Kate Bosworth, Justin Long Make First Appearance Since Engagement at Earth Day Event: ‘The Next Chapter’

“I just have always felt so close to her and loved being with her regardless of what our labels and status are,” Justin Long tells PEOPLE of Kate Bosworth at Rothy’s Earth Day event in N.Y.C.

Kate Bosworth and Justin Long are stepping out as a newly-engaged couple.

The pair made their first public appearance since announcing their engagement on behalf of an environmental effort underway in New York City on Wednesday. Held at the Nolita store for sustainable shoe brand Rothy’s, the Earth Day event supports an effort to keep plastic bottles out of landfills (the little known New York Bottle Bill), in partnership with nonprofits Sure We Can and NYPIRG.

Before the night got underway, Bosworth, 40, and Long, 44, spoke with PEOPLE about their relationship and being environmentally conscious.

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PEOPLE: When did you each discover you were both passionate about the environment?

Kate Bosworth: I discovered Justin’s early on because when I first went to his hometown — it’s a small town called Fairfield — and he picked me up from the airport in…

Justin Long: Well, an old Prius kind of a beat up —

Bosworth: 2000?

Long: It’s a 2007 Prius. I still have it! I have a couple Bernie Sanders stickers on the back and she’s like, “Oh, okay. I’m doing a little thin slice of this guy.”

Bosworth: It’s like, it’s a well-loved, well-used environmentally conscious vehicle.

Long: We learned early on how much we loved animals and I love sea turtles in particular. And so I was brought into this particular project through my love of that specific animal and how plastic waste is affecting that beautiful species that’s been around for 150 million years. And so when we learned what Rothy’s is doing and how they’re championing sustainability in that arena, we were just so inspired.

Bosworth: Yeah. I mean, I’ve worn Rothy’s for years. I’m like a walking billboard for them.

Long: People eavesdropping would probably think she works for the company.

Related:Kate Bosworth Reveals Justin Long Proposed to Her After They Had ‘Spoken to a Therapist’ Together

PEOPLE: Tonight marks you’re first time stepping out since publicly announcing your engagement. Do you each feel different?

Long: It’s been so overwhelmingly kind that people have been supportive. I mean, strangers in the world… We went to the grocery store the other day and I was putting my cart back in and the lady working there was like, “I’ll take it and oh and congratulations.” And I thought, at first I thought she was talking about, I don’t know, something I bought, my upcoming MTV movie or something. I was like, “Thank you.” But I feel like for so long I’ve felt as close as you can feel somebody. I felt that way about Kate and so I don’t feel all that different. I felt like so deeply connected to her for so long that it’s all so positive.

RELATED VIDEO: Kate Bosworth Reveals Justin Long Proposed to Her After They Had ‘Spoken to a Therapist’ Together

Bosworth: Yeah, it was really, it was super overwhelming. I mean, as I said in my Instagram post, how do you announce these things? It’s funny because normally I guess people would announce it to their friends and family, but there’s a certain point where, when you’re in the public arena that it’s time to share something with the world.

Long: We enjoy our privacy and it’s such a personal thing that it’s why we decided to talk about it on our podcast.

Bosworth: I guess the simplest way is just to say how excited we are to be embarking on the next chapter.

Long: But to answer your question too, it doesn’t feel all that different. I just have always felt so close to her and loved being with her regardless of what our labels and status are but it has been really nice to see people’s receptions now that, it’s been to really heartwarming.

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