Since 2009, the end of September has become an opportunity for environmentalists all around the world to raise awareness of climate change. The United Nations Climate Change Summit is one of hundreds of annual events that take place during Climate Week, and Grades of Green was honored to host and participate in the following:


September 27, 2019
Future Meets Present hosted the third annual Marketplace of the Future event at the Starrett Lehigh building in Manhattan. This year, Climate Week NYC honored the event by naming it the “Official Closing Event of Climate Week NYC.” Grades of Green was proud to be a nonprofit partner for the event, hosting a table and both during the daytime and evening portions of the day. Marketplace of the Future 2019 featured tables from over 70 organizations, including the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Our staff enjoyed meeting sustainability-oriented businesses, while one of our new partners, Bowery Farming, tabled near other vertical farms and natural landscaping organizations.

As the Grades of Green team mingled with activists, educators, and students, they also collected environmental pledges. Staff encouraged each visitor to the booth to make a pledge to commit to one environmentally sustainable practice either each day, week, month or year. At the end of the evening, the wall behind the Grades of Green booth was filled with over a hundred pledges from Climate Week NYC visitors. Our goal was to show that while each pledge is just one small promise, collectively our impact is massive.

Following the Bi-Coastal Cleanup – described below – Bowery Farming further donated produce for our Grades of Green team to make eco-friendly snacks at our Climate Week table. Grades of Green Program Advisor, Jordan Chang, made vegan chili lettuce cups and sweet potato lettuce cups to show that eco-friendly foods can be as fun, delicious, and nutritious as their non-vegetarian counterparts. Check out his two recipes below:


– 1 Large head of lettuce for cups
– 8 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half with cores removed
– 2 red bell peppers, deseeded
– 2 jalapenos (deseeded for less spiciness)
– 1 large yellow onion
– 8 garlic cloves
– 2 tablespoons of miso paste
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– Salt to taste

1. Roast the bell peppers, jalapenos, onion, over a stovetop fire until ingredients are charred.
2. Place the charred ingredients along with garlic cloves, tomatoes, olive oil, and salt on a baking tray and bake at 450 F for 20 – 30 minutes.
3. Place ingredients in a blender.
4. Add miso paste to the ingredients and blend in a blender. Salt to taste.
5. Separate lettuce leaves and form into cups. Place a tablespoon or so of Veracruz chili into the lettuce cups.
6. Serve


– Salt
– 2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
– 1 lemon

1. Boil 1 1/2 lbs. of peeled sweet potatoes for 30 minutes or until soft enough to poke a fork through.
2. Remove the sweet potatoes from the boiling water and add honey and maple syrup. Blend together.
3. Add more maple syrup if needed and blend again. Salt to taste.
4. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to taste.
5. Separate lettuce leaves and form into cups. Place a tablespoon or so of sweet potato salad into the lettuce cups.
6. Serve.


September 26, 2019
Since 2017, the New Delhi-based nonprofit, Green Mentors, has worked with students in India to incorporate environmental education in their curriculum. Recipients of the Patron of the Planet award in 2017, Grades of Green returned to speak at their third annual Green School Conference. Held at the Center for Social Innovation in New York City, the Grades of Green team address a crowd of over 50 educators, students and nonprofit leaders.

One student group registered for our RISE Campaigns immediately once our team completed the presentation. Professors from New Delhi, India, to Long Island, New York, followed up with our team and asked how they could get involved.


September 25, 2019
Grades of Green was invited to partner with Be Social Change for their Sustainability Connector networking event. With this event, Be Social Change aimed to pair environmental advocates with other sustainable organizations to discuss opportunities and solutions. The event brought in both veterans of the green movement and those new to taking environmental action. At the Sustainability Connector, Grades of Green staff joined representatives from Seastraws, Project Drawdown, Future Meet Present, and many other organizations to talk about their impact in addressing environmental issues from education to single-use plastic reduction.

Attendees of the Sustainability Connector had the opportunity to sign their students up for upcoming Grades of Green campaigns and the opportunity to join the newsletter for future volunteer events.


September 21, 2019
Weeks of planning and coordination made the first-ever Grades of Green Bi-Coastal Cleanup Day a massive success. Grades of Green worked with nonprofits, local businesses, and community leaders across the country to bring together hundreds of people on both coasts to clean up the shoreline in their community from Manhattan Beach, New York, to Manhattan Beach, California. When the day was finished, more than 1,000 pounds of trash was collected, which is enough to conserve 17 gallons of oil, 101 hours of electricity, and thousands of gallons of water.

In California, Grandes of Green team members partnered with the City of Manhattan BeachHeal the Bay, the Roundhouse Aquarium and South Bay Cares to bring our students and hundreds of volunteers together to not only clean up their beach, but also teach young people about the value of conservation. In New York, our team worked with businesses like Reprise Digital and Bowery Farming to recruit volunteers and in-kind donations. Nonprofit organizations such as the American Littoral SocietyOcean ConservancyiMishpacha, and The Third Rail were critical to the volunteering effort as was the support of local elected officials State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

Ready to get involved? We thought so. Registration for the 2020 Waste Campaign is now open.