Monday, June 29, 2009

Permanent Status for PSFC Shop & Cycle Committee

The Park Slope Food Coop's May 26th, 2009 General Meeting took up two proposals of the Shop & Cycle Committee, as described in the June 18th, 2009 issue of The Linewaiters' Gazette. The first was to move the Committee from its current exploratory status (since the spring of 2008) to permanent status. The Committee would be charged with supporting cycling as an eco-friendly means of traveling to and from the Coop.

The second proposal was to commission a survey of the Coop membership, to cost a maximum of $300, on bike and general transportation related issues to and from the Coop. Both proposals passed by large majorities.

The Committee has already produced some results, having successfully petitioned the Department of Traffic for new bike racks near the Coop. You may remember that almost two years ago, the Environmental Committee first successfully petitioned the DOT for additional bike racks. Those racks were quickly overwhelmed, such was the demand for bike parking. So these newly installed racks come as a welcome addition. The new committee has also begun to set up valet bike parking trials at the Coop.

An intriguing discussion arose about the possibility of a fleet of pedicabs servicing the Coop. Imagine shopping at the Coop and then instead of calling a car service to transport you and your groceries home, you called a pedicab service. Better still, imagine if a member of the Street Squad rode you and your groceries home in one of the Coop's very own pedicabs, instead of just returning Coop carts that members use to transport their groceries to their cars. Such a service would extend the reach of the Street Squad far beyond its current range and help eliminate the need of many members to use their cars to shop at the Coop.

Traffic on Union Street and 7th Avenue is fairly legendary. A recent Transportation Alternatives study of traffic in Park Slope found that 45% of traffic on 7th Avenue are cars looking for parking, that during normal business hours, 97% of free and metered spaces are occupied, and that cars sometimes cruise for nearly an hour looking for a space. Clearly, any trend away from driving would dramatically improve air and noise pollution, congestion, and general quality of life in the the Coop's 'hood.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sustainable Cities Lectures this Summer

Hop the free ferry to Governor's Island on Saturdays this summer to catch free lectures on a variety of environmentally-friendly topics, sponsored by the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities.

"This summer's lecture series includes expert speakers on a variety of topics, including a workshop on how to start composting (yes, even in a New York City apartment!), how to eat locally while saving money and eating better, top tips on how to make your home more energy efficient and save bundles of money in the process, easy ways to green your workplace, a workshop on how to grow a mini garden in your apartment or on your fire escape (and, of course, in a community garden), and info from experts on the best places to bike in New York City (and how to take care of your bike so it lasts longer than everyone else's), among many more!"

Click here for more information.

Image from jonmeyer's Flickr pool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gas Companies Threaten NY Water

Here is a recent Gazette letter to the editor from coop member Elizabeth Tobier. Thank you Elizabeth, for continuing to call attention to this important issue.

Did you read Adriana Velez’s article in the April 23, 2009 Gazette, “Coop Hosts Forum on Protecting New York City’s Watershed?” The article is about the March 21 event sponsored by our Environmental Committee to spread the news concerning a HUGE environmental disaster pending that will directly affect you, me and every other being in New York City. What is happening is that natural gas companies intend to drill in the Catskills, which is the location of the watershed where NYC gets its water. As soon as they get the go-ahead from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, these companies plan on trucking in or otherwise taking from local springs billions of gallons of water. They are going to add toxic chemicals to that water and then shoot that mixture a mile into the ground, using a method called hydro-fracturing, in order to get at the gas. At the end of the process, companies such as Chesapeake Energy hope to reap a big profit and leave it to the taxpayers to bear the expense of dealing with the incredible pollution of the air, earth and water that will be the result of their activities.

The companies have already leased up land in the Catskills and their lobbyists are visiting our legislators daily. Meanwhile, very few people in NYC even know that the source of our water is the Catskills, let alone have any awareness of the drilling threat.

The Sierra Club will be organizing future meetings and panel discussions around NYC to spread awareness and gather support for efforts by some to stop the drilling. Anybody can go to a meeting and hear much more detailed information about this issue. I hope this letter will encourage you to send an email to Carolyn Zolas of the Sierra Club, who can be reached at, and let her know that you would like to receive notices about upcoming meetings on this issue.

This disaster can be stopped by you and me and others, if we take action.
Elizabeth Tobier

To learn more about this issue, see our other posts on the watershed issue.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Screening of Blue Gold--Global Water Wars

When: Saturday, June 20 at 7pm

Where: Park Slope Food Coop
782 Union Street, bet. 6th & 7th Aves, Brooklyn

The award-winning, 90-minute documentary Blue Gold—Global Water Wars addresses how corporate giants, private investors and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling fresh water supply. Presenter and Coop member Henry Rock has been a passionate advocate of innovative technological solutions to water, energy and habitat issues.

Members and Non-members welcome!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

House Party Benefit for Corporate Accountability International

Please join us for an informative and engaging evening with New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and noted food author Marion Nestle to benefit Corporate Accountability International, Wednesday June 17. The event will be held at the loft of long time Corporate Accountability International supporters Jaimie Cloud and David Levine, in Soho. Click here to RSVP.

Since 1977, Corporate Accountability International (formerly Infact) has waged and won campaigns that challenge irresponsible and dangerous actions by corporate giants. Today our mission is more urgent than ever and we need your continued support.

Christine Quinn has been a strong advocate of Corporate Accountability International's water and food campaigns. She champions investment in New York City public water infrastructure and as Speaker of the New York City Council has phased out the city's purchasing of bottled water.

Marion Nestle is one of the nation's leading food experts and is on the advisory board of our Value [the] Meal campaign, which challenges McDonald's to stop contributing the current epidemic of diet-related disease.

