Friday, September 30, 2011

Please Explain: Endangered Species

Picture of a ring-tailed lemur

Earlier on The Leonard Lopate Show they did a "Please Explain" on the Endangered Species Act, animals that are currently threatened with extinction and some of the things being done and have been done in the past to head off extinction.

Please Explain: Endangered Species

Do Some Fun Things This Weekend

Tonight is the final installment of the High Line's open-air rail-themed movie series.  They will be screening the Alfred Hitchcock classic thriller Strangers on a Train.  Screening starts at 9 p.m.  Go to for more information.

Saturday is the Korean Day Parade.  It will be along Sixth Avenue from 38th Street to 27th Street from 12-2.  It's organized by the Korean American Association of Greater New York.

On Sunday, Midtown Comics Downtown location, 64 Fulton Street in Manhattan, will be having an Archie Kids' Day.  From 12-3 kids will be able to get a free sketch of their favorite characters from Archie Comics with the purchase of any Archie comic.  Dan Parent (Kevin Keller), Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante (Sonic, Mega Man) and Fernando Ruiz (Archie) will be there.  They are also having a one day 20% off all merchandise sale.

Also on Sunday is the 27th annual Medieval Festival in Fort Tryon Park from 11:30 a.m. to 6. 

Also check out the New York Film Festival.  It starts today and will be continuing on through October 16th.  Catch films from all over the world.  New documentaries Tahrir, classics Ben Hur and Crazed Fruit from Japan, science fiction Melancholia, the thriller Miss Bala from Mexico and the drama Policeman from Israel are some of the films you'll be able to see there.  Go to the Film Society Lincoln Center site to find out more.

Off-Broadway Week is also still going on.  Go to for a list of the discounted off-Broadway shows and promo codes.

Above images from Policeman, Kevin Keller and Crazed Fruit.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Protest, Rewrite the Constitution, Get Brandwashed and Migrant Workers

Today on WNYC they had several great interviews you should definitely hear.

First up on The Brian Lehrer Show was How to Build a Protest Movement.  Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large of Thomson Reuters, and Todd Gitlin, professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University and author of several books discuss the protests going on over on Wall Street.  In addition, they discuss past protest movements, how to create one and much more.  Also hear what some of the protesters taking part in the Occupy Wall Street movement have to say.

Also on The Brian Lehrer Show, Constitutional Un-Convention.  Christopher Phillips, scholar, pro-democracy activist, founder of the Constitution Cafe Dialogue Movement and author of Constitution Cafe: Jefferson's Brew for a True Revolution, talks about traveling across America and asking people How would you rewrite the Constitution?  There are some pretty enlightening comments made, and some not so enlightening ones.  Like did you know Thomas Jefferson said that the Constitution should be rewritten every twenty years?

On The Leonard Lopate Show, there was Brandwashed.  Martin Lindstrom talks about his book Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy.  Learn about some of the psychology behind marketing that influences even those that think that they cannot be influenced.

And lastly, Underreported: The Lives of Migrant Farm Workers.  The food we buy everyday is picked by migrant workers.  We don't think about them, but we are so dependent on them.

Brooklyn Park Glass in The Brooklyn Paper

Sorry we've been away for the past couple of days.  Colds have been going around, but we're back to work now.

Our Brooklyn Park Glass clean-up that just wrapped up this past Sunday was recently featured in The Brooklyn Paper.  With all the great feedback we've received because of this article, we are planning on extending the length of the Brooklyn Park Glass clean-up.

We got a lot of glass this weekend, but unfortunately, there is so much more that needs to be done.  Hope some of you can make it out next time.

