Friday, November 27, 2009

Radio Program on Watershed Issue

Don't miss this show!
Eco-logic at WBAI 99.5 FM

on Tuesday, December 1
11 am-12 noon

The topic will be:
Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas

Guests will be:
Deborah Goldberg, managing attorney with Earthjustice and
Annie Wilson of the Atlantic chapter of the Sierra Club

From host Ken Gale:
Exploding toilets. Exploding wells. Contaminated drinking water. This is what has happened in other states that have allowed Halliburton's hydraulic fracturing process to reach natural gas deposits in shale. Chesapeake Energy Corporation put out a press release on Oct. 28 stating they won't drill in New York City's watershed.
- What does that really mean?
- What about the other companies that are taking out drilling leases?
- What about the rest of the state?
- Why is the governor allowing these leases?
- What about other dangers to the water supplies?
- What about the already-contaminated water in Pennsylvania and other states?
- We already do without the gas. We cannot do without the water. I will explore these topics in detail.

(archived at Ecologic archives)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Public Access Television Show on Gas Drilling

Freddy’s Brooklyn Roundhouse presents an informative primer on controversial gas drilling in NY State, known as hydrofracking, that will air this week on BCAT and MNN TV (air dates below). This is the first in a series of shows on the subject and highlights the process itself and the growing environmental grass roots movement taking place to fight against this highly toxic process threatening our water supplies and steps we can take now to prevent this from happening here.

The episode will air on TV in Brooklyn this Tuesday and in Manhattan on Thursday.


Tuesday, November 24th, 8PM, TimeWarner Cable 34 / Cablevision 67 / RCN 82 / Verizon 42

Thursday, November 26th, 8:30PM, TimeWarner Cable 56 / Cablevision 17 / RCN 83 / Verizon 34

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coffee and Conservation

A lot of us rely on coffee to get our brains going in the morning. But it's important to think about coffee, not just with it; after all, the coffee-growing regions of the world overlap with many of our planet's key biodiversity hotspots, and our morning cup has implications for the whole world. Tropical forests help control both local weather and global climate, and provide habitat for species ranging from familiar songbirds to species as yet unknown to science. When impoverished coffee growers clear-cut these forests for coffee plantations or overuse pesticides, the damage remains long after the buzz wears off.

Many of these issues are complex, and there are a wide variety of certification criteria. What does it mean to say that coffee is shade-grown? Just how organic is an organic bean? Should you choose a brew from Costa Rica or Nicaragua? The Coffee & Conservation blog at is an in-depth tour through the mysterious plantation of the facts, dedicated to untangling the environmental and social issues surrounding coffee cultivation and guiding caffeine fiends to the most sustainable fix.

Short of time? Check out their Top 5 Indicators of Sustainable Coffee list to help you make a snap judgment. Or read the product reviews to see how your current choices stack up.

Photo courtesy of:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Use Less Stuff Week

*** Use Less Stuff Week starts Thursday, November 19 ***

Use Less Stuff (ULS) Day, which has fallen on the third Thursday of November since 1995, will expand to an entire week this year to further educate consumers about the increase of waste generated during the holiday season.

The organization is promoting concepts such as using rechargeable batteries in electronic gifts for the holidays and reusing gift wrap or wrapping with alternatives such as newspaper. Both of these ideas prolong the life of products, thereby reducing what needs to be thrown away.

According to the U.S. EPA, recycling diverted 68 million tons of material away from landfills and incinerators in 2001, up from 34 million tons in 1990. The ULS report claims that not only is the waste generated between Thanksgiving and New Years higher than at other times during the year, but the amount of this waste is actually growing. When the campaign first began, the estimated waste totaled to 5 million tons, and now it is closer to 6 million tons.

ULS has also released a program called CalcuLess that lets consumers quantify the impact of the packaging they use. Simply type in a product and how much it weighs and receive tailored information about the item, such as what it’s made of and how often it’s recycled, according to the EPA.

Read the rest of this article at Earth 911.

Image courtesy of Washington State University.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Community Gardens Divert Leaves from the Trash Bin to the Compost Bin

NYCLeaves: Project LeafDrop, a new coalition of community gardens and greening groups dedicated to diverting fallen leaves from the trash bin to the compost bin, is building a growing network of community gardens that will take in some of the 20,000 tons of residential leaves that would otherwise go to landfills and is turning them into beautiful, rich compost or mulch for garden beds and street trees. Community gardens participating in “Project LeafDrop” are inviting neighborhood residents to bring their bagged leaves (in paper or clear plastic bags without twigs or trash) to their gardens on specific dates in November and early December. The gardeners will use these “browns” to improve the balance of their compostable materials or share them with other groups working to enrich undernourished urban open spaces.

