the environmental damage that is occurring in the Amazon. The World Cup, while being a beautiful sport wherein the world unites under one banner, is also a great way of highlighting the plight the Amazon faces today. Greenpeace has estimated that in the Amazon an area the size of 122 football pitches is chopped down every 90 minutes. With the World Cup in full swing, the magnitude of this metric is becoming more salient with the general population. We should use the game not only as a beautiful way to highlight the unity of the world’s population not only in one sport, but in one goal. That goal being the future of our planet.

Written by Samir Jagdish, Environmental Services Intern 

Posted in Consumer Choice, Environmental Leadership | Leave a comment

Call to Artists for Creative Climate Awards 2014: How will you tell the story of climate change?


Call to Artists:

2D work, short films (up to 5 min), and performance pieces that “make climate personal” for the Creative Climate Awards, NYC

Developed by:

The Human Impacts Institute (HII) NYC

Event Dates:

September 15-October 15th

Cash Prizes:

First place: $500  •  Second place: $300  •  Third Place: $200


Send by email to

Final deadline:

No later than 11:30pm, Monday, August 4th

Awards Event:

Thursday, October 30th

What Are the Creative Climate Awards?

Human Impacts Institute Climate Carnival

Human Impacts Institute Climate Carnival

As an official part of Climate Week NYC and in partnership with Positive Feedback and Artbridge, theHuman Impacts Institute’sFourth Annual Creative Climate Call to Action brings together the visual arts, performance art, and film to install climate-inspired public works throughout New York City. OurCreative Climate Awards use the creative process as a tool to inspire audiences to explore the consequences of their actions, think critically about pressing issues, and to make the environment personal.  

These events are an opportunity to creatively engage tens-of-thousands of people in positive action around the challenges posed by climate change, while having your work seen by our judges—some of the top artists, curators, and international leaders in the world.

See what we’ve selected in past years to be a part of Creative Climate Awards here>>

For 2014, we welcome artists and artists’ collectives working in the following disciplines: 2D work, performance, and short film (up to 5 minutes).

The Selection Process

Mai Ueda leading a climate inspired meditation.

Mai Ueda leading a climate inspired meditation.

Selection of artists will be made by HII staff and an advisory committee comprised of scientists, policy makers, artists, media experts, curators, and others.  We will evaluate three main components of each submission:

  • Strength of messaging/climate connection;

  • Artistic merit and impact; and

  • Feasibility of project (in terms of permitting requirements, materials, etc.).

Submissions will also be selected based upon an artist’s work samples and written explanation of the intended message and impact of a proposed piece.

Criteria for SubmissionIMG_0898

  • All submitted pieces must address the 2014 theme of  “making climate personal” and creatively engage audiences in positive action on climate change.

  • Work/performance must be suitable for a public setting (all locations will be coordinated by HII and limited indoor settings will be available);

  • No admission fee may be charged;

  • All concepts, ideas, and artwork must be original work of artist submitting proposal;

  • Work/performance must be safe for artist and the public;

  • Artists/artist team must have a proven track record of creating work in a timely and professional manner;

  • Artist will pay for all art and personal transport fees to NYC

Submission Deadline: No later than 11:30pm EDT, Monday, August 4th and be emailed to and must include the following:

  • Letter of interest (maximum one page) should include the following:
    • Do you have a proposed/ideal location for your piece?
    • What do you intend to convey to the public through your proposed artwork?
    • How does your concept/work address “making climate change personal”?
    • Description of your concept
    • Artist(s) name, address, phone number, website (as applicable), email address
  • Resume (maximum one page). If working with a team, include a resume for each team member.
  • Sketches, images, or video that clearly convey concept
    • Provide no more than five examples of previous work completed.
    • Title image files with number of image, artist’s first name initial, and last name.  For example, if artist’s name is Lynda Smith, her first image file is: 1LSmith.
      • JPEG format only with a maximum size of 1MB each.
      • Include an image list with a brief description (1-2 sentences) for each image and how the work supports your Climate Action proposal.
      • Please keep sound and video files to five minutes each and provide an online link to any material.
Posted in Community Conversations, Creative Expression, Hii News, Hii Programs | Leave a comment

Sustainable Construction

Walking on The High Line, one discovers a hidden gem, an urban oasis of an above ground railroad park. The High Line is an amalgamation of live music, food vendors and the visitors speaking foreign languages. This park in the sky is a great example of sustainable development; it takes an old and used space and turns it into a lively, well-trafficked atmosphere.


Stairs on The High Line that overlook the street below.

It is imperative to find ways to sustain a population that is growing at exponential rates. The High Line exemplifies a public shared space that encompasses adaptive reuse.

The Lowline embraces a similar concept to the High Line. The Lowline is a proposed plan to use the Delancy Street Trolley Terminal that is no longer in use and turn it into a below ground park. The park will maintain a natural atmosphere with plants that thrive from the light received from skylights in the park’s underground ceiling.


A proposed design for The Lowline.

The Lowline is a great start to allowing people to thrive underground as well as on the surface. There are similar proposed plans in Mexico City for an “Earth-scraper”. The Earth-scraper is a skyscraper underground. It will stretch almost 1,000 feet or 65 stories underground, containing floors for office use and for recreation.


A proposed plan for Mexico City’s Earth-scraper.


We already understand how vital adaptive reuse is for sustainable development, but does our future lie within living under the Earth’s surface? What will our creative minds discover next? We once used to reach for the stars, now we reach for the Earth’s core.





For more information on the High Line:

Written by Erica Prince, Environmental Leadership Intern.

Posted in Sustainable Development | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment