Friday, April 23, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Plan to Update PlaNYC

Mayor Michael Bloomberg commemorated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in Times Square by launching a public process to update PlaNYC — discussing the need to develop a comprehensive, sustainable approach to solid waste. This approach builds on the City’s solid waste management plan and recycling program by including a far-reaching strategy to encourage New Yorkers to generate less waste, reuse more of what they consume, and develop new ways to utilize any waste that is discarded.
“We have made great strides to improve our environment, build our economy, and enhance quality of life for all New Yorkers, but more remains to be done,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through PlaNYC, which was launched just three years ago, we are transforming New York into a greener, greater city – even as we prepare for a million more New Yorkers. In doing so, we continue to prove that being more sustainable isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing.”
Local Law 17 of 2008, enacted by the City Council with the Mayor’s support, requires that PlaNYC be updated every four years.
In addition to evaluating the existing goals and initiatives in the original plan, updating PlaNYC is an opportunity to consider addressing policy areas that are not currently included.
The Mayor announced that solid waste would be included in the update where it wasn’t before. PlaNYC will build upon the Department of Sanitation’s recycling program, which is the largest and most ambitious in the nation, and the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan, which is transforming how the City disposes of waste by removing thousands of heavily polluting trucks from city streets and shifting solid waste transportation to barge and rail.
As part of the update for PlaNYC, the City will comprehensively review where New York’s 25,000 daily tons of waste comes from and formulate innovative policies designed to focus first on reducing the amount of waste generated, which has the greatest environmental impact, and then on initiatives that utilize waste as a resource, rather than considering it solely a by-product.

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Earth Day Celebrations at Brooklyn Children's Museum

This weekend, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the first “green” museum in the city — thanks to its LEED silver certification — will hold its “Celebrate Earth!” Earth Day weekend festival.
There will be an “Eco-Fair” on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other activities on both days include bark painting, learning about composting and go on an “aquatic safari.” Visit for a complete schedule of events.
The recent expansion to the Children’s Museum, completed by Rafael Vinoly Architects, is what garnered the museum (celebrating its 110th anniversary) its LEED silver certification.
The museum is the first in New York City to employ geothermal wells for heating and cooling purposes. Whenever possible, construction utilized rapidly renewable and recycled materials.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, created in 1970 by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson to encourage people to appreciate the planet and the environment. So say "no, thank you" to that plastic bag, recycle those bottles and cans, visit your local Greenmarket, and happy Earth Day!

Visit the recently-opened Brooklyn Bridge Park if you have a chance — the lawns at Pier 1, which were previously closed, have been opened to the public today in celebration of Earth Day, reports the NY Post.

Image courtesy Cagle Cartoons

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Every year since 1970, thanks to an idea by then-Sen. Gaylord Nelson, we’ve celebrated Earth Day on April 22. As eco-consciousness spreads, Earth Day has expanded into Earth Week, and even Earth Month. Below is a sampling of Earth events coming up throughout the borough:

Thursday, April 22 (Earth Day)
Green in BKLYN, 432 Myrtle Ave, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Green in BKLYN’s B-Earth Day Celebration. Not only is it Earth Day, but it’s the first anniversary of Green in BKLYN, a green home goods store in Clinton Hill. Visit the shop for the day-long party, which will feature a book signing by Brooklyn author Leda Meredith, Clinton Hill-based Vandra Thorborn answering questions about composting, Brooklyn artist Claudia Pearson signing her children’s book, and an organic wine reception. Visit for all the details.
OutPost Lounge, 1014 Fulton St. from 4 to 10 p.m.: GREEN BKSTYLE. The April Brooklyn Fashion Week designers move toward more sustainable marketing and production. Visit OutPost Lounge to shop and see the green fashions featured. RSVP required. Visit for more details.
Word Bookstore, 126 Franklin St. from 7:30 to 9 p.m.: Author Emily Elizabeth Anderson will discuss ideas from her new book, Eco-Chic Home: Rethink, Reuse and Remake Your Way to Sustainable Syle. She will talk about projects that make the home stylish and eco-conscious at the same time, demonstrating a paper crane chandelier, a CD case light and plastic bag flowers. Free, RSVP encouraged but not required. Visit for more information.
East River Bar, 97 South Sixth St., 8 p.m.: Earth Day is Every Day After-Party. Time’s Up, NYC’s Direct Action Environmental Organization, will be holding a bike ride for Earth Day, starting at Union Square Park South and ending in a barbeque at East River Bar in Williamsburg. Wear green for the ride and after-party, which will feature a DJ, dancing and eco art show of ecological and environmental prints by JustSeeds Cooperative.

Saturday, April 24
Flatbush Food Co-op, 1415 Cortelyou Road from 9 a.m. to noon.: Plant swap co-sponsored by Flatbush Food Co-op and Sustainable Flatbush. Trade perennials and other plants, swap gardening tips and get started with a garden. You don’t have to bring something to take something. Rain or Shine. Visit
Fifth Avenue Family Festival, Fourth Street at Fifth Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Puppetry Arts and the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID team up to bring a family event to the neighborhood filled with crafts, games and giveaways. The event also has activities in celebration with Earth Day. Children can make puppets out of recyclable materials found in restaurants and stores located along Fifth Avenue, such as “pizza puppets” made out of pizza boxes from 7-Eleven. Free.
Audubon Center at Prospect Park, from 1 to 4:30 p.m.: Earth Day 40th Anniversary Celebration. Find out how Earth Day began and learn about how you can help nurture and preserve our planet. Calculature your carbon fooprint, bring old tee-shirts or sweaters to make a one-of-a-kind tote bag with Bags for the People, turn cereal boxes into wallets with Replayground, and Bash the Trash will be building recycled instruments and performing live. Free. Visit for more information.
Brooklyn Flea, 176 Lafayette Ave (Saturday, April 24), and 1 Hanson Place (Sunday, April 25): Greenmarket’s Annual Flower Sales. Choose from hundreds of local, seasonal plants and flowers: annuals, assorted pots, bulbs, herbs, perennials, cut flowers, vegetable plants and more.

