Monday, March 30, 2009

Interview with Kate Goldwater of AuH2O Clothing Shop

Two Brooklyn Green Team members scouted this great shop nestled away in the East Village and stopped by to shop and chat with the owner. . . 

BGT: When did AuH2O open and what inspired it?
KG:  I'd always wanted to do have a store ever since I was little.   You know how kids will make friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss indian-bead-loom necklaces and think they're going to open their own store someday and sell their jewelry?  I was definitely one of those kids.  I was a crafter ever since I was young- I loved drawing, painting, doing art projects, and making anything I could, and by about middle school I decided that I wanted to express my creativity with my appearance.  I pierced my thumb nails, drew magic marker tattoos all over my body, and wrapped my hair in yarn and rubber bands.  I realized that my favorite outlet was clothing, and I started going through my mom's old clothes (she used to be an aerobics and fitness and wellness instructor so she had crazy spandex prints and stuff) and cut them up and reworked them to make them fit me.  I sewed by hand, or I used a stapler and duct tape, until my mom got me a sewing machine for my 13th birthday (that I still use today!).  Then I was hooked on making clothes.  I would find anything unwanted in the attic- upholstery material, table cloths, even a fisher price tent, and rework it into clothing. Then I discovered the unlimited supply of unwanted materials at thrift stores, and started using t-shirts, scrubs, aprons, anything.  It never even occurred to me to go and buy fabric or a pattern from a fabric store and use for sewing projects. that wouldn't be nearly as unique.   I wanted to be sure that no one else would be coming to school wearing a pair of thick wool thigh-high hockey socks sewn on to cut off jean shorts with floral embellishments.   I just loved sewing and creating.   As I got older, my style started to chill out a little bit (though I was still voted "most outrageous style" in high school) but I still made my own clothes out of used clothing or materials, though the final products weren't as loud or mis-matched. at the same time, I started getting interested in social justice and the environment. I was a part of my school's "global action" and "students against social apathy" clubs. I wrote a piece for our high school school paper about how we should avoid buying new clothes altogether and only shop at thrift stores to take a stand against sweatshop labor. basically, making clothing out of recycled clothing was my passion at a pretty young age, though I wasn't thinking about what i wanted to do with my life at that point.   I'd always thought it'd be cool to open up my own shop, but I never considered it very seriously.  At NYU, I was in the gallatin school, or basically the "design your own major" program, and studied art, clothing, social justice, gender studies, and took a lot independent studies where I focused on art and clothing as activism.   I also did some internships that I strongly believed in the causes- one was NARAL pro-choice ny and one was the jewish women's archive (in Boston) to sorta feel out if that's what I wanted to do for a career.   Even though I loved the work i was doing, the people i met, and the change I felt was making, I was capital B Bored to sit at a desk.  I needed to be doing something creative. that was when I knew I had to go down the artistic path.   As much as I wanted to work for a non-profit relating to women's rights, or the environment, or social justice activism or something, I just couldn't.  Meanwhile, I was still making and wearing my own clothing daily, pretty much teaching myself.  I'm not entirely self-taught though; I worked at nyu's costume shop for four years, and I LOVED it.   Not only did I learn so much, but I was sewing all day long.  I loved it 80x more than my desk-job internships, so that juxtaposition helped me realize I had to go down the artistic/fashion route.  I took a graphic design class my senior year that taught me how to use photoshop and dreamweaver and make a website, and that was pretty much the start of my business.   I was able to sell online, take personal orders, and showcase my work.   I could contact boutiques  and show them my style and see if they wanted to carry my designs.  Finally, after selling on consignment for awhile, I realized that I wanted more- people said I should sell in those open-air markets, or on the street, but I was ready to really have my own shop.  I graduated NYU in May 2006 and spent the summer getting in touch with lawyers, bankers, accountants, real estate agents, etc, and formed an LLC, found a space, signed a lease in august.  Then I had a ton of work to do before opening, but I finally got a credit card processing account, bought a mirror, painted, renovated, bought mannequins, supplies, etc and was able to open up on october 1, 2006.