Master Composters will be available at many of the participating gardens with information about how to make nutritious “brown gold” compost in your own garden, yard or apartment and the convenience and importance of recycling.

Garden groups wishing to join Project LeafDrop and register as drop-off sites, to find specific drop-off dates at a participating garden near you, or for more information about Project LeafDrop, see the group's website: or email them at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gas Drilling Yields Radioactive Wastewater

Yesterday the investigative journalism website ProPublica reported on a disturbing phenomenon about gas drilling: that the wastewater created by the process is radioactive. It also seems that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State's Department of Health have known about naturally occurring underground radiation in general since the mid-1980's and have been concerned with the specific problem of radiation in the Marcellus Shale's drilling wastewater since at least April of this year.

The article states that, "[w]hat scientists call naturally occurring radioactive materials...are common in oil and gas drilling waste, and especially in brine, the dirty water that has been soaking in the shale for centuries...[T]ests taken so far suggest the amount of radioactive material measured in New York is far higher than in many other places."

The DEC has issued draft guidelines for drilling in the Marcellus Shale, the underground rock formation extending from Southern New York all the way to West Virginia, and which encompasses New York City's watershed. You can submit comments through the online submission system or via email to until December 31, 2009. And a petition to sign has been created by an alliance of New York state-based environmental, political and citizen groups to ban gas drilling in New York State.

There is a public hearing tonight, Tuesday, November 10th at 6:30PM at the Stuyvesant High School Auditorium, 345 Chambers Street, Manhattan.

For more background, see our previous posts on this topic and/or Damascus Citizens for Sustainability or the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Are Genetically Modified Organisms in Your Food?

Q: Can You Tell If There Are Genetically Modified Organisms in the Food You're Eating?

A: Not really because of the absence of food labeling laws governing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

What are genetically modified organisms and why should you want to know?

Come to the panel discussion to find out!

When: Friday, November 13th at 7pm

Where: Park Slope Food Coop
782 Union St., Brooklyn (btw 6th & 7th Av.)

Image courtesy of U. of Michigan

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Compost-O-Rama !

Date: Sunday, November 8, 2009
1pm - 5pm

Location: MS 51 & the Old Stone House
5th Ave @ 4th St in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Bring your old Jack - O - Lantern!

We will supply the shredded leaves.

This is a pilot program at MS 51 to demonstrate how simple waste materials - leaves and pumpkins - can be turn into benefit. Thanks to BBG and Jon Pope, a master composter and carpenter, we have 3 giant rodent-proof bins to fill with material. Finished compost will be distributed in the spring to our historically referenced gardens of useful plants.

Please pass the information on and come on down to see the fun.

Good beer is available right across the street!

Volunteers are welcome to contact Claudia at

For more information: 718-768-3195 or

Friday, November 06, 2009

NY Watershed/Drilling Update

In response to public pressure:
  • The comment period, which began Sept. 30 with the release of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), now extends through Dec. 31, 2009. You can submit comments through the online submission system or via email to

  • The second public hearing on the environmental review, which will be held Tuesday, November 10 at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers St. in Manhattan. Doors for the hearing will now open at 5:30 p.m. for individual questions and speaker sign-up and the hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m.

  • Please add to the over 1400 signatures on the petition created by an alliance of New York state-based environmental, political and citizens groups to ban gas drilling in NYS.

For more background, see our previous posts on this topic and/or Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

E-Waste Recycling This Month

As we mentioned last week, the city has suspended their electronics recycling events because of budget cuts. But the Council on the Environment of New York City is publicizing two collections of electronic waste in November:

Tuesday, November 10, 11am-7pm
Church of the Heavenly Rest
90th St and 5th Ave, Manhattan

Sunday, November 22, 8am-3pm
West Side of 1st Ave, between 93rd and 94th Sts, Manhattan

Bring cell phones, computers, laptops, copiers, fax machines, IPods and PDAs, modems, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, stereo and radio equipment, telephones and telephone equipment, televisions, typewriters, speakers, digital cameras, VCRs, DVD players. All E-Waste collected will be recycled in an environmentally responsible manner in the U.S.

For more information, download this flyer from the CENYC.

Image from vision63's Flickr pool.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gas Drilling near NY’s Drinking Water Supply

November 4 at 7pm:
Panel Discussion on
Natural Gas Drilling near
NY’s Drinking Water Supply

• Kylie Harper, Founder, TapIt
• Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney, Earth Justice
• Kate Sinding, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
• Moderated by The Sierra Club Watershed Committee


Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall
435 W 116th St., rm. 107
(between Amsterdam Ave. & Morningside Dