Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Green building strives to improve design and construction practices, so buildings built today will last longer, cost less to operate, and create healthier and more productive environments for workers and residents.
With new challenges such as rising energy costs, the potential health risks of traditional building practices, and a new awareness of damage to our planet, the demand for cleaner, greener building supplies has grown.
The new store will offer a variety of services and supplies for homeowners and professionals including New York’s first and only zero-VOC paint bar, a section for new mothers and children, and a resource and design center where staff will work with customers to integrate green building materials into their projects.
The new location at Bowery between Prince and Spring St. will be the store's sixth location. So, if you're doing renovations around the house you might want to skip that other Depot and check this one out. Opening day is February 12th!
Check it out.
What are VOC's?
Watch the Video, it's a little corporate, but hey...
source: Ideal Bite
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The exhibition takes the visitor through the course of a day—7 a.m. through 2 a.m.—and links routine activities with information documenting their collective impact on the environment, while also offering alternatives for making these actions less harmful to our world and highlighting innovations that will lead to greater sustainability by 2030.
An architectural model of the Queens Botanical Garden Visitor and Administration Center, the first public building in New York City to receive Platinum certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program
An installation that enables visitors to experience projected subway crowding and subway improvements in the year 2030
A model of the Bank of America Tower, rising at One Bryant Park, the first skyscraper in the country to strive for LEED Platinum certification
learn more about the museum
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Earthworks Systems accepts your old credit, id, and gift cards, or even old hotel key cards that you (accidentally) made off with after a hotel stay.
These cars are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which is an infinitely recyclable, but often land-filled plastic.
After realizing that plastic cards result in 75 million pounds of PVC waste per year, Rodd Gilbert and Earthworks started collecting cards from individual consumers and retailers, chopping them up and melting them down into a new sheet of plastic, which is then sold to manufacturers to make more cards.
Gilbert would also like people to know that PVC recycling doesn’t require the additives used in other plastic recycling and the properties of PVC never change, thus making it continually recyclable.
Mail in your cards
More about Earthworks
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tokio 7 High fashion in the East Village. From Dior to Prada, the selections are in top condition and prices range from $50-$300.
64 E 7th between First and Second Aves (212-353-8443)
Edith Machinist Vintage men's clothing with many items under $100.
104 Rivington St between Essex and Ludlow (212-979-9992)
Buffalo Exchange A more casual store that ensures every item has a designer label. Prices are much lower at this store and they also carry women's clothing.
332 E 11th Between First and Second Aves (212-260-9340) check out the website!
Ina Men A consignment store with a boutique feel and the selection closest to couture. A bit more expensive.
262 Mott St between E Houston and Prince (212-334-2210) check out the website!
Fisch for the Hip The "creme de la creme of editorial-ready menswear. Suits, dress shirts, and ties from major designers, plus bags and shoes. Suits range from $250-$500.
153 W 18th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-633-9053) Check out the website!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Q: What's wrong with drinking bottled water anyway? A: That’s a really tough question because bottled water is riddled with problems. As soon as you dive into one problem, five others pop up.
To make a futile attempt at scratching the surface, bottled water is changing the way we think about water. Bottled water corporations are transforming a public good and a human right into a commodity to be bought and sold on the shelf next to cereal and laundry detergent. When that happens, our environment, our health, and our democracy suffers.
In terms of the environment, bottled water racks up a huge carbon footprint. From manufacturing the plastic for the bottles to transportation, if you calculate how much oil is used it would fill every bottle up 1/4 with petroleum. Gross, right? In New York, these bottles can’t even be recycled. Our friends with Surfrider and a number of other organizations like NYPIRG and Citizens Campaign for the Environment are working on the Bigger Better Bottle Bill to make sure that non-carbonated beverages can be traded in for money to be recycled, but for now, they fill up our landfills and create an enormous amount of non-biodegradable litter.
The health issues have been covered a lot recently by the media. Petroleum-base plastics, like those used for bottled water, can leach carcinogens into the water. Personally, I’d rather not take that risk.
In terms of our democracy, it threatens the political will to sufficiently fund our public water systems. There has been a frighteningly steady decline in funding for water infrastructure. Right now, water infrastructure receives 3% of the funding it needs, creating a 22 billion dollar funding gap between what our public water systems are allocated and what they need. Meanwhile, Americans spend 15 billion dollars a year on bottled water! When we drink bottled water, we’re sending the wrong message about our support for public officials to adequately fund our public water.
