Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cities around the world switch to LED Lighting

U.S. Cities like Raleigh, Ann Arbor, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco have begun to introduce LEDs for street and parking garage lighting. Toronto, Canada, Tianjin, China, and Torraca, Italy have also adopted environmentally-friendly LEDs.

LEDS are considered to be twice as efficienct as compact-fluorescent bulbs. They also turn on quickly, are compatible with dimmer switches and don't contain mercury, a component in CFLs. They do not contain toxic materials, which is a huge concerns with CFL disposal, and essentially last a life time. According to the New York Times:

Studies suggest that a complete conversion to the lights could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric power use for lighting by up to 50 percent in just over 20 years; in the United States, lighting accounts for about 6 percent of all energy use. A recent report by McKinsey & Company cited conversion to LED lighting as potentially the most cost effective of a number of simple approaches to tackling global warming using existing technology.

For the full article, click here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Film Screening - tonight!

Check out the film From Elegance to Earthworms. You will have a chance to meet with and talk to the creative team behind the movie, including Producer/Director, Michelle Vey, Videographer/Editor Matt Kirk, Music producer/composer Elio Schiavo and film animator, Harrison Willett. You will also have a chance to meet with entrepreneurs and business owners who were featured in the film.

All Guests are invited to come to the event as early as 7:00pm. There will be three screenings of the film at 7:30pm, 8:15pm and 9:00pm. Between screenings you will be able to mingle with people in the lounge while enjoying complimentary Hors'dourves and a cash bar as a DJ plays great music.

From Elegance To Earthworms
Tonight @ 7pm - 12am (three different screenings)
Tribeca Cinemas
$20 bucks (portion goes to Sustainable Flatbush)

Buy Tickets.
Learn More.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

NYC Seed Giveaway

In an effort to encourage New Yorkers to be more economically and agriculturally minded, New York Restoration Project along with writer Amy Goldman will host the Vegetable Starts Seed Giveaway in community gardens around New York City.

Saturday, May 30
1 – 4pm
Brooklyn Target Community Garden (931-933 Bedford Ave, BK)
The Seed Savers Exchange will distribute over 2000 heirloom seeds to registered community gardeners and local residents, to make gardening more accessible to New York communities.

Experts will be on site to answer any questions and provide gardening tips and tricks. The selection of vegetable seeds that will be available was determined through suggestions submitted by the community. From tomatoes and corn to parsley and oregano, all of the seeds being given away are organic, untreated and have not been genetically engineered, exceeding industry standards and bringing high quality produce into the homes of New York residents for free. Amy Goldman, writer, passionate gardener and advocate of heirloom fruits and vegetables, has generously provided a majority of the seeds for the event.

Encouraging home-grown vegetables not only takes the sting out of higher food prices, but it brings horticultural novices and veterans together to the small sunny plots in their local community gardens. The New York Restoration Project is dedicated to restoring and maintaining community green spaces and the Vegetable Starts Seed Giveaway demonstrates their continued commitment to educating the local community on sustainable lifestyles.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Broadway Boulevard 2 to Start Soon?

According to NYTimes, The city plans to close several blocks of Broadway to vehicle traffic through Times Square and Herald Square, an experiment that would turn swaths of the Great White Way into pedestrian malls and continue  the mayor's efforts to reduce traffic congestion in Midtown.

Broadway traffic would also be barred in Herald Square. Officials believe the move will actually improve the overall flow of traffic, because the diagonal path of Broadway tends to disrupt traffic where it intersects with other streets. The city plans to introduce the changes as early as May and keep them in effect through the end of the year. If the experiment works, they could become permanent. 

The plan calls for Broadway to be closed to vehicles from 47th Street to 42nd Street. Traffic would continue to flow through on crossing streets, but the areas between the streets would become pedestrian malls, with chairs, benches and cafe tables with umbrellas.

Seventh Avenue would be widened slightly within Times Square to accommodate the extra traffic diverted from Broadway.

Below 42nd Street, Broadway would be open to traffic, but then would shut down again at Herald Square, from 35th Street to 33rd Street. Then, below 33rd, it would open again.

The plan is the latest move by Mr. Bloomberg to change the way the city thinks of its streets, making them more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists and chipping away at the dominance of the automobile.

Source: NYTimes

Thursday, May 21, 2009

No Take-Out Challenge Tips

As promised, for the few the brave that signed up so far for the No Take-Out Challenge, we will provide some support to ease your burden.  

One challenge participant brought her own tupperware to Second Helpings on 7th Ave and 9th Street in Park Slope and they didn't blink an eye as they filled her stuff with food to go. 