BGT: What is your favorite part about your shop and being a small business owner? 
KG: I think that when you own your own business, you love what you do so much that there isn't really a distinction between work and pleasure. If you're doing what you love and working for yourself, it doesn't really feel like work.  I'm so into making, selling, marketing my recycled clothing that I live and breathe it.  I love wearing my designs out and having people stop me and ask where I got it, then I immediately hand them my card.  Also, I get to shop for my job- it's the best!   Whenever I pass a store I can't help but stop in to get ideas for things I want to make, and if I ever pass a thrift store or button shop or antique store I always go in and buy material to cut up and rework.  Each time I go home to Wisconsin for winter break or a summer vacation I scour the garage sales and go to the goodwill and value village. Basically, every day is a great day at work. 

BGT: Anything else you want to tell people about your store? 
KG: My store is for people who are unique, who want to express their creativity, have strong political convictions, and want to wear clothing that gives that first impression. 

Visit the shop:Kate Goldwater  |  AuH2O Designs
www.blog.auh2odesigns.com
kate@auh2odesigns.com

AuH2O Recycled Clothing Store
84 E. 7th St. (b/t 1st and 2nd)
New York, NY 10003
212.466.0844

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Get Your Green Fix at Pratt All This Week

This week is Pratt Institute's annual Green Week celebration which includes lots of free events open to the public, including lectures, informational sessions, and giveaways. On Tuesday from 11am - 3pm @ in front of Pratt Studios on the main campus (200 Wiloughby Ave) there will be be a FREE HELMET giveaway from the NYC DOT, encouraging safety and sustainable modes of transport for us residents. This giveaway is intended to not only encourage more sustainable and green modes of transportation such as skateboarding. As good quality, well-fitted helmets can be expensive, the DOT has agreed to distribute and custom fit helmets free of charge! This may be particularly interesting to parents because children's heads grow so rap will have all sizes available including toddler! Also on Tuesday from 12-2pm check out a performance by the solar powered band, Solar Punch.

On Friday from 11am - 6pm, there will be both a Free Market and a Green Market hosted on the campus. Vendors from various local organizations selling green and sustainable foods. Adjacent to that event will be a Free Market co-hosted by In Our Hearts. This event will include free services, entertainment, and lots of clothing, canned goods, art supplies, etc. In the spirit of sustainability, we hope to lengthen the life span of some materials that were prepared to be discarded by their owners from lack of use. All participants should feel free to bring items of their own, and expect to find some treasures to take home with them.

For more detailed and comprehensive information about events click here!

Two Green Team Members Honor EarthHour

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We're Famous


In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, click here to check out the feature on the Brooklyn Green Team in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle this week!

TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS TONIGHT

Don't forget its Earth Hour tonight.   Join the world and turn them off from 8:30 to 9:30.  Learn More. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Project Green Prom Dress Swap

We just thought this was such a great idea...

On Monday, April 6 @ 6pm, WHOLE FOODS MARKET® and TEENS TURNING GREEN invite you to take part in PROJECT GREEN PROM DRESS SWAP

As part of the launch of Project Green Prom – a multi-faceted effort from Whole Foods Market and Teens Turning Green to raise awareness about making thoughtful, earth-friendly decisions and purchases around prom season – New York area high school juniors and seniors can participate in a Dress Swap program where they donate their previously worn and loved frocks in exchange for another dress as a way to promote repurposing items to preserve the environment. A green stylist will be on hand to demonstrate cost-effective ways for making something old new again.  In addition to the Dress Swap, attendees will enjoy the opportunity to engage in fun green activities that will include: eco-beauty makeovers and green spa treatments by John Masters, Mineral Fusion and PRITI Spa along with flower and d├ęcor preparation and healthy eating tips and menu ideas or the Big Day. Each attending teen will receive tips and experts advice on easy, eco-savvy ways to infuse sustainability into all aspects of their prom -- without sacrificing style.