Park in Fort Greene Anything But

Monday, September 26, 2011

'Nuisance' Garden Update

Adam Guerrero, a Math teacher in Memphis, has received a reprieve for his garden. Guerrero has agreed to keep his front yard garden trimmed, install a bubbler, put mosquito-eating fish into the pond in his backyard, reduce the number of worm bins, and add mesh covers to his rain barrels.  In addition to that great news, the judge has "advocated finding a piece of blighted property for Guerrero to devote to an educational garden." Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the ruling, but it is great to see the city of Memphis no longer pushing against front-yard vegetable gardens.

Read more at Memphis Flyer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

PCBs and Brooklyn Park Glass

This Sunday, the 25th, will be the last day of the Brooklyn Park Glass clean-up for the season.  As usual we'll be meeting in Fort Greene Park at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument at one o'clock.  Email us at if you'd like to volunteer or just come and meet us.  We've made a lot of headway in the past three weeks, but there is still quite a bit of work that needs to be done and we could use all your help.  All collected glass will be sent for recycling at a local facility.  Make sure to check back on Monday with updates on the amount of glass we were able to get out of our beautiful park.

Also check out this interview on The Leonard Lopate Show with industrial hygienist Monona Rossol, author of Pick Your Poison: How Our Mad Dash to Chemical Utopia is Making Lab Rats of Us All, and Miranda Massie of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest about the recent reports of PCBs found in New York City schools.

PCBs in Schools

Disposable Diaper Alternatives

Having kids can be pricey.  One of the pricier aspects of having kids is diapering.  The average child can easily end up using 6,000 to 10,000 diapers before potty training and all that, along with your hard earned money, just ends up in a landfill.  There are a lot of great alternative to disposable diapers though.

Cloth Diapers  Cloth diapers are nothing like they used to be.  Companies like FuzziBunz, BabyKicks and Bummis make diapers that look like disposable diapers, but are in fact cloth and come in many colors.  On top of that there are many different types of cloth diapers you can go with.  The initial cost of a cloth diaper may seem pretty pricey at $16 or more per diaper, but these are diapers that you'll never have to throw away, drastically driving down diapering costs.  You buy them once and depending how long before you decide to potty-train, you may not have to buy new diapers again.  Diapers are washed just like normal laundry (we recommend adding a little vinegar to the wash and occasionally doing a bleaching here and there) and if you just don't have time for laundry at all there are diaper services here in New York.  Another great benefit of cloth diapering is kids that potty-train sooner than those that use disposables.

Hybrid Diapers  If cloth seems like too much of a big step, you can always go with hybrid diapers.  These are generally made up of reusable outer shells, that also come in many great colors, and disposable inserts.  Many hybrid diaper makers make their inserts flushable, upping the convenience even more.  And some even offer washable inserts.  Check out companies like gDiapers or GroVia.

Elimination Communication  EC is a more old-fashioned way to go and is still used all over parts of Asia, Africa and South America.  Also known as diaper free or diaper-less training, EC takes a little more work since the parent and/or caregiver will have to learn the signs of when the child will need to go.  Essentially, elimination communication is just very early potty-training.  EC is commonly used in many parts of the world where diapering is not an option for most parents.  Even though it can be tough to do in the modern Western world, it is making a comeback with families on this side of the hemisphere.

You don't have to pick only one over the other.  A parent can easily start out with hybrids, move to cloth and then eventually EC or use a combination of EC and cloth diapering.  It is all about what is best for your family.  There are many resources out there to help you make the best choice for your child and your family.

Kelly's Closet carries both hybrid and cloth diapers that you can even purchase in bulk to lower the cost.  They also frequently have great sales and advice for parents new to cloth diapering.
All About Cloth Diapers is a blog dedicated to giving advice and recommendations for cloth diapering.
Diaper Free Baby is a network of free support groups that promote elimination communication.
Natural Baby World has advice on elimination communication.
New York Family Guide has a list of recommended diaper services in the New York area.
Yelp has reviews and ratings of different diaper services in the New York area.

And be sure to check out this article at Ecopreneurist about a diaper recycling facility that recently opened in the United Kingdom.

