Thursday, February 17, 2011

Environmental Scorecard Released — Brooklyn Congressmembers Score High

New York Outperforms Nation

Thursday the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released the 2010 National Environmental Scorecard, which evaluates how members of Congress vote on environmental, public health and energy issues. There were six different Senate votes and nine different House votes on the 2010 scorecard on issues ranging from clean energy to public health protections to lands conservation.

"Unfortunately, the most important votes of 2010 are the ones that didn’t happen: the Senate failed to even begin debate on a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill and also failed to respond to the greatest environmental disaster in our nation's history — the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," said LCV President Gene Karpinski. "The 2010 National Environmental Scorecard clearly illustrates that there is much work to be done."

However, New York’s members of Congress outperformed the nation in terms of their scores, with a few exceptions. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand both scored 100 percent (the national average for the Senate was 48 percent), while New York’s average for the house was 88, compared to a national average of 57.

Brooklyn Congressmembers scored above average. Jerrold Nadler (D), who represents parts of the waterfront neighborhoods, scored 100. So did Yvette D. Clarke (D), who represents neighborhoods in central Brooklyn, and Nydia M. Velázquez (D), who represents neighborhoods in northern Brooklyn and some along the waterfront.

Congressmen Anthony D. Weiner (D), who represents much of southern Brooklyn, and Edolphus Towns (D), who represents parts of northwest and east Brooklyn, both scored 90. So did Mike McMahon (D) who used to represent southwest Brooklyn. He was replaced in the 2010 election by Congressman Michael Grimm.

"Both of New York’s senators and 17 of our House members achieved perfect scores on the 2010 National Environmental Scorecard. Their efforts underscore just how much New Yorkers care about clean energy and a more sustainable future," said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York LCV. "We look forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle in the New York delegation to keep making environmental progress in 2011."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brooklyn Public Library: Saving Paper

Before Feb. 1, the Brooklyn Public Library sent out 25,000 pieces of correspondence a month, just informing members of holds and overdue materials, said spokesperson Malika Granville.

These paper reminders ended at the beginning of the month, when the library rolled out a new electronic system. Members sign up to receive reminders via email or text message.

“We wanted to find a way to communicate without having to exhaust such an expensive resource,” Granville said.

Members can sign up for the new system online, or visit a branch and “someone will be able to walk them through the process,” she explained. So far, 9,503 people have signed up.

And if someone doesn’t have a cell phone or access to a computer, “we would offer that person a land line option,” Granville continued. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t excluding anyone.”

For anyone who might forget to sign up and forget to bring back a book, the next time they log onto their account online or try to take out a book they would be notified of the overdue fee. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coming Up: Winter Stop 'N' Swap

Looking to get rid of some clothes or housewares? In the mood for a wardrobe or home makeover on a budget?

On Saturday, Feb. 26, GrowNYC, a non-profit geared toward improving the quality of life in the five boroughs through environmental programs, will offer a Stop 'N' Swap in the M.S. 113 lobby in Fort Greene from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Members of the community are invited to bring unwanted but still usable items — books, toys, fashionable clothing, housewares and working electronics — along with a bag to fill up with items they would like to take with them. (All items should be portable so others can easily carry them away.)

Whatever is left at the end of the day will be sorted and donated or recycled. According to GrowNYC spokesperson Amanda Gentile, about 300-500 people come out to these swaps. Ninety percent or more of what comes in ends up getting reused. 

“Stop ‘N’ Swaps have hit at the right time. In this economy, they’re a great way for residents to find things they need without having to pay and they are reducing the amount of garbage that NYC generates,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “In fact, it’s a triple-win; in addition to economic and environmental benefits, they also build community as New Yorkers come out and meet their neighbors.”

M.S. 113 is located at 300 Adelphi Street between DeKalb and Lafayette avenues.