Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's True!

Blog readers in the New York City area have no doubt seen the labels on subway station trash receptacles that read "CAN IT FOR A GREENER PLANET!" and claim to recycle after the trash is collected. Hard to believe that someone somewhere actually sorts through the trash in search of recyclables. It's true!

According to MTA spokesperson Deirdre Parker, A contractor retrieves the trash after it's taken to various collection points and the plastic, cardboard, paper and glass are pulled out. A fifty cent credit goes to the MTA, and last year 63% of the waste collected from the MTA was recycled!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Textile Recycling Update!

Good news to all of us who bring our clothes, towels, sheets, and other textiles to get recycled. CENYC has just made it easier - here's what they had to say:

New York City estimates that over 193,000 tons of reusable and recyclable textiles are sent to landfills and incinerators each year. Textiles represent nearly 6% of New York City's annual residential waste. Throwing your unwanted clothing into the garbage damages the environment and could cost the taxpayer millions of dollars each year in unnecessary carting and disposal costs. We started with a pilot program to collect textiles in Union Square in June 2007 and have since expanded the program to include four locations, including one in Brooklyn. We have collected over 240,000 pounds of materials and we hope to collect more with your support. Bring clean clothing, shoes, bedding, linens, hats, handbags, belts and other textiles.
They'll get sorted into different grades including usable/non-usable, cotton scrap, cotton blend scrap and synthetics. These commodities are then sold for reuse or to recycling markets that turn materials into wiping rags, fiber for car seats and insulation.

New 2009 Locations:
Union Square Greenmarket - Saturdays (begins January 3) 8am-6pm(West side of the Park)*

Tompkins Square Greenmarket - Sundays (begins January 4) 8am-4pm(East 7th St. & Ave A)*
97th Street Greenmarket - Fridays (begins January 9) 8am-2pm( 97th St. & Columbus Ave)

SPECIAL ONE-DAY COLLECTION:* Inwood Greenmarket - Saturday, January 10 only, 8am-2pm (Isham St. b/t Seaman & Cooper).

Learn More.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Let Your Fingers do the Walking

Co-op America's National Green Pages is a great source to find environmentally and socially conscious business listings. Categories range from clothing and travel to financial investing and health care. Co-op America is a not-for-profit organization working to harness economic power to create environmental sustainability and social justice. In other words, money talks, and where and how you spend your dollars will control what is produced and how eco friendly that production is.

Visit Co-op America!

Check out the National Green Pages!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Your Guilt-Free Christmas Tree


About 30 million christmas trees will be purchased this year. These millions of trees help to offset enough carbon to make a big impact - the equivalent of taking 4,960 SUVs off the road for one year.

source: earth911

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Clean Coal Video

Local Green Heroes

TogetherGreen Fellowships recently awarded to forty of the nation’s most promising conservationists include a brooklynite. Jillian Rubio, who has been involved in conservation efforts for over a decade, is one of only 40 people selected from competitors nationwide for the TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program, part of a new conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society with support from Toyota. Fellows receive specialized training in conservation planning and execution, the chance to work and share best practices with gifted conservation professionals, and assistance with project outreach and evaluation AND $10,000 towards a community-focused project to engage local residents in conserving land, water and energy.

Jillian will partner with Stoked Mentoring, an action sports mentoring program in NYC, and together they will create a unique opportunity for Brooklyn youth to get paired with a mentor and take part in both a series of onsite environmentally-focused workshops and activities at Prospect Park and in offsite activities including snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing. By engaging urban youth in this unique way, they will have an opportunity to be outdoors and experience nature, on their terms. Congratulations Jillian.

Learn More.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Join Brooklyn Green Team Saturday Night

Our beloved partners at GreenEdge Collaborative NYC are celebrating two years of bringing folks together to eat drink watch forage and scavanger hunt around sustainability in New York City. Please come out to support them on Saturday at 8pm @ ReBar (147 Front St) in Dumbo. You can enter the cake-making contest!

Learn More

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Man's Trash

Have you heard of Freecycle? It's a nonprofit global network similar to craigslist where you can search for items people are giving away for free. Similarly, you can post an item that you'd like to get rid of.
Why is this a good idea? It touches on two of the most important aspects of saving the planet: reusing and keeping stuff out of landfills. It could also save you money on that desk you want for your apartment. A win/win situation!

Visit the freecycle website

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We Made It!

We made the Park Slope 100 List on the annual entry presented by Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. Here's some of what it said: 

Brooklyn Green Team because you're a community group in Park Slope devoted to reducing your environmental impact and you inspire others to do the same through small changes which make a big difference...

Mulch-Fest 2009

While all of you are maybe not even yet setting up your tree (if you read our recent post you know to get a real one not a fake plastic one), its time to think about its time beyond your living room. Rather than the garbage, your tree can provide walk-ways throughout Prospect Park. Completing the circle of life - doesn't that sound nice? Brought to you by Prospect Park Alliance, Park Slope Civic Council and Together Green, Holiday Tree Recycling at Prospect Park will take place January 10 and 11th from 10am - 2pm. 

Remove all decorations
Pick up mulch for your own garden while you're at it

January 10, 11 @ Third Street and Prospect Park West and the Park Circle entrance (intersection of prospect park southwest and parkside ave)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Support NY State Parks and Historic Sites While You Shop

While shopping online from home, especially for the holidays, make your purchases count!
Support New York State parks, historic sites and their many programs just by shopping online at your favorite stores through  I-Give

Every time you shop at any one of the over 700 name-brand stores in the I-Give Mall The Natural Heritage Trust will receive a percentage of each online purchase you make, at no extra cost to you- it’s easy and free!  Stores include: eBay, Lands' End, Staples, JC Penney, Barnes & Noble, Overstock.com, drugstore.com, Office Depot, QVC, Expedia, Home Depot, HSN, Best Buy, Gap, Buy.com, Nordstrom and many more. 

Follow these steps to register your giving at IGive.com:

·        Step 1: Register for free at: iGive.com/NHTParks

·        Step 2: You will be asked if you would like to download the I-Give shopping window.  If you download the window, it will pop up at whichever participating site you are shopping at.  Alternatively, you can begin your online shopping by going to the I-Give website and accessing the online store you want from there.

·        Step 3:  I-Give will give a percentage of your purchase to the NHT (Natural Heritage Trust) as a donation on your behalf anytime you shop through the I-Give Mall website or at a participating site with your shopping window. (at no cost to you).

Visit Natural Heritage Trust or email nht@oprhp.state.ny.us

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

You're a BGT blog reader, and you've probably given some thought as to whether or not you should get a Christmas tree this year. Maybe you've considered a fake tree as a more eco-friendly option.

According to the Boston Globe, the better choice is to get a real tree. Here's a few reason why:

- Artificial trees are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which does not break down in the environment. Artificial trees also often contain lead.
- Many artificial trees are manufactured in China, so factor in the carbon footprint left in shipping them to American stores.
- The average life-span of an artificial tree is six years, then you're back to square one.


- Purchase of a real Christmas tree results in money being injected into the economy-something to take into consideration these days.
-Real Christmas trees come from tree farms and will mostly likely be replanted, making for a more earth-friendly enterprise (although keep in mind many tree farmers use pesticides).
- Real Christmas trees can be mulched or recycled after use.