Please join us at David Levine and Jaimie Cloud's loft in Soho on June 17 to hear about our current campaign work and how you can help.

At Corporate Accountability International, we have always emphasized the importance of putting a spotlight on corporate abuse. Our campaigns challenge abuse at every level: from coordinated, local grassroots actions to international policy negotiations.

We look forward to seeing you at our event on June 17 so we can tell you more.

Party Hosts: Mig Boyle, Paige Brodsky, Carrie Carmichael, Jaimie Cloud, Mary Daly, Lew Friedman, Kathy Jones, Anna Lappe, David Lerner, David Levine, Leah Margulies, Nancy Romer, David Terrio

Address: David Levine and Jaimie Cloud
14 Wooster Street #5, Soho between Grand and Canal Streets

Date: Wednesday June 17th from 6:30-9:00

Featured Speakers:
* Marion Nestle (Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, NYU & Author, Food Politics and What to Eat)
* Speaker Christine C. Quinn

For more information, questions or to RSVP (by June 12th): Matt Wilson at or 617-695-2525

Appetizers and drinks will be served.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Streets in Prospect Heights

On Sundays this June, come out and play on Vanderbilt Avenue's Summer Streets. Every Sunday this month, Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights will be closed to traffic from Park Place to Dean Street from noon til 5:00pm. Enjoy the space to walk, ride, play and breathe!

And on Sunday, June 28th, the Brooklyn Compost Project visits Summer Streets. Master Composters will share information about composting, offering literature and answering questions.

For more information on Summer Streets, visit the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

Image courtesy of Ekey84's Flickr pool.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Upcoming Events at the Coop

Reduce and reuse at these environmentally-friendly events at the Coop this month:

Garden and House Plant Swap
Saturday June 13th

Plant swappers may choose one plant for each plant they bring. Please bring healthy plants with adequate roots, packed in a lightweight container with adequate soil. Do not bring cuttings. If you are bringing plants that send out runners (ivy, pachysandra, etc.), please pack at least three runners, with roots, in each container. Plants will not be accepted after 11:30am.

Adult Clothing & Costume Jewelry Exchange
Saturday June 20th

The season is changing, and this is your opportunity to trade gently used and beautiful clothes and costume jewelry that you no longer wear with other Coop members. Do not leave clothing or jewelry in the Coop before the hours of the exchange. Bring up to 15 items only. Unchosen items will be donated to a local shelter.

Both events are held in the meeting room on the second floor of the Coop, and are open to members and non-members.

Image courtesy of weebum's Flickr pool.

Monday, June 08, 2009

World Oceans Day is June 8, 2009

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as of 2009, June 8 would be designated as “World Oceans Day”.

From Planet Green , here are some ways to participate:

• Choose an endangered underwater species to support like the manatee and get involved. In 2006, a near-record 86 manatees were killed while many more had their bones broken or skins sliced by errant propellers. Now you can help these beauties escape this harsh reality. The Save the Manatee Club provides tons of information about this stunning species and offers everyone the opportunity to adopt a manatee to help these incredible animals survive.

• Make sustainable seafood a part of your life. Either consider cutting back or make sure that your consumption is completely sustainable through organizations like Slow Fish. Slow Fish is a part of the Slow Food Movement but it focuses its energies on an understanding of sustainable seafood as well as the health of the oceans themselves.

What's Your Water IQ?
How to Go Green: Water
To Support the Oceans, Support Oceana
Save Our Oceans for World Water Day: 10 Ways
Focus on Focus Earth: Ocean Protection

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ocean Trash Hinders Air France Search

(By John D. Sutter/CNN) -- The massive amount of garbage in the ocean likely complicates the search for the remains of an Air France flight that went missing Monday near Brazil, oceanographers who spoke with CNN said. Trash clutters the world's oceans.

Earlier this week, investigators said they had located pieces of the plane in the southern Atlantic Ocean, which might have given them clues to the origin of Air France Flight 447's crash.

But on Thursday, Brazilian officials said what they had found was nothing more than run-of-the-mill ocean trash.

This highlights a little-seen environmental problem: Scientists say the world's oceans are increasingly filled with junk -- everything from large items like refrigerators and abandoned yachts to small stuff like plastic bottles.

Much of the ocean trash is plastic, which means it won't go away for hundreds of years, if ever. And the problem has gotten so bad that soupy "garbage patches" have developed in several locations, called gyres, where ocean currents swirl.

One of them is estimated to be the size of Texas. Read more at ocean trash article.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Battery Recycling Mysteries Solved

There are a lot of battery options these days, and Earth 911 has put together a helpful fact sheet about them.

And when you're ready to recycle them, you can use the search option at the top of that page to find places in your zip code that recycle spent batteries.

Throwing batteries in the trash is not an option. Batteries contain toxins which ,will leach into the environment when disposed of in regular trash. The toxins can move into the groundwater near a landfill and end up travelling quite a distance from the original disposal site.

Image courtesy of

Monday, June 01, 2009

Keds Green Label Sneakers

Here’s a company that’s doing it right. The new Green Label Keds sneakers are made with organic cotton and recycled rubber.

Why is this good?

  • Organic cotton is grown without pesticides. This means fewer toxins in our air and waterways.

  • The shoelaces are made from recycled PET bottles.

  • The insoles are made from recycled materials and the soles are made from recycled rubber. Less energy and fewer resources are needed when using recycled materials.

You can read more about the product here:

When you’re through with shoes of any kind, you can recycle them at the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program, which recycles the materials for playgrounds and weight room floors.