Details: Monday, April 6 @ Whole Foods Market Tribeca,  270 Greenwich Street (between Warren and Murray)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Water You're Eating

Good Magazine has a great chart on how much water you use in your daily life that is not easily calculated.  For example: Dinner

Curtain #1 - more water
Beef (1 lb.) - 1,500 gallons
Wine (one glass) - 31 gallons
Bread (two slices) - 11 gallons/slice
Dishwashing (by hand) - 20 gallons

Curtain #2 - less water
Chicken (1 lb.) - 287 gallons
Beer (one pint) - 20 gallons
Baked Potato - 7 gallons
Dishwashing (energy star dishwasher) - 4 gallons

Don't take our word for it, check out the chart

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let's Hear It For the Park

At a March 16 meeting of Community Board 2's Parks and Recreation subcommittee, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC) President Regina Myer presented an updated construction schedule for Pier 6.

The BBPDC anticipates opening a portion of Pier 6 and its uplands by the end of 2009. This section of the park near Atlantic Avenue will include a 1.6 acre destination playground with a swing "valley," slide "mountain," wooden structures, and water play area; a dog run; a 30' wide promenade onto Pier 6; a park concession building with 1000 square foot restaurant and roof top deck; and three sand volleyball courts.
Construction company Skanska has begun prepping the site for utilities and base structural work. In the next few weeks, they will begin importing bulk fill to bring the site to grade level. Structural work on the playground area and preparation for a prefabricated park gatehouse (which will be clad with reclaimed timbers from the nearby Cold Storage Warehouse) will begin in the spring, as well as construction of the volleyball courts and dog run. In the summer, Skanska will import horticultural soil and begin planting trees and shrubs. Through the fall and winter, Skanska will complete the park finishes, including paving pathways, completing the lawn and ground cover plantings, and installing site furnishings and playground equipment.
For more information see the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation's website.

Interview with Green Theater Initiative


One Green Team member flew over the website of the Green Theater Initiative and flew down for an interview with Gideon Banner.

BGT: Where did the project idea come from?
GB: I am an actor by trade, and I've been performing with Blue Man Group for some time now. Several years ago I was an original member of their environmental committee. This encouraged me to wonder whether this type of work was happening at other theaters, and I found that it generally wasn't.

BGT: Why wasn't this happening in more places?
GB: Mostly a lack of time and information. Theater managers are very busy, and despite the environmental concerns of many, they just don't have the time to devote to taking steps to go green. Many don't know what to do or how to start: aside from using low VOC paints or installing more energy efficient lighting, what else does a theater do to be green?

BGT: Why should theaters get involved?
GB: Because going green is an opportunity for theaters to be sustainable in both senses of the word, ensuring their financial futures while working to create a sustainable future for their communities. Theaters have the opportunity to answer President Obama's call for a green economy. Also, theaters have historically been an arena for expressing social issues, yet there is a startling lack of theatrical works about the environment and our relationship to it. Change comes once we understand an issue. If we can't understand it, we won't be driven to change it. I hope to see new work that addresses this.

BGT: We see something on your site about visiting other theaters?
GB: We are gearing up to consult directly with theaters. While many theaters are struggling financially, there are steps that can save them money and will cost less. We start with the low hanging fruit items which can save money quickly. Also we are working to present at upcoming trade conferences, such as the Theater Communications Group national conference.

BGT: What is the most satisfying part of this work?
GB: Having an outlet for a passion of mine. Aside from acting, I have an ongoing concern for the environment. Through the Initiative, we are creating a network of people and building momentum. I look forward to making change on the ground by working directly with theaters.

Oh by the way, you can find Gideon as an eco-consultant with Green Irene. He likes this work because it's an opportunity to walk into someone's home and tell them easy things they can do to make their home more sustainable. Find him @ www.greeneirene.com or email gideon.nyc@greeneirene.com

Thanks Gideon. Keep up the great work.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

WORLD WATER DAY. TODAY!

Because water is a human right...

Today is World Water Day. Do something positive. Think about how wonderful water is. Take a shorter show. Go get a low-flow showerhead.  Stop using bottled water.  Reuse your pasta cooking water to water your plants once it cools down. Flush less.

Two green team members honored world water day by watching the film BLUE GOLD: WORLD WATER WARS. This film was scary, anger invoking, hopeful and mostly amazing.  We recommend it. Here's the summary: Wars of the future will be fought over water, as they are today over over oil, as the source of all life enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling fresh water supply, prompting protests, lawsuits and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive.  Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management.  Will ours too? Based on the groundbreaking book BLUE GOLD: THE FIGHT TO STOP THE CORPORATE THEFT OF THE WORLD'S WATER by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. 

