Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Green Renovation

Susan Whiting and Bruce Van Dusen have had energy and its consumption on their minds for about 30 years. Whiting worked in the energy group of a Wall Street firm after business school, and her husband, an attorney, has professional interaction with power producers. The failing health of our planet is an important political — Whiting serves on the board of the NYC chapter of the New York League of Conservation Voters — and lifestyle issue for the Warren Street couple. So when it came to renovating their brownstone’s kitchen and bathrooms this year, they knew they wanted to do it “green.”

Whiting explains that there were three principles she followed as she began to research the project: sourcing locally and domestically whenever possible ... read more

Story by Trudy Whitman

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Brooklyn Educator Recognized for Environmental Leadership, Receives Audubon/Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship

Brooklynite Jillian Rubio (left) is one of only 40 people selected from competitors nationwide for the TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program, part of a new conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society with support from Toyota.

For her fellowship, Jillian will partner with Stoked Mentoring, an action sports mentoring program in New York City, and together they will create a unique opportunity for Brooklyn youth to gain supportive mentors, along with a team of people determined to see them succeed. Youth participating in this program will be introduced to both the resources of the Prospect Park Audubon Center and the life lessons of an action sports mentoring program. By engaging urban youth in this unique way, they will have an opportunity to be outdoors and experience nature, on their terms.

Rubio has been involved in conservation efforts for over a decade and has proven to be a dedicated and innovative environmental educator. In her current position at Prospect Park, she leads Audubon’s first urban Audubon Center, welcoming over 90,000 visitors a year to this unique and beautiful green space; bringing nature experiences and environmental education to children and adults.

Previously, Rubio worked for Project Learning Tree in Arizona and the Arizona Association for Environmental Education.

“Jillian is the kind of person who can make a real difference in the health of our environment and the quality of our future,” said Audubon President John Flicker.

“The opportunity to be a part of this Fellowship has motivated me to expand how the Prospect Park Audubon Center serves our community in a unique and innovative way,” said Rubio. “Being based in Brooklyn — within an urban setting — has enabled us to meet the mission of the Center while serving a diverse urban community. My project further expands this ideal, by identifying the specific interests of a group we want to reach, namely youth in their early teens, and meeting them with a collaborative program that is both exciting and relevant.”

Visit for more information on the organization and a complete list of the 2008 fellows.

Photo courtesy of Audubon

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Senator Velmanette Montgomery To Hold Community Workshop On Energy Conservation and Green Building Strategies

On December 11, Senator Velmanette Montgomery will host "Green Pathways to Green Living," a community workshop co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Joan Millman. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, at 401 Atlantic Avenue.

The presentations will include:

Programs to Finance Going Green — Programs to assist homeowners and small businesses to install green features. Presented by NYSERDA - NYS Energy and Research Development Agency.

Green Jobs for Energy Independence — A movement that links job creation, environmental stewardship and Energy Independence. Presented by NYC Apollo Alliance.

Energy Efficient Options for Brownstone Renovations — Visuals and description of green features installed in neighborhood brownstones. Presented by Damon Strub, architect and principal of Nomad Architecture.

Energy Smart Buildings — The Renaissance Program locates contractors and subsidies for plans to build green. Presented by Consolidated Edison.

There will also be a question-and-answer session, light refreshments and free environmental products.

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A Statement From the New York City Council Regarding State Plastic Bag Recycling Legislation

The Eagle received the following press release:

In spite of months of efforts on the part of the New York City Council and environmental advocates, the “Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act” — State legislation that undermines and preempts the City Council's stronger plastic bag recycling legislation — has made its way unchanged to Governor Paterson’s desk.

The following is a statement from Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn:

“I commend efforts to establish statewide plastic bag recycling. However, the State’s current legislation falls far short of the landmark plastic recycling program enacted by the New York City Council in January. And inexplicably, the bill contains a preemption provision that would prohibit our City from taking stronger action to deal with an environmental problem that should rightly be within our jurisdiction.

“The Council continues to urge Governor Paterson to secure a chapter amendment removing New York City from the bill's weaker requirements before signing this legislation into law. State legislation often
exempts New York City from particular requirements due to the unique and diverse needs of a city of nine million residents. If an agreement cannot be reached on such an amendment in this case, then the Governor
must in good conscience veto this legislation.

“The Governor has already received letters from myriad environmental organizations, similarly urging him to push for a chapter amendment. Additionally, we urge all environmentally-minded New Yorkers to join our call by signing a letter to Governor Paterson at

Statement from Peter F. Vallone Jr., prime sponsor of the Council’s plastic bag recycling bill:

“Albany cannot seem to take one step forward without taking two steps back. It's great that they have enacted statewide plastic bag legislation, but it’s terrible that they have significantly weakened our
law and have restricted the right of New York City and others to do even more. Albany is not just recycling our ideas, but also throwing our authority into the landfill.”

Statement from Sanitation Committee Chair Michael McMahon:

“The State Legislature's refusal to take action on a chapter amendment will undermine the efforts of the Council to bring effective plastic bag recycling to New York City. Their current bill takes the power of
enforcement out of local hands, all but ensuring that this legislation will go ignored. Governor Paterson can not allow the current legislation to become law.”

Speaker Quinn discussed the state legislation further in an address to the New York League of Conservation Voters December 2nd at 6:30 p.m. at the Russian Tea Room, 150 West 57th St.

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