Friday, January 30, 2009

Please Don’t Sneeze on the Boreal Forest

Forests play an important role in our fight against global warming, in part because they absorb carbon through their respiration process, which is the opposite of animal respiration, namely they breathe carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. The huge boreal trees in Canada and the northern part of the United States hold an estimated 67 billion tons of carbon–almost eight times the amount of carbon produced worldwide in the year 2000. This carbon absorption and storage helps to slow the rate of global warming and protect those of us even thousands of miles away. The importance of this unique forest in protecting our atmosphere has lead to its being called “the lungs of the world.” Unfortunately manufacturers such as Kimberly Clark having been using boreal trees to make products such as Scott and Kleenex tissues and toilet paper. Many organizations are boycotting Kleenex and Scott products because they use pulp from old growth forests

It doesn't make sense to use paper from these old growth trees. Compared to using virgin forests for pulp, producing recycled paper saves water and energy. Recycling a ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 4,000 kilowatt hours of energy and 600 pounds of air pollution. Considering that the average North American uses 50 lbs. of tissue paper products each year, the result is a lot of water and air pollution. Consumers have the power to help save these resources and prevent more pollution by choosing recycled paper products: tissues, toilet paper and towels made of recycled paper or cloth.

NRDC has a great guide to help you selected recycled paper products. The Park Slope Food Coop carries Marcal, Green Forest, and Seventh Generation--all are 100% recycled.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Legal Protection for Brooklyn's Parrots?

Fans of Brooklyn College, visitors to Greenwood Cemetery, and others around Brooklyn are often treated to some surprising sights: green and gray wild parrots flying free in the New York skies, and the massive stick nests where they live in raucous communes.

Monk Parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus, are originally native to Argentina. They are popular cage birds, and the origins of the Brooklyn flock, though murky, are presumed to lie with escapees from the pet trade. The parrots are hardy and adaptable, and they have made many other parts of North America their home as well – including such unlikely spots as Chicago and suburban New Jersey.

Naturally, the birds charm many people. Like the famed parrots of Telegraph Hill, they have a devoted fan base and have even become a minor tourist attraction. On the other hand, as non-native birds they have no legal protection either from those who have a legitimate problem with them – including Con Ed, which sometimes suffers from power outages when nests overwhelm utility poles – or those who seek to make a quick buck by netting the birds and selling them back to pet stores.

Now, New York City Councilman Tony Avello hopes to extend legal protection to the parakeets of Brooklyn with legislation to end the unregulated destruction of parrots and impose fines on parrot poachers.

While some non-native birds, such as European Starlings and Mute Swans, can cause severe environmental damage, the Monk Parakeet has shown little inclination to displace native species or overwhelm native ecosystems in the 30 years that it has lived in Brooklyn. And of course, the eastern U.S. has already lost the only native parrot it ever had – the glamorous Carolina Parakeet, which was declared extinct in 1939.

With these facts in mind, to support pro-parrot legislation, contact:

NYC Council Member Tony Avella
38-50 Bell Blvd., Suite C,
Bayside, NY 11361

If you prefer email, please send it to the attention of Rebecca Sheehan, of Councilman Avella's office:

To learn more about Brooklyn's parrots and what you can do to help them, check out

Image from Lip Kee's Flickr pool.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Textile Recycling Expands!

Great news! The 2007-2008 pilot program to collect and recycle textiles in Union Square and Grand Army Plaza was such a great success that the program has expanded for 2009. Drop off your clean items, wearable and unwearable, at these locations:
  • Union Square Greenmarket, 16th St. and Union Square West, Saturdays and Mondays 8am-6pm
  • Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, NW entrance to Prospect Park, Saturdays 8am-4pm
  • NEW! 97th St. Greenmarket, W. 97th and Columbus Ave., Fridays 8am-2pm
  • NEW! Tompkins Square Greenmarket, E. 7th St. and Ave. A, Sundays 8am-4pm
Clothing, shoes, bedding, towels, coats, scarves, belts, handbags and hats, all are accepted. Help keep these recyclables out of landfills!

For more information, visit

Image from JenWaller's Flickr pool.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Household Goods Swap

Who needs big box stores when you can fix up your home for FREE by swapping household goods with other Coop members?

Saturday, February 7
Non-members welcome

Please follow these guidelines when choosing items to bring to the swap. All items must be clean and in good condition.

What to bring:
* Linens such as blankets, towels, sheets
* Kitchenware such as silverware, glasses, mixing bowls, etc.
* Small electronics such as telephones, clock radios, etc.
* Small lamps and appliances such as blenders and toasters
* Small rugs
* Assorted functional items--jewelry boxes, vases, picture frames, etc.

Inappropriate donations will not be accepted:
* Broken/Non-working items
* Damaged, shabby, stained or rusty items
* Items with missing pieces
* Large electronics such as computers, TVs, stereos, etc.
* Furniture
* Pillows and other items that can't be washed
* "Knick-knacks" (items with no function)

Image via IndyDina and Mr. Wonderful's Flickr pool

Monday, January 12, 2009

Help Protect NYC Watershed from Gas Drilling

We have been concerned about the possibility of companies using hydraulic fracturing to drill for gas in upstate NY and endangering the New York City watershed. To learn more, see our posts on this issue. You can help by signing this petition to support a two-year moratorium on drilling in NYS.

You can read more about this issue here and here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

More Online Eco-Resources

Need more info on an environmental issue than we have here on our blog? Then head over to the sidebar and check out one of our links to other eco-friendly websites:

Organic Consumers Association: The OCA is a grassroots organization that, "deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics." Their website has loads of news on these topics, and also includes info on their current campaigns.

Green America's Buying Green Guide : Green America (formerly Coop America) is an organization of members, including producers and consumers, working on sustainability: "issues of social justice and environmental responsibility." Use this list of 12 products to always buy green (and why) to guide your shopping.

Slate's Green Lantern: Slate Magazine's Green Lantern column provides news, tips and info on environmental topics. Recent posts discuss Fair Trade labelling, the eco-pros and cons of in-sink kitchen garbage disposals, and green pet care.

Image from smif's Flickr pool

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Recycle Brita Filters & Other #5 Plastics

Preserve, a recycled products company that makes toothbrushes, colanders and more has announced new partnerships that will help keep more plastics out of the landfill. Beginning on or around January 5, 2009, Brita water pitcher filters and CLEAN plastic items stamped with a #5, such as yogurt cups, can be mailed to Preserve or dropped off at participating Whole Foods Markets. Preserve will use the plastic in its line of products, while the filter ingredients - activated carbon and additional ion-exchange resin that reduces lead, mercury, copper, cadmium and zinc - will be regenerated for alternative use or converted into energy. For more information visit the Preserve Gimme 5 website.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Which tissue or toilet paper is best?

Start the New Year off right, by resolving to choose paper products that use as much recycled pulp as possible. NRDC has a great guide to help you. The Park Slope Food Coop carries Marcal, Green Forest, and Seventh Generation--all are 100% recycled, unlike Kleenex and Scott brands, which have no recycled content at all. Many organizations are boycotting Kleenex and Scott products because they use pulp from old growth forests, like the Boreal in Canada.