Hurricane Sandy: An SOS to the world

Sting’s exquisite performance of “Message in a Bottle” hit just the right note for the Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together concert this past Friday.

Sandy, which savaged New Jersey, New York City and many points beyond with an estimated $20 billion in property damage from flooding, wind and rain could certainly be seen as an SOS to the world. More pointedly, it’s an urgent telegram to the U.S., where climate action has been hijacked by the world’s biggest hive of climate deniers, who’d like to either ignore climate change or wiggle away by labeling it “natural” and inescapable.

Anti-fluoridation rally set for NYC; activists argue fluoridation’s unnecessary

New York City Council member Peter F. Vallone,Jr has called a “Speak Out Against Fluoridation” Rally to be held at 11 a.m. on May 15, on the steps of City Hall.

Fluoride chemicals are added to NYC’s water in a failed effort to treat tap-water drinkers against tooth decay, according to Vallone and the two groups that oppose fluoridation and are supporting the rally, New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc and Fluoride Action Network. captures Earth’s woes and hopes from space

Climate action group 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.

Vertical farms could help feed cities, save land and reduce pollution

New York City has one of the most recognizable skylines in the world. It’s famously tall buildings provide maximum occupancy for minimum space, making an ideal situation for a rapidly growing population.
When millions of immigrants flocked to America in the late 1800’s, the need for space to put them all caused the city to grow up instead of out and skyscrapers sprouted like weeds.
The human population is growing. By the year 2050, it is estimated that we will be another 3 billion people. By that time 80 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas.

Clearing the air: NYC proposes banning smoking in parks

New York City already has smoke-free restaurants. It may soon have smoke-free parks, beaches and outdoor plazas.
Under a proposal announced Thursday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Councilmember Gale Brewer, the existing local Smoke Free Air Act that bans smoking in workplaces and indoor gathering spots, would be expanded to include the great outdoors.

Don’t trash talk San Francisco; the city beats everyone at waste diversion

San Francisco knows how to not waste an opportunity. In case you missed the news, the Golden Gate city recently surpassed it’s goal of diverting 75 percent of its trash from the landfill by 2010. It’s already at 77 percent trash diversion by the city’s last estimation.

The side of a Recology truck makes the point that "Recycling changes everything." In San Francisco, it has dramatically changed how much trash goes to waste. (Photo: Recology)

That very likely makes San Francisco the continuing leader among U.S. cities for trash diversion. San Jose, Fresno, Long Beach, New York City and Portland are close behind. According to an independent ranking, those cities were all diverting at least 60 percent of their waste in late 2007. San Francisco led the pack back then at 67 percent diversion.

Building a sky-high farm in New York City

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.

Green Depot sets up shop in Manhattan

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Green Depot, a Brooklyn-based supplier of environmentally sensitive building products and household products is extending its reach with a new flagship store in Manhattan.

The depot’s new uptown presence, at 222 Bowery, is set to open on Feb. 12, with 3,500 square feet of retail space featuring products such as cork and bamboo flooring, air and water filtration systems and low VOC paints that can be sampled a “paint bar”.

The new store will have a special section featuring new innovations on the market and another area devoted to helping parents create an eco-friendly, healthful environment for their children.

Browsers beware, you’ll need to remain alert: products will be displayed with eco-report cards, part of the store’s proprietary “icon” labeling system, that are designed to educate consumers. The labels explain how and why a product is green, assessing it in the areas of air quality, conservation, energy use, local origins and responsibility.

Audubon and Toyota team up to help restore habitats in NYC and Philadelphia

By Clint Williams
Green Right Now

Horseshoe crabs – believe it or not – scuttle about in Jamaica Bay, a 20,000-acre maze of marshland, islands and water that forms the southern boundary of Brooklyn. There would be more if they could find a place to breed.

Decades of debris have piled up on the bay’s beaches, blocking the path to egg-laying sites for the prehistoric-looking crabs. But things will soon get better for horseshoe crabs in New York City – and blue-winged warblers in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, and marbled godwits along the Mendocino Coast of northern California – because of TogetherGreen, an initiative of the National Audubon Society paid for by Toyota.

The program awarded TogetherGreen Conservation Innovation Grants totaling $1.4 million this fall. The grants, ranging from $5,000 to $68,000, will fund 41 projects in 24 states. As you might expect from Audubon, many of the funded projects benefit birds.

Energy-saving, faux ice skating rink debuts in New York City

By Julie Bonnin
Green Right Now

With unpredictable winter weather wreaking havoc on traditional Currier & Ives skating scenes, synthetic ice may be the only thing that can salvage one of winter’s favorite pastimes.

So when skaters flock to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City Saturday for the Nov. 22 opening of a 150-foot rink that features a 17-foot tall stainless steel polar bear at its center, they will be gliding across a surface that feels like ice, but won’t consume huge amounts of water and refrigeration. The faux ice rink will operate through Feb. 28, and for holiday seasons to come.

RecycleBank: offering retail “credits” to recyclers

By Catherine Colbert

“It pays to be green” is one of RecycleBank’s mantras. And that’s what the cutting-edge company, based in New York City, is all about: Paying people to be green, at least when it comes to recycling.

While most people who recycle are already self-motivated to participate, RecycleBank gives them an extra incentive in the form of Reward Points redeemable through local and national partners, such as Petco, IKEA, Staples and other retailers.

Customers can take advantage of this financial pat on the back whether they’re homeowners who recycle curbside or students who recycle through a RecycleBank Kiosk.

“We believe everyone can recycle and everyone should be rewarded for it,” says Lisa Pomerantz, director of marketing. “RecycleBank is founded on the belief that environmental solutions create economic opportunities. With that in mind, our goal is to increase recycling, reduce landfill needs, cut disposal costs, and build local economies.”

Cargo bikes deliver food for city harvest and help the hungry in NYC

By Barbara Kessler

Biking. It’s not just for hearty commuters and weekend racers anymore. With the energy pinch on, people are finding more uses for two- or three-wheeling, whether it’s puttering to school or the grocery. Even businesses are finding ways that bikes can solve problems.

Take City Harvest in New York City. The food rescue agency collects leftovers and unwanted produce from farmer’s markets, restaurants and groceries, and delivers it to various agencies and soup kitchens serving the poor and displaced.