Photo and story by Jefferson Siegel

2019 Year End Message

For me, as Green Map’s director, each year has been so different that it’s really fun to reflect back.

For example, 2018 was our year of going open, culminating in a party that shepherded in a wonderful year of new possibilities, partners and collaborations. In 2019 this led us to join an incubator! Since September, Green Map System has been a member of NEW INC - a creative collaboration space next to the NEW Museum with 100 participants and ample opportunities to connect in new ways. 
 
2019 has also been a year of relocalizing. I got involved in the effort to save East River Park, a site that’s been featured on many of our Green Maps, cycling and walking tours. Along with neighbors, we joined hands with East River Park Action when the East Side Coastal Resilience plan misplaced its ecological foundations and became a monolithic $1.45 billion flood wall. Gaining new skills for addressing policy that reflects the uncertainty baked into climate change, I sought a positive outcome and campaigned for street trees. The first of the 1,000 new Lower East Side Community Canopy trees are being planted now. I’m on the new street tree task force and will also take part in stewardship and leafy green regeneration of, for and by the community. There’s other local ‘placemaking’ underway and 2020 looks to be an outstanding year for progress on long-term local projects. 
 
What about mapping? In NYC, we took on rising temperatures, a growing threat in far too many cities. We published the Refresh LES Green Map highlighting healthy, free and cool places in our community. It’s our first open map, meaning anyone can use its contents to share the cool mapping concept in their own way - that’s how the Spanish version was made.  We enjoyed presented it and our other work at the mapping conferences, FOSS4G, Terrifica and NYC Conservation GIS Day; at workshops on Governors Island and in Hudson NY; at Earth Celebration and EcoTrippin events; as well as at the School of Data, and in various classrooms and halls in local universities and high schools.  

Yes, our global archive is still growing! Printed editions of Green Maps were produced from Baltimore and Monroe Michigan to Cape Town and Shanghai. We’re excited about the newly opened eco center in Holguin. It's the town where Green Map - Mapa Verde took root in Cuba, and now has an even stronger base from which to grow. New projects are in the works, near and far, including the development of our next mapping platform by Bogdan Szabo and Ciprian Samoila. Our interest in the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals keeps expanding, as well, with our successful Sept 2019 ‘SDGs in the Park’ leading us forward on a new project for this spring. 
 
Special thanks to everyone for their help this year, especially our hard-working board of directors, who took part in April’s Climate Action crowdfunding campaign in support of our NYC work. Our global efforts received a major boost from the generous folks at NYC Whisky, which matched and donated the funds raised at their 10th anniversary celebration to our nonprofit in November. We’d also like to thank the 44 donors who pitched in to our long-running global campaign on Giving Tuesday, all of which was proportionately matched by Global Giving, and to the many people who pitched in via Facebook and Paypal as well as via check! Wow, do we feel appreciated!
 
2020 - a year when clear vision will be so badly needed - is just around the corner. Please join me in doing all you can to make it a year of inclusive progress toward community wellbeing and planetary healing.

Thank you from Wendy Brawer
PS my thanks to Jefferson Siegel for the AM New York cover story and also to my dear Ray

Photo and article above by Jefferson Siegel.

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