Learn more about treecycling and other ways to green your tree!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Be there. 22 cents on every dollar made that day goes to energy efficiency improvements throughout the store!

the scoop: 
Carrotmob NYC will hold a reverse boycott at Tarzian Hardware, 193 7th Ave SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14 from 12 - 3. The group will bring hundreds of shoppers to this family-owned hardware store. Carrotmob shoppers are expected to spend thousands and Tarzian has agreed to put 22% of the day's profits towards energy improvements such as upgraded lighting, heating, etc. Carrotmob NYC was inspired by the original carrotmob based out of San Francisco. Check out our previous post on them with a great youtube video. 

Bring Your Own Mug Challenge Update

3 Months. No Paper Cups. Can You Swig It? 

Naidre's Cafe (in talks with brooklyn green team) on 7th Ave in Park Slope and on Henry Street in Cobble Hill decided to change their menu to read that your own mug, any size, gets you a coffee for only 1.50 (the price of a small coffee). How exciting! You can also find our mug challenge flyer on 7th Ave.

JOIN THE CHALLENGE. email brooklyngreen@gmail.com and write I Bring My Own!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Brooklyngives.org is an initiative of the Independence Community Foundation. THEY WANT YOU! to make charitable contributions to BK nonprofits. While they're not all green there are a few in there. Improving the environment means many things. Check it out. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Red List

Greenpeace put out a list of no-no's for us seafood eaters. Check it out. They even have a search engine by state.
  • Albacore tuna
  • Atlantic cod (scrod)
  • Atlantic halibut
  • Atlantic salmon
  • Atlantic sea scallop
  • Bigeye tuna
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Chilean sea bass
  • Greenland halibut
  • Grouper
  • Hoki
  • Monkfish
  • Ocean quahog
  • Orange roughy
  • Pollock
  • Redfish
  • Red snapper
  • Sharks
  • Skates and rays
  • Swordfish
  • Tropical shrimp
  • Yellowfin tuna
Is your supermarket's seafood sustainable? Greenpeace is assessing supermarkets' sustainable seafood policies and practices. Find out how your supermarket is helping or hurting the oceans.

Tell a Friend: Create a tidal wave of action by telling your friends and neighbors!

I'll Have a Green Christmas

Feeling festive? Why not go see some beautiful eco-friendly Christmas lights in Brooklyn?

Greenpoint Holiday Lights is the final project by Town Square for the 2008 year and they are thrilled to announce that the sparkling white lights that accompany green garlands strung around street light poles are LED, which saves 90% in energy costs

The lights will line Manhattan Avenue from Java to the north and Driggs to the south and there will be a lighting ceremony in front of Greenpoint Toy Center at 738 Manhattan Avenue between Meserole and Norman. The Brooklyn Brass Quartet will be on hand to supply your favorite carols and you are encouraged to stick around to do some local Christmas shopping.

Town Square is volunteer organization whose mission is to build a vibrant community in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
Learn More

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Green Video Contest

JustDoOne.org, the online community for sustainable living, today issued a global call for personal green solutions. The Just Do One organization is collecting the best ideas for more sustainable living, summarized in three-minute YouTube-style videos, and sharing them free with the interested community worldwide. The best video entry, as judged by the JustDoOne.org community and an expert panel, wins a $5,000 cash prize.

“Three years ago when Living Green: A Practical Guide was first published, the sustainability movement was just gaining momentum,” said Greg Horn, best-selling author and founder/sponsor of JustDoOne.org. “There was a lot of new awareness and concern, but almost no one was talking about solutions. Now people realize that the stakes are enormous, and they want to do something positive. Nobody’s perfect, but we have to get past the angst and anger over the scope of the problem, and get started with solutions on the scale of individual action.” For anyone wondering: “What can I do?” JustDoOne.org has a wealth of easily actionable ideas, from the people who know best – the sustainable living community. “One person’s actions can make a difference,” said Douglas Horn, independent film-maker and collaborator on the project, “and one person’s idea for greener living, told in a compelling video, might inspire hundreds or even thousands of others. We quickly realized that the only way to get the very best thinking and make a real difference quickly was to open up the doors to the entire community.”

Video entries up to three minutes in length are being accepted from January 1 to March 1, 2009. Winners will be announced April 1, 2009 in time for media coverage leading up to Earth Day. If you ever wanted to save the world, here’s your chance.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tour the Clean Coal Facility

You just have to WATCH THIS VIDEO


Brooklyn Green Team in partnership with GreenEdge Collaborative NYC says its not too late to join...
November 08 - January 09

This Just In! Red Horse Cafe has partnered up on the mug challenge. Stop in and see them on 6th Ave in BK for a coffee with your mug and get discounted to the next size down! Starting this week, you can sign up for there for the Bring Your Own Mug Challenge. Thanks Red Horse! Also catch us this Thursday at the Snowflake Celebration, encouraging folks to buy local in Park Slope.

For those of you who are with us - Thank You! For those of you who are not yet...
Sign Up: email brooklyngreen@gmail.com and write "I Bring My Own!" Include your first and last name and zip. Please pass on to friends and make the impact stronger.

Today, there is no way to compost or recycle the billions of disposable coffee cups used in the U.S. each year. That's because cups are lined with a petroleum-based plastic (polyethylene) to prevent leaking.

Most disposable coffee cups have a life of only 5 minutes before they are tossed in the trash. In a single week, the average coffee joint goes through 4,000 cups and plastic lids!

Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups— enough to wrap the earth 55 times if placed end-to-end!

Sign up for the challenge and use a travel mug. Often made of stainless steel, these beauties will keep your coffee or tea hotter longer than a disposable cup.

Suggest that stores offer a discount when you bring your own. Patron stores that already offer this. If you buy coffee five days a week, and use your travel mug, you save 260 cups per year!

Thank You Lion in the Sun, EPA's WaterSense, Recycline, Camilla Boutique, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Postmark Cafe, Ozzie's, Red Horse Cafe, 3rLiving, Environmental Defense Fund, and VivaTerra!

Monday, December 8, 2008

This Lawn is Your Lawn!

Check out "Eat the View!" This campaign was started to urge President-elect Barack Obama to replant an organic garden on the First Lawn. The produce would be used in the White House kitchen and go to local food banks.

"Eat the View" is coordinated by the nonprofit Kitchen Gardeners International. Based in Maine, this network of 10,000 gardeners from 100 countries are inspiring and teaching people to grow some of their own food.

On the Eat the View website, you can:

-watch videos about the project
-sign a petition that will be sent to Barack Obama
-learn more about how to contact your local and state officials to "edible-ize" a landscape near you.
-learn how you can (symbolically) buy a parcel of the White House lawn. Proceeds go to organizations world wide that help people learn how to grow their own food.

Yes we can set an example to the people of our own country and those around the world.

Learn more

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Green Shopping

For those of you who don't receive our emails, here's what you missed. (to sign up email brooklyngreen@gmail.com and write ADD). We'll run this in two parts

Season's Greetings from Brooklyn Green Team!
We'll get right to it. We've been crunching the numbers, checking it twice, and we've come up with some suggestions for your earth-friendly gift giving this year...

