Climate action group 350.org wants us to see, really see, what’s happening as the result of climate change here on Earth.
So it’s taken to space to get a better view. Satellites began snapping photos of giant art installations, many involving humans forming pictures, last Friday and will continue through this week. The photos include one of a giant eagle in Los Angeles, created to represent the “Earth to Sky” solutions to climate change; a mural in New York City that shows how the area would look after the seas rise; a picture of a girl on a delta in Spain and a flash flood in New Mexico created by humans with blue posters.
While other businesses debate the merits of being eco-friendly, one business in Brooklyn has gone all-out, greening every aspect of its operation. And the clients are lapping it up. Unleash Brooklyn, a 7,000-square-foot loft in Brooklyn offers dog owners a cage-free day care and boarding home that is cleaned with green cleaners and provides pets with organic food.
Five farmers in Brooklyn are out to set a record: to plant the largest commercial rooftop farm in New York City. Last week, the Brooklyn Grange team, with the help of volunteers and a rented crane, hauled 1.2 million pounds of a soil and compost shale mix from Pennsylvania to the top of a six-story warehouse building in Long Island City, Queens. The nearly one-acre rooftop space is the first of its kind in the city, and the Brooklyn Grange team hopes it will be the first of many.
Ben Flanner’s farm grows lush in summer with rows of squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce. And during all seasons, it provides a visual feast: a perfect view of the Manhattan skyline.
Rooftop Gardens in Brooklyn
That’s because Flanner’s farm is on top of a vacant three-story warehouse building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
A 6,000 square foot slab of concrete covered in more than 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables (not to mention the herbs) is unusual, but it’s no longer rare. Communities are pushing for greater access to locally grown food, but with land in the city so expensive, non-profits, restaurants, residents and entrepreneurial farmers like Flanner and his partner Annie Novak are turning to the city’s most under-used and readily available spaces: its rooftops.
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a 145-corporate-member green roof and walls industry association, reported a 35 percent increase from last year in the number of constructed green roof projects nationally, which totaled more than 3.1 million square feet. That number is likely to increase as more city farmers discover, as Flanner and Novak did, that rooftop farms can be profitable ventures.
Brooklyn’s Rooftop Gardens, run by Ben Flanner and Annie Novak, has seeded more than produce. It is helping an urban neighborhood develop its own food network.
This past October, as Annie Novak delivered her final workshop of the season, about 30 loyal volunteers and green roof enthusiasts sat atop the warehouse and listened in to the lessons learned from Rooftop Farms’ first harvest.
Novak says these plants grew well: peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, kale, swiss chard, and the herbs
And these not so much: The squash did terribly, Novak says, and she warns that the shallow soil (an average of 6 inches) reduced the number of fruits per plant
She shared lessons learned, like the tangles involved in mulching with organic hair.
Ajamu Brown, 32, was raised in Central Brooklyn amongst families who immigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life.
While growing up watching his community suffer from the effects of crack cocaine, AIDS, a failing educational system, and poor housing, Brown decided he was going to make a difference. He headed to upstate New York where he received his degree in speech communications from Ithaca College. After graduating, Brown joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer on HIV/AIDS education and outreach.
“During that time I learned a lot about Namibia’s delicate eco-system. It was difficult to witness the high rate of human and environmental degradation, but I learned how important it was to have bottom-up strategies and community support in solving problems that will create sustainable solutions,” Brown said.
An artist's rendering of Habitat for Humanity's green project at Ocean Hill-Brownsville in Brooklyn (Image: Habitat for Humanity -- New York City)
From Green Right Now Reports
Habitat for Humanity – New York City has opened the largest and greenest multifamily complex ever built by a Habitat affiliate in the nation. Keys to the 41 affordable condominiums, which are expected to receive LEED Gold certification, were handed to families at a ceremony Saturday.
The ribbon-cutting event in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn, included about 10,000 volunteers who helped build the homes, financial backers, faith and community leaders, and elected officials who made the new homes possible.
As we drive deeper into our Orwellian future ala Google, where you can practically peer into our uncle’s windows in Toledo via Google Earth, it makes complete sense that we should also be able to track how we’re corrupting the atmosphere.
Thus, today, you can view CO2 emissions, thanks to a new Google Earth application developed by Purdue University researchers and funded by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Purdue Showalter Trust and Indianapolis-based Knauf Insulation.
The interactive CO2 emissions map will mostly confirm what you already know – that it’s getting thick out there, especially in cities like Los Angeles, plagued by higher than average auto emissions, and Houston, afflicted with bad air from industrial processes like oil refining. This is readily apparent because the chart color codes carbon pollution from different sectors, such as aircraft, on road and off road transportation; commercial and industrial sources; electricity production and residential emissions.