Siggy's in the Heights uses greenware rather than plastic for their to-go containers.

When you do fail, remember to drop your #5 plastics at Whole Foods and the Park Slope Food Coop as part of Preserve's Gimme 5 initiative

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Speaking of No Take-Out

Styrofoam Ban Grows in California

PlasticNews reports that Palo Alto, Calif. will officially ban take out containers starting April 22, 2010. The move is a growing trend as 22 other coastal California towns are prohibiting the use of polystyrene takeout containers. San Francisco was the first major city to enact the ban in 2007.

The ban extends to containers, clam shells, bowls, plates, cartons and cups. However, it does not affect straws, utensils or hot up lids. In January, Palo Alto stopped accepting polystyrene packing peanuts and polystyrene blocks used in consumer goods packaging.

But while the ban will reduce Palo Alto’s waste, that’s not the initial intention of the prohibition. The current economic recession carried a lot of weight for lawmakers proposing the ban...

Learn More at Earth911.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We Got Your Curriculum Right Here

Cloud Institute let their listserve know that teachers can upload and download lessons on the Prince's Rainforest Project website! They encourage colleagues and teachers to help educate for rainforests and climate change.  

Go forth and share your rainforest lessons and units AND to take advantage of all the free multi-media educational resources. You can even make a frog video with your class and have it posted to the website! Please spread the word to your colleagues, share your lessons, and help us educate on rainforests and sustainability throughout our country and world. 

Questions? email Marie-Claire at Cloud Institute at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Let the Dredging Begin

According to the New York Times, G.E. began to dredge our mighty Hudson, removing the PCBs, on Friday.

An estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, flowed into the upper Hudson from two General Electric factories for three decades before they were banned, in 1977, as a health threat to people and wildlife. In high doses, they have been shown to cause cancer in animals and are listed by federal agencies as a probable human carcinogen.

Learn More.

The Story of Stuff

The New York Times recently published an article about "The Story of Stuff," a 20-minute video about human consumption and where the "stuff" we use everyday comes from. It's great for kids and adults of all ages. Watch it and pass it along to your friends.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Demonstrate Your Commitment to Less Plastic Tomorrow

On Sunday May 17, 2009 the NYC Bag Protest with special guests, No Impact Man and Reverend Billy!

Join the 
Back to the Sack bag campaign for a day of action to help reduce plastic bag usage in New York! The day will combine crafts, street theater, advocacy and petitioning with the Interdependence Project's principles of mindfulness and compassion.  Even if you haven't been involved with our project before, this is a great day to get started. Oh, and the bag monster will be there!

Bag making team in the morning and be trained to create reusable bags to be given out in the afternoon.  We've made over 50 already, help us hit 100.  No sewing/crafts experience necessary!  From 10am - 2pm @Lila Yoga Center 

Help push legislation!
 - Join the petitioning team and we'll train you to help us collect signatures in support of legislation that IDP members have helped shape to reduce plastic bags in New York. Gathering at 1 pm at Tompkins Square Park.

Help show support! - Join the protest going from Tompkins Square to Washington Square and ending up in Union Square to show your support for responsible consumption and a greener New York.  
Gathering at 1 pm at Tompkins Square Park.

Hear inspirational people! Not only will the bag monster be performing at all of our stops, but we'll be joined by Reverend Billy of the Church of Life After Shopping and No Impact Man.  Not to be missed!  

If you can't make it, we at Brooklyn Green Team suggest a plastic-free day! 

Friday, May 15, 2009

We Want You! Tomorrow

Brooklyn Green Team will be volunteering tomorrow from 10-2 at Prospect Park as part of It's My Park Day! Won't you join us?

Directions by Subway: Q train to Prospect Park subway station.  Enter the Park, make a left at East Drive and walk south to the Wollman Rink. 

Wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty

Wear long pants, not shorts

Do not wear open-toed shoes or sandals

Do not bring a lot of baggage- there won’t be anywhere to lock it up

All necessary tools and materials will be provided

They will refill your water but bring your own. Also, we learned the hard way last time - no food! Grab something at the Greenmarket farmers market at Grand Army before heading in. You will surely be hungry. 

rsvp now to with your name and number in your party. Spots are limited.

Toy Story

Here’s another entry from Cindy del Rosario Tapan, a guest blogger from Green Apple Kids

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to spend money on toys? Whether it’s our relatives, friends, or our own children – it seems like there’s no greater pleasure than bestowing a knick-knack on a little one. And while it’s great to see that our generosity knows no limits, we need to remember that there is an environmental consequence to all of our actions. Do you ever wonder what happens to all the barbie dolls and bicycles that are no longer wanted? Most of them end up in landfills, and if they happen to be made of plastic (which many toys are), they often can’t be recycled. All this waste means that we are leaving our kids with a big mess to clean up.  