The Tangible Gifts
Give a subscription to Good  [magazine]. Trust us, it rules. Plus 100% of the price goes to a nonprofit of your choice (from their list) and the printing is green and the content is terrific. 

How about a suite of eco-friendly cleaning products? Support local and pick them out at Go Green on Atlantic Ave.

Eco Puzzle's bright, friendly-looking wooden puzzles come in many colors and shapes - cars, dinos, turtles, you get the idea.  They are made from recycled chipboard and are hand-painted using non-toxic acrylic paint. Order online or mosey over to the Union Square Holiday Market.

In these tough economic times good food may be the best gift of all. Purchase a gift certificate from your local natural foods store. Back to the Land in BK and Whole Foods offer certificates. 

The 20oz./.6 liter "I Bottle My Own" water bottle is an emblem of Riverkeeper's Take Back the Tap New York Campaign. Made from #304 food-grade stainless steel, it comes in blue, aqua, red and silver. 

Everyone in this city deserves an umbrella. Totes model is made from 100% recycled PET plastic bottles, bamboo and 70% recycled materials. You can find it at Target.

Vintage Signage on Atlantic Avenue sells old subway signs, Coca-Cola advertisements, any sign you can think of. What a great gift (second hand = no carbon footprint) to give a friend who has more than they need already! Vintage Signage is located at 334 Atlantic (btw. Hoyt and Smith)

Ginga Jewelry is a line of jewelry inspired by, and consisting of the shapes, designs and metals of small bicycle parts. These pieces emphasize the importance of cycling as transportation as well as a reusable source of material.

Try a cool shower curtain from 3rLiving on 5th Ave in Brooklyn or a cute top from Camilla Boutique on Atlantic. 

Talented? Make art.

One word: Etsy


Friday, December 5, 2008

Change the World Tomorrow

We mentioned this earlier in the week, but tomorrow is Global Climate Campaign's day of action. In honor of the big event, ie the UN climate talks, Brooklyn Green Team is challenging you to do something positive towards protecting our environment. Let us know what you plan to do for the big day and we'll put you on our blog! Some suggestions:

Don't buy anything made of plastic or wrapped in plastic
Turn off the TV for a day (or if you do turn on the TV invite friends over for an environmental film)
Make a contribution to an environmental org you believe in
Host a rally promoting climate change awareness
Send an email to your friend with green tips

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shop Local Tonight!

At the Snowflake Celebration where you can shop and get discounts and other stuff in shops along 5th and 7th Ave in Park Slope. Catch Brooklyn Green Team in front of the Park Slope Food Coop selling official "Buy in Brooklyn" reusable travel mugs to go along with our Bring Your Own Mug Challenge!

Check us out in Gowanus Lounge.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Nurturing the planet encompasses many philosophies. Of these, a sense of caring and empathy are paramount. And then, of course, there's the little practice of reduce, re-use, and recycle.

What better way to express all of these sentiments than by donating a coat that you don't need anymore?

Global warming not-with-standing, Northeast winters still bring frigid temperatures and there are many people out there, adults and children alike, who need a coat to stay warm this winter. New York Cares works hard every year to bring your generous donations to those in need.

Learn More

We Interrupt This Message for An Important Announcment on Plastic Bags

From Christine C. Quinn - Speaker of the NYC Council ...

In spite of months of effort on the part of the New York City Council and environmental advocates, the "Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act" - State legislation that undermines and preempts the City Council's stronger plastic bag recycling legislation - has made its way unchanged to Governor Paterson's desk. The Governor now has until December 12th to act on this bill. The City Council is continuing to urge Governor Paterson to secure a chapter amendment removing New York City from the bill's weaker requirements before signing this legislation into law. Your help could make the critical difference in achieving this goal.

Please join us by signing a letter to Governor Paterson

And if you know of anyone else who's concerned about the fate of the City's plastic bag recycling program, please pass this information along and encourage them to sign the letter to Governor Paterson as well. Thank you in advance for helping us to create a greener future for our City. I'll keep you updated on our efforts moving forward.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Do your part today. Do something (or not do something you typically do) for the environment. Unplug your cell phone charger. Turn off the TV a little earlier. Don't forget your tote. You get the point...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Get into the holiday spirit, boost the local economy, and save the planet!

The Brooklyn Green Team is thrilled to partner with the Park Slope Chamber of Commerce for the second annual Snowflake Celebration campaign!

Stores in Park Slope will be staying open late on Thursday December 4th and Thursday December 11th to get you in the holiday spirit and to offer sales, giveaways, raffles, carolers, food and drink. Most importantly, shoppers can feel the warm glow of keeping your local economy strong by buying local!

With many cafes participating, the Brooklyn Green Team will be selling stainless steel travel mugs with the Buy in Brooklyn Logo in front of the Park Slope Food Coop on Union between 6th and 7th Avenues.

What's that you ask? Why yes, we are in the middle of our latest challenge, the Bring Your Own Mug Challenge, in partnership with GreenEdge Collaborative NYC. In an effort to cut down on those paper cups and plastic lids (not to mention the cardboard coffee sleeve), Brooklyn Green Team will be signing up folks for the challenge at the Snowflake Celebration. Not only does using a travel mug save resources, it also saves your local businesses the expense of these coffee accessories.

Participating stores will be open until 10 pm. For more info and to see a list of participating stores, click here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Earth Needs You!

A very important message about this Saturday - GLOBAL DAY OF CLIMATE ACTION - from the Climate Crisis Coalition...

On Saturday, December 6, 2008, concerned citizens around the world will be participating in the fourth annual Global Day of Climate Action. This important day will be midway through the annual UN climate conference, taking place this year in Poznan, Poland. The Climate Crisis Coalition's international ally, The Global Climate Campaign, is synchronizing demonstrations around the world in as many places as possible - to call on world leaders to take urgent action on climate change. As in previous years, CCC is calling on friends and allies to partake in any way they can.

This year, actions in the U.S. are particularly pertinent because the U.N. conference is going to set the parameters for the all-important post-Kyoto treaty to be signed in December, 2009 in Copenhagen. And with the hoped-for dawning of a new era in Washington, this will represent a last chance for the U.S. to clearly reverse its obstructionist role and set the tone so that a significant, strong and binding treaty can be negotiated. The perils our planet faces demand no less.

Visit the online network where people can find out about events taking place across the country and groups and individuals can register new events. We only have three weeks to put this together, but with our all-consuming elections behind us, and growing number of citizens eager to keep the President-elect Obama and the new Congress focused on the climate crisis, CCC is convinced that it is not too late for significant actions to take place across the U.S. on or around December 6th. Many are all ready in the works.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Rallies, teach-ins, forums, vigils, movie showings and other gatherings of all types are encouraged. CCC will publicize and report on these actions through postings at the Climate Action: 12/6/08 site.

The Issues

Binding and enforceable climate legislation in the U.S within the first 100 days of the new Congress that will begin to sharply curtail greenhouse-gas emissions. The U.S. must also exert leadership toward reaching a similarly effective post-Kyoto treaty.

