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Issues & Ideas: In Situ at Sims Municipal Recycling: How to Make Living Sustainable

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Saturday, September 23, 2017, 1 - 3 p.m.

Program Locations:

Sims Municipal Recycling

Creative Time and The New York Public Library are proud to present the final installment of their collaborative venture In Situ, a site-specific series of conversations pairing leading artists and intellectuals to address critical topics of our time. 

"How to Make Living Sustainable" will focus on topics of climate change, environmental justice, and sustainability and will take place at Sims Municipal Recycling, a-state-of-the-art recycling plant on Sunset Park’s industrial waterfront. The talk will feature artist and activist Mel Chin, internationally renowned attorney and environmental and climate justice leader Elizabeth Yeampierre of the Brooklyn-based organization UPROSE, and President/CEO of GrowNYC Marcel Van Ooyen.

Frame the conversation with a behind the scenes peek into how recycling works in New York City. A limited number of Behind the Scenes tickets are available, and will offer guests a special guided tour of the state-of-the-art 11-acre recycling center on the Brooklyn waterfront, and reserved seating during the talk. 

Other guests are invited to a self-guided tour of the facility before the talk. 
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1 PM: Doors open for you to tour the facility. Behind The Scenes tickets grant you a guided tour with an expert. Other guests are invited to explore the facility on your own. Note: you must sign a waiver upon check-in in order to go on the tour. 

2 PM: Mel Chin with Elizabeth Yeampierre, moderated by Marcel Van Ooyen.
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Mel Chin is an artist resistant to any branding that may fence in his capacity to execute iconic sculptures and actions. Chin has garnered international acclaim for his use of art to spread political awareness and expose social injustice, working with sculpture, video, and land art, among other mediums. He developed Revival Field which pioneered the field of "green remediation," the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. His nationwide Fundred Dollar Bill Project continues to engage this valuable form of public engagement to help catalyze an end to childhood lead poisoning. 
His work is exhibited extensively in the US and abroad, and is the recipient of numerous national and international awards including four honorary doctorates. A solo comprehensive survey of Chin’s work, “ALL OVER the PLACE” organized by No Longer Empty and the Queens Museum, is being planned for citywide manifestations in NYC in 2018

Elizabeth Yeampierre is an internationally recognized Puerto Rican attorney and environmental and climate justice leader of African and Indigenous ancestry born and raised in New York City. A national leader in climate justice movement, Elizabeth co-chairs of the Climate Justice Alliance. She is Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn's oldest Latino community based organization. Her award winning vision for an inter-generational, multi-cultural and community led organization is the driving force behind UPROSE. She is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around just, sustainable development, environmental justice and community-led climate adaptation and community resiliency in Sunset Park. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at UPROSE, Ms. Yeampierre was the Director of Legal Education and Training at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Director of Legal Services for the American Indian law Alliance and Dean of Puerto Rican Student Affairs at Yale University. She holds a BA from Fordham University, a law degree from Northeastern University.

Marcel Van Ooyen earned degrees in Social Ecology from the University of California Irvine and from the Seattle University School of Law specializing in Environmental Law. After graduating from law school, Van Ooyen worked for the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council in Washington State, where he conducted the environmental review of proposed power plants. Upon moving to New York City, Van Ooyen worked for the New York City Council as the Chief of Staff to City Council Member Gifford Miller and then as Legislative Director for the City Council. As Legislative Director, Van Ooyen ensured the passage of over 30 environmental Local Laws, including the city’s landmark green buildings legislation, lead bill, clean air codes, environmental purchasing laws, and many more. Van Ooyen now serves as the President/CEO of the GrowNYC, a key local environmental non-profit in New York City, which promotes community gardens, environmental education, recycling and waste reduction, and is best know for operating the Greenmarket farmers’ markets.

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Located on an 11-acre waterfront pier, the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility (MRF) has received widespread praise and multiple awards for its design by Selldorf Architects since opening in 2013. The facility, made almost entirely from recycled steel, was built with the public in mind, and features an Education Center with interactive exhibits and a viewing platform that allows visitors to see the vast processing system, which features more than $25 million in state of the art equipment, and NYC’s first commercial-scale wind turbine. Today, The Sunset Park MRF is the principal processing center for all of NYC's metal, glass, and plastic recyclables. If you live in the five boroughs and recycle, odds are this is where your discards come to be processed before being shipped out as raw material for remanufacturing.