By Zinnia Maldonado
NEW YORK (WCBS) — Self-proclaimed eco-rapper Hila the Earth is doing something completely different when it comes to environmental activism: Fighting climate change one song at a time.
Hila Perry, 32, performs throughout the city wearing a big round earth costume. Her music is a call to action against climate change, and many of her videos have gone viral on TikTok with millions of views.
“I write songs that are educational and catchy and super fun about earth science, about sustainability, about climate justice,” Perry said.
CBS New York’s Zinnia Maldonado sat down with the Lower Manhattan native at a community garden in the East Village. She explained, as a city kid, she didn’t grow up with a connection to nature.
“Growing up here is a big motivator for me. New York City is a really unsustainable place,” Perry said. “We import that everything we have, very few foods and goods are grown or made here.”
However, her career blossomed out of her love for learning science and performing, and after living a zero-waste life for two years, she started creating songs about environmental science in 2017.
“While they listen to the lyrics, they learn new words, they learn new concepts about soil health, about water, about the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, clouds, mushrooms, the way that the earth regenerates,” Perry said.
Back on June 8, the New York City Council passed a mandate requiring all residential buildings, by fall of 2024, to separate food scraps from their regular trash to reduce the amount of organic waste in landfills throughout all five boroughs. Perry said she hopes by performing to crowds and sharing her music via social media, New Yorkers will start to make those small lifestyle changes, including composting.
“That’s a huge win for the planet and for New York, because all it really takes is to keep your food scraps in the freezer so they don’t smell or rot, and then once a week, or however many times you want, you go to a drop-off site and give them to the gardens here, and they feed all the plants,” Perry said.
Her overall goal is making New York City a greener place.
“I really think that New York City has the potential to become an example and a beacon for the rest of the world, to show how such an industrial city, such a city that is sort of running on trash and has pollution everywhere, can transform and become more green,” Perry said.
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