The biggest problem, however, isn’t individuals choosing to drink bottled water. It’s bottled water corporations using clever marketing to diminish public confidence in our tap water, then buying up public water sources, bottling the water, and selling it back to us at thousands of times the price. In the midst of a world water crisis where one billion people don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water, we have to ask ourselves, who do we want controlling access to water? Corporations who’s bottom line is profit or or democratically-elected government?
So stop drinking bottled water, but also let your public officials know that you support them resisting corporate control of our water resources!
A: For the answer to that question, as I’m no expert on NYC Tap Water, I defer to Elizabeth Royt, author of Bottlemania. Check out her NY Times article on water. To draw a quote from the article: “As city officials, water connoisseurs and native boosters have long declared, New York tap water is among the world’s purest and tastiest. It is praised in foreign-language guidebooks, and some city bakers credit its mineral content and taste for their culinary success.”
Suffice to say, New York City is one of four major cities in the US who don’t have to filter it’s public water because the watershed ecosystem is so healthy. However, with inadequate funding, that could change, which is why we need to support investments in green water infrastructure and watershed conservation projects.
Q: Where does all this bottled water come from?
A: The fact is, 40% of bottled water IS tap water and comes from municipal sources. Dasani and Aquafina, for example, draw their water from public water sources. We recently ran a successful campaign to get Aquafina to put that fact on every bottle, which they now do. However, the real problem is that they are not required by law to publish where their water comes from whereas with tap water, you can always go to the DEP website and find out exactly what’s in it and where it comes from.
Q: What has Think Outside the Bottle accomplished thus far?
A: Our biggest campaign accomplishment has been our most recent campaign. Increasing numbers of cities, restaurants, institutions, and individuals are turning back to the tap and away from expensive, branded bottled water. Because of our efforts, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution at their 2008 annual meeting encouraging cities across the country to phase out government use of bottled water and promote the importance of strong public water systems. Already, more than 60 major cities have responded to this resolution and have taken common sense actions to protect the environment, save money, and restore confidence in our public water supplies. We are eager to see similar actions taken at the state level.
Q: How can people get involved and further your work?
A: The best way to get involved is to come to our first community meeting tonight at 7pm at 445 6th Street in Brooklyn to kick-off our New York campaign. We’re starting up local community groups like this in states across the country to work on getting restaurants, institutions, and public officials in their neighborhoods, cities, and states to opt out of bottled water by signing our Think Outside the Bottle pledge. In New York, we’ll be working on reaching out to Governor Paterson in order to ask him to sign our pledge to cut state spending on bottled water and support renewed investment in our underfunded public water systems. In order to do that, we need to show him that enough of his constituents support him doing this.
In the meantime, you can help out right now by signing this petition to Governor Paterson asking him to Think Outside the Bottle and then forward it on to 20 friends.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
We hold him up.
As President Obama said in his inaugural speech today, "...we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship. "
It's time to embrace the fact that to even be alive on this planet is the most phenomenal gift. It is a privilege. We have to earn our keep.
So, seize those duties gladly, get involved, become a part of your community. It connects you to your neighbors, your city, your country, your world.
Let's hold up our President, for he cannot do this alone.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
How white paint could help postpone climate crisis
Could the planet’s rising temperatures and tides be stemmed by something as simple as white paint? Of course not. But according to a soon to be published study in the journal Climatic Change, a few million buckets could buy the world a few crucial years.
Here’s the premise: if all the rooftops and paved surfaces in the world’s major cities were painted white or replaced by more reflective material (like roads made of concrete rather than asphalt), the global cooling effect would be enormous. Big enough, the study shows, to delay climate change by about 11 years.
They started off by calculating that changing a 1,000 square foot roof—the average size on an American home—from black to white would essentially offset the heating effects of 10 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. (Conveniently, and coincidentally, 10 metric tons is about the amount that a typical American home emits over the course of a year.) And that’s just one building. Collectively, the concentration of hard, dark surfaces causes the “urban heat island” effect, which can make cities an average of 5 degrees Fahrenheit—and up to 20 degrees F—warmer than surrounding areas. And even though cities cover less than 1 percent of the world’s land surface, Dr. Akbari and California Energy Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld, two of the country’s leading experts on urban heat island mitigation, emphasize that the collective impact is significant. A global “cool roofs and cool pavement” strategy, they argue, would increase the global albedo (or reflectivity, if you’ve forgotten your high school physics) enough to reduce planetary warming by the same amount that releasing 44 billion tons of carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere would increase it.
Read Ben Jervey's post (including cool graphs) at Good.is
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Since 1994, MLK day has been regarded as a day of service. Our new president wants to take it one step further and have it not be just a day, but a new commitment to be involved in your community in a sustainable way.
Visit the new site of the president and vice-president elects, www.usaservice.org, to find an event or find out how to host an event on January 19th that gives back to your community.