Check their site. 

Buy the Movie. 

Some cool related sites: Ryan's Well Foundation (trust us it will make you cry); Think Outside the Bottle; Bottlemania; Food and Water Watch; The Polaris Institute; 

About World Water Day

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.  Since 1993, the United Nations General Assembly has designated March 22nd of each year as WORLD WATER DAY (WWD), to recognize the importance of water as a basic requirement of life and the need to manage this precious resource wisely. The main purpose of the day is to promote public awareness of the need to conserve and protect fresh water supplies and to encourage people around the world to promote and carry out activities related to the use and care of water resources.Learn More.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Planet Saving Inventions

National Geographic presented some clever innovations which save lives and the planet. Here's one:

First Prize: Sustainable Technology
Air Conditioner Fights Global Warming


Though it may not seem like the most glamorously green invention, this redesign of the common air conditioner could save a quadrillion BTUs a year in the United States alone.

Replacing the conditioner's piston compressor and expansion valve with scroll compressors--more commonly used in automobile superchargers--and updating the power supply yielded power savings of 30 percent, wrote Create the Future contest winner Lindsay Meek of Australia.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that two-thirds of U.S. homes have air conditioners, producing a hundred million tons of carbon dioxide annually and consuming 5 percent of the energy produced in the United States -- which costs consumers more than $11 billion.

Check out the rest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recycling at Your Schools



For those of you who are trying to inspire the next generation of stewards, NYC Wasteless will help you with the waste and recycling part. Click here to find lots of great resources including lessons for the classroom. Speaking of ways teachers can learn more about greening their schools, CUE is hosting an event this thursday afterschool on that very subject. Here are the details:



Join CUE's crash course on greening your school from the issues you’ll encounter installing a green roof, to creative ways of incorporating sustainability themes into the classroom. Join local experts to discuss easy to implement projects, ways of getting environmental projects funded, opportunities for nonprofit partnerships, and what has (and hasn’t) worked in local schools.

Panelists Include:
Alive Structures
United Federation of Teachers, Green Committee - a great group for teachers to join!
Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The details:
Where: Center for the Urban Environment 168 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (btw 2nd and 3rd Aves) 718-788-8500

When: Tomorrow, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

How: Train: Take F train to 4th Avenue or R train to 9th Street. Walk over 2 blocks north to 7th Street and 1st Avenue west to 3rd Avenue. $10 Suggested Donation

On-site recycling: CFL lightbulbs, cell phones, and alkaline batteries.
Limited Seating. REGISTER NOW!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Protect Our Tuna!

Tuna is one of the world’s favorite fish. It provides a critical part of the diet for millions of people, as well as being at the core of the world’s luxury sashimi markets. But, did you know that globally tuna stocks are under threat?

Stocks of the most iconic and valuable tuna, like bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin and albacore are on the brink of collapse. Our appetite for tuna is pushing the fish closer and closer to extinction. As more and more people consume tuna there has been a surge in the number and capacity of tuna-fishing vessels across the world. As tuna becomes scarcer, the fishing fleets are fishing further and further from their home ports and are squeezing the last remaining tuna out of the ocean. Bycatch from tuna includes hammerhead sharks, marine turtles, skate, and trigger fish. WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT? EAT LESS TUNA and check out sushi/fish guides that tell you what fish are not under threat. TAKE ACTION with Greenpeace to save tuna.

Check out Greenpeace's Tuna Brochure

Other Resources: Pew Charitable Trust's Ocean Division
Environmental Defense Fund - read the Oceans of Abundance Report
Oceana

Waste Not, Want Not

According to Jonathan Bloom, Americans waste over 40 percent of the food we produce for consumption every year. Aside from the fact that this seems unacceptable when so many go hungry, it also adds up to a cost of more than $100 billion every year.

Wasted Food is Jonathan's blog and he says it's not just a blog but also a call to action. After working at a homeless shelter that rescues unused food from restaurants and supermarkets, he began researching the topic and is writing a book on wasted food in America.

check out this great blog that's packed with lots of information about what you can do to prevent food waste both in and out of the home.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Little Help For Our Friends

This just in from our friends at Brooklyn Greenway Initiative...

PLEASE HELP!
Help us win a grant from Green Mountain Coffee! It just takes two clicks. The funds will help sustain our work over the next five years when the design of the greenway will be completed and the first segments will go into construction. In the current financial environment coming up with the required match for our funding from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund is proving challenging. You can help by voting for the greenway as an innovative climate change solution at http://www.justmeans.com/competitionidea/7254/promoteidea.html.

Good luck BGI!

Volunteer with these guys! Fufill the YES WE CAN Volunteer pledge!

Recycling in Your Building

If you live in or manage an apartment building, you can help improve recylcing in your building. You can help your tenants learn more about waste prevention and how to reuse and recycle. NYC can be a greener city with your help.

The place to learn is through the NYC Apartment Building Recycling Initiative (ABRI). Work with the Department of Sanitation to educate yourself and your building's tenants about the three R's.

When you sign up with ABRI, you'll be invited to a training session on how to improve recycling conditions in apartment buildings (there are several upcoming sessions in April and June). Then, sanitation outreach coordinators will visit your building to see how recycling is set up and to give you free recycling decals, posters, checklists, and other materials to make recycling easier for residents. Throughout your training, you'll have access to sanitation experts for support.

For more info, including a sign-up sheet, visit this site.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How Sustainable Are Our Streets?

It's the moment we've all been waiting for, the release of NYC DOT's Sustainable Streets Index 2008. Have no fear, we have summarized the results for you...

What is the Sustainable Streets Index? Enhancing transportation choices and encouraging the use of sustainable forms of transportation are core goals of both PlaNYC, New York City's long-term sustainability plan, and Sustainable Streets, DOT's strategic plan. Achieving these goals means facilitating walking, cycling and mass transit through a set of varied and mutually supportive measures. These include making streets and squares into more people-friendly places; providing fast, reliable and comfortable bus and train service; better managing curbside parking and delivery regulations; and ensuring the safety of all users of city streets and sidewalks.

Some General Stats
9% growth in bus and subway ridership in New York City from 2003 to 2007, while traffic volumes citywide were unchanged.

560 miles of bike lanes and paths in NYC, compared to 119 lane-miles in 1997.

44% of NYC households own a car, compared to 90% nationwide.

61% reduction in traffic fatalities in NYC since 1990.

Some Brooklyn Stats
flat traffic levels since 2003.

5% less traffic enters the Central Business District (of Manhattan) from Brooklyn than in the late 1990's, reflecting that lower Manhattan employment never returned to its pre 9/11 levels.

14% more bike riders than in 2003.

22% more bus riders than in 1998.

Learn More.

Interview With Biodegradable Products Institute

One Brooklyn Green Team member came across this BPI logo, which you may see on lots of disposable bags now and in the future. They decided to investigate and went to Steve Mojo, the institute's executive director.

BGT: What is the BPI Logo program?
SM: The BPI symbol shows that products meet ASTM D6400 or D6868 (for plastic and paper products) and will disintegrate and biodegrade swiftly and safely in a professionally managed composting facility.

BGT: How long have you been in the business, and how much have you seen the demand for this type of product grow?
SM: The program started in 1999. The program has been growing rapidly as of late, as more communities get actively involved in food scrap diversion efforts.

BGT: Is there much competition for your logo program? ie - are other groups competitng to have their logo be industry standard?
SM: The BPI is the leading certifier for compostables. In Europe, this task is done by either DIN Certco or OK Compost. All of use similar standards and processes to approve the products.

BGT: Totes vs. biodegradable: how do you see them comparing, particularly in light of the almost disposable way this country is using totes?
SM: I don’t see much overlap. Reusable shopping bags make a great deal of sense. The BPI does not approve “biodegradable” products/bags. Rather we approve ‘compostable’ ones. These have value in situations where the bags can have a second life as liners for food waste kitchen catchers in diversion programs, such as SF and Seattle. See the article . On the East Coast we have yet to understand and embrace the benefits of food scrap diversion vs. sending them to the landfill, where they contribute to fugitive ghg emissions.