Reduced levels of atmospheric CO2. Our allies at 350.org, inspired by climate scientist James Hansen and author Bill McKibben, are making a compelling case for a drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, not just to level off atmospheric concentrations that are already far to high, but to reduce them to a level where the earth and life as we know it has a fighting chance. Top climate scientists have come up with the number of 350 parts per million: that must be our goal and our rallying cry.

100% carbon-free electricity within 10 years. Al Gore has issued a five-part plan to repower America with a commitment to producing 100 percent of our electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years. This is a goal that must be embraced by all.

Pricing carbon pollution will create powerful incentives for our economy to rely upon energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, both of which will reduce emissions, create green jobs and promote economic and social equity. This involves gradually-increasing carbon taxes on the use of coal, oil and gas, with revenues used to reduce other taxes or distributed directly to individuals on an equal basis. Any of this revenue directed toward developing green energy must be for truly renewable sources - excluding nuclear power and 'clean' coal.

CCC and its allies are planning a major petitioning campaign to Congress and the Obama Administration requesting that equitable carbon pricing be an essential component of a new comprehensive climate bill that needs to be enacted in the first 100 days of the 111th Congress. The website where groups and individuals can support this effort, sign the petition, and send letters to Washington will be launched on November 20th!

We now have remarkable opportunities at a unique juncture in our history. Any help that you can offer would be most appreciated. Please let the Climate Crisis Coalition know by return email if you can assist with the December 6th Global Day of Action or with our Carbon Pricing Initiative. 


Friday, November 28, 2008

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My True Love Sent to Me...

Twelve was to green my cellphone!

1. Unplug your charger when it's not being used. It draws energy from the outlet even when not plugged into your phone.
2. Minimize the backlight. Save battery time by setting the backlight to the lowest setting.
3. Use GPS navigation from your phone if you are set up for that. It'll save you driving time and gas.
4. Don't buy a new phone until you need it, and recycle your old phone.
5. Use your phone's alarm clock and get rid of your traditional one. That's one less appliance. Saves money, saves energy.
6. Use your phone's backlight as a flashlight/nightlight if you need to see something when your in bed.
7. Don't charge your phone as habit, charge it only when you need it.
8. If you can go online with your phone, you can get your news that way and save paper.
9. Charge your phone with solar power. Click here to read a review of a solar charger http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-11288_7-6427792-3.html
10. Don't want a solar charger? Ask your electricity provider for alternative methods such as wind.
11. Carbon offsetting. Use the electricity you need and pay another company to use renewable resources. Check out www.GreenEnergyChoice.com
12. Spend less time on the phone!

In other cell phone news, Motorola is working on a cellphone with a display screen that doubles as a solar cell. It won't be long until you can charge your phone with the sun's rays. What a beautiful idea!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Guzzle Guzzle

A little bit of what we need today...

It was on this day in 1942 that President Roosevelt announced that the United States would begin a national gas rationing campaign on December 1st. All Americans had to display a sticker in their car window saying what category of gas ration they had. Everyone started out at "A," which got people about four gallons a week. Local rationing boards were set up to assign a "B" or "C" ration to people who needed more gas if they could prove it was necessary for their work.The campaign made propaganda posters that asked, "Is This Trip Necessary?" or said, "When you ride ALONE you ride with Hitler! Join a Car-Sharing Club TODAY!" Along with the gas rations, the national speed limit was set at 35 mph.The gas rationing wasn't a result of a gas shortage. The United States was self-sufficient in oil and was actually a major exporter of petroleum. But the Japanese had taken over the rubber plantations in the Dutch East Indies that produced 90 percent of America's raw rubber, and there was no synthetic rubber. The government was afraid that if everyone kept driving, they would wear out tires that couldn't be replaced. The factories and the entire war effort would come to a halt. So the United States' first national gas rationing campaign was a roundabout way to conserve rubber. The gas ration continued until August of 1945.

Source: The Writer's Almanac

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Money Talks

Recent events have proven that individual voices can can be heard around the world and can bring about great change. In these times of economic and environmental crises, the most important way we have of speaking out is how we spend our dollar. By supporting companies that make efforts to reduce their carbon footprint we send a very clear message: companies that care about the planet will thrive on consumer dollars.

But how do you know which companies are making efforts to be green? Check out www.climatecounts.org. This nonprofit collaborative funded by Stonyfield Farms aims to bring consumers to companies that are making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

Companies are rated on a scale of "Stuck" "Starting" or "Striving" to let you know who has the biggest commitment to tackling global warming, and include apparel companies, hotels, airlines, food services, and many, many more. For instance, in internet services, Google is "Striving" and ebay is "Struggling". In the apparel category, Nike is "Striving" and Levi Strauss is "Starting".

Climate Counts is an incredible tool for the consumer. Knowledge is power, and Climate Counts can help you make better choices. Remember, you don't have to shout from the mountaintop to be heard.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Take Back the Filter Campaign Worked!

We may have good water here in NYC, but lets face it, many of us use filters to get rid of that fresh from the long pipe taste.  Brooklyn Green Team and obviously the folks about the Take Back the Filter Campaign, are thrilled that Brita, maker of popular water-purifying pitchers, will launch a recycling program in partnership with Recycline (maker of recycled toothbrushes and razors and more) for used water filters beginning in January. Consumers will be able to drop used filters off at selected Whole Foods stores or mail them in; the plastic parts will be turned into recycled toothbrushes and razors, and the activated carbon "will be regenerated for alternative use or converted into energy," according to the company. Rush to your nearest Whole Foods and dump those filters you've been stuffing in your closet for just this occasion! Yipee!

Source: Grist

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears Go Green!

In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the Bronx Zoo announced that it will be canceling its annual Holiday Lights show. Acoording to zoo officials, the show consumed about 3,500 kilowatts a night which equals approximately 66 metric tons a season. This equals the amount that a three-person household produces in an entire year!

The Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the zoo, is doing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emission from their facilities. The Brooklyn Green Team applauds their decision to cut a program that annual draws about 100,000 visitors to the zoo, especially in times of economic uncertainty.

But we can't cancel the holidays altogether! So instead, the zoo will feature the Wild Winterland show. Although there will be no lighted features, the daylight festival will include Clydesdale horse wagon rides, a petting zoo, ice carving, stilt walkers, puppets and craft workshops.

The show will run from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every weekend from Dec. 6 through Dec. 21, and then daily from Dec. 22 through Jan. 4

For more information, visit http://www.bronxzoo.com/this-season-at-the-zoo/events-calendar/wild-winterland.aspx

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shrek is Green!

Universal Studios Hollywood today unveiled new solar powered golf carts that will be used for employee transport for both the movie studio and theme park. The carts were created by the Cruise Car company and will replace the currently used gas powered ones.

This is not the first green initiative taken by Universal Studios; new technologies in lighting, electric motor drives, and software designed to control hydraulic systems were employed in the manufacture of the "The Simpsons Ride", which debuted earlier this year, all designed to create large savings in energy consumption.

The Environmental Media Association's Green Seal Award for achievements in environmental awareness was awarded to Universal Studios Hollywood. It is the first-ever theme park to receive the award.