Here are a few tips to help curb those crazy consumption habits:  

Host a toy swap party, where you and other friends each bring a used toy in good condition. You get rid of an old toy, each child gets a new one and you have taught them an invaluable lesson, also known as “reduce-reuse-recycle.”

Enact a budget for toys, and stick to it. Like that ubiquitous cup of coffee, it’s often the little things (like that cheap action figure you picked up on your way home) that add up. 

Consider wood toys. Though wood is generally more expensive than plastic, it is made from a renewable resource, can be recycled and lasts longer. Check out these fun brands: Plan Toys, Melissa and Doug, and and Automoblox

Check out the Green Apple Kids workshops for other ways to teach your kids how to be greener.  

So shop smart for the planet. The kids will thank you later.  


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Money for Worthy Recycling Efforts

On Tuesday, the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) hosted the first Recycling Awareness Benefit aboard the Queen of Hearts, a 3-level paddlewheel ship where folks had the opportunity to learn first-hand the accomplishments of CENYC and its Office of Recycling Outreach and Education and future plans to increase outreach in public housing. 

CENYC has been promoting recycling and waste reduction at NYC public housing buildings in Manhattan through a position created with a one-year grant from the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board. But the funding for this position ends on June 1, 2009. The benefit allows CENYC to keep on a Public Housing Recycling Outreach Coordinator position, currently focused on Manhattan Housing stock.  This coordinator can expand outreach to New York City Housing Authority properties in other boroughs and also focus on expanding composting and additional opportunities to collect items that are not included in the curbside recycling program, like textiles and electronics.  At Fort Washington Houses, for example, the current Public Housing Coordinator has visited more than 200 apartment units to conduct one-to-one recycling education with building residents. As a result, Fort Washington Houses has increased recycling from a handful of bags per month to 140 bags of paper, metal, glass, and plastics set out for recycling in February 2009.

In total, CENYC raised more than $50,000 towards its recycling initiatives.  “We’re very thankful to all our supporters and attendees who helped bring in the funding necessary to support our public housing efforts and our city-wide textile and electronics recycling,” said Marcel Van Ooyen, CENYC Executive Director.   As they put it, recycling is the “everyday way” to help fight global climate change because it reduces methane emissions from landfills.

Learn More

A Reminder of Why We Do What We Do

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Passport to Volunteerism

Okay, so we're onto tackling reducing our packaging intake with the No Take-Out Challenge, but we still like volunteerism...

TogetherGreen is an alliance between Audobon and Toyota and is all about acting today to shape a better, healthier environment tomorrow. I’m very excited to invite you and your readers to join that journey by volunteering in your community as part of the brand new volunteer program, TogetherGreen Community Passport!

How does it work? First, start thinking about what types of volunteer activities you’d like to participate in. Next, click here to learn how it works.

By logging on, you’ll be able to download your Community Passport, which will allow you to get involved in as many different unpaid conservation volunteer activities as possible
Participants need to be over the age of 18 and log participation in a variety of conservation categories, called Pursuits. After that, it just comes down to who has the most volunteer hours logged!

As you know, volunteering has great benefits for you, your community, and conservation. Over time, your “Community Passport” will become a record of your great volunteer contributions and a first hand account of how your efforts have helped your community.

Your efforts can win prizes, online recognition and downloadable Passport certificates. The most committed volunteer will win a grand prize of two LL Bean bicycles for emission-free traveling fun. Other prizes include a Sierra Designs Tent, an REI Trail Pack and water bottles, and TogetherGreen t-shirts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

No Take-Out Challenge Hits Brooklyn and Beyond...

Brooklyn Green Team Presents
In partnership with GreenEdge Collaborative NYC

No Take-Out Challenge
3 months. 3 meals a day

Do it for your wallet! Do it for the planet
SIGN UP! Email and write "I Take No More!" (include first & last name and zip)
PACKAGING STATISTICS: What are we doing?
Almost 1/3 of the waste generated in the US is from packaging! Plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose (and really it just keeps getting smaller and smaller)

The US population tosses out enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times. Read that again

Paper comes from trees. Plastic comes from oil. To obtain either one, worldwide forests are being contaminated and destroyed

This great article from Greenbiz suggests ways your company can begin to use eco-friendlier take-out packaging. is also an excellent resource for statistics on take-out containers.

This article from gives helpful tips on what to do with the glut of take-out containers piling up in your cabinets. It also describes an initiative by the New York based group, The Eco-Agents, in which customers can request to use their own take-out containers from Restaurants.

