For Earth Day, 17 Shades of Green

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Urban Greenwalk Launches with 8 Day Green Initiative Event

By Helaina Hovitz

Urban Greenwalk, a new nonprofit designed to educate city folk on everyday green initiatives, took its first steps on Saturday, April 20, in 17 stores along Bleecker Street between Bank and Charles Streets.

The initiative was born when downtown resident Steven McClure, 44, was suddenly inspired to use storefront windows in his West Village neighborhood as "booths" to house video content that could teach passersby about the environment.

"I thought, 'We do holiday windows, why don't we do Earth Week windows?'" he said, emphasizing the importance of teaching city dwellers how to live eco-consciously.

In December of 2011, McClure reached out to several green non-profits that each captured one area/green initiative, and, thirteen months later, they were setting up screens and other displays in the windows of Bookmarc, Fresh, Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture, Kurt Geiger, Lulu Guinness, Marc Jacobs, Magnolia Bakery, Mulberry, NARS, Ralph Lauren, Robert Marc, Variazioni and Zadig and Voltaire.

Juicy Couture is educating pedestrians on the Natural Areas Conservancy, offering up fun facts about the native species that reside here in the city (did you know that there are 220 native species of bees in NYC?). Jimmy Choo is showing a video on Transportation Alternatives, paying homage to the bike lovers trailing the over 300 miles of bike lanes in NYC and teaching businesses how to become bike friendly, and NARS is showing a video from the Terramar Project, an initiative dedicated to raising awareness for various ocean species. Lulu Guinness is displaying a video about the Hudson River Park Trust, and Marc Jacobs' theme, Community Gardens, directs you to community gardens in all five boroughs, highlighting the ways in which these gardens are planted and the financial and nutritional benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables (sponsored by Green Thumb and GrowNY).

Magnolia Bakery is serving up a special Earthday Cupcake and donating all of the proceeds to the Walk.

The Walk was given a large boost by Marc Jacobs International, and it didn't hurt to have Brooke Shields on board as a Host Committee Member.

"Raising children in today's world, it is more important than ever to embrace a greener lifestyle," said Shields. "I am always looking for ways my family can be more responsible to the environment. This event is a perfect way to educate ourselves."

According to McClure, the walk will turn you a "deeper shade of green."

"Each person that 'attends,' regardless of their knowledge of what's green, will walk away with that 'a-ha' moment and be changed," McClure promises.

Will you have your moment? Take a walk on the green side and find out.

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