Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
My two-year-old daughter, Amihan, likes to take the garbage out. Of
course, since we are in an apartment building, and the trash compactor
is just a few feet away – it’s a relatively painless thing to do. But
as she grows and becomes increasingly curious (and increasingly
chatty) about the world around her, I can’t help but think about how
different her world is from the one that I have come to know.
Recycling is a fairly new idea, and when I was little – the thought of
separating the trash would have probably seemed a little ridiculous.
In fact, some people might think it still is. But every time I give
Amihan a piece of garbage, I have to distinguish whether it goes in
the regular garbage or the recycling bin. As we dump our unwanted
stuff into one of the three containers in our refuse room, she asks,
“What’s that for?” and “Why that go there?”
It might seem like a relatively small step, but I’d like to think that
in explaining that this bin is for the paper items, that bin is for
the plastic and glass items, and that chute is for all the other stuff
– she’s learning a little more about how to care for the planet. She’s
learning things that I have just come to understand myself.
That’s why I’m working with Green Apple Kids to teach children of all
ages the many fun, easy ways to go green. We host workshops that
demonstrate a slew of different eco-friendly ideas for our youngest
minds. Our next one is this Saturday, May 2nd, and we’ll be learning
about the power of the wind. Kids will be able to make this neat
little device called an anemometer, from reusable objects. I hope you
can join us. We’ll be at the Williamsburg Branch of the Brooklyn
Public Library at noon.
I’ll be guest blogging here on behalf of Green Apple Kids from time to
time. Our slogan is, “Greening young minds before they are polluted.”
It is my hope that my little girl’s mind will stay clean for some
Learn more about Green Apple Kids.
Learn more about Recycling at CENYC's Office of Recycling Education and Outreach.
Find some cool recycling activities for youth at EPA.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Us Green Team members love recycling and even more, when it's done correctly.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
PIER 40, West Side Hwy & W Houston St
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
May 2 - 9, NYC Wildflower Week is hosted by the Torrey Botanical Society as a way to re-engage New Yorkers with the natural heritage so beloved by our namesake, John Torrey. The 2nd annual NYC Wildflower Week celebrates all things green and wild in the Big Apple—the hundreds of native flowers, trees, shrubs and grasses that are found in the five boroughs. It gives New Yorkers numerous ways to connect with and be inspired by their local environment. Free activities throughout the city include: botanical walks, garden tours, ecology lectures, children’s events, planting opportunities, cooking classes, and food tastings at top restaurants. Learn More about events near you.
About the Torrey Botanical Society: The Society promotes the exploration and study of plant life, with particular focus on the flora of the New York City metro area. Today, it fosters and supports floristic curiosity through indoor meetings (lectures), outdoor meetings (plant walks), fellowships that support graduate study, and publications.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This legislation would require a benchmarking standard for all City buildings. Benchmarking is the practice of evaluating a building’s energy efficiency so a building owner can identify what improvements he or she should make. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an online benchmarking tool to track buildings’ annual energy and water consumption. Tracking allows building owners and operators to see how efficiently their buildings function and enable prospective buyers to better assess the value of a building. Benchmarking provides the basis for empowering building owners to take steps towards minimizing energy use and maximizing the economic benefits of energy conservation.
Audits and Retrofits Bill
This legislation would require owners of existing buildings over 50,000 square feet to make cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to their buildings once every ten years by conducting an audit, retro-commissioning, and retrofitting their building. Buildings will undergo energy audits with results determining the necessary improvements to be undertaken, including insulating pipes, replacing inefficient lighting, and installing low-flow water fixtures. The legislation requires spending by building owners for only those retrofits that will pay for themselves in less than 5 years through energy-related cost-savings. Many of the required measures are low- to no-cost. Those savings will then continue beyond recovery of initial outlays. This bill would apply to all classes of buildings over 50,000 square feet, both private and City-owned, and will cover nearly half of the built square footage of New York City.
Lighting Upgrades Bill
In New York City, lighting accounts for approximately 20 percent of the energy used in buildings and roughly 20 percent of a building’s carbon emissions. The proposed legislation requires that lighting systems in buildings over 50,000 square feet be upgraded to meet the requirements of the New York City Energy Conservation Code. Over the past few decades, there have been rapid improvements in lighting technology, which have resulted in a dramatic reduction of energy use. By addressing lighting in the building sector, New York City can dramatically reduce its CO2 emissions.