For a longer term commitment to service in the New York City area, visit the websites of New York Cares or the Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service. Or do a google search for volunteer programs in your area. Hmmm, sounds like a challenge...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Center for the Urban Environment (CUE) had an opportunity to speak with Josh Nachowitz, NYS Policy Director for the New York League of Conservation Voters on the subject of the economy and the environment. To learn more, come to CUE’s Third Thursday on January 15th where Josh will be speaking along with Rob Crauderueff, Policy Director for Sustainable South Bronx. The forum will take place at 6pm @ CUE (168 7 Street, Brooklyn, NY). Call 718.788.8500 x263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
CUE: Critical parts of President-Elect Obama’s energy and climate plan link directly to his economic stimulus package and other items on his economic agenda—are New York legislators poised to do the same at the local level?
Nachowitz: NYLCV has long argued that environmental protection and economic growth are intimately linked. We believe that our elected officials now understand this message. On Wednesday Gov. Paterson delivered his first State of the State speech and we were pleased to see that he listed building a clean energy future as one of the top priorities for his administration. The Governor reconfirmed the State’s commitment to an aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy plan and in fact further strengthened the State’s goal for renewable energy despite the economic crisis. We expect both the Governor and the Legislature to take action on this and other proposals in the upcoming session. Policy makers across New York State seem to have finally recognized the link between climate action and economic prosperity. Ending our dependence on foreign oil, creating clean, reliable and cheap domestic energy sources and fighting climate change are critical to leading impoverished areas of the State (such as large swaths of upstate New York) back to economic prosperity.
CUE: What are the unique environmental challenges facing Kings County—compared to other counties in the State?
Nachowitz: Brooklyn is one of the most densely populated urban communities in the United States. Yet the environmental problems facing the borough are similar to those experienced by many communities in New York State. Key issues in Brooklyn include the clean-up of contaminated “brownfield” sites and heavily polluted waterways, the enhancement and protection of vitally important parkland, investment in improving and expanding our mass transit network and efforts to control congestion and remove toxin spewing vehicles from our already overburdened streets. Supporting the borough (and the city’s) continued growth is also important for the environment. It is somewhat counter-intuitive to think of an urban environment like Brooklyn as “green.” But due to its very density and our reliance on mass transit, Brooklynites (I am proud to be one myself!) are consume far less energy and natural resources and emit fewer greenhouse gasses than average Americans. We support concentrating growth in transit rich and energy efficient urban areas like Brooklyn instead of sprawling and wasteful suburbs.
CUE: How will the current economy affect New York City—from initiatives like PlanNYC to citywide recycling services?
Nachowitz: New York City is currently faced with a serious budget crisis which may turn out to be one of the most difficult since the 1970s. The economic collapse will certainly effect the city government’s ability to carry out wide-ranging and ambitious plans. The current budget already calls for cuts to recycling education programs. We plan to fight these proposals. In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg suspended the city’s metal, glass and plastic (MGP) recycling program. This action had disastrous consequences for recycling in New York City. We are hopeful that the mayor will not go down the same road again. Other PlaNYC initiatives, however, have even more importance during a budget crisis. The Mayor has committed about $80 million to energy efficiency initiatives. The city spends close to $1 billion in energy costs a year, and reducing this substantial and inflexible yearly cost could not only help the environment, it could also reduce the burden on the city’s budget.
CUE: How can Brooklyn residents get involved in local environmental policy and advocacy?Nachowitz: There are countless opportunities for New Yorkers to get involved. One of the easiest is to check out the websites of advocacy organizations such as mine (www.nylcv.org) which will help you stay abreast of legislation and news concerning the environment. I also encourage you to contact your local legislators and make them aware of your interest in the environment and environmentally friendly legislation.
(Interview conducted by Rebeccah Welch, Senior Associate Director of Communications at the Center for the Urban Environment. As a guide to a more sustainable New York City, the Center is dedicated to educating individuals about the built and natural environments. For more about our work visit www.thecue.org.)
Monday, January 12, 2009
Presented by Green Spaces, a socially conscious company that works to grow today’s burgeoning green economy by providing work space, administrative services and networking opportunities for green entrepreneurs in New York City, the Green Business Competition will look for innovative start-ups that not only accelerate positive social change and protect the environment – but also prove they can effectively make money in the process. In order to attract a wide variety of green businesses across all sectors, the Green Business Competition’s criteria are broad; entrants need only to be for-profit, in New York State and have revenue numbers less than $10 million.