Above photo care of Lifehacker.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegetable Gardens a Nuisance?

With the economy not doing too well and unemployment still high, many people are looking for affordable alternatives to feed their families.  Rather than go the route of fast food and packaged foods, some are making the healthy choice and growing their own food.

During World War II they were called Victory Gardens, but now some people are looking at them as a nuisance.  Recently, Julie Bass of Oak Park, Michigan was facing the possibility of being sent to jail for over ninety days for her vegetable garden.  Bass had placed her vegetable garden in the front yard in an effort to be a good example and inspiration for her neighbors.  The city argued that her garden went against code that said "a front yard has to have suitable, live, plant material."  According to Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski: "If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster's dictionary, it will say common.  So if you look around and you look in any other community, what's common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers."  Though he is right that front lawns are common, there is the unfortunate fact that maintaining lawns as what people see fit in this day and age leads to lots of pesticides and fertilizers that run off into our water supply.  Bass decided to do something great and different and they tried to punish her for that.
A nuisance lawn?  Photo care of Julie Bass.
Thankfully, since Bass stuck to her principals and so much media attention was brought about by the uproar over the garden, Mayor Gerry Naftaly got involved and stated that she would not be facing jail time and instead the city was actually considering reworking the ordinance to allow front-yard vegetable gardens as several cities have also followed suit and done in the recent past.

Sadly, this same story is being repeated in Memphis, Tennessee.  Math teacher, Adam Guerrero has been told to remove his urban garden by a judge because it was deemed to be a nuisance.  Better yet, he was told that he failed to maintain "a clean and sanitary condition free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage."  Since when were seven-foot-tall sunflowers "rubbish or garbage"?  Guerrero has used this garden as a teaching tool for his students and that could be soon put to an end, because he is expected to return to court September 23rd to "demonstrate that he has complied with the judge's orders."

Oddly enough, a lot of these ordinances came about after World War II when soldiers were returning home and starting families in the suburbs.  Many of the same ordinances that ban goats, chickens and bee hives along with front-yard vegetable gardens were put in place to further remove us from the idea of this being an agrarian society.  But with the ever increasing populace and growing demand for food, putting up a definitive line between where you can live and where you can grow is becoming more and more unmaintainable.  We as New Yorkers are quite lucky that we can do things like have roof gardens bees and chickens.  Sure there are still landlords out there that push against those ideas, but at least the city of New York is not against us in this case unlike so many others across the nation.
Photo care of Buildaroo.

Celebrate Art In New York

The Affordable Art Fair has started today.  Go today, between four and nine p.m., and you do not have to pay admission.  Tomorrow will be the first day of the Dumbo Arts Festival.  Check out local artists all over DUMBO all this weekend.  There will be music and performances in addition to activities for the whole family.  Head over to Madison Square Park to see sculptures by Alison Saar, now through December 31st.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Every Woman Should Know

The Cartoon Movement is an international site that publishes editorial cartoons and comics selected by their readers. Right now they hve an interesting comic by Susan Cagle called What Every Woman Should Know.  It is about the deceptive practices of "crisis pregnancy centers" that often advertise themselves as medical facilities to help women.  As Cagle explains, "their undisclosed (and deceptive) goal is not to provide women with the medical information they need to make a decision, but rather to dissuade and often delay them to the point where they have fewer choices."  The comic deals with these types of centers found in California, but they can easily be found here in New York also.  The comic is only eighteen pages long, but it is a very informative read on a subject that effects all New Yorkers.

What Every Woman Should Know

And if you need to find affordable or free help, there are many medical options right here in New York.

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Urban Farming, YAY! Solyndra, NAY!

Today on The Brian Lehrer Show they discussed several issues that concern us locally and nationally.  First there was the unfortunate scandal over Solyndra.  Solyndra was to be the shining example of green energy that would create more jobs and bring cheaper more affordable green energy to the public.  But Solyndra's technology was actually pricier and their business practices were terrible to say the least.  They have recently declared bankruptcy and are being investigated by the FBI.  Fortunately this doesn't mean the end of green energy in America, but it is definitely a set back.

