Our Journey to Clean Water

  • “Our Journey to Clean Water” celebrates the history of environmental activism in Greenpoint.
  • Groundswell youth visit the New Croton Dam to educate themselves on where our clean water comes from.
  • In this image, the youth team shares its design with the Greenpoint community.
  • The mural was fabricated on parachute cloth in the Groundswell studio.
  • Many community members and elected officials made an appearance during the Dedication.
  • Water pollution affects us all.

Project Description

Groundswell, in partnership with The Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), engaged youth muralists in the creation of “Our Journey to Clean Water,” a mural celebrating Greenpoint’s history of environmental justice activism and highlighting the importance of watershed stewardship at a critical moment in the neighborhood’s trajectory. The mural is installed on the wall of MS 126 Magnet School for Environmental Engineering.
The youth mural team, including seven Greenpoint-based youth, participated in meaningful educational field trips, including a walking tour of Greenpoint highlighting the neighborhood’s history of environmental activism, a canoe trip on Newtown Creek, and a visit to Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park and the East of Hudson Watershed, to deepen youth participants’ understanding of the local watershed system, with an emphasis on the devastating impact of the Newtown Creek oil spill and an awareness of the New York City Water Supply System.
Inspired by this hands-on research, the final mural design depicts a woman is pouring herself a pure glass of water, safely stewarded from the Catskills Watershed to her faucet. The water pipes are connected from the mountains, flowing into a revitalized Greenpoint, where local businesses such as an auto repair shop (complete with electric car) and farmer’s market thrive - illustrating how human activities can profoundly impact the local environment. “Our Journey to Clean Water” urges viewers to take action and share responsibility for a greener community and to conserve and protect our shared water resources.

This project was made possible with funding provided by the Office of the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund and the Catskill Watershed Corporation. Additional support was provided by New York City Councilmember Stephen Levin and the New York State Office of Public Safety.

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Project Info

Fun Facts

Fun Fact
The Greenpoint oil spill has the dubious distinction of being one of the largest oil spills ever recorded in the United States. Newtown Creek is home to a federal Superfund site, several State Superfund sites and numerous brownfields.
Question about the Mural
How can you ensure a brighter environmental future for your community?
Fun Fact
Less than 2% of the Earth’s water supply is fresh water.