Congratulations and keep up the good work!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Incentives for Green Taxi Fleet

Just in case you wondered what was happening since the big splash of green cabs and then a plateau...Mayor Bloomberg announced a series of initiatives to increase the use of fuel efficient and eco-friendly taxicabs through new financial incentives and legislative initiatives.  "Our goal from the beginning was to get fuel efficient taxis on the road using whatever appropriate methods required to achieve our goal," said TLC Comissioner Daus. "The new program will incentivize the purchase of cleaner vehicles, while ensuring taxi drivers are not penalized because a cab owner is reluctant to make the wiser purchase of a hybrid vehicle."

Congressman Nadler will sponsor legislation supported by the City that will amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to, at the very least, allow local governments to set fuel efficiency standards for the for-hire vehicles they license. 

Council Member Yassky will explore City Council legislation that will examine reducing the required retirement age for Crown Victoria taxicabs and increasing the required retirement age for fuel efficient cars to further incentivize the use of such cars. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Getting to the Root of it

If you have visited your local Farmers Market recently you probably noticed the variety of root vegetables available. Most of us are a little intemedated by the strange shapes, colors and textures of these veggies and find it hard to imagine what to make with a rutabaga or a turnip. So here is a yummy recipe that will help you enjoy these seasonal wonders.

Root Vegetable Stew with Herb Dumplings
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces Italian sausage (hot or sweet)
2 pounds assorted root vegetables
1 large onion diced
4 cloves garlic
1 tbls chopped sage or rosemary
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups chopped dark leafy green of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose or cake flour
1 tbls chopped sage or rosemary
1 tbls baking powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/4 tbls salt

1. To prepare stew: Heat 2 tbls oil in a medium skillet add sausages and cook until brown on all sides (5 minutes). Transfer to cutting board, when cool slice into 1 inch pieces.
2. Heat the remaining oil in a Dutch Oven or large pot. Cook onion until tender (4 minutes). Add chopped root vegetables (make sure all the pieces are the same size) cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and sage, cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add broth, salt and pepper and bring stew to a simmer. Stir often.
3. To prepare dumplings: Whisk flour, pastry flour, sage, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Add egg and milk, stir until a stiff batter forms.
4. When stew reaches a simmer, stir in greens and sausage and return to a simmer. Drop 1 tbls of dough at a time (making about 10 dumplings). Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover and cook undisturbed for 10 minutes. 
5. When ready the vegetables should be tender, the sausage cooked through and the dumplings puffed.
Serves 6 - 1 hour prep and cook time

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Help Your Landlord Out-Even If You Don't Really Like Them!

Many of us New Yorkers don't have control over our thermostat during the cold winter months. Some of us are in our apartments sweltering, throwing windows open in January, while others of us walk around our apartments wrapped in blankets all winter. These two extremes of the heating issue in many cases are due to the infrastructure of the old buildings that many New Yorkers reside in, in other cases maybe your landlord is just too cheap to turn the heat up to a livable temperature! Either way, you can make a few home improvements that will keep you toasty, your landlords heating bill down, all the while saving the environment.

Step 1. Remove your air conditioner. This will keep cold air from seeping in.
Step 2. Weatherstrip your doors and windows. (At the very least lock your windows to insure that they are closed tightly.)
Step 3. Move all furniture and rugs away from the heat source. This will allow the warm air to circulate around your apartment or home. (In fact you could make an interesting decorating choice while adding a bit of warmth to your home- hang a carpet on the wall.)
Step 4. If you do have control of your thermostat, set your thermostat 8 degrees lower while you are not at home. Most people have there thermostat set for 70 degrees while they are home, but if you use a blanket, you could comfortably set your thermostat for 68 degrees.
Step 5. Invite a bunch of friends over to watch a movie and insist that you all smush together on your couch. That will insure warmth!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.

Well, lets not get ahead of ourselves. While flying cars are still only to be found in the movies, a car that runs completely on solar energy is no longer the stuff of science fiction. The technology is here and we hope that its only a matter of time until the world's largest car manufacturers are scrambling to get solar cars to consumers. When that day comes, we will have to thank people like Louis Palmer.

Palmer is currently driving the first completely solar powered car around the world to prove that oil independence is possible. The journey began on July 3rd 2007 in Lucerne, Switzerland and will include forty countries on five continents with absolutely no carbon emissions!
The car can travel up to 90 km/h for up to almost 200 miles on its fully charged batteries and on a sunny day can travel a distance of 260 miles, using its solar cells.

Palmer and his team are currently headed to Amsterdam and will finish up their journey in Lucerne on December 18, 2008.

Check out the solar taxi blog for information on the building of the car, the mission, the team, and the route. There is also a great video blog! http://www.solartaxi.com/blog/ How Inspiring!!!


To prepare you New Yorkers for the big event tomorrow (you can feel the excitement in the air, can't you?) - America Recycles Day! brought to you by the National Recycling Coalition when aluminum cans and cardboard boxes will be flying into recycling bins everywhere! TAKE THEIR RECYCLING PLEDGE!

Here are some helpful recycling tips for here in the Green Apple:

Pizza boxes are recyclable - if the bottom is really greasy, rip off the top and just put that in. Paper cups and plates are NOT recyclable - because they were holding your liquids. plus we know you don't use paper cups because you signed up for the Bring Your Own Mug Challenge!

ALL OTHER PAPER is recyclable

Take-out containers and plastic bags ARE NOT recyclable - only PLASTIC JUGS AND BOTTLES ARE!

Metal hangers (though you should first try to reuse yourself or return to a dry-cleaner for reuse), pots, cans, and EVEN ALUMINUM FOIL ARE recyclable!

When you see recycling mistakes happen - speak out! Talk to your neighbors, stick your hand in if you dare and remove non-recyclable items out of the bins and into the trash or vice-versa. Talk to your landlord! Sign up to be an OROE volunteer and school everyone! Get an OROE volunteer to lead a building-wide recycling training! Go ahead, look at the stickers on the bin, we dare you! Think its too overwhelming? Click here for the HOW-TO
Check out The Cycle, an animated step by step short by RecycleBank on the recycling process! http://www.explorethecycle.com/

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CUE Turns 30 - Celebrates with Big Green Gala!

As the BK Eagle Reports, the Center for the Urban Environment, or CUE, which is known for its educational programs in collaboration with schools and its tours of city neighborhoods and parks, moved earlier this year to 168 Seventh St., a LEED gold-certified facility in Gowanus. At the same time, it changed its name from the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment to the Center for the Urban Environment because it now sponsors programs throughout the city. And now, on Monday night, the organization will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a “green-tie” affair at its offices, starting at 6:30 p.m. Honorees will include Sarah Beatty of Green Depot; Ronald Chalusian of New Visions for Public Schools; Helena Durst of the Durst Organization; and Marcel Van Ooyen of the Council on the Environment of New York City. The event will have lots of great green touches like catered food sourced from local farms, a virtual journal which will save paper, and literally green ties made from audio tape ribbon!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

National Recycling Day!

