Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Making the Right Choice Can Be Hard

There are times when it is a better choice to go with farmed seafood than wild.  Trawling and dredging for wild shrimp does great harm to our ecosystem especially when the shrimp are coming from nations where regulations on trawling are not as strict as they are here in the U.S.  Catfish is another fish that is better to get farmed instead of wild (make sure to go with American raised farmed catfish).

But then there is the case against farmed salmon which gets stronger and stronger everyday.  Farmed salmon have made it easier and cheaper for families to have access to the fish that is often recommended for its healthy benefits.  Where twenty years ago having salmon for dinner could be pretty pricey, you can now go to places like Wal-Mart and get salmon at prices barely more than that of chicken or beef.  The problem though is that farmed salmon often live in cramped spaces where their waste creates deadspots in our seas.  Plus salmon are not vegetarian fish like catfish and sustaining in large quantities often results in the culling large quantities of other species of wild fish.

Now evidence shows that sea lice that normally would not be able to survive on wild salmon but can flourish in the environment created by some farm fishing are putting our wild salmon in danger.  Previously it had been believed that farmed fish posed no risk to their wild cousins and those who said otherwise were mostly paranoid environmentalists.  Sadly there have been flaws found in one of the bigger studies into the effect farmed fish have on wild fish.

Go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium site where you can find information on how to make a better choice when choosing what seafood to eat.  And remember to try and avoid farmed salmon.


Go over to The New York Times to read about aquaponics.  This is a great system with a little more space and a little extra money to try something new.

The Spotless Garden

Monday, August 29, 2011

Unplanned Pregnancies Increase Among Poor Women

The recent announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now requires that insured women have free access to birth control, voluntary sterilization and various other types of preventative care has been a great move by the Obama administration.  (Listen to The Brian Lehrer Show for a discussion on this.)  But what of women that are uninsured?

According to The Institute for Reproductive Health, 27% of women aged nineteen to twenty-four are uninsured.  An astounding 38% of Latin American and 17% of black American women are uninsured, while 13% of white women are also uninsured.  Frighteningly, 36% of low-income American women have no access to health insurance.  These women are not just unisured because they fit into the category of "welfare queens" demonized in the media.  In fact many of the uninsured are women employed in part-time jobs that are not required to provide insurance to their employees, about "eight out of ten uninsured women are in families with at least one part-time or full-time worker."

Now consider that poor women, regardless of relationship status, are five times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than women with higher incomes.  According to information gathered by  Guttmacher, "in 1994, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes below the federal poverty line was 88 per 1,000 women aged 15–44; it increased to 120 in 2001 and 132 in 2006-a 50% rise over the period. At the same time, the rate among higher-income women (those with incomes at or above 200% of the poverty line) fell from 34 in 1994 to 28 in 2001 and 24 in 2006-a 29% decrease. Poor women’s high rate of unintended pregnancy results in their also having high-and increasing-rates of both abortions (52 per 1,000) and unplanned births (66 per 1,000)."  On top of that, the best way to prevent the spread of STDs, many of which lead to horrifying conditions like cervical cancer or endocarditis, is access to preventive care.

There are many reasons to be concerned by these statistics beyond the obvious environmental viewpoint of being concerned about over-population.  Unintended pregnancies have long term consequences for both the woman carrying the baby and the community she lives in.  It is all the more harder to improve our communities when we allow some to fall through the cracks.

Learn more about organizations that provide preventive healthcare to women in need and learn about how you can help.  You can go to HealthCare.gov to find out ways you can get access to affordable health insurance.  And check the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for information on the type of screenings you may need.  Check below for information on various free clinics in the New York area.

NYC Free Clinic at NYU
Planned Parenthood has clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx
NYC.gov information on free and confidential testing for STDs
NYC Bureau of Immunization
Brooklyn Free Clinic
Family Planning Benefit Program a New York state Medicaid Program

After the Storm

Hurricane Irene came and went leaving quite a mess in her path.  Head over to the MTA Photostream to see some photos of the disaster left.  In Fort Greene Park, beekeepers were out fighting over some honeybees that partially lost their home to Hurricane Irene.

The clean up seems to be happening pretty fast because thankfully we were able to avoid some of the worst damage.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Do You Need to Evacuate?