First place winners will receive a package worth $24,000, including $8,000 in investment capital, one rent-free year in at a Green Spaces valued at $6,000, and a package of marketing, legal and financial services valued at $10,000. Second place business winners will receive $1000 and a similar prize package which has a total value of $4,000, and third place is a package worth $675.
Con Edison will serve as Prize Sponsor and The Nature Conservancy will serve as the Non-Profit Sponsor of the competition. Other sponsors include SquareSpace, EcoFusion, The Park Avenue Bank, Core Industries, Impact International, Citrin Cooperman & Company LLP, Plenty Magazine, Grist.org, NYU Stern School of Business, Treehugger, Tishman Speyer, Mintz Levin, Greenopia, Net Impact, Kinetix, Marc Alt + Partners, Method, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, The Sustainable Business Network of New York City, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and Group SJR. The Green Business Competition will host a launch party on February 9, 2009 at 92Y Tribeca in New York City and an awards ceremony on April 30 to announce the business winners.
Green Spaces brings together leading green entrepreneurs by offering affordable work space, shared resources and a community to launch their businesses.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
An Interview with Micki Josi, Co-Founder of the UFT Green Schools Committee
Q: What is the UFT's Green Schools Committee all about?
A: The UFT Green Schools Committee was formed by two teachers, Coquille Houshour and Micki Josi, in order to encourage the UFT and DOE to adhere to the city’s recycling laws and bring together like-minded teachers who are working to “green” their schools through recycling, composting, and planning lessons on sustainability. Micki and Coquille also have a blog atwww.educatingtomorrow.org.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing schools who want and must (accoding to NYC law) recycle?
A: Some of the biggest challenges facing schools that want to recycle include is a lack of funds to purchase recycling bins, institutional apathy, lack of public education on recycling including students, staff, and custodial engineers, and infrequent department of sanitation collection. In most cases it is one or more teachers in a school that take this project on voluntarily, writing grants to purchase supplies, and starting students clubs to collect materials and educate their community. Our group does not see this as a sustainable way for the entire Department of Education to adhere to the recycling laws since it relies to heavily on one individual to do a voluntary job, thus nearly 90% of NYC school do not currently recycle.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you can give an educator or parent looking to enforce recycling efforts at their school?
A: Speak up at school about the importance of recycling, find allies, start an environmental club or recycling program. We started out by doing these things so eventually they will want to join our group to meet a network of like-minded individuals who share their passion for recycling and waste reduction education and practices in schools. We think recycling education needs to be mandatory and wasteful practices, such as Styrofoam Trays in the cafeteria, need to be eliminated. It’s hard work if you try to do it alone, but together we can form a strong voice to push for strict regulation of the mandatory recycling laws in schools.
Q: How can folks get involved in your committee or support your efforts in some way?
A: They can contact us through our website www.educatingtomorrow.org. At the website they can read our blog, find resources, sign our petition, email us, join our google group and learn about upcoming meetings and events. They can also contact their local city council person, write a letter to the chancellor and/or mayor to let them know that they think recycling in schools is important and should be a priority.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Chip in! Mulch your tree! Help NYC grow!
Saturday, January 10 and Sunday, January 11, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Bring your holiday tree to a designated city park to be recycled into mulch that will nourish plantings across the city! Remember to remove all lights and ornaments before bringing the tree to a Mulchfest site. You are encouraged to bring bags to take advantage of the free mulch provided at sites.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The volunteer group, Waste Not, Want Not was started by Suzanne Frietas and her brother James Mylanek Sr. after they began collecting and donating lemons, tangerines and oranges from Freitas' own property. They are now a "fruit cycling" organization working on obtaining federal non profit status.
"Waste Not Want Not"collected about 153 pounds of fruit on New Year's Eve, with the help of only five volunteers! "Wasting large amounts of food is no longer acceptable, and so it's time to act. The fruit is ready and waiting, let's cycle it," Freitas said.
The Waste Not Want Not website is currently under construction, but add it to your favorites and check back in with them soon!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
On weekends through March, the DUMBO version will set up shop in vacant space at the corner of Washington and Front streets owned by neighborhood real-estate titan David Walentas.
Brooklyn Flea’s Winter Market [76 Front St., at Washington Street in DUMBO, (718) 935-1052], Saturdays and Sundays through March. 11 am–6 pm.
Source: The Brooklyn Paper
Monday, January 5, 2009
Visit the USGS website. U.S Geological Survey is a science organization that focuses on biology, geography, geology, geospatial information, and water. They are dedicated to the study of the natural hazards that threaten the landscape and our natural resources.
Click on this link to find out how much water is being wasted in your home. All you have to do is time the drips for one minute.
Take a few minutes to explore the rest of their site. Really interesting stuff!