In preparation for National Recycling Day on November 15, here are some interesting paper recycling facts from Sprint Recycling in NYC

Paper waste comprises 40% of our municipal solid waste stream.
Less than 1/3 of our paper is manufactured from recycled sources, and in the U.S., 99% of the virgin fiber used for paper manufacturing comes from trees.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that by 2010, worldwide paper and paperboard consumption will increase 90% from 1993. This equates to a consumption level of 528 million tons.
U.S. businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year, the equivalent of 175 pounds per office worker.
On average, every American consumes over 730 pounds of paper a year, making the U.S. the world's greatest paper consumer. A 12-foot high wall stretching from New York City to Los Angeles could be built with our annual office and writing paper waste.
The 300 million rolls of fax paper we use each year is enough to go from the Earth to the moon 26 times.

Benefits of RecyclingRecycling one ton of new paper translates into the savings of:
17 mature pulp-producing trees
78.75 gallons of oil
7,000 gallons of water
41,000 Kilowatt hours of energy
In keeping with NYC's mantra IF YOU CAN TEAR IT, WE CAN TAKE IT, don't forget to recycle ALL your paper except for that which comes into contact with food and post-it notes (because of the sticky stuff).

Brooklyn Green Team Pictures

Click here to see pictures of our Bring Your Own Mug challenge launch on Saturday at ReBar! Want to see your picture on our blog. If you sign-up for the challenge, email us at brooklyngreen@gmail.com with a picture of you and your travel mug and tell us your story!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Mayor Mike has called for charging shoppers 6 cents for every plastic bag needed at the register. If the proposal passes, New York City would follow the lead of many European countries and become one of the first places in the United States to assess a so-called plastic bag tax. Seattle voters will weigh in on a similar measure next year, and other places, like Los Angeles and Dallas, have studied the idea. City officials estimate that the fee could generate $16 million a year, a figure that Mr. Bloomberg would no doubt appreciate, given the lingering and concussive effects of the global economic crisis on the city’s economy. But while the fee would burnish Mr. Bloomberg’s environmental record, it might not be a lasting source of revenue. Just a few weeks after Ireland adopted a similar, though much heftier tax in 2002 — charging shoppers 33 cents a bag — plastic bag use dropped 94 percent, and within a year, nearly everyone in that country had purchased reusable cloth bags. Still, the mayor believes that the 6-cent fee would have a major impact on consumers’ behavior.

More importantly than income for the city, think of the environmental impact, or non-impact!

See what NYTime's Big City commentary says about the proposal.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Bring Your Own Mug Challenge

Presented by Brooklyn Green Team in partnership with GreenEdge Collaborative NYC


"Why did they even buy me? I sit here on a dark crowded shelf day after day. And then...for a moment, I think my life is going to change. They open the cabinet, our eyes meet. Their gentle hand grazes against my aluminum body. At last! Today is the day they are going to proudly walk me down the street as I carefully hold and keep warm a most precious commodity - the morning coffee. But no, they move right past me and reach for the cereal box."
- Your travel mug, 2008

Does your travel mug feel this way? Neglected? Passed over for a wasteful, disposable, one-time-only, headed for the landfill paper cup? Don't let this happen.

Today, there is no way to compost or recycle the billions of disposable coffee cups used in the U.S. each year. That's because cups are lined with a petroleum-based plastic (polyethylene) to prevent leaking.

Most disposable coffee cups have a life of only 5 minutes before they are tossed in the trash.

In a single week, the average coffee joint goes through 4,000 cups and plastic lids!

Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups-enough to wrap the earth 55 times if placed end-to-end!

Use a travel mug. Often made of stainless steel, they keep your liquid hotter longer than a disposable cup.

Encourage stores to offer a discount for bringing your own and patronage those who already do.

If you buy coffee five days a week, with your travel mug instead, you could save 260 cups from the landfill!

SIGN UP email brooklyngreen@gmail.com and write BRING MY OWN! include first and last name and zipcode

Thank you Recycline! Thank you EPA Watersense! Thank you Environmental Defense Fund! Thank you Blue Marble Ice Cream! Thank you VivaTerra! Thank you Lion in the Sun! Thank you Camilla Boutique!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Party With Brooklyn Green Team Tonight!

Join us tonight at 8pm at REBAR (168 Front Street-Dumbo). We'll praise you for taking shorter showers and challenge you yet again. We'll unveil our newest challenge, offer you raffle prizes, drink specials and you can even sign up for wind power through Con Edison Solutions! Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Creative Ecosystem

Brooklyn Artists Gym is concerned with the ecosystem. The creative ecosystem in Brooklyn in which their artists thrive and work and the one we all live within. That's why they're throwing their first annual fundraiser, "Shades of Green," in big green fashion tonight at a big, glam green building - Center for the Urban Environment's LEED Certified headquarters in Gowanus (right next door to BAG).  There were green lights everywhere, crazy cameras that showed dancers 4x over, good food and great artwork for sale and for raffle. Marty Markowitz presented one of BAG Fund's scholarships for single-parent artists and high school artists which was a very touching moment.

Brooklyn Artists Gym, which hosts a 10,000 square foot artist studio and gallery facility, is committed to support the creative process and "ecosystem" by providing artists with studio space and technical support at critical points in their life cycle. Shades of Green promoted BAG's role in enabling sustainability of artists and art and represents the growing intersection between the green movement and the arts community. This event featured guest DJ Miss Mocha who spun great tunes, Brooklyn-based guitarist Mike Gamble (Scrambler) who showed off his experimental talents and performed as a one-man band, rising star Chen Lo whose spoken word inspired and touched on two important topics: the environment and Obama, and Hip Hop purist Baba Israel with Yako 440 who got the crowd on their feet, taught beat-box, and amazed with their skills. 

lots of food, drinks, silent auction, a goody bag that rivals your seventh birthday, and the proceeds support BK art and artists all while having fun in a eco-friendly way. What could be better? 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Run for One Planet Hits NYC!!!

Brooklyn Green Team is thrilled to have found Matt Hill and Stephanie Tait in NYC - one stop along their great journey - a carbon neutral year-long run around the continent! These two green superheroes are running around Canada and the US to garner attention for their cause: saving the planet. Today Matt and Stephanie spoke to students at PS 8 in Brooklyn. The Run for One Planet is an ongoing run endeavour focused on "Inspiring Environmental Action, One Step at a Time."

What is the goal of your journey? Do you feel you will accomplish it?
Our journey has 3 goals:

1) Complete a marathon each every day the tour goes totaling roughly 244 marathons by May 2009

2) Inspire 1 million Americans and Canadians to commit to doing 1 new action for the health of our Planet

3) raise $1 million for our Legacy of Action after completion of the North American tour to act as seed money for grass roots community enhancement projects (funding local initiatives to make a difference globally) We feel VERY strong and excited that we will accomplish our goals, and at the same time the journey is more important than the destination.

How hard is it to stay green while traveling around?
We had a worm compost onboard since day 1 and had to stop when the weather got really hot. However, just last week (Oct. 5th) we went to clean it and would you know it, all the red wrigglers had made many babies and eaten all the organic material we had been feeding them between May and July and to our amazement, thick, rich and incredible soil!! It made my week! Now that we are into Fall we are starting up again as we enter America. Border security said we couldn't bring live worms across from Canada so we are beginning anew Oct. 20th, so hope to have them well on their way by the time we reach New York. It has been a bit harder being as green as we are able at home. The Evolution RV uses a lot of fuel. However, we often debate how much more would three people be using in 3 separate homes, driving 3 cars and all the other energy usage? We spent almost a year putting as many E-alternatives on and inside the RV. It's not perfect but we have tried very hard to do as much as possible to lighten our footprint and are off-setting the total tour Co2 emissions with Eco Neutral out of Vancouver B.C.