Green Workforce Development Training
To address the increased demand for energy auditors, contractors, construction workers, and other related professionals, the City has been working with key stakeholders in the labor and real estate sectors, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to identify the workforce needs and opportunities created by the legislation. This will ensure that there is an adequate supply of skilled technicians to implement the legislation. The legislation will be a key economic driver in the green economy, creating an estimated 19,000 construction jobs as part of the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan
Green Building Financing
Retrofits pay for themselves, reduce utility bills and improve buildings' financial health. However, some owners may not have the ability to finance these improvements upfront. To begin to assist owners, New York City will establish a revolving loan fund, using $16 million in federal money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Loans will be offered to owners who demonstrate financial need or have already completed an energy audit. Energy savings data will be collected to encourage private sector lending in the long-term.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Greenmarket Head to the Union Square Greenmarket (or another one in your hood that's open on Wednesday) and get all your ingredients and make a local dinner. Click here to see all NYC Greenmarkets.
Search on www.Goodsearch.com. If you can't resist combing the internet for the latest developments of Miley Cyrus' career, try using this Yahoo-powered search engine that donates a penny per search to your favorite environmental cause.
Support Local (and sustainable) if you're a BK resident. Pop into 3rliving and help them celebrate their 5-year anniversary and make a $1 donation to their recycling services they provide the community. Or pick your favorite mom and pop (sister or brother) in your neighborhood and support them.
Go Outside and sit or stroll in your nearest park or waterfront.
Give to your favorite local charity. There are so many great green groups in NYC. Our YES WE CAN VOLUNTEER Challenge post has a list of organizations worthy of your support.
Plastic-free for the day. Don't purchase or take anything new that's plastic, from the produce bag you grab for at the grocery store to a bottle of Vitamin water. Some inspiration.
Check Out the myriad of Earth Day events in NYC. Check the Earth Day NY or visit our partners at GreenEdge Collaborative NYC for event listings.
Turn Off either your computer, your ipod, your TV, or all of the above for the day.
Spread the News to others and remind them it's Earth Day and to do one good green thing. You could even forward them this email.
Just do one thing and have a great day.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The TogetherGreen Volunteer Days aim to launch a continuing cycle of positive environmental impact and can help make a big difference in your community. Activities include habitat and trail restoration, river and lake clean-ups, invasive species removal, nest-box building, wildlife and plant surveys, and more!
Here's the scoop on an upcoming NYC volunteer event:
With the NYC Park’s Natural Resources Group, we will be planting trees and shrubs at Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx. Meet at Van Cortlandt Riding Stables parking lot, on the western edge of the park off of Broadway and 254th Street. Those who come to volunteer will be provided lunch, work gear, and a special token of our appreciation! Please wear clothing and shoes appropriate for working outdoors.
We are currently looking for as many as 20 members to join the RED HOOK CSA.
Since the 2008 season we have been working with our neighbors to grow what will eventually be an all Urban CSA. Currently about 80% of the produce provided is grown by our team of youth and Adults on Red Hook Community Farm. We have three
work shares left, we accept, credit cards, and EBT.
In addition to receiving some of the freshest produce available you also have the opportunity to be part of a dynamic community. We ask all members to contribute 10hrs of time to support the development of the farm or to further the sustainable development of our community through social, cultural and political action. If you are considering becoming part of our current group of 20 interested you can down load a brochure and a contract from here. Shares will go fast.
Check out the brochure
Monday, April 20, 2009
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day began officially on April 22nd, 1970, when Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson proposed the first nationwide environmental protest. 20 million Americans gathered and organized from coast to coast, to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. For more detailed information, please visit www.earthday.net
Earth Day continues to be celebrated on April 22nd, although many groups now organize events on the following weekend. To learn more about other Earth Day events in New York City, click here.
Source: Earth Day New York
Sunday, April 19, 2009
New members can use the promo code “BKDeal” when signing up to receive a $50 driving credit.
Mint is exclusively in New York and offers a number of features that separate it from its competition including: newer, cleaner cars available 24/7; rates starting at just $2 per hour with gas, insurance and 180 miles covered; no annual fee for the first year of membership; top notch customer service; and this offer: if someone is already a car share member somewhere else Mint will wave the $25 application fee.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. It allows the EPA to clean up such sites and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-lead cleanups.
The Superfund cleanup process is complex. It involves the steps taken to assess sites, place them on the National Priorities List, and establish and implement appropriate cleanup plans. This is the long-term cleanup process. In addition, the Agency has the authority
-to conduct removal actions where immediate action needs to be taken
-to enforce against potentially responsible parties
-to ensure community involvement
-ensure long-term protectiveness
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke hosted a Public
Information Forum with the EPA to answer questions on April 14th. The EPA explained how the Superfund program works and the nomination process. BGT will keep you posted of the nomination results.