Sunday, April 25
McCarren Park, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: The 3rd annual Go Green! Greenpoint! Earth Day Celebration. Event will feature vendors selling earth-friendly merchandise, organizations promoting earth awareness, school and community group participation, music, a health and wellness demonstration area, a recycling station and healthy food. Free. 
IKEA/Erie Basin Waterfront Park, One Beard St., from 1 to 5 p.m.: The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy Enviromedia Mobile Earth Day Celebrations 2010. Activities include: catch and release fishing, live underwater video exploration, electronics and sneaker recycling, kite flight, tours of the mobile museum, refreshments and live music. Event will also feature a ceremonial launch of a giant floating “earth ball” to 100 feet, signifying the 100 percent commitment to mitigation of impacts on climate change and ocean acidification. Free, for more information call (347) 224-5828.

The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, 290 Conover St. at Pier 44: "A Thousand Thousand Slimy Things." April 23 to May 9, Friday to Sunday at 7 p.m. A “floating fantasia” of a show performed on a docked barge in Red Hook about a man floating on a shrinking iceberg, a smuggling sea captain delivering messages in bottles, and a marooned sea creature. They will all collide in a mythical place called Florida. All tickets $18 through SmartTix. Visit for more details.
Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard: 5th Annual Eco-Festival, April 27 to 30. Theme for this year is “Sustainable NYC.” Various speakers, film screenings, environmental books on display, an afternoon of poetry, music and fashion, a green trade fair and more. Free and open to the public. For more information visit                                  

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Electronics Recycling in Cobble Hill

This Sunday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Lower East Side Ecology Center and the Cobble Hill Association will host an electronics recycling day at the P.S. 29 schoolyard, on Baltic Street between Clinton and Henry streets. Recycle unwanted or broken electronics: computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, copiers, network devices, keyboards, mice, cables, hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, audio-visual equipment, cell phones, pagers, PDAs, handheld and desktop phones, and answering machines. Home appliances such as microwaves or refrigerators will not be accepted.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Bed-Stuy Artist Works With Found Styrofoam

I recently interviewed Bed-Stuy artist Chris Spadazzi at his studio at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, who works with styrofoam he collects from the East and Hudson rivers. "For anyone who loves the ocean, or nature for that matter, it's terrible to see how we've irreversibly polluted our environment. The foam pieces are just tangible evidence," he said.

Spadazzi is pictured above with his current project, a piece that is about five feet tall, four-and-a-half feet wide and two feet thick. He says it's the biggest he's worked on thus far.

Read the full story here.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Free Coffee at Starbucks for Bringing in Reusable Mug

Today (April 15), bring your favorite travel mug into your local Starbucks to get a free brewed coffee. Watch a video of thousands of New Yorkers trading coffee cups for mugs in March here and take the pledge to save forests. Now other countries around the world are joining in.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

James Cameron Coming to Brooklyn Tech

This Saturday, as reported in the New York Times Local blog, James Cameron will be visiting Brooklyn Technical High School to present the first annual "Avatar Award." The student who gives the best two-to-three minute speech on how to best apply the environmental lessons from the blockbuster film will be awarded a $5,000 scholarship. Cameron will also give a presentation on environmental issues and projects he is currently working on, according to the Local.

Scenes of Spring at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

I had a chance to stop by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this morning, where Hanami, or the Cherry Blossom viewing season, is in full force. Flowers and plants are blooming all over the garden. It's open Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free guided tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Free Trees in Clinton Hill

On Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Green Fort Greene & Clinton Hill and the FAB Alliance, in partnership with MillionTreesNYC and the New York Restoration Project, will be giving away 200 free trees at the “Putnam Triangle” in Clinton Hill (Fulton Street and Grand Avenue).
All trees will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. All you need is a place to plant and access to water. The trees will be available to individuals, families and community groups for planting on private property only, and not in containers or on rooftops. Limited quantities are expected for certain species: Eastern Redbud, Dogwood, Cherry, Oak and Sweet Gum
Tools will be available to borrow, help will be available for those who need it to get a tree home, or don’t know how to plant the tree. Horticulture specialists will be on hand to answer questions and provide species selection recommendations. Simple tree planting and care instructions come with each tree.
Volunteers are needed to give out trees, transport trees, help neighbors plant their free trees, publicize the event in surrounding neighborhoods and answer questions about tree planting. To volunteer, contact Marilyn Shaw at

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

National Grid Provides Grant to Garden's Project Green Reach

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) received a $250,000 grant from National Grid for Project Green Reach, which provides hands-on lessons in science and botany for Brooklyn’s Title I schools, many with large numbers of children from low-income families. Project Green Reach annually serves 2,500 students in grades K through 8 and 80 teachers. The grant is part of National Grid’s “Engineering Our Future” initiative to inspire and encourage youth to study science, technology, engineering and math. Shown here, left to right are: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, National Grid Chief Executive Steve Holliday, BBG Chairman Emeritus Earl Weiner, and BBG Vice President of Development Leslie Findlen.
Photo courtesy National Grid

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