04/30/2013 07:36 pm ET Updated Jun 30, 2013

We Need More Broccoli Cities

Last week, tens of thousands of Americans took time to celebrate and participate in projects commemorating Earth Day. 2013 marks the 43rd year since the nation began this celebration, but this year, at least in Washington, DC, Earth Day was a little different.

Last Sunday, Broccoli City partnered with the Earth Day Network, Sierra Club, Green For All, and many others to host Washington, DC's first urban Earth Day celebration, Broccoli City Fest. With headliner Big Krit rocking out to a crowd of over 2,000 people, food vendors serving healthy, local food, and tons of vendors educating the crowd on green living, it was a clear sign that we now have a new generation of messengers and change agents to lead the environmental movement.


(Photo credit: The Fab Empire)

However, it's not just about engaging and working with new people, it's also about creating inclusive spaces to engage everyone in these conversations. It's no secret that in cities like Washington, DC, environmental degradation has a disproportionate impact on people of color and young people. Unfortunately, more often than not, people from these communities are not included in conversations about conservation and environmental advocacy. So Sunday's overwhelming crowd of youth and people of color was inspiring and continues to change the narrative about these issues.


Washington, DC Mayor Vince Gray also paid us a visit. Like other cities, Washington is striving to become more sustainable, supporting new initiatives like a citywide bike share program and various urban gardens across the District. Still, noble actions like these have to be taken to scale. Every city across the nation needs to commit to phasing out coal energy like Los Angeles did a few weeks ago. More cities need to support car-sharing companies like Zip Car because they help reduce our dependence on oil and decrease the amount of cars on the road. And more cities need to reject false solutions to their issues. We need more Broccoli Cities.