For New York City residents concerned about hurricane Irene, WNYC has put up a map displaying all the evacuation zones.  Just type in your address and check to see if you fall into one of the evacuation areas.  You can also call 311 for more information about evacuations in case of landfall.  Make sure you are prepared in case you suddenly have to evacuate.  Put aside a bag with any important identification like passports and other photo ID, childcare supplies, water, flashlight and personal hygiene items.  The Office of Emergency Management has information on their site about how to evacuate.  And this is their site with recommendations on other ways to be prepared.

NYC Evacuation Zones

Hydraulic Fracturing in New York metro Area Update

All Things Considered featured a segment on the SEC getting into the fight over fracking.  Listen and/or read at the NPR website to learn more.

SEC Jumps Into Fight Over Fracking

Something to Try: Solar Ovens

It's already August and summer is going to be ending soon.  Before the summer ends try something new, like cooking in a solar oven.  There are lots of resources on the internet for getting directions on how to make and use a solar oven.

Build a Solar Cooker and Basic Solar Cooker

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Not everyone in New York has access to a garden or even a fire escape for that matter.  But there are still other options out there for growing your own herbs and vegetables.  Hydroponics is not a new idea, but it is a great way to grow using less water and other resources and it's completely soil-free.  Living in New York it can be hard to come by space to set up some kind of large scale hydroponic system in your non-existent basement.  There are other options though.  Go over to the Windowfarms site and get directions on how to build your own hydroponic system without the need for expensive grow lights.  They have simple instructions on turning your window into a mini-farm and advice on what are some of the best types of plants to grow such as herbs, cherry tomatoes, peppers, okra, and strawberries that all do well in hydroponic setups.  This can also be a great project to do with the kids.

Windowfarms Official How-tos

Thinking in an Emergency

The Brian Lehrer Show had a best of episode on Friday and repeated their segment "Thinking in an Emergency."  Elaine Scary spoke about her book Thinking in an Emergency in which she discussed being prepared for an emergency and how sometimes a few less heads are the best way to deal with an emergency situation.

Thinking in an Emergency

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Invasive Species

One thing people don't usually think about when it comes to the environment is invasive species.  These are the outsider animals brought to a new environment and do a little too well harming local animals--like stray cats in Hawaii.  Invasive plants and animals can do astounding amounts of harm to any ecosystem.  Invasive species sometimes are brought to a new area accidentally (like rats) or on purpose (like rabbits in Australia brought for purposes of providing something to hunt).  Over on io9 they had a list of the worst of the worst invasive species to wreak havoc.

10 of the World's Most Invasive Species

Beekeeping in the City

Interested in beekeeping in the city?  There are lots of great resources for learning about keeping bees here in New York.  Check out New York City Beekeepers Association or NYBee for information.  There are also meetups like New York City Beekeeping.  Raising bees in New York is great for more than just having access to your very own supply of honey.  You can help fight back against the bee die-off.  Also, if you do have allergies, eating honey from bees that have collected pollen from allergy causing plants can do a lot to keep the allergies away.

If keeping bees is too much for you, you can plant a bee habitat.  There are lots of great flowers that are attractive to both butterflies and bees.  Email us your address at bklynbrokenwindow@gmail.com, put the word 'seeds' in the subject, and we'll ship you some seeds free of charge.  The only string is that you have to grow them yourself.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Urban Farming with Chickens...and Goats?

An urban goat in Seattle
The New York Times had a great article a few months back about urban farming beyond growing vegetables.  More people are starting to have things like chickens in the city, but goats?  Goats are great animals because they are smaller than cows and produce milk.  Unfortunately, they are not as easy as some would hope.  Read about the changing view of having farm animals in major metropolitan cities.

Fresh Goat Milk, Dead Wood and Dubious Neighbors

Harlem Week

Harlem Week is still going on.  There are lots of free events to enjoy.  So head over to Harlem and enjoy getting to know a great neighborhood.

Harlem Week 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

WCS Race for the Wild

The Wildlife Conservation Society is holding a 5K race October 9th to benefit the New York Aquarium.  If you don't want to race you can just as easily fundraise or just donate.  Whatever works best for you.  There are some great prizes for fundraisers also.  Registration for adults is only $30 and discounted for kids and seniors.

WCS Run for the Wild

Toilets: Need Improvement

Head over to io9 and read about the Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation's initiative to push for new toilet technology to bring proper sanitation to parts of the world where current flush toilets just aren't an option.

Bill & Melinda Gates Want You to Build Them a New Toilet

More Local Food for New Yrokers?

