How to be Greener on Broadway…and everywhere else

Earth Day 2019

Volume 119, No. 4April, 2019

Alice Stevenson

The Broadway Green Alliance recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The BGA’s work is built on the recognition that environmental issues are caused by the cumulative effect of millions of small actions and that impactful change comes from each of us doing a bit better every day.

This Earth Day, on April 22, marks 49 years of the largest civic-focused day of action in the world. Since 1970, hundreds of millions of people around the world have continuously come together to bring environmental issues to the forefront. Almost half a century later, this movement is more important than ever as climate change is a reality and individuals around the world are taking action. The theatre community, in New York City and beyond, is playing an increasingly large role in working for a greener world.

Though the Broadway Green Alliance doesn’t have 49 years under our belt, we did just celebrate our 10th anniversary at the end of 2018. We’re an industry-wide initiative that educates, motivates and inspires the entire theatre community and its patrons to adopt environmentally friendlier practices.

Our members, including our Green Captains, find ways to be greener both at work in theatre and in their home lives. A BGA Green Captain serves as the go-to person involved with a production, organization, venue, or union for questions, ideas or problems about green or environmental issues. Green Captains work behind the scenes to make their productions, venues or offices greener, with support from other Green Captains and BGA members. Local 802 Green Captains Marisa Friedman and Tom Monkell have done just that.

Over the years, Marisa has headed 802’s participation in our biannual e-waste and textile drives. And, in November of last year, Tom worked with the Executive Board of Local 802 to adopt a green statement of support. The statements reads, “Local 802 supports the important work of the Broadway Green Alliance, on Broadway and through its Off Broadway chapter, and recommends that Local 802 administration, staff, and musicians throughout the music industry foster an environment that welcomes and encourages the use of sustainable practices in their workplaces.” News about this has spread, and, we hope, will lead to similar action by other organizations and unions, demonstrating that actions of whatever scope can have broader impact through effects on others.

Our other members have also made meaningful changes in their personal lives through the BGA’s recent #GreenResolutions initiative. For Earth Day 2018, we encouraged everyone to make a “Green Resolution,” which is similar to a New Year’s resolution but, instead of lasting the whole calendar year, it lasts from Earth Day to Earth Day, and hopefully beyond. Many of our Green Captains pledged to be more environmentally conscious with their #GreenResolutions. One of the most popular resolutions was to reduce the use of plastic. Some pledged to say no to plastic water bottles and to carry a reusable bottle everywhere; others made a #GreenResolution to stop using plastic bags completely; and many decided to never use plastic straws again. These are all relatively simple commitments that can make a huge difference!

The BGA’s work is built on the recognition that environmental issues are caused by the cumulative effect of millions of small actions and that impactful change comes from each of us doing a bit better every day. We don’t aim to be fully “green,” but rather work to be “greener” than we were yesterday. And this doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. We invite every Local 802 member to make a pledge to be a bit greener this year, and to share your actions with others!

If you are interested in making a #GreenResolution this Earth Day, here are some other ideas to get you started:

  • Bring your own coffee mug or thermos when you’re headed to your favorite coffee shop;
  • Dedicate yourself to recycling (even when it’s inconvenient!);
  • Eat less meat or participate in “Meatless Monday”;
  • Try composting your food waste;
  • Go digital and sign up for paperless billing with your bank;
  • Commit to riding your bike to work once a week;
  • Buy non-toxic cleaning products like laundry detergent or dish soap; or
  • Carry reusable silverware with you so you never have to use plastic cutlery again.

The BGA also has lots of reusable swag that comes in handy and can help with your #GreenResolutions! We have reusable bamboo utensil sets that you can keep in your bag so that, when you’re eating on the go, you don’t have to rely on plastic. Beeswax wrap, made by Bee’s Wrap, is also a BGA favorite. It is a great sustainable alternative to plastic wrap and can be used over and over again. We have BGA-branded Chico bags, which fold up into a little pouch, and can be kept in any bag for emergency grocery shopping. And, our most recent item is our set of reusable stainless steel straws; these are a great alternative to using plastic straws for your iced coffee or smoothie. All of these items make wonderful Christmas or opening night gifts for your family members or fellow musicians!

Your Local 802 Green Captains, Marisa Friedman and Tom Monkell, can assist with any questions that you may have about being greener. And if you’re interested in becoming a Green Captain on your show or at your theatre, or if you have any other questions, please e-mail us at Sign up to become a BGA member at And happy Earth Day!

Alice Stevenson  is the assistant director  of the Broadway Green Alliance. See