Solyndra, Subsidies, Scandals and Solar

On a lighter note, there was an interview about a lot of the great urban farming being done right here in New York City with June Komisar, writer of Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture, and Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, a Greenpoint based urban farm.

Carrot City: Urban Agriculture

Above photo care of NonaBrooklyn.

The Low Line Park

If you've seen the High Line Park and love it, you'll probably love the proposal by James Ramsey for a Low Line Park.  He wants to take an abandoned train station in the Lower East Side and transform it into a revolutionary underground public park.  Read more at Inhabitat New York City to see slides of the proposal and learn more about how they'll make this happen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Save Money This Fall

The Wildlife Conservation Society is offering a discount on its Family Premium Membership.  Join now and save $20.  Sixty-seven dollars of the discounted $139 membership is tax deductible.  With membership you'll be able to access the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo and Queens Zoo for free for the full year of your membership for you and the entire family.  There are other plans in case you're a single person or the family premium is a little too high for you.  Check out the other membership options they have available.

Also Halloween is soon and the time is coming to seek out a new costume for the kids.  Unfortunately, kids grow quickly so you usually end up having to replace costumes on an almost yearly basis.    Take part in the National Costume Swap Day (October 8th).  6,250 tons of waste could be saved from landfills by trading costumes rather than throwing away and buying something new.  Head over to Green Halloween and find in-person or online swap events.  Save some money and cut back on waste.

Photo by Mike Greenlar.

Fordham University Stops CSA

Rice with greens at Farm to Fordham
The New York Times has a great article about Farm to Fordham, a great CSA that brought fresh food to Fordham students and faculty as well as a local soup kitchen, being shut down because of bureaucracy.  Students and faculty paid $150 per semester to help benefit a local farm and received local seasonal fresh vegetables in return.  Left over veggies were given to the Church of St. Paul the Apostle soup kitchen.  Unfortunately though, Fordham dictated that the CSA would need to get a catering permit for every delivery, but since a CSA is not a caterer the city would not issue the permit.  Right Farm to Fordham is looking for a new location so that they can bring back this great CSA.  Contact them if you can help.  And please donate to the Church of St. Paul the Apostle soup kitchen on 60th and Columbus Avenue.  Also checkout the Farm to Fordham blog for lots f great recipes.

Buying Local, Feeding Needy, Till Fordham Calls a Halt

Brooklyn Park Glass

We had our third Brooklyn Park Glass clean-up this Sunday and The Brooklyn Paper reporter Eli Rosenberg was out with us again to not only take more pictures but to also help with the effort.  Hope to see some of you for the next and last clean-up for the season next week.  We'll be meeting at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park at one o'clock.  Gloves will be provided for volunteers.  We are also looking for a volunteer with a car to help deliver the glass to the recycling facility in New Jersey.  If you'd like to volunteer, please email us at or just come out and join us if you happen to be in the area.

Friday, September 16, 2011

To Do This Weekend

There are two great exhibitions going on at the New York Botanical Gardens right now.  First there is Mario Batali's Edible Garden.  Not only will you see the beautiful edible garden but there are also cooking demonstrations everyday.  Go now through the 25th.  There is also Fall Flowers of Japan, there are several great classes you can take to learn about Japanese flower arranging, traditional dancing and more.  The exhibit is going on now through October 30th.  Get your tickets online and save 20%.

This Sunday will be the third day of the Brooklyn Park Glass clean-up.  Come meet us at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument in Fort Greene Park at one o'clock.  We'll be collecting broken glass in the park for recycling.  Email us at if you'd like to volunteer or just come and join us this Sunday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's Up With HPV

Many of you have probably been hearing in the news about many of the Republican candidates piling on Rick Perry during the debates over his executive order as governor of Texas to make the HPV vaccine mandatory for girls under the age of twelve.  And many of you may be wondering what HPV is and why a vaccine may be necessary in the first place.

