Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dreaming of an Eco-Home?

The small, eco-friendly home might seem like an impossible dream to Brooklynites, but look no further than Greendepot which is located in Williamsburg and offers an array of environmentally friendly supplies that will make your home less toxic and more green. Click here for directions.

Save Your Water

Become active with the Waterkeeper Alliance that seeks to clean polluted waters not only throughout the nation but internationally as well. Visit their website and become involved in a host of campaigns, such as the proposal to Congress to pass the Clean Water Restoration Act.

Plastic Trash Spreading to Nearby Landscapes

Nowhere is never too far away. With that said, the NYTimes features a ghastly article about how far plastic bottles and other wasteful objects continue to find themselves resting within remote, natural areas such as Gore Point in Alaska. While Elizabeth Royte's book Bottlemania captures her own observations of work at the Poland Springs Water mill in Maine, Donovan Hohn states in "Sea of Trash":

Plastic gets into the ocean when people throw it from ships or leave it in the path of an incoming tide, but also when rivers carry it there, or when sewage systems and storm drains overflow. Despite the Ocean Dumping Reform Act, the U.S. still releases more than 850 billion gallons of untreated sewage and storm runoff every year, according to a 2004 E.P.A. report. Comb the Manhattan waterfront and you will find, along with the usual windrows of cups, bottles and plastic bags, what the E.P.A. calls “floatables,” those “visible buoyant or semibuoyant solids” that people flush into the waste stream like cotton swabs, condoms, tampon applicators and dental floss.

As nearly everyone I spoke to about marine debris agrees, the best way to get trash out of our waterways is, of course, to keep it from entering them in the first place. But experts disagree about what that will take. The argument, like so many in American politics, pits individual freedom against the common good. “Don’t you tell me I can’t have a plastic bag,” Seba Sheavly, the marine-debris researcher, says, alluding to plastic-bag bans like the one San Francisco enacted last year. “I know how to dispose of it responsibly.” But proponents of bag bans insist that there is no way to use a plastic bag responsibly. Lorena Rios, an environmental chemist at the University of the Pacific, says: “If you go to Subway, and they give you the plastic bag, how long do you use the plastic bag? One minute. And how long will the polymers in that bag last? Hundreds of years.”
We still have limited tax dollars to spend and scarier nightmares to fear. No one — not Pallister, not Moore — will tell you that plastic pollution is the greatest man-made threat our oceans face. Depending whom you ask, that honor goes to global warming, agricultural runoff or overfishing. But unlike many pollutants, plastic has no natural source and therefore there is no doubt that we are to blame. Because we can see it, plastic is a powerful bellwether of our impact upon the earth. Where plastics travel, invisible pollutants — pesticides and fertilizers from lawns and farms, petrochemicals from roads, sewage tainted with pharmaceuticals — often follow. Last June, shortly before my voyage in the Opus began, Sylvia Earle, formerly N.O.A.A.’s chief scientist, delivered an impassioned speech on marine debris at the World Bank in Washington. “Trash is clogging the arteries of the planet,” Earle said. “We’re beginning to wake up to the fact that the planet is not infinitely resilient.” For ages humanity saw in the ocean a sublime grandeur suggestive of eternity. No longer. Surveying the debris on remote beaches like Gore Point, we see that the ocean is more finite than we’d thought. Now it is the sublime grandeur of our civilization but also of our waste that inspires awe.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Trees Planted in Brooklyn

The history of tree planting in Cobble Hill is covered today in the NYTimes.  Not only do they add more oxygen to the environment, but they also help anchor residents to their homes serving as constant visual attractions.

Albany Set to Discuss Energy Efficiency

The New York State Legislature has announced that energy efficiency is now a high priority.  For discussion is their Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard program that would expand metering to solar PV systems on businesses as well as expanding the net metering for wind installations.

Hit the Road for Summer? Not so Fast

Just because school is out and you've scored a great vacation with your family doesn't mean to fill up the car's gas tank and be one in thousands of vehicles that contribute to the depletion of our environment, especially here in New York.  

Brooklyn Green features a short list of eco-friendly family vacation ideas that should help you jump start some new ideas.  Take the LIRR to local beaches, find your teenager an eco-friendly job and more.

Local Greens

Sustainable Flatbush features a short list of the legislation at work in Albany to help turn Brooklyn into a greener place.  At issue are:  tax incentives for solar energy, the regional greenhouse gas initiative, a new bottle bill, and the Green Jobs Act which will fund the development of green jobs.