Mayor Bloomberg has recently made two new changes to encourage the eating of local foods in New York City.  First, greenhouses and roof gardens will be "exempt...from being counted toward buildings’ height and floor area measurements."  And secondly, the mayor also signed in a "bill urging city agencies to buy more often from the state’s farms and processing facilities."

Read more about this at The New York Times' website.

West Nile in Mosquitoes

West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in some parts of Brooklyn.  The best way to avoid West Nile is to stave off mosquitoes.  Remember to remove any standing water around your home and if you're going to be in areas known to be heavily infested with mosquitoes make sure to wear long pants and keep your arms covered.  Check out The Brian Lehrer Show for more information on mosquitoes and why they may be picking you.

West Nile Virus Found in Brooklyn Mosquitoes

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Over on Brownstoner

Head over to Brownstoner today to read about two things going on in the Brooklyn area.  First there is Addressing the Rodent Problem Near Atlantic Yards and then there is the update on The Prospect Park West Bike Lane.  Read up and comment!

Volunteers Needed in September

We are going to need volunteers for September 3rd, 10th, 18th and 25th at one o'clock to help collect broken glass in Fort Greene Park.  Glass will be recycled at a local facility in New Jersey.  Please feel free to email us at bklynbrokenwindow@gmail.com if you would like to volunteer for this or any other future projects.

Human Disease Threatening Caribbean Coral

Elkhorn coral, "among the most important reef-building species in the Caribbean," is facing exstinction because of something rarely seen before.  A human bacteria has now infected the coral.  It took years of study to prove that this bacteria, found in the human gut, was what has been causing white pox in elkhorn coral.  And with evidence showing where the disease is coming from a solution has been found to help stave off the disease threatening our beautiful ecosystem.  The solution: updating waste water systems.

Unfortunately, this solution is pretty pricey.  It costs one Florida community $70 million dollars to update their system.  The price was more than worthwhile since the old system was causing problems for the community's tourist population in addition to the harm it was doing to the Florida Keys.  Though this has resulted in the removal of a lot of human waste from the seas where elkhorn coral are found, there are still many other American cities and Caribbean islands that would need to follow the same lead to prevent this disaster from continuing to hit the elkhorn population.  Sadly, not all communities can afford to spend that kind of money on updating waste facilities--updates that would benefit more than just the elkhorn coral.

Read more about this and listen to more of the story on All Things Considered by NPR.

Kickstarter Project

Head over to Kickstarter and help out design.plot.  They only have six days left to raise money for the beautiful community garden they want to build in a Greenpoint vacant lot.  There are lots of great things that they are offering to investors.  So get over there and invest now!

Summer Streets in NYC Ends This Weekend

August 20th will be the last day this summer to enjoy Summer Streets in Manhattan.  Make sure to take advantage of the free exercise classes and all the great free space opened up.

Summer Streets

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

See Something Beautiful: The Richmond Parkway Interchange

Vanishing Road via Nathan Kensinger

Anyone that has managed to catch National Geographic's Aftermath: Population Zero already knows that when we are gone, nature will reclaim the land.  But you can get a sneak peak of that by heading over to Staten Island to see the abandoned Robert Moses project The Richmond Parkway Interchange.

Originally, The Richmond Parkway Interchange was intended to be a 9.5 mile roadway that "would have connected southern Staten Island to the Staten Island Expressway" and "provid[ed] quick access to the nearby Verrazano-Narrows Bridge."  But that was not to be.  The completed project would have resulted in the destruction of the Staten Island Greenbelt.  Members of the community rallied together to save the acres of greenery leading Mayor John Lindsey, in 1966, to put an end to the project.

Now forty five years later all that is left, other than grafitti and broken bottles, is green breaking through a curving road.  Head over to Staten Island and check out a piece of history.  Or go to Nathan Kensinger's site to see some of the beautiful photographs taken of the area.

Nathan Kensinger Photography

The Future of Farming?

Hydro-membranes, such as the ones seen in the video above could be a possible future for growing plants in the home or on future space missions.

Growing Plants on Thin Films

Monday, August 15, 2011

NASA's Atlantis Shuttle Crew to be in New York

The last crew to fly in the space shuttle will be in Manhattan all this week making public appearances.  If you can't make it out, try to catch them on The Colbert Report Tuesday, August 16th.  Wednesday's event will be free.