Human papillomavirus, HPV, is member of the papillomavirus family of viruses that is capable of infecting humans.  There are almost 200 known types of HPV.  Though most people show no sign of infection, many types of HPV show up in the form of warts.  Common warts, plantar warts and genital warts are all symptoms of HPV.  The large concern is with genital warts which can lead to cancer.

About 30 to 40 types of HPV are sexually transmitted.  Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV.  In some cases, HPV can lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus in women or cancers of the anus and penis in men.  One way to screen for cervical cancer in women is by way of the pap smear.  The cervix is checked for abnormal cells that may be an early sign of cancer.  The institution of the yearly pap smear has led to a great reduction in deaths as a result from cervical cancer.  All the same, there were 11,000 cases of cervical cancer and 3,900 deaths in the U.S. in 2008.  Worldwide, there are an estimated 490,000 cases and 270,000 deaths as a result of cervical cancer.  The HPV vaccines, which prevent infection with the HPV types (16 and 18) that cause 70% of cervical cancer, may be the best way to reduce cancer infection and deaths even further.

Currently, it is only recommended for girls to be vaccinated against HPV.  But since boys are not only carriers but can also be infected by cancers caused by HPV, it is highly recommended by some that boys also be vaccinated against this virus.

io9 has a great article, How Vaccines Saved the World, explaining a bit about how vaccines work and dispels some of the myths about vaccines causing autism and other disorders.

New York City Bike Share

The city of New York has now joined several cities all over the world, such as Boston, Paris, D.C. and Mexico City, in instituting a bike share program, starting in summer 2012.  Alta Bike Share will be running the 10,000-bike network.  Riders will only need to go one-way with these short term rentals expected to augment our already existent public transit system.

There will be a $100 a year fee for members of the share.  The first thirty minutes will be free, after that riders will be able to rent bicycles for up to two hours.  Bikes can be rented from any of the 600 planned stations and then returned to any station of your choosing all over the city.

So far stations are only planned for Manhattan, below Seventy-Ninth Street, Brooklyn and Queens.  You can go to the City's Bike Share site to recommend a final location and learn more about the program.  Members of the bike share will be responsible for their own bike helmets.

New York City Bike Share

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Housing for Those in Need Accepting Applications

40 Vanderbilt Avenue is a new complex developed by Pratt Area Community Council.  Currently they are accepting applications for thirty-eight studio apartments that "will go to single adults with incomes ranging from $21,774 to $28,650."  In addition, there are another fifty-nine units reserved for "chronically homeless" individuals.  This is all part of a larger mixed income complex that will also have.  Brownstoner posted some pictures of the construction last month here.

Also check this out at Care2:  Comcast Offers Reduced Price Internet to Low-Income Families.

Scenes from Fukushima Exclusion Zone

io9 had some great footage from the BBC and the Guardian showing some of the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  They are haunting images from two communities from within the exclusion zone.  See what happens when lives are put on hold and everything must be dropped in a moments notice.

Scenes from the Fukushima exclusion zone: towns frozen in time and overrun by nature

The Takeaway also had this report: The Fukushima Exclusion Zone: Six Months Later

Urban Design Festival

The Urban Design Week is going on right now.  Check out events across the five boroughs including tours, seminars, screenings and more.  Many events are free, so you don't have to break the bank.  Events are organized by groups you may have heard of like Transportation Alternatives, and (one of our sponsors).  So check out the schedule of events going on now through September 20th.

Urban Design Week 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Kids Need to Play

Over at Care2, they list the reasons kids need to get out and play while at school.  With standardized testing increasing, things like P.E. and recess have been suffering or just cut altogether.  Kids today are less active than they were just a few years ago.  It is bad enough that parents are now often encouraged to drive their kids to school rather than have them walk and/or ride their bikes for the sake of "safety."  Safety in general has been a huge excuse to limit kids from having normal happy healthy childhoods.