BGT: What's next in terms of innovation?
SM: I fully expect to see materials with better properties, resulting in more products or ones with lower costs.

Thanks Steve

About BPI: The Biodegradable Products Institute is a multi-stakeholder association of key individuals and groups from government, industry and academia, which promotes the use, and recycling of biodegradable polymeric materials (via composting). The BPI is open to any materials and products that demonstrate that they meet the requirements in ASTM D6400 or D6868, based on testing in a approved laboratory. Learn more about BPI.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do More Than Poke Someone on Facebook

Thinking of doing some spring cleaning? Why not sell your old coffee maker on the new Facebook Marketplace? You can list any item and designate the money to go to the Sierra Club, the Clean Water Fund, or the World Wildlife Fund, Inc . Those are just three of the many organizations you can designate your money for.

Just go to Facebook Marketplace and list your item, how much you'd like to sell it for, and for which organization you'd like the proceeds to go to. Facebook helps by providing a list of organizations; just click on "causes".

Just think, if every person on Facebook posted just one item for $10, more than $1 billion would be raised! Celebrities are getting involved as well. Thursday, March 12, Seal will sell five autographed CDs to benefit the Sierra Club Foundation.

Reselling and reusing keeps stuff out of landfills and casts an important vote for how you spend your dollars.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It Does a Body Good

Heard of Food and Water Watch? They're a nonprofit organization that works with grassroots organizations worldwide to ensure clean water and safe food through research, education, media, and lobbying. Food and Water Watch believes that the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources needs to be challenged and they advocate policies that ensure the sustainable and humane production of food and public control of water resources.

Food and Water watch is having a call-in day to Congress to ask our representatives to support artificial hormone-free milk in schools. So far, they've collected over 10,000 petition signatures and over 100 groups are supporting the campaign. And now you can help too, because March 11, 2009 is the first national "Know Your Milk" Day.

You can sign the petition by visiting the Food and Water Watch website. While you're there, take some time to look around. They are a wealth of information on everything from food labels to which fish are the safest to eat and easiest on the environment.

You can help make "Know Your Milk" Day a success by calling your congressman/woman and asking your representative to support rbgh free milk in schools. You can host an event by inviting ten friends over for cookies, rbgh-free milk, and congress calling!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Adopt-a-Highway

Ever wonder what this is all about? Adopt-a-Highway Litter Removal Service of America is a corporate sponsor program that provides the state department of transportation with a resource for the cleaning of highways. The budget for the program comes from corporate sponsors who are willing to support this effort through donations. As a result, highways in some of the nations largest metropolitan cities are cleaned frequently and have become a source of pride.

You've seen the signs! For nearly twenty years, the Adopt-a-Highway program has publicly recognized those companies that feel it's important to keep the roads clean.

Learn more and stay tuned for more interesting information on the topic of litter...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tree-mendous!

Million Trees NYC is a public-private program with the goal of, you guessed it, planting one million trees in the five boroughs within the next decade. The city of New York will be responsible for the planting of 60% of the trees and the other 40% will come from private donors and home owners.

We all know that trees are great for the environment and beautiful to look at, but there are health advantages as well. Several neighborhoods in New York have fewer than average trees AND higher than average rates of asthsma among children. For this reason, One Million Tree NYC is specifically targeting neighborhoods like Hunts Point, East New York, and Far Rockaway.

And the best news is, One Million Trees has volunteer opportunities! Fulfill your three hours for the Brooklyn Green Team's Volunteer Challenge!

Learn more at www.milliontreesnyc.org

Friday, March 6, 2009

Send Us Your Volunteer Stories...


For example, here are three green team members doing their part recently in DC

And More Volunteer Opportunities...

Families First is hosting a green fair on Sunday, March 15 and they could use some help to pull it off.