When: Tuesday, August 16 from 10:30 am to 11:30 am
Where: The American Museum of Natural History

When: Wednesday, August 17 from 10am to 4pm
Where: Eventi Plaza

When: Thursday, August 18 from 10 am to 2:30 pm
Where: New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Go to Space.com for more information.

Go Here: Green in Bklyn

This Clinton Hill store is a great place to go and find eco-friendly products.  They carry everything from chemical free laundry detergents to toys made from recycled materials to kitchen supplies.  Another great thing about this store is that they accept number five plastic for recycling (New York City collects only number one and number two plastics).  They carry many fair trade, biodegradable and recycled products.  The owner of the store also works in the store and has to be one of the friendliest ladies you'll ever meet.  So head over there and pick up something nice.

They are located at 432 Myrtle Ave (between Waverly and Clinton Avenues)  and open everyday except Monday.

Green in Bklyn

New York Schools Cut Their Energy Bills

With shrinking financial resources and increasing need, schools all over the nation have been forced to look at other ways to save money.  One big way has been to reduce energy waste in schools previously infamous for being energy wasters.  Simple things such as turning off lights in empty rooms to things as big as replacing old boilers have been a great boon to help schools save a significant amount of money that could be better used to educate our kids.

Read more about the energy savings in New York area schools over at The New York Times.

Fracking Update

Go to Care2Causes to read a letter by twenty scientists from thirteen institutions criticizing Secretary of Energy Steven Chu's "lack of impartiality." "According to the letter, six of the seven members of the Natural Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board have current financial ties to the natural gas industry."

This is very concerning.  Keep informed since this will have a huge impact on the state of New York's environment and economy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wal-Mart in New York?

With Wal-Mart trying to get a foothold in the New York metro area, many people are taking sides on whether Wal-Mart will benefit or harm New Yorkers.  Frontline had a great episode a few years back called Is Wal-Mart Good for America that did a great job of examining Wal-Mart's policies.  Also check out the national bestseller The Wal-Mart Effect, which also does a great job of examining Wal-Mart's policies and practices in addition to examining the grand changes Wal-Mart has had on the American consumer and business.  Also read about the education donations Wal-Mart has made to New York City schools and the controversies surrounding them here and here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Could this happen here?

Head over to The New York Times to read about Singapore's ten year development plan to "go from being 'a garden city' to 'a city in a garden'."  Much like New York, their population is rapidly increasing.  But the amount of greenery in their city has also increased amazingly.  Becoming a "city in a garden" sounds like an amazing idea that could help greatly improve the lives of the inhabitants of any city.

An Urban Jungle for the 21st Century

Today on WNYC

On The Brian Lehrer Show there will be an Atlantic Yards Check-In.  And on The Leonard Lopate Show Summer Stuff: Camping which will tell you some of the areas you can go camping in New York and well...how to camp.

Public Library Hours Expanding!

Great news!  Public libraries in Brooklyn will be expanding their hours starting next month.  Some will be adding Saturdays and others will be adding extra hours to the days that they are already open.

NY Daily News

Lightbulbs: The Switchover

Halogen light bulbs have the high quality
lighting of incandescent but are less
efficient than LEDs and CFLs 

Head over to the New York Times for a great article clearing up some of the misconceptions on the changes coming to our choices in lighting.  In addition, they have some great photos of the various types of light bulbs currently available and advice on which type is best for which room.

Almost Time to Change the Bulb

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do this: Camping in Prospect Park

Sign up today for a 24-hour lottery to get the opportunity to go camping in Prospect Park on August 19th from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.  The lottery closes tonight at 11:59 p.m.  Only one family per household can sign up.  So get over there and get your name into the lottery for a rarely available opportunity to sleep under the stars in beautiful Prospect Park.

Registration for Family Camping

Passive Homes

 Germany's first passive house in Darmstadt.

A passive house is a home that is designed specifically to have ultra-low requirements for space heating and cooling.  The first known Passivhaus appeared in Darmstadt, Germany in 1990.  The Passivhaus-Institut was created in Darmstadt in September 1996 to set standards for the passive home.  Since then an estimated 25,000 of these homes were built in Austria and Germany as of 2010.

In general, a passive house requires a whopping 70-90% less energy than the standard home.  The vast majority of passive homes appearing today are built in Scandanavia and German speaking countries.  Homes can be built from scratch as a passive home or already existing homes can be upgraded to become passive homes as is happening here in Brooklyn.  (Head over to Inhabitat New York City to see great photos of Brooklyn's first passive house.)