Check out some of the reasons kids need to play.

Cognitive development: Numerous studies show how much better students do at school once they have moved around, stepped outside, and got the oxygen flowing. Studies show that just being exposed to the outdoors can improve memory, concentration and grades. The pace of play in nature is self-regulated and thus can increase attention span and stimulate the senses.
Physical development: The decline of playtime in our schools is closely link to childhood weight problems. With one third of our youngsters either overweight or obese, this is a serious issue. Most adolescents fall short of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity each day. Daily, quality physical education in school can help students meet the Guidelines. However, in 2009 only 33% attended daily physical education classes.
* Creativity: Kids today are becoming less creative and imaginative than they used to be. In a 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas. They are also less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas, Kim said.
* Mind and body: Children in Finnish elementary schools—who get an average of 75 minutes of recess a day—consistently rank higher than U.S. children in International Student Assessment Scores. (By comparison, the U.S. average is 27 minutes a day.) In comparison to the United States and many other industrialized nations, the Finns have implemented a radically different model of educational reform—based on a balanced curriculum and professionalization, not testing.
* Too much busywork: Reviews of homework studies reveal very little correlation between the amount of homework and achievement in elementary school. One of the best-known experts, Harris Cooper, Ph.D, a professor and director of education at Duke University, has reviewed over a hundred studies on the effectiveness of homework. In general, he has found that the benefits of doing homework depend on the student’s grade level. In elementary school it has no measurable effect on achievement, although it may help children develop good study skills.

The only way to get kids back outside is for parents and teachers to stand up for kids.  Speak to your school board and principals about the benefits of kids at play.

Above pictures from Empowered by Play and Life Magazine.

Things to Know

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is more than likely to approve the landmarking of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District.  As anyone can imagine there are a lot of strong feelings on both sides of the matter.  Read up a little more on the buildings to be landmarked and about those for and against, Landmark Commission to Vote on Brooklyn Skyscraper Historic District.  *Update Skyscraper District Passes in a Unanimous Vote by LPC!

New York is known for it graffiti.  Some love it, some hate it.  But it cannot be denied that it takes a lot of great talent to do it well.  Over at WNYC, check out A Tour of NYC's Coolest and Oldest Graffiti.  They have pictures and mapped locations of some of New York's greatest graffiti art.  Some of the artwork may look familiar to you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cleaning, Greening and Crime

Photo by Gerry Padden
Broken Window had its second clean-up this past Saturday and a reporter from The Brooklyn Paper was there to ask us questions.  Will post a link to the article as soon as it becomes available.  We'll be having two more clean-ups on the 18th and 25th.  We hope some of you can make it out one of those days.  Email us at if you'd like to volunteer or just meet us on any of the days listed above at one o'clock at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument at the top of Fort Greene Park.

In the meantime, head over to The Wall Street Journal to read How to Build a Greener CityThe New York Times has a great article about food trucks targeting kids in San Francisco, read it hereSlate also has an article on strange animal smuggling stories, Psst...Know Where I Can Get Some Parrot Eggs?  And on The Brian Lehrer Show, Murray Weiss of DNAinfo was interviewed about crime statistics in the New York City area.  How does your neighborhood rate?  You might be surprised.

Mapping Crime

Friday, September 9, 2011

What To Do This Weekend

Tomorrow we'll be having our second Fort Greene Park clean up called Brooklyn Park Glass.  Meet with us September 10th at one o'clock at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument.  We'll be collecting broken glass all over the park from one to about two thirty.

There will also be the Sun to Stars South Asian Festival at Solar1.  Festivities will be held from two p.m. to ten.  There will be free performances and from two to four there will be special activities for children two and up.  Check out the Solar1 website for more info and pictures from last year's festival.