This article from The Daily Green lists the ten most (and least) green containers. It contains the pluses and minuses on take-out containers from Styrofoam (Least Green) to Cardboard Boxes (Not As Green As You Might Think) to Edible/Inedible Containers Made From Food (Cha-Ching!).

This article from Diamondback Online describes an initiative at the University of Maryland to reduce take-out container uses and discusses the difficulties and successes they had in attaining their goals.
SOLUTIONS: Sure You Can!
Breakfast at Home. Pack Your Lunch. Stay at the Restaurant.
If you must take something to go, get a sandwich or burrito wrapped only in foil (and reuse it) and put in your own bag or tote.
Check our blog for suggestions on restaurants that use eco-friendly packaging.

*We define take-out as either delivery or going into a restaurant and having it wrapped up "to-go." We're not in this case referring to taking your left-overs with you - although we encourage you to try brining your own tupperware.

New Eco Beauty Bar Opens in Prospect Heights

W!NK Eco Beauty Bar is a green nail and day spa that is dedicated to providing eco-chic beauty that is good for you and the earth. They offer nail and skin care, body treatments, massage, waxing, and detox treatments for women and men. All of the products they use are natural, organic and vegan.

602 Vanderbilt Ave (corner of St. Mark's Place)
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hours: Wed-Fri 11-8, Sat 10-7, Sun 11-5

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Did you remember your mama this year? If not you still have a few hours to send her something. Instead of wasting precious resourses on a paper card that by next week will probably end up on top of her refrigerator or under a pile of magazines, try an Ecards. They not only have Mother's Day greetings but you can find an Electronic Card for any occation. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Get Well, Congratulations, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa - you name it. I even found a card for Chinese Valentine's Day!
Here are a list of some of the most popular ecard sites. Most have a big variety of free options but will require a membership if you want to send a more complicated card (ie: with your own music, photos or recorded greetings).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Progress on Bottle Water Reduction in NYS

This week Corporate Accountability International heard an exciting announcement from Governor Paterson’s office that New York State will be cutting spending on bottled water across all state agencies! We're happy, as you know, we launched the No Water Bottle Challenge earlier this year.

No more water-cooler chat in state offices? Gov. David Paterson will announce this morning that the state is phasing out its bottled-water spending, which will eventually bring an end to the maintenance of water coolers and the purchase of bottled waters for meetings.In addition to the green argument that the bottles create unneeded waste, there’s a common-sense argument: The state is already paying for the public water system and its water purchases amount to the Ford company buying a fleet of BMWs for its employees.

Corporate Accountability International, which has been urging the state to make this move as part of its Think Outside the Bottle initiative, praised the governor’s action, which makes New York the third state to implement a bottle reduction. The executive order, it says, “is the furthest reaching of the three state actions taken to date (Illinois cut bottled water spending a year ago but did so through its executive branch procurement office, Virginia cut bottled water spending in the governor’s budget).” This action sends an important message that in these difficult economic times, state government can both cut waste and invest in shared public resources, like water, upon which local economies rely.

Earlier this year, the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign, a Corporate Accountability International-led initiative, issued a letter to all 50 governors encouraging them to stop spending state dollars on bottled water. Organizations and thousands of individuals nationwide joined the call. Today, New York became the first to answer it, acting at the urging of the grassroots. Recently, Paterson also signed into law a “Bigger, Better Bottle Bill” which includes a five cent deposit on bottled water sales, which is returned when the bottle is turned in for recycling. This executive order, however, goes one step further by reducing the overall amount of bottles that need to be recycled in the first place.New York State is famous for its high-quality tap water, yet nearly 2.5 billion bottles of water are sold statewide.

Nice work! Learn More.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Green Effect

Sun Chips and National Geographic are sponsoring an initiative for individuals to help create green changes in their communities. Submit a description of your GREEN EFFECT by June 8, 2009. Five lucky winners will win $20,000, be featured in National Geographic, and go to Washington D.C. to share their ideas with leaders in the environmental movement.

Click here for more information or to enter the contest.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Earth Celebrations: Hudson River Pageant

When we see the word pageant, some of us are reminded of dear sweet Pollyanna wrapped in an American Flag at the big event, but that's something else all together...