Keep your fingers crossed!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Five years later, 3r Living now has two locations (Park Slope, Brooklyn and Maplewood, New Jersey), a web store (3rLiving.com), a blog and a new ebay shop!
Five years is a real reason to celebrate! Join Samantha and Mark for a little shopping, a glass of organic wine and a light snack on Thursday, April 16th and get 15% off of any item you buy in the Brooklyn store on that day! Mention the anniversary in Maplewood and get the same deal! Online customers can use the coupon code 3rat5 at checkout and receive the discount on the 16th, as well!
What: 3r Living's 5 Year Anniversary
Where: 3r Living (276L 5th Avenue, Bet. 1st Street and Garfield Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn)
When: Thursday, April 16th, Discount valid all day, Wine and Snacks from 6:00-9:00 PM
Come on down and help us celebrate!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Two Green Team members recently visited the exhibit and think its great. Very hands on, interactive, and entertaining for all ages and interests. We highly recommend it and what better way to see it then for free. Plus its Earth Day so afterwards you can run around Central Park across the street and profess your love for the planet. The exhibition will take the visitor through the course of a day-7 a.m. through 2 a.m.-and link 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.
The complexities of the water system and strategies for reducing the impact of water use on the environment, for example, will be documented in the section of the exhibition that corresponds to 7 a.m., when many New Yorkers shower, prepare breakfast, and brush their teeth. Mass transit and traffic congestion will be addressed in the "8 a.m." area of the exhibition, in which the city's extensive subway system and its role in reducing vehicular traffic will be highlighted as an inherent urban advantage in the struggle to achieve greater sustainability.
The massive environmental impact of the city's commercial buildings will be documented in a section of Growing and Greening New York that will correspond to the 11 a.m. hour, in which forward-looking "building green" projects will be explored. Here, plans for new construction will be spotlighted as will innovative and beneficial solutions for existing structures. Further along-and later in the imaginary day, at 3 p.m.-the exhibition will focus on parks and the importance of open space, not only as a source of respite, but because of its healthful impact on water and air quality. Consumption will be spotlighted in the 6 p.m. section, where the advantages of buying local and buying green will be illustrated, as will strategies for reducing the city’s waste.
The 8 p.m. hour (in the context of the exhibition) will return the visitor to the home, where individual choices such as how to furnish a home, what type of lighting to use, and which appliances to buy will be linked to such global issues as solid waste, water quality, and climate change. The nighttime hour of the exhibition, 2 a.m., will showcase-while the city sleeps-an overview of environmental issues facing cities around the world. At any given "moment" in the exhibition, selected PlaNYC initiatives will be discussed and linked to larger environmental issues, updating visitors on the advantages and challenges of the proposals as well as on their current status.
PlaNYC2030 is an ambitious blueprint for New York City as it confronts the prospect of continued population growth and the urgency of protecting the city’s natural environment to improve urban life. Its 127 proposals range from planting more trees to designing better power plants to cleaning up brownfields to building new parks and housing across the five boroughs. Together, they suggest how the city might plan for growth while confronting issues of livability and global climate change.
Growing and Greening New York and PlaNYC will pose vital questions: How must New Yorkers change to make a sustainable future possible? How will the daily lives of all New Yorkers, and those who visit New York, be affected by sustainability initiatives at home, in the workplace, and in many of our public and recreational spaces? What might a more sustainable city actually look like?
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The event takes place on Sunday, May 17th from 12pm-3pm at the Prospect Park Branch of the YMCA at 357 Ninth Street in Brooklyn.
Here's how it works: Gather your gently used baby clothes and gear. Then go to the Brooklyn Baby Clothing Swap website and fill out at item list(available on the site) and price your items. Clothing items range in price from $0.50 to $1.00 and there is a pricing guide to help you. Email your list to the email provided and arrange your drop off day. You will receive a confirmation email and on the day of the swap, you can pick up a voucher that's worth 50% of the value of your donated items. Use the voucher or cash to shop.
All proceeds go to the Strong Kids Campaign (you can still participate in the swap even if you are not dropping off items).
The Strong Kids Campaign raises money to ensure that no child is turned away from the many life-enhancing programs the YMCA offers because of an inability to pay.