And check out Muslims for Life for locations on where you can donate blood to commemorate those that lost their lives on September 11th.

Eating Meat

Our current excessive consumption of meat does irreparable damage to both our health and the environment.  Animals are generally raised in unsanitary conditions and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones.  Much of the grain that is grown in the world today is not for human consumption but in fact grown to feed cows that shouldn't even be eating grain in the first place.  On top of all of that there are waste lagoons and manure sprayfields endangering our water supplies.

One way to help alleviate these problems is to consume less meat.  You can go the Michael Pollan route of no meat before seven.  Consumers can also purchase less from supermarkets and more from local producers.  Some people choose to go vegetarian or completely vegan.  But that is not a choice everyone in the world is going to make.  Right now, there are scientists looking for another solution.

Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, Brian spoke to New Yorker staff writer on science, technology and public health Michael Specter (author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives) about cultured meat.  Cultured meat is lab grown meat that could go a long way to solve many of our problems with meat, but is not yet ready for large scale human consumption.

Shmeat: Is It What's For Dinner?

Also check out this segment from a classic episode of Nova ScienceNow about cultured meat.

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.

Using Unemployment as an Excuse

The American Petroleum Institute recently put out a report pushing for increased domestic drilling and the use of tar sands.  According to them these policies will "deliver 1.4 million new jobs, boost tax rolls by $800 billion, and increase domestic energy production almost 50 percent."  But according to Think Progress "[f]ishing jobs could be put a risk by drilling. The API Report cites a possible creation of 100,000 drilling jobs in Florida as part of its broader suite of job creation numbers. Yet Floridians have consistently opposed opening new areas to drilling because of the impact it would have on tourism. A 2006 report from the National Ocean Economics Program cites 361,000 Tourism & Recreation jobs in Florida (261,000 direct, and 100,000 indirect and induced), plus about 9,000 commercial fishing jobs, all of which would be put at risk by drilling.  Tourism, recreation, and fishing contributed $18.9 billion to Florida’s GDP in 2005. Other reports have pegged Florida’s tourism industry as supporting more than a million jobs."

Imagine the amount of jobs that could be saved by instead going green.  The installing and developing of solar panels and wind turbines in American homes and private businesses all over the U.S. would not only decrease pollution and decrease our dependence on the "foreign" oil many politicians rail against but it would create many American jobs and save families large sums of money.  One Block Off the Grid has a great infographic detailing the amount of jobs that could be created by just going solar alone.

We need jobs, but we can't continue to destroy our environment in the process.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are We Killing the Bees?

For the past couple of years, our honeybee populations have been dropping dramatically.  There is the dangerous possibility of us no longer having bees that pollinate the very food that keeps us alive.  Already in some areas of China there are no longer bees and trees must be hand-pollinated by humans.  This can be an already difficult solution for maybe one or two trees in your backyard, but imagine trying to do that all over America.

Currently, one of the suspects in the collapse in bee populations are pesticides called neonicotinoids.  Originally created to be a safer alternative to DDT, they are turning out to be not only just as dangerous but possibly even more toxic.  Just as frightening is the fact that an EPA document leaked showing that they already suspected the dangers these pesticides caused to bees, harming the very thing that makes our food possible and doing great damage to the environment.  And it's not just the EPA finding these links.  A researcher at the USDA has made a link between a Bayer made pesticide and colony collapse.

Many scientists suspect that it is a mix of different things causing colony collapse beyond pesticides like the way in which honeybees are farmed by large industrial companies, the fact that many bees no longer have access to a wide range of food sources and possibly viral and fungal diseaseNature had a great episode called Silence of the Bees (full episode can be watched here) that discusses many of these possibilities.

There are many things you can do to help.  One is to purchase local honey from smaller producers that can be found at green markets and many local stores.  You can plant your own bee habitat to help provide for both wild and farmed bees in the New York area.  We give seeds away for free, just email us your information at and we'll send you flower seeds free of charge.  You can also consider raising your own rooftop or backyard bees now that that is perfectly legal in New York City.