Have there been days where you simply couldn't run and if so, how do you get back on the road?
I have to be honest, there has never been a day I've felt I couldn't run. Our mission is too strong and even though, yes, we have both had very hard days both being exhausted, sore and beat up, this inspires us even more to just put one foot in front of the other.

What has been the best part of your journey so far?
People! The best part so far would be the culmination of the last 22 months of training, planning, struggling, celebrating and now running, is meeting so many amazing people for the last 5 1/2 months across Canada, and now about to enter America and meet more amazing people to make a difference for the health of our Planet. It kind of feels like the best is yet to come.

Does a sense of awareness for what is happening to the planet vary greatly at each place you stop?
The awareness from different places we stop at varies GREATLY. It's funny because we have been surprised by some places thinking they were going to be one way and they're the opposite and vice versa. There are always people though in every area that are right on it and it doesn't always mean from big city (no awareness) to small town (big awareness). Both are everywhere which bodes well if we keep at it and stretch peoples thinking and re-teach how to do things everyday. It starts with learning new habits and then the thinking changes of how we are connected to our environment.

How much further?
About 6,000 miles to go!!!!!

What can people reading this do to support your efforts?
They can log onto http://www.runforoneplanet.com/ and Take the Action Challenge and just commit to doing 1 new action for our Earth (remember, small steps add up). If they also feel so inclined to Support our Legacy with a donation, it is gratefully accepted.

Good Luck Guys!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ROCK THE VOTE! (hopefully you already have)

In the spirit of the elections, we thought we would share with you a group that works tirelessly on behalf of the voice of the environment within politics.  League of Conservation Voter's is your guide on politics and the environment. They advocate for sound environmental policies and to elect pro-environmental candidates who will adopt and implement such policies. They inform the public about the most important environmental legislation of the past Congressional session and show them how their own and other representatives voted. Get involved and hold your politicians accountable! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Reasons to Vote Tomorrow

Universal Health Care means more beautiful people.

Jesus didn't get a vote. Neither did Emily Dickinson, Harriet Tubman, or Leonardo Da Vinci. Eleanor Roosevelt couldn't vote until she was 36 years old. So that's one thing you've got on all of them.

The stakes have never been higher for the viability of human life on earth.

Five of the nine sitting justices on the Supreme Court are edging toward retirement age, which means five potential vacancies within the next four to eight years.

Margins of victory in swing states like Ohio and Florida have been as low as half a percent in the past two presidential elections.

It's so easy, even old people can do it. And they do. In 2004, only 47% of people age 18-29 voted; 73% of people age 65-74 did.  Are they voting for the person you want to win?

Because it's a slightly more important vote than the next American Idol.

and finally, if you don't, crotchety old war hawks can become president.

ROCK THE VOTE. reasons courtesy of Good

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Smart Strip

One green team member recently made a green purchase worth sharing. The smart strip, which despite saying "as seen on TV," usually a deterrent to us green team members, is just that. Smart. If you plug in your television and all the extras like your DVD player and video games and stereo into the strip, as long as the TV is turned off, the other machines automatically turn off and there is no power being sent to them. It's as if you unplugged. You save money on your electric bill and no phantom power!

Smart Strip

Friday, October 31, 2008

An Important Message from Al Gore

He's our favorite. We can't help it. Here is his webcast from Wednesday specifically going out to college students (but we can all learn something from it). 

and, please, send it to those young people in your life!!!

learn more about wecansolvit

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Friends at Green Edge

You may have noticed our emails indicate that our challenges are presented in partnership with Green Edge Collaborative NYC. that's because they're our official partners (and friends). In short, Green Edge NYC is a social network that connects people with businesses, organizations and resources we need to build a sustainable future.

We invite you to link up with this great network. Think facebook, but for green folks in NYC. Their neighborhood supper clubs are spreading and are a great way to get out and meet like-minded individuals for dinner.

Join GreenEdge Collaborative.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good News for People Who Like Good News

Mayor Bloomberg made an announcement today that the city would expand its pilot public recycling program by adding 33 new outdoor recycling locations throughout the City. By partnering with BIDS, the program will pass on little burden to us taxpayers. The colorful blue and green bins will let individuals drop their bottles and cans, and newspapers and magazines. What this means to you: 

NEW Brooklyn Recycling locations:
McCarren Park
Prospect Park (9th Street and Prospect Park AND the corner of Ocean and Parkside Avenues)
Intersection of 5th Ave and Ridge Parkway
Intersection of Church and Flatbush Avenues
Intersection of Adams, Fulton and Willoughby Streets
Intersection of Hastings Street and Oriental Boulevard
Intersection of Avenue S and East 32nd Street
Intersection of 44th Street and 7th Avenue

Monday, October 27, 2008

Going Up Gowanus

Toll Brothers, a major suburban home builder, won approval from a Community Board 6 committee for its proposal to rezone two canal-side blocks currently restricted to manufacturing use so it can build 447 units of mixed-income housing, community and commercial space and a swath of open space.

The Land Use and Landmark Committee voted 12 to 1 in favor of the controversial project, with two abstentions. Those in favor said that residential development, which has set aside 30 percent of its units as below-market rate, will spur the cleanup of the canal.

Toll is in contract to buy land bounded by Carroll, Second, and Bond streets and the canal, part of a larger area that the Bloomberg Administration has tabbed to become the next housing frontier. The committee vote now goes to the full community board, then the borough president, Department of City Planning and City Council — all steps in the eight-month rezoning process.
Opponents say the project is too large for a piecemeal rezoning and should be delayed until the city reviews the larger neighborhood plan for pockets of housing, commercial and industrial use in the canal zone.

Community Board 6 will vote on Toll Brothers’ proposition at its Nov. 12 meeting at 6:30 pm. The site is to be determined. (718) 643-3027 to learn more.

Read on at The Brooklyn Paper
Who are these Toll Brothers?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gimme 5!

For those of us who are eager to recycle all we can, but perhaps don't live near the Park Slope Food Coop ... some good news.

Recycline, the company that brings us cool toothbrushes, razors, and a host of products made from recycled content, now will take your number 5 plastics! (because as you know the city only takes bottles and jugs, meaning any of your yogurt containers and take-out stuff CANNOT be taken with your recyclables). Before launching the program the company assessed the benefits and found that the plus of keeping #5s out of the landfill and giving them new life outweighs the negative of you shipping the 5s to them.