Click here to get involved.

Bring Clean Energy to Brooklyn - Take Action!

Are there clean energy jobs in or near Brooklyn? Well there should be. It's time our nation made the switch to a clean energy economy.

Tell your Congressperson that you want to see tax incentives for clean energy jobs now.

Many national organizations have joined the call for clean power, including The United Steelworkers (as part of the Blue-Green Alliance), Green For All and the 25 x '25 Alliance. It's the government's job to provide business incentives for clean energy so we can expand our economy and be the pioneers of this new, exciting and necessary technology.

Speak out today!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The First Step to Living Green

Switch your current credit cards over to those that contribute to environmental causes. But what companies offer them? Below is a short list:

San Francisco-based Working Assets was founded in 1985 and currently offers a Visa card program that donates 10-centsto an array of non-profit groups such as the ACLU, Ms. Foundation For Women, Doctors Without Borders, and Earth Justice. Encouraging consumers to remain conscious about their decisions and not passive, the organization's website also accepts donations online. Working Assets also publishes Credo Action, a blog that lays out how to contact Congressional representatives in order to make your voice heard.

The Nature Conservancy also offers a Visa card that directs a fraction of consumer purchases toward wildlife preservation, and the GreenPayMastercard reduces the amount of carbon-dioxide in the air. Additionally, Green Pay offers a members a new account bonus of removing 10,000 pounds of CO2 immediately following one's first credi tcard purchase. Large corporations jumped on to this growing demand as early as last Summer. In July 2007, General Electric launched their Earth Rewards MasterCard that will set aside as much as 1% of a cardholder’s total spending toward a handful of projects that are focused on reducing the amount of greenhouse emissions. In November 2007, Bank of America announced its offering of the Brighter Planet Credit Card and stated that every 1,000 points earned with consumer purchases will fund about1-ton of carbon offsets.

But how can consumers be sure that they are also going to the right vendors for their purchases? is an online shopping website that calculates the total amount of greenhouse gases that was used to make and ship each product that is ordered and then charges each vendor a fee which is then used as an investment geared to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution. The Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment recently launched an online shopping site, that connects environmentally conscious consumers with stores that share their views. For food items, and the like, one should never forget o connect to in order to find out more about the closest CSA(Community Supported Agriculture) or to find out where to get the freshestproduce.

With these options, none of us have to rely so heavilyon governmental policies to change the world.

Greenopia - A Guide To Living Green in NYC

I haven't yet had the chance to get my hands on a copy of Greenopia, but it advertises itself as the green-version of Zagat which features a guide to green businesses throughout NYC.  That said, I am making no promises about how many pages are spent on listings in the Brooklyn borough.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Riverwired's Top 10 Green Brands

This might surprise you as much as it did me:

1. Whole Foods – natural and organic grocery store (

2. Wild Oats – natural and organic grocery store, now merged with Whole Foods.

3. Trader Joe’s – specialty retail grocery store featuring organic and natural foods (

4. Toyota – Japanese multinational corporation; currently the world’s largest automaker (

5. Honda – Japanese multinational corporation, engine manufacturer and engineering corporation (

6. Sub Zero – the industry leader of built-in refrigerators, freezers and wine storage (

7. Ikea – a privately-held, international home products retailer that sells flat pack furniture, accessories, bathrooms and kitchens at retail stores around the world (

8. Body Shop – The Body Shop is the second largest cosmetic franchise in the world and has over 2,000 stores in more than 50 countries (

9. General Electric – a multinational American technology and services conglomerate that is the world's third largest company (

10. Aveda – a company headquartered in Blaine, Minnesota, that manufactures skin care, cosmetics, perfume and hair care products, and trains students in cosmetology, and esthiology at the Aveda Institute (

Wait! Don't throw out the leftovers!

Wood scraps lying on a sidewalk are most likely headed for the garbage, right?  Wrong!  Jennifer Chait of Riverwired points out that recycling doesn't just happen in the kitchen but in the neighborhood as well.  Found objects like wrought iron, stone, rock and wood could easily be collected and crafted into other useful purposes.

Green Living in Brooklyn

How is it possible to live "green" in one of the most polluted cities in America?  Green Living in Brooklyn will supply you with the ins and outs of where to go and what to do so that you can live a "green" life right here while contributing to environmental preservation.