Monday, September 21, 2009

Green Brooklyn … Green City at Brooklyn Borough Hall This Thursday

This Thursday, New Yorkers will converge yet again at Brooklyn Borough Hall for another fair, this time a green one. It’s the fifth annual Green Brooklyn … Green City fair and symposium, where attendees will visit workshops and exhibits to learn about how New York City is creating a sustainable future.

Hosted by the Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC), the fair is free and will run from noon until 6 p.m., with opening remarks at 11:30 a.m.

Three workshops are scheduled throughout the day, to take place in the Court Room at Borough Hall. From noon – 1 p.m. is “The State of the Climate” workshop, where the science of climate change and its impacts on a local and global scale will be discussed. Presenters at this workshop are Dr. Radley Horton, Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Hugh Hough of The Climate Project and president of Green Team USA; and Dr. William Solecki, professor of Urban Environmental Change at Hunter College and director of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities.

The second workshop of the day, “Green Your Business,” from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., will focus on new innovations in green buildings, ways to make operations more green from the ground up, and resources needed to minimize the impact of a business. Presenters will be Vanessa Knight, director of the Sustainable Business Network of New York City; Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard; and Jim Holiber, general manager of Green Depot.

“Local vs. Organic: And Why We Care” will be the last workshop of the day, running from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Discussing how we grow and get our food will be Michael Hurwitz, director of the Greenmarket Program at CENYC; Anna Lappe, noted environmentalist and bestselling author; and Justone Bossert of Red Jacket Orchards.

The Borough Hall Greenmarket will be running as usual on Thursday, so attendees to the Green Brooklyn fair will be able to purchase fresh local produce and baked goods.

CENYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (OROE) will be on hand doing on-site recycling by hand, and Brooklyn-based clothing recycling company Wearable Collections will also be there accepting donations of old clothes.

Clothes collected by Wearable Collections will be given to artist Derick Melander, who will be conducting a daylong sculpture demonstration. Aided by 20 volunteers, he will carefully sort, fold and stack recycled clothes into an art piece, to be completed by the end of the fair.

Non-profit organization Bags for the People — which provides a sustainable alternative to plastic bags — will be sewing cloth bags live at the Green Brooklyn fair, giving them out for free.

Over 30 exhibitors will be at the fair, including the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Greenbridge/The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Pratt Center for Sustainable Design/Pratt Design Incubator, the Prospect Park Alliance Volunteer Corps, and Green Depot.

This is the first year CENYC has hosted the fair — the now-closed Center for the Urban Environment (CUE) having hosted it the previous four years. CENYC spokesperson Amanda Gentile (who actually used to work at CUE) said that this year the fair will be “more interactive and less paper-focused” than in previous years. For example, a green plumber will be bringing in a dual flush toilet for attendees to see.

“We’re trying to make this as close to zero waste as possible,” said Gentile.

“The 5th Annual Green Brooklyn … Green City conference is a great opportunity to connect city residents with the tools they need to take direct action to improve the environment,” said CENYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen.

“CENYC is known for being a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of organization between our work in community gardens, Greenmarket farmers markets, service learning programs for youth, and grassroots recycling outreach,” he continued. “What better way to dig in than to bring together residents, government agencies, nonprofits and green businesses to learn and partner around green initiatives across the city?”

This event is sponsored by Waste Management, TD Bank, Green Mountain Energy, National Grid, and the Village Voice.

Markowitz Joins Bette Midler to Open Community Garden in Bed-Stuy

On Thursday, September 17, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz joined Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project (NYRP) for the opening of Brooklyn’s new and refurbished Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Garden. The Garden was designed by renowned New York landscape architect Ken Smith and underwritten by long-time NYRP supporter, Dr. Leslie Johnson.

“I know that as long as this garden is running strong, the grass will always be greener in Bed-Stuy,” said BP Markowitz. “If I may paraphrase one of Ms. Midler’s wellknown songs: ‘Love, it is a flower, and Brooklyn its only seed.'”

In photo (left to right): Drew Becker, NYRP executive director; George Walker, resident; Marcus Calcador, community gardener; Dr. Leslie Johnson; Father Mark Hummel; Ken Smith, architect; Bette Midler, NYRP founder; BP Markowitz.

Photo by Kathryn Kirk