Help make a change and save our bees.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Electronic Waste Recycling Days

The Lower East Side Ecology Center is holding 17 electronic waste ("e-waste") recycling events in all five boroughs in September and October to responsibly recycle unwanted or broken electronics from New York City residents. The dates and locations are listed below along with links to flyers (PDF) for each event. Please use the flyers to help get the word about about the event.

A list of acceptable materials can be found here . We accept electronics from households, small businesses (less than 50 employees, please call ahead) and not-for-profits. We do not accept home appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators, or air conditioners.

September 17, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Tekserve, 119 West 23rd Street b/w 6th and 7th Avenues, Manhattan 

September 18, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer Flyer (Bilingual)  
Delancey Street b/w Chrystie and Forsyth Streets, Lower East Side, Manhattan 

September 20, 2011 | 11:00am - 7:00pm Directions Flyer  
Church of the Heavenly Rest, 5th Avenue and East 90th Street, Manhattan

September 24, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
St. John's University parking lot, enter at Gate 4, Union Tpke and 175th Street, Queens

September 24, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Habana Outpost, Fulton Street b/w South Portland Avenue and South Oxford Street, Brooklyn

September 25, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
NY Hall of Science visitor parking lot, enter at 111th Street and 49th Avenue, Flushing, Queens

September 25, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Van Cortlandt Park, Broadway b/w Manhattan College Pkwy and Post Road, Bronx

October 01, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Smith Street b/w President and Union Streets, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

October 01, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
The New New York, N 11th Street b/w Kent and Wythe Avenues, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

October 02, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Showplace Entertainment Center (across from old DMV), 141 E Service Road and Beresford Ave, Staten Island  

October 02, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Furman Street b/w Old Fulton and Doughty St, Brooklyn

October 15, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
8th Avenue b/w 14th and 15th Streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn

October 16, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
7th Avenue b/w 4th and 5th Streets, Park Slope, Brooklyn

October 22, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer 
Restoration Plaza, Herkimer St entrance b/w New York and Brooklyn Aves, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

October 22, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Amsterdam Avenue b/w West 96th and West 97th Streets, Manhattan 

October 23, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
PS 29 Schoolyard, Baltic Street b/w Henry and Clinton Streets, Brooklyn

October 23, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer  
Stuyvesant Town, 14th Street Loop, enter at 14th St and Ave A, Manhattan

The electronic waste recycling program is made possible by Tekserve, Con Edison and The New York Community Trust. We would like to thank AAFE, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Carnegie Hill CSA, Church of the Heavenly Rest, Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Civitas, Cobble Hill Association, Department of Parks & Recreation, Friends of Carroll Park, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, Grass-roots, GreenhomeNYC, Habana Outpost, New York Hall of Science, Park Slope Civic Council, PS 29, PS 29PTA, Showplace Entertainment Center, St. John's University, Stuyvesant Town & Peter Cooper Village, Tekserve, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Member James Brennan, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Councilmember Brad Lander for being involved in these events.

DIY and Save Some Green

Planning on going camping and worried about things like your cellphone losing juice?  Build a camping wind turbine with instructions over at Instructables.  The small wind turbine will be more than sufficient enough for powering batteries and other small objects you many need in a bind.

 As a bonus, also on Instructables, see how this man built his own larger scale wind turbine for his home.  He lives in a remote area of Arizona where electric service was not possible otherwise.  He also has links to instructions on building a solar panel and a biomass gassifier.  Electricity Producing Wind Turbine.


An extra bonus: Top 10 Repair Projects You Should Never Pay For over on Lifehacker.  Find instructions for repairing bicycles, clothing, plumbing and so much more that can cost you a pretty penny to get done professionally.

Save money when you have the right information!