Passive homes use a mix of superinsulation, advanced window technology, airtightness, ventilation, passive solar design and landscape to achieve the level of reduction in energy usage for a home to meet the requirements to be considered a passive house.  In addition, passive homes use daylighting, passive daylighting and active daylighting to keep energy requirements low.

Hopefully passive homes will be the future of all housing in New York and the rest of the U.S. and affordable for everyone searching for a home.

Also check out zero-energy building.

For Your Home: Terrariums

Pitcher plants in a terrarium.

This New York Times' article appeared a while back discussing the roaring comeback terrariums have made--and make sure you check out the slideshow.  There are simple instructions on making your own terrarium and they have interviews with a few unique terrarium sellers.  Terrariums are a great way to bring the outdoors indoors in an elegant way.

Also, check out this Design Sponge article on the history of terrariums--great for inspiration in making your own terrarium.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Use This Instead: Liquid Castile Soap

This plant based soap efficiently loosens grime and dirt from surfaces without dulling thm.

Mix 1/4 cup with hot water in a bucket and use the solution to clean your car.  Clean exterior, windshield, hubcaps and tires with a large sponge then hose off.  Same solution can also be used to clean just about any type of flooring.  For extra greasy floors, add 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar to the solution.

Two drops of liquid Castile soap added to one quart warm water can be applied to leather upholstery with a barely moist sponge for cleaning.

Add 1 tablespoon to one quart warm water to clean marble countertops.  Use cloth dampened with solution, rinse and then dry with a clean cloth.

Replace harsh chemical laden products like Soft Scrub with 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap combined with 1/3 cup baking soda.

Can also be used to clean your stovetop and vent hood.  Just add a few squirts to 2 cups of hot water.  Cuts through grease perfectly.

Get more cleaning ideas from The Naturally Clean Home

Bonus: Go here for directions on making your own liquid Castile soap!

Making the Right Choice: Sustainable Seafood

 A Thai shrimp farm

Our seas are losing their great diversity with the ever depleting supply of seafood.  We have been told that we should add fish to our diets for better health, but then there are concerns with issues like mercury, PCBs and over-fishing.  How does a consumer know what is safe to eat?

There are many fish that you can feel safe eating without any of the guilt of doing damage to the environment.  One major fish to avoid is Bluefin Tuna.  Popular in sushi restaurants, it is good to avoid on two fronts.  One: studies have found that these very large predatory fish often have levels of mercury exceeding the FDA's "action level" for mercury.  Two: bluefin tuna are severely overfished.  You can go to the Environmental Defence Fund website where they maintain a list of seafood health alerts.  They also have a great sushi eco-rating list.

Companies like Fresh Direct are becoming more aware of their consumers desires to make better decisions when it comes to buying seafood.  Much of their seafood now display sustainability ratings.  Seafood is rated from light green (ocean-friendly) to red (could use significant improvement).

You should also look at things like where your seafood is coming from.  With some fish it is better to go with wild caught like salmon.  But other times it is better to go with the farm raised like catfish.  Also take into consideration what country the seafood may have come from.  American farm raised shrimp is a much better choice over imported shrimp.

Of course, when you are out shopping at the grocery store it can be a little harder to pick what may be the best seafood right off the top of your head.  That is why Monterey Bay Aquarium now has a consumer wallet guide that you can download and keep with you to help you make the best choice.  Also check out the Marine Stewardship Council for more information.

Low Risk
- Farmed clams, mussels, oysters and bay scallops
- Alaska salmon
- Striped bass
- Pacific cod
- Albacore tuna
- Crawfish
- Squid
- Pacific soles
- Catfish
- King and Spanish mackerel
- Shrimp, U.S.-farmed
- Tilapia
- Dungess, imitation, kona and stone crabs
- Pacific halibut
Some Problems
- Black seabass
- Blue, snow, jonah and king crabs
- Lingcod
- Mahi mahi
- Sea scallops
- Spiny dogfish, thresher and mako sharks
- Atlantic flounders and soles
Abundant Problems
- Groupers
- Orange roughy
- Chilean seabass
- Rockfish
- Atlantic cod
- Snappers
- Shrimp, imported
- Farmed (Atlantic) Salmon
- Swordfish
- Sharks, imported
- Bigeye, yellowfin and blue-fin tuna

Monday, August 8, 2011

Volunteers needed for the month of September

We are going to need volunteers for the Fort Greene Park glass cleanup in September.  And remember, we're still have lots of Bumblebee Habitat Seeds to give away.  Just email your name and address to bklynbrokenwindow@gmail.com and put the words 'seeds' in the subject line.