Also, in keeping with the Brooklyn Green Team's current volunteer challenge, check out the volunteer opportunities on the website.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Basically, the ID project was the brainchild of Ethan Nichtern, a writer and teacher who had grown up in a Buddhist household. Ethan's idea was really a manifestation of a generational shift though, one that recognized the importance of spirituality (so to speak) but recognized that our own lives don't exist in a bubble, and neither should our spiritual practices. Hence our work to apply meditation and principles of interdependence into areas like arts and activism.
BGT: Hit the pavement is one of the groups strategies, we like that, what is that like?
For us, bringing together meditation and activism had to go beyond talk. We wanted to see what would happen if we were actually to decide on an issue that was important to the community and really reach out to people about it. This process of meditation in action has been much more valuable than just acknowledging the linkages between activism and meditation, as it allows us to confront the real internal and interpersonal challenges of making change; the fear that comes with talking to people, the acknowledgment that sometimes we do things for reasons other than the most virtuous one, the messiness of working with people and actually organizing.
BGT: What progress has the plastic bag project made to-date?
For a fully volunteer and grassroots effort, we've actually done pretty well. Over the summer of 2008, we successfully lobbied the Governor as well as members of the State Senate and Assembly to reject a weak bag recycling bill that would have overtaken a stronger city law. But more than anything else, we've successfully built a strong grassroots organization from the ground up in a way that's consistent with our values. That's our biggest success in my opinion.
BGT: How can people get involved?
I thought you'd never ask! In April we're kicking off Responsible Consumption month, which will be filled with events that people can get involved in including bag making using re-purposed fabrics, street theater projects, and a responsible consumption pledge drive, where we hit the streets and give people information about the impact of their consumption and ask if they'd be willing to take pledges to change their own behaviors in this area. People can come to our kickoff Responsible Consumption party on the evening of April 17th and our Day of Practice in Action on April 19th. It's going to rock!
Learn More about the ID project.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The students, members of a for-credit Action Research Team on campus, collect and measure food waste in the dining halls. Then they use the information to educate fellow students on the need to reduce waste and to make more organic and sustainable food choices.
The work is part of UCLA's climate action plan, which predicts UCLA is on track to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. This is eight years earlier than previously anticipated!!! To learn more about the Climate Action Plan and UCLA 's sustainability efforts, visit www.sustain.ucla.edu.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
BGT: When was Sage founded and what do you do?
Sage consults with owners of residential properties and small businesses to improve the overall sustainability of their homes and businesses through measures of energy efficiency, lifestyle, and health. In addition, Sage can participate within 1 to 4 family residential construction projects and work with the project team during a new construction or renovation project. This ensures that the appropriate measures are being taken within the project that are in line with the client's sustainability goals.
BGT: Why Brooklyn?
MZ: Brooklyn, in addition to many sections of New York City is home to thousands of 1 to 4 family homes that are in need of energy efficiency improvements and there is a growing market of citizens that are concerned about issues related to the green movement.
MZ: Working to improve the lives of people and their built environment. Knowing that I am contributing to the paradigm shift in how we interact with our homes and the changes related to an emerging green economy is very exciting. The green movement is my passion, and I get to work within a field that is changing our world.
BGT: Can you share one of your funniest experiences with a client?
MZ: Sorry, I'll have to take the 5th on that one :)
BGT: What distinguishes Sage from other eco-consultants?
MZ: The philosophy of Sage is different than others as there is an added focus on the construction component in addition to lifestyle. While it is important to enact measures that are sustainable, it must be remembered that construction cost analysis and feasibility studies are pivotal. If the cost of making an energy efficiency improvement to the home is out of reach for most people or it does not have a reasonable rate of return, then this is not sustainable from a cost standpoint. Sage views sustainability through a lens of cost as well as environmental benefit.
- Perform regular maintenance on your boiler or furnace annually - Check doors and windows for drafts. Apply weatherstripping and door sweeps - Install a programmable thermostat - Get an energy audit done on your home - Weatherize your windows for the heating season - If you have a forced air system, make sure your filters are clean. Clogged filters reduce the efficiency of the HVAC system.
If you rent or own:
- Install low flow shower heads to reduce your water consumption as well as your gas or electric bill depending on the system that heats the water - To reduce the gallons per flush, place a brick or other heavy object in the tank. Make sure the object is clean and will not flake off in the tank, which could interfere with plumbing mechanisms - Install cellular window treatments (blinds), which can increase the R-value to slow heat loss/gain - Install aerators on your faucets, which reduce water consumption - Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs everywhere you can - Use non-toxic cleaners or better yet, make your own. - Switch to Green Power. Most utilities offer a green option. It does not cost much more and you can feel good knowing you are helping to accelerate the developement of renewable energy.