Greening Tomorrow: A Green New York

 “Conservation globally includes conservation at home.”— Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President & CEO of WCS

The Wildlife Conservation Society is dedicated to greening its own backyard with measures to combat climate change at its Bronx Zoo headquarters and throughout its New York City Zoos and Aquarium. Through energy-efficient exhibits and office buildings, recycling programs, and other eco-friendly technologies, we strive to set an example for other organizations and individuals in New York City to lighten our output. Zoo and Aquarium visitors can help us make a difference by checking out our list of simple conservation tips to practice at home.

The Carbon Footprint Project

A leader in global conservation, the Wildlife Conservation Society is taking steps to help New York City reduce its “carbon footprint”—greenhouse gases produced as a result of human activities.

WCS created a Green Team in 2001, and in 2007, launched an effort to ensure its conservation practices at home were truly consistent with its global mission of protecting wildlife and wild places. The organization also sought to position itself as a leader of New York City’s PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York. To that end, WCS created a Carbon Footprint Project Team to calculate its greenhouse gas emissions and to implement steps to reduce this output. The team used data collected since 2005 and established a baseline against which future calculations and emissions mitigation efforts can be compared. The method to measure the footprint was guided by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute. This first report assessed WCS’s five New York facilities—the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium—as well as the facilities and activities of the WCS science program housed at the Bronx Zoo.

The team calculated that the WCS operation in New York emits approximately 34,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases. The figure includes direct emissions from heating and power generation at the five parks and from WCS-owned vehicles; emissions for purchased electricity by parks; and emissions from organization activities—travel by air, car, and train, as well as paper consumption. To put this in perspective, the team compared the WCS estimates to those of other institutions, such as Middlebury College: 25,000 metric tons, BP: 60.4 million metric tons, and the think-tank World Resources Institute: 978 metric tons.

Check out our list of simple conservation tips to practice at home.