Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bio-Heat in NYC

Today, the city council's environmental protection committee is hearing two bills that would require all heating oil to be 20 percent biodiesel, forcing the more environmentally friendly combustible often made from vegetable oil into the mix. The bills, introduced by Council Members James Gennaro and David Yassky, would take full effect in 2013.

Biodiesel tends to be more expensive than normal heating oil, though advocates in New York and elsewhere are pushing for government subsidies. Councilman Gennaro said that the bill will affect approximately 1.2 million households in the city. As to cost, he said that while a biofuel heating oil blend runs more than standard heating oil, a requirement would bring down the price via economies of scale. “Once we do this and make a mandate, then everyone will have to do it, and the price will come down,” Mr. Gennaro said.

Biofuel blends can cost as much as 20 cents per gallon more than standard heating oil, though in his executive budget unveiled yesterday, Governor Spitzer proposed a subsidy that would make it more competitive.

Source: The New York Observer

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


When buying your fruit at the grocery store rather than a greenmarket, you will notice the little stickers on fruits and vegetables. They actually have digits that let you know whether they're conventionally grown or organic, and if they're genetically modified (refers to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits -- yikes).

GM foods have been in stores only since the 1990s, so we don't know the long-term health risks, and in a 1998 EPA sampling, 29% of the foods tested contained detectable pesticides.
Less of an eco-gamble. Scientists are concerned that GMOs will reduce biodiversity.

Eaters all over the world agree that the range of possible flavors is greater when we just let Mother Nature do her thing.

A four-digit number means it's conventionally grown.
A five-digit number beginning with 9 means it's organic.
A five-digit number beginning with 8 means it's GM.

Source: Daily Bite

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meat Machine

The world's total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. It is estimated that an average of 30% of land (ice free) is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production. Americans eat about eight ounces a day, rougly twice the global answer. Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world ffeeds cattle, pigs, and chickens. The environmental impact of growing so much grain for animal feed (which is not what they should be eating) is profound. Agriculture in the United States, much of which now serves the demand for meat, contributes to nearly three quarters of all water-quality problems in the nation's rivers and streams, according to the EPA. The good news is that Americans are also buying more environmentally friendly products, choosing more sustainably produced meat, eggs, and dairy. farmers markets have more than doubled in the last ten years, and many local farmers sell grass fed, healthy, antiobiotic free animals for meat.

This is not to say we can no longer eat meat, but maybe eat a little less, eat a little local.

Source: NYTimes

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Whole Foods Market Outlawing the Plastic Bag

Whole Foods Market announced today it will end the use of disposable plastic grocery bags at the checkouts in all of its 270 stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. with the goal to be plastic bag-free by Earth Day, April 22, 2008.

Whole Foods Market has declared today "Bring Your Own Bag Day" and will give out over 50,000 reusable shopping bags to customers at the checkouts this morning to celebrate today's announcement. "We hope to inspire shoppers to prompt positive environmental change by adopting the reusable bag mindset," added Gallo.

"Doing away with plastic grocery bags won't just help protect marine life, it's a key move in shifting us away from a 'consume-and-dispose' mentality," says Lisa Mastny, editor of the Worldwatch Institute report Oceans in Peril. "Disposable plastic bags can linger in the environment for more than 1,000 years and are the major debris item found on the seabed, especially near the coast."

Although the natural and organic grocer hopes to inspire shoppers to bring their own reusable bags, the Company will continue to offer an environmentally sensitive option when needed - 100 percent recycled paper grocery bags.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Friendly Alternative-Fuel Skies

Virgin Atlantic announced yesterday a Boeing 747 jet flown on a mixture of about 20 percent biofuel and the rest kerosene will lift off for a test flight in February, many months earlier than planned. The passengerless Virgin flight from London to Amsterdam will be a Boeing 747-400 and will fly the approximately 1.5-hour flight on the alternative fuel, which Virgin spokesman Paul Charles wouldn't identify but said is from a "sustainable" source that doesn't compete with food or freshwater supplies. Virgin moved up the time table for its biofuel pilot flight as initial engine testing results were better than expected, according to the company. Air New Zealand also plans test flights later this year, but biofuel-powered commercial flights are still supposedly a couple of years away.

Source: Treehugger, NYTimes

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Martin Luther King Day

. . . “I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. . . I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. . .”

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1964, Oslo

A whole new challenge awaits us, but the same roadblocks present themselves. Let’s take some words of encouragement from the good doctor as we face the biggest challenge of all, fixing the world.

BGT Party - Reminder

Brooklyn Green Team Kick Off Party
Saturday, January 26th
94 9th Street (F to Smith/9th) - right next to Lowes
$10 cover (includes one free drink)
DJ, raffle prizes and tons of information.
Come meet the people behind the blog and a whole community of people who want to live a "greener" life.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
- The Brooklyn Green Team

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Here's a great little youtube video worth watching about reycling. It's funny. trust us.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recycling News that May Astonish You

Attending a CENYC volunteer outreach meeting, I found out, to my astonishment, that not all #1 and #2 plastics can be recycled - only bottles and jugs with a small neck. That means that your strawberry containers, and starbucks plastic cups, and plastic egg cartons all with #1 and #2 are NOT recyclable! The good news is that Park Slope Food Coop does have collection days for plastics that are not taken through curbside service so keep your eyes out for those opportunities.

New NYC "Stuff" Resourc

The City offers NYC Stuff Exchange. Their campaign is NEED STUFF? NEED TO GET RID OF STUFF? Find out where to donate, buy, or sell gently used goods in NYC

try it out.