Highlights
Information from local agencies and stores about greening your life
Raffles of environmentally-friendly products and services
A Clothing Swap - bring a bag and take a bag, or pay to shop
The Compost Master from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with his worms and indoor composting demonstration
A 1-pm sing-along with Lloyd Miller (from Tuesdays at the Moxie Spot)
Eco-friendly crafts projects to make
A planting activity
A Green Bake Sale (after all, it will almost be St. Patrick's Day)

What You Can Do
To sign up, contact Julia Massey at jmassey@familiesfirstbrooklyn.org or call our office at 718-237-1862.

Friday, March 13th
Setup: 11am-12pm, 12pm - 1pm
Sunday, March 15th:
Setup: 9am-10am
Fair workers (lobby, information tables, crafts area, balloons, floater, etc.) 10am-12pm, 12pm-2pm,
Cleanup: 2pm-3pm

Clothing Swap
Bring Us Your Clothes! Sizes Newborn - 5. Drop them off at our office and we'll sort them before the event. You can drop them off on the day of the event but we prefer if you do it sooner.

Bake Sale
Can you bake something green (be it in color or source of ingredients)? Let us know first, then bring it by on Friday the 13th between 9am and 1pm or before 10am on the 15th.

Learn More

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Great American Clean-Up Launches!


March 3 marked the national launch of the 2009 Keep America Beautiful (KAB) Great American Cleanup. Focusing on the message that “Green Starts Here,” KAB will be hosting events around the country until the end of the program on May 31.

KAB is expecting over three million volunteers in 30,000 community improvement activities and educational workshops to get involved in this year’s Great American Cleanup. These volunteers will rid streets, waterways and public spaces of litter and illegal dump sites, hold recycling drives and educational events, paint out graffiti and much more.

The Great American Cleanup is not a small project. Last year, 86 million pounds of litter and debris were collected for proper disposal, reuse and recycling. Also, the program:

Removed 15,200 junk cars, recycled 10.2 million pounds of aluminum and steel and recycled 1.4 million tires
Recycled 5.3 million pounds of electronics and 137,000 batteries
Improved over 144,000 miles of roadway
Recycled 186 million plastic (PET) bottles
Improved and maintained 91,000 acres of parks and public lands; 7,000 miles of rivers, lakes and shorelines; and 6,000 miles of hiking, biking and nature trails
Recycled 37.1 million pounds of newsprint
Recycled 5.2 million pounds of clothing

Attend the Great American Cleanup New York City Kickoff in Times Square!

Wednesday, April 22, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (EST)
Kickoff Rally at Times Square's Military Triangle
The Keep New York City Beautiful Coalition will rally volunteers with a multi-media extravaganza in Times Square and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's challenge to communities in New York City to join in the GAC activities.

Great idea for a volunteer project as part of the YES WE CAN Volunteer Challenge

Source: Earth911

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Bright Leafy Spot in the Winter Veg Blues

February and March make for dreary offerings, with one notable exception. Kale is a versatile green that serves as a fine inspiration for a soup or a stew, a pasta or a gratin. Because the leaves of this Brassica family vegetable are so sturdy, kale stands up to longer cooking than do chard and beet greens. And while greens like spinach and chard readily suffer from overcooking, stewed kale has a sweet flavor.

Kale is in the same family of vegetables as cabbage. (Italians call black kale cavolo nero, or black cabbage.) Like its cousins, kale is packed with health-promoting sulfur compounds, and it has been found to have the greatest antioxidant capacity of all fruits and vegetables. It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C, as well as manganese, and a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and potassium. All of this nutritional value comes in a low-calorie package.

Supermarkets generally stock curly kale, the variety with the sturdy, silvery green, ruffled leaves. At farmers’ markets you’ll find several other varieties, including the dark green cavolo nero, plum-red Redbor kale and red Russian kale, which has purplish leaves and red veins. They can be used interchangeably unless otherwise specified.

Kale can be simmered for long periods, or it can be blanched and then quickly pan-cooked in olive oil. Long-simmered kale yields a sweet, nourishing “pot liquor” that you will want to sop up with bread or even sip with a spoon. Kale loses its bright color as it simmers and the flavor of the leaves is strong, but the overall effect is sweet and comforting. The pan-cooked kale is brighter, both in color and flavor, but it will yield much less to serve, because kale loses volume when it’s blanched. Simmered kale, on the other hand, first collapses in the pan, then swells as it cooks.

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