Here's how it works:
you mail your plastics to

Preserve Gimme 5
823 NYS Route 13
Cortland, NY 13045 - questions? 888.334.7296
Many common food containers – yogurt cups, sour cream containers, hummus tubs, ketchup bottles – are #5 plastics.
We accept any CLEAN plastic item with a #5 stamp on the bottom. Please check to make sure that there are no other materials (paper, screws, other number plastics) on the items that you send to us.
Make sure that the #5 plastics are clean – the cleaner the plastic, the cleaner the recycling process.
To help make this program a win for the environment, it is important that you send your plastics back to us via ground shipping (as opposed to air). Reuse a box if you can!
Shipments should weigh at least 5 pounds and no more than 50 pounds. Any package greater than 50 pounds must be pre-approved by Recycline.
Make sure to include your return address on the box and add your name and email address inside the box so we can thank you for your good work.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Basement of (Environmentally-friendly) Blood

Habana Outpost, a popular eco-friendly eatery here in BK has another arm you may not know of. Habana Works, an green education nonprofit for NYC youth. As part of it's teen program, Break It Down, students from The Green School in Williamsburg have been working alongside Habana Works to create a subterranean scarefest for us public in the basement of Habana Outpost. High school students created ghoulish scenes from everyday garbage, and will present a recycled haunted house, which is free and open to the public today, tomorrow, and Sunday! 

Break It Down offers project-based internships to HS students that bring discarded resources back into use and on the market. For example, for the upcoming holiday season, interns will produce craft items from the wood, metal and glass in Habana Outpost's waste stream. Products made will be available for sale at Habana's seasonal holiday Market. 

About Habana Works: a nonprofit founded by Sean Meenan, owner of Habana Outpost, New York's only solar-powered eatery. Habana Works offers free programs that educate, unite and engage Fort Green in environmentally conscious thought and action. These programs use art, architecture, videography and design to instill a greater understanding of the community's role in the betterment of our planet. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sushi Smarts

We Brooklyn Green Team members are very excited to see this anticipated guide to sustainable sushi come out today! Three versions of the sustainable sushi guide are available from Blue Ocean Institute, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Environmental Defense Fund. According to the guides, top sustainable sushi eats include U.S.-farmed abalone (awabi), albacore tuna from North America (shiro maguro), and farmed Arctic char (iwana). Besides downloading the guide from whichever source you choose and practicing sustainable habits at your sushi bar, here is what you can do to further the cause:

Engage Your Chef in a Conversation. Let the chef know that you appreciate seasonal, sustainable seafood choices and that you'd like to explore new flavors. Ask if the seafood is farmed or wild, how it was caught and where it's from.

Spread the Word. At Seafood Watch we know from experience that consumers matter—just a few simple actions on your part can make a big difference. Leave behind our Chef Feedback Cards - an easy way to share your point of view and to encourage restaurants to serve sustainable seafood. Download the Chef Feedback Cards

Become an advocate. If you're passionate about healthy oceans, become a Seafood Watch Advocate and share information about sustainable seafood with your favorite sushi chefs, as well as your family, friends and co-workers. Become a Seafood Watch Advocate

Join the Party. Help us celebrate the launch of our new Sushi Pocket Guide by planning your own sustainable dinner at your local sushi bar anytime through October 28. You can get details and "RSVP" for the party on Facebook. Invite a few friends and get sustainable!

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE! (from Monterey Bay)
or from Environmental Defense Fund or from Blue Ocean Institute

Monday, October 20, 2008

For Those of Us Who Drop Our Compost

Here's what Lower East Side Ecology Center has to ask us drop-bys...

As a result of your committed compost schlep, we've seen our organic waste collection nearly DOUBLE in the past year. Each week two truck loads of your food scraps are composted in our in-vessel composting system, beneath the Williamsburg Bridge in East River Park. This adds up to 5,280 pounds a week and 130 tons a year! That's one pile of compost and we need your co-operation.

When you drop off your food scraps that is just the beginning of their journey to become compost. Your coffee grounds and beet greens are wheeled away from market, to be handled another 5 times: unloaded from truck into in-vessel compost system, shoveled out of compost bins into worm beds, screened twice and then packaged into bags before returning to Union Square as finished compost.

To make the journey of kitchen-scraps to finished compost a little less labor intensive, we're asking you to empty your plastic bags or containers of food waste at our stand directly into our big grey barrels.  Alternatively, if that idea is not appealing to you, we would like to introduce you to the fully compostable Biobag (made from corn), which can be tossed directly into our big grey bins. We will have Biobags (5 bags for $1) available at our stand, starting October 27th, or they can be purchased at Whole Foods Market.

Thank you LESEC for taking all of our compost!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oysters Save Planet!

While at the Red Hook Harvest Festival, green team members spotted NYNJ Baykeeper. Here is what they learned...Oysters are vital to the ecological well-being of our Estuary.  Baykeeper has been working to restore oyster beds in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary since 1997.  When Henry Hudson first explored the region in 1609, oyster reefs covered 350 square miles of Estuary. After 1900 the oyster population fell dramatically thanks to overharvesting, polluation, disease, and siltation.  Baykeeper restores oyster reefs by planting a shell-base before planting the oysters. The base raises the oysters off the moddy or sandy bottom so they don't get buried. 

The benefits: 
oysters purify the Estuary as they filter water to get their food. An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day!

Hundreds of animals use oyster reefs as their homes including fish, grass, shrimp, anemones, and crabs. 

You can get involved by being a volunteer. You can become an oyster gardener, prepare shell bags, participate in reef building, or do some office stuff. 

Learn more at Baykeeper

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Three E's

Economy, Energy, Environment

"We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change." 
-Al Gore

If the massive and imperfect Wall Street bailout has proven anything, it's that we can gather enormous amounts of money in times of perceived crisis. Which raises the question: Why wait for a crisis? Our sputtering "Main St." economy, stubborn dependence on energy from abroad, and rapidly warming planet can be dealt with concurrently for a fraction of what we taxpayers just coughed up to the bankers. As Van Jones wrote in his new book, "Let's find another $350 billion (which) absolutely and positively could retrofit and re-power America using clean, green energy - and create millions of new jobs, in the process."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More Reasons to Solar Your Brownstone

As the debate on the prudence of this month’s Congressional bailout package continues to rage, one thing is clear: the renewable energy stimulus component of the bailout package will prove an effective weapon in Main Street’s arsenal against runaway energy costs -- and for energy independence.

The Main Street component of this economic package stimulates renewable energy markets by an estimated $230 billion and creates or retains nearly 440,000 green jobs by providing businesses and citizens across America with rich new incentives to go solar.
Among the bill’s provisions are:

Extending investment tax credits for residential and commercial solar installations for eight years (They previously set to expire in two months.);

Eliminating the $2,000 cap on the investment tax credit for residential solar electric installations placed into service after December 31, 2008;

Allowing filers of the alternative minimum tax to claim solar investment tax credits;
Allowing public utilities to claim solar investment tax credits;

Authorizing $800 million in new clean renewable energy bonds;

Creating a new category of tax credit bonds called Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to finance state and local initiatives to reduce carbon emissions;

Extending deductions for energy-efficient commercial buildings;

Establishing new tax credits for purchasers of plug-in electric-drive vehicles;

Extending research and development tax credits to stimulate green jobs.

Source: Daily Green

The ASES National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar event in the U.S. To learn how to get involved, host a tour or become a sponsor for next year’s event, visit www.nationalsolartour.org.

Learn about Solar1's I Heart PV Campaign here in NYC

Learn about how to get some rebates now from NYSERDA