Brooklyn Park Glass was funded by ioby.

Design.plot: A Public Art Project in Brooklyn

 Planned layout for vacant lot.

Head over to Kickstarter and donate money to design.plot.  They are raising the money to turn a recently purchased vacant lot, in Greenpoint, into an "experiential community garden focused on sustainability, food production, urban living, and art."  Once the project is completed it will be open to the local community.

So head over there and help make Brooklyn even more beautiful.

Make your own solar powered vehicle

Go to Instructables to find the detailed directions on how to build your very own solar powered reverse trike designed by Farrukh Khan, a student at the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore in Pakistan.  This should make an interesting science fair project!

Shark Finning

Currently finning is illegal in U.S. waters, but it is still possible to find shark fin on the menus of restaurants all over the U.S., many of those in New York City restaurant menus.

Now you may be asking yourself what is finning and what is the big deal.  Finning involves cutting off the fin of sharks and throwing the rest back into the ocean.  The rest is the entire shark (their meat is quite inedible) that cannot live without its fin.  Since sharks cannot swim without their fins, they end up sinking to the bottom of the ocean and eventually dying slow, painful deaths.  Because of this, there has been an incredibly disturbing reduction in the number of sharks in our oceans.  This does great damage to our ecosystem.  Just imagine what the wilds of Africa would be like without lions or the Amazon without jaguars.  Sharks rarely ever pose a danger to people.  Actually, you are more likely to be killed by your toaster than be attacked by a shark.

Just recently Governor John Kitzhaber made it illegal to sell, trade, or possess shark fins in the State of Oregon.  This makes Oregon the third state to do so after Hawaii and Washington.  Currently, a similar measure passed the California State Assembly but has to be approved by the State Senate to become law.

Now let's get New York on the list of states that bans the selling, trade and possesion of shark fins.  Contact your State Assembly Representative, your State Senator, your local City Council Member and Mayor Bloomberg and tell them that you want to see an end to this barbaric practice.


About 80% of the American workforce is employed by small businesses.  Yet, much more government funding goes to the businesses that only produce 20% of the jobs.  Why invest in a multinational company when you can instead invest in a business in your local community to benefit your local community.

Today on The Leonard Lopate Show, Leonard interviews Amy Cortese on her new book Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It.  Listen to the show and learn more about the resources out there for helping your community.

Friday, August 5, 2011

In Season: Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are all over farmers' markets in the city right now.  And that means it's time to make something delicious with tomatoes.  Head over to the New York Times for a slideshow of great recipes you can make with fresh tomatoes this summer.  Like Fried Green Tomatoes, Carmelized Tomato Tarte Tatin or Tomato Jam.

Recipes for Summer Tomatoes

What is fracking?

With the new push for fracking upstate, there are a lot of questions about what fracking is and what effect it will have on us.

By definition, hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is "the process of initiating and subsequently propagating a fracture in a rock layer, employing the pressure of a fluid as the source of energy" and is "done from a wellbore drilled into reservoir rock formations, in order to increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of oil and natural gas."

Many are pushing natural gas as the new "green" energy that will solve a lot of our carbon problems.  Unfortunately, natural gas consists of high amounts of methane which is even more damaging to our environment.  Apart from the concern about the amount of methane that could be potentially put into our atmosphere with the increased amount of natural gas, there are also great concerns about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid.  Many of these chemicals pose threats to local waterways.  Unfortunately, fracturing fluid has been exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act by the U.S. Congress in 2005.

A scary possibility when water is contaminated.

This American Life recently had a great radio show on the effect fracking has had on the state of Pennsylvania from academia to small town politics.  The show, Game Changer, tells several very eye-opening stories on what we could expect to see if fracking happens here on the level some want.

