Friday, July 31, 2009

Though CUE is Gone, its Programs Live On

When the Center for the Urban Environment (CUE) abruptly closed its doors earlier this year, questions swirled about the fate of the organization’s educational programs, accumulated from more than 30 years of service.

One such program is CUE’s “Green Brooklyn ... Green City” conference, the fate of which was unknown after the closing of the organization, until now.

The Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) recently announced that it would be taking over the conference, which will take place on Sept. 24, from noon to 6 p.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

The mission of “Green Brooklyn ... Green City” is to allow people to learn first-hand about from local experts about the many ways New York City is creating a more sustainable future. The event is the largest of its kind in Brooklyn and instructs attendees about actions they can personally take to lower their own environmental impact.

It will be the fifth year for the event, which last year had more than 60 exhibitors and 10 workshops. This year will be scaled down a bit, with four workshops, says CENYC spokesperson Amanda Gentile. She noted that the reason for less workshops is to
"ensure maximum attendance rather than have two running concurrently." There will be exhibitor tables and also on-site recycling and composting.

While topics for all the workshops haven’t been decided yet, one will be about climate change, another about greening your office, and another on food and the importance of buying locally, Gentile noted.

New this year is a daylong sculpture-building demonstration where artist Derick Melander will make sculptures from textiles collected for recycling.

Most importantly, “We’re trying to make this as close to zero waste as possible,” said Gentile. Which means exhibitors won’t be giving out brochures or promotional items. Booths will be more interactive, she added, with attendees signing up for e-news alerts instead of collecting paper materials.

Because the event is on a Thursday, it will run concurrently with the Borough Hall Greenmarket.

“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, non-profits and green businesses to learn and partner around green initiatives across the city.”

“Green Brooklyn ... Green City” will be a part of NYC Climate Week, which is a week designed to gather business and government leaders from across the world to discuss climate change. The week is from Sept. 21 to 25, 70 days before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

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