Hudson River Pageant:

SATURDAY MAY 9 (raindate Sunday May 10)
Downtown Section of the Hudson River Park

Volunteers Needed (we always like to see that)
Costume Performers in spectacular river species costumes
Puppet Marshals
Parade Marshal
Crowd Control etc...
Program Marshals to hand out programs
Make-up Artists/Body Painters
Call (212) 777-7969 or email:


Monday, May 4, 2009

Home Depot Vs. Green Depot

The low-down on Green Depot's stuff from

Ever since the environmentally friendly building supply store Green Depot opened in New York, we have wondered: Is it worth it—financially, environmentally, and for your own health—to make your renovation more sustainable? A homeowner and his contractor weigh in.

That’s why my contractor Mike Borcina loves to mock the green movement. Contractors, Borcina explains, balance a customer’s desire for real sustainable building with increased labor costs. It’s often cheaper to send perfectly good materials into landfill than to take the time to prepare them for re-use. We know this, but what should we do about it?

Given his choice, Borcina would way rather not use the toxic product. “Years ago, when I came up and got all my habits, these things weren’t important,” he says. “Now whether or not we like them, we should be using them. We have to. It needs to be done.”

But following sustainable principles while renovating a home can still cost whole lot more. How much more? To find out, we visited Manhattan’s sexy new Green Depot and compared their products to conventional choices at Home Depot, their more conventional competitor. Here’s what we found.

Green Depot FSC 3/4-inch plywood ($0.72 per square foot) Vs. Home Depot 3/4-inch plywood ($0.65 per square foot)

Conventional plywood contains formaldehyde, which according to the EPA, “causes cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans.” Green Depot wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified and formaldehyde free.

Adam’s Pick: I’d choose the Green Depot product. Formaldehyde scares me. Simple as that.

Mike’s Pick: Green Depot. I always buy the best plywood. I’d spend an extra 3 to 5 percent to make it greener.

AFM Safecoat® Zero-VOC Custom Color Paint ($45 per gallon) Vs. BEHR PREMIUM PLUS Interior Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint ($23 per gallon)

Volatile organic compounds are the chemicals in paints that produce that dizzying smell. The Green Depot’s Safecoat series contain none, so homeowners can use their paints with the windows closed.

Adam’s Pick: My wife and I just used Safecoat to paint the bathroom and it did drip a little more than the higher VOC paints. That said, we enjoyed using a product with no discernible smell. It’s odorless and free of toxics.

Mike’s Pick: If that gallon of paint doesn’t cover as well, it’s going to cost you more money in labor. Are you willing to live with that? I have used an environmentally friendly paint and they don’t cover as well.

Green Depot Icestone ($119 per square foot, installed) Vs. Home Depot Silestone ($56–94 per square foot, installed)

Brooklyn-based Icestone assembles their countertops from glass waste: they contain 70 to 75 percent recycled glass content. They’re pricey, though. Silestone, meanwhile, may be produced in an emission-free way, but it’s often combined with petroleum-based resin.

Adam’s Pick: Icestone is a beautiful product; I just think it blows our budget. I can get remainders of Silestone for as little as $50 per square foot and still score points for keeping waste out of a landfill.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rethinking Pizza

On average an America eats 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year. That is a lot of pizza boxes! Unfortunately even though pizza boxes are generally made out of cardboard they cannot be recycled if pizza grease and cheese are left behind. So a new company called e.c.o. Incorporated have come up with a revolutionary new design for the pizza box that is not only environmentally friendly but convenient too.

But until this new box makes it to your local pizza joint you could consider making a solar oven out of your take away packaging. Here is a step by step guide on how to do this. Enjoy.

New Upscale Vintage in BK

m.a.e., a vintage and luxury consignment shop just landed in Park Slope. Even superheroes need a nice shirt. . . 

435 7th ave

Friday, May 1, 2009

Have Some Cloth Scraps? Be Part of an Art Project

303GRAND is working with artist Amanda Browder, "mad scientist of scavenger art assemblage, uses hundreds of fabrics to stitch together a surreal and disorientating world in which anything seems possible," on a dream of creating a blanket that is big enough to cover an entire building in Greenpoint. It has the working title of “House Blanket.”  She has been known to do such things before, like create a 4 story high pencil that she guerilla style leaned up against bridges, buildings, etc.

 “After living in Greenpoint for 2 years, and feeling sick with how many apartments have that god-awful aluminum siding on them. The project will be a warm wake-up to the monochromatic droll of beige siding...ugh!” says Amanda.

Over the next two weeks, we are teaming up with clothing recycling company, Wearable Collections to do a clothing drive for the “House Blanket” project Amanda is working on. So this is a call for action. We need anyone and everyone to swing by 303GRAND in the next two weeks to donate any left over clothing, blankets, funky fabric scraps etc toward the project! The show will end on May 5th and that’s when the sewing for House Blanket begins for Amanda!

May 1
303 GRAND 
drinks and discussion with the artist herself