Go to WNYC News to learn more about the panel put together by Governor Cuomo's administration "tasked with giving advice on some of the most sensitive issues related to the controversial gas drilling technique."  Also, check out Explainer: What the Frak is Fracking? to learn more about the proces.  Read up on the U.S. governments attempt to quash Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's push to learn more about the effect hydraulic fracturing has had on the Delaware River Basin here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gowanus by Design

 First place winner Gowanus Flowlands

Go over to the Gowanus by Design website to see the winners of their most recent design competition.  Designers were asked to reimagine Gowanus with “dynamic, pedestrian-oriented architecture that engages with the Gowanus Canal and the surrounding watershed.”  First place winner Gowanus Flowlands is an imaginative look at modern ecologically friendly design with oyster beds to remove toxic chemicals from the heavily polluted canal and a lily pad dotted basin between the usual hip chain stores you can find in any modern city.

Hopefully in the future Gowanus can see some of these great ideas brought to fruition.

Free Diabetes Screening August 8th

There will be a free diabetes screening at the Dodge YMCA (Atlantic Avenue between Court Street and Boerum Place) on Monday, August 8th, between 10 AM and 1 PM.  Call (718) 230-1379 ext. 214 or check The Family Center for more information.

Toxins, the Environment and Your Health

On The Brian Lehrer Show, this is a great interview with immunologist Dr. Margaret Kripke, co-author of the President's Cancer Panel, discusses her work with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and " its focus on reducing the environmental risks for cancer" along with American Cancer Society epidemiologist Dr. Michael Thun.

Also, check out Toxic America in which Dr. Sanjay Gupta the documentary Toxic America.  The promo spot for it is a bit scary.

And watch part I of the documentary here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Battle for Brooklyn Screening Wednesdays

Battle for Brooklyn the new documentary about the fight over the Atlantic Yards Project/Barclays Stadium is screening in Brooklyn Heights every Wednesday at 7:15 PM at Brooklyn Heights Cinema (70 Henry Street).

Go to battleforbrooklyn.com for more detials, clips and listings of future screenings.

Today on WNYC

There are two interviews coming on WNYC today that may very well interest readers.  First on the Brian Lehrer Show there will be Free Preventive Care for Women.  This is an important issue that touches all our lives.  Also make sure to check out Mark Bittman on the Leonard Lopate Show discussing Taxing Bad Food to Subsidize the Good.  Another issue that is important to us all.  If you can't catch them live, make sure to go to the site later in the day or any day to listen to the podcast for free.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recycle Your Sneakers

You can recycle lots of things.  You can compost your old food scraps, you can recycle your batteries, cellphones, old soda cans, torn or ripped clothing and so much more.  But what about those old sneakers?

There are many organizations, beyond the usual route of Goodwill, that would be more than happy to take your old sneaks off your hands.


This organization takes both new and used sneakers and gives them to people in need all over the world, from hurricane ravaged New Orleans to countries on the other side of the hemisphere devestated by tsunamis.

Check out www.soles4souls.org for more information on where to donate.

Hope Runs

This non-profit group works in Kenya and Tanzania with AIDS orphans providing empowerment through education, athletics and social entrepreneurship.

Go to www.hoperuns.org for more information.


This Kenyan organization's goal is to provide empowerment to those in need through education, athletics and health initiatives.

Go to www.shoe4africa.org to find out how else you can help.

Nike Reusue-A-Shoe

Send your shoes here for them to grind down to make playground and sports surfaces.  And they will take any brand of shoe you send, not just Nikes.  This is a great place to send shoes waaaay past their prime.

nikereuseashoe.com or call 800-344-6453.

One World Running

This Boulder, CO based organization takes new and near-new running shoes and other athletic equipment for use in third world countries.

Go to One World Running Blog or call (303) 473-1314 or (303) 828-4391 for more information.

The Shoes Bank

Provides shoes to children in need both here and abroad.

For more information about the Shoe Bank, go to www.shoebank.org.

Heart and Sole

Provides shoes to those most in need the world over.

For more information go to www.com.msu.edu.

Warren Striders Track Club, Inc

This Ohio based organization provides running sneakers to local families that cannot purchase adequate running shoes for their children.

Go to warrenstriderstrackclubinc.com for more information.

Sole Responsibility

A non-profit organization formed by a group of runners in Ottawa, Canada who donate gently used running and walking shoes overseas.

Go to www.soleresponsibility.org to see how you can help.

Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper

Go the the WNYC page to hear an interview with Bill Turnbull about his book Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper.

And don't forget that you can still email us at BklynBrokenWindow@gmail.com to receive free Bumblebee Habitat seeds.  Just put the word 'seeds' in the subject line and your delivery information in the body of the email.