Friday, January 11, 2008

White House Saves 480 Trees

WASHINGTON — The White House is going paperless when it submits the fiscal 2009 budget Feb. 4. Instead of printing 3,000 free copies of the budget for the media, lawmakers, the White House and Cabinet, the White House will put the 2,200-page tome online at
Jim Nussle, White House budget director, announced the move — appropriately enough — by e-mail.
"This step will save nearly 20 tons of paper, or roughly 480 trees," Nussle said. "In terms of fiscal savings, we estimate the E-Budget will save nearly a million dollars over the next five years."

Those who want paper copies can buy paper copies of the four-volume budget from the Government Printing Office. But at more than $200 a set, there's plenty of incentive to give the electronic copy a try.

"Since when did the Bush White House get e-fiscal discipline?" asked Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. "Let us hope that they send us a budget that is worth the paper it would have been printed on."

Source: Andrew Taylor, Associated Press

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Plastic Bag Take-Back

City Hall, January 9, 2008 – At today’s Stated Council meeting, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and members of the City Council will vote on far-reaching environmental legislation that would require the placement of plastic bag recycling bins at stores throughout New York City.

Helping to protect the environment, keep litter off city streets and to reduce and recycle as many plastic bags as possible, the Council will vote on landmark legislation that would require the placement of plastic bag recycling bins at stores throughout New York City. The legislation applies to stores that use plastic bags and occupy 5,000 or more square feet or have more than five outlets in New York City. Upon passage, this bill will be one of the country’s most far-reaching and comprehensive recycling bills, much wider in scope when compared to other local recycling laws.

The legislation will require store operators to provide an easily accessible collection bin for plastic bags in visible locations. In addition, the stores will be required to use plastic bags that display the words “Please return this bag to a participating store for recycling” or a similar message as well as make reusable bags available for purchase. The stores will also be required to submit annual reports to the Department of Sanitation on the amount and weight of collected plastic bags.

Full Story

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Produce and Local Products: Coming to a Indoor Permanent Market Soon

Set up just outside one of the former Fulton Fish Market buildings by a nonprofit group called New Amsterdam Public, the one-day event was meant in part to build support for a permanent indoor public market selling pristine local food. Similar events are planned for the spring and summer.

Many New Yorkers have to piece together a cook’s pantry from Chinatown shops, farmers’ markets, FreshDirect, Fairway and other stores. Soon New Yorkers may be able to have a large, permanent market with local and seasonal produce, cheesemongers, butchers and a selection of staples including canned vegetables, oil, and granola. We may start to see this happen. For one thing, the infrastructure for getting local farm products into the city is about to change drastically. In a speech in December Gov. Eliot Spitzer told the New York Farm Bureau that ground would be broken this year on a wholesale farmers’ market somewhere near the massive wholesale food complex in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. The governor called it the Pride of New York Wholesalers’ Market, but it would also sell food grown in surrounding states. A big, modern warehouse with good storage facilities and a steady stream of buyers could assure schools, hospitals and grocery stores of a reliable supply of local produce. And it could finally give local farmers a new way to bring their produce to town, particularly those with midsize farms of 50 to 200 acres. Selling wholesale could work for growers who are too small to make direct deals with big chains or not specialized enough for a stall at one of the city’s 46 Greenmarkets.

Lots of debate about who,where, what, and when, but it seems like there is a move to finally provide a one-stop center for all your local needs!

Source: Michelle V. Agins, NYTimes

Monday, January 7, 2008

Super Bowl Saves Planet!

Okay. Not really, but the NFL is planting thousands of trees in Arizona forests blackened by wildfires to help offset greenhouse gas emissions from the Super Bowl, to be played in Glendale Feb. 3.

The league also will power University of Phoenix Stadium and the adjacent NFL theme park with clean energy sources from New Mexico wind turbines to California geothermal plants.
The reforestation effort will offset the 350 tons of greenhouse gas produced by the NFL's 3,000-vehicle ground-transportation fleet. The league computed its carbon footprint with help from Princeton University researchers, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service.

But the carbon footprint calculations did not include air travel by NFL staff, teams and the thousands of fans who will fly or drive into the Phoenix area during Super Bowl week. Not to mention the pigskins, the nonorganic uniforms, the hotdogs - you get the point.

Step in the Right Direction!

Source: AP, Daily Herald Press


Thursday, January 3, 2008


MANHATTAN: Sunday January 6, 2008, from 10am - 4pm Union Square Park - North Plaza Broadway & E 17th Street

BROOKLYN: Saturday, January 5th and Sunday, January 6th from 1pm until 5pm462 Marlborough Road (between Ditmas and Dorchester), Flatbush


RECYCLE YOUR TEXTILES: The Material Mondays pilot program at Union Square ended December 31, 2007 to make way for park renovations, but the textile recycling continues at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn! Visit us at Second Chance Saturdays, Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, NW Entrance to Prospect Park Saturdays from 8pm – 4pm from January 5 through March 29, 2008.

Source: Council on the Environment of NYC

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

High Line Underway

In the January cold, workers are busy to create the next Central Park along Manhattan's West Side. This new public promenade is being built on the old high line train tracks which run from Gansevoort Street to 34th. Near Gansevoort Street, laborers are already installing the concrete planking surface destined to be a walkway for visitors. Cast in Quebec and weighing 600 to 800 pounds, the planks — some 7,600 of them — are hefted by forklifts. They are jigsaw puzzle pieces of a structural system of pedestrian promenades that extend like concrete fingers into the planting beds that will restore the park greenery using 6,300 cubic yards of soil.
Workers up on the line are laboring to complete the first, $71 million phase of the $170 million High Line construction, a section from Gansevoort Street up to 20th Street. Should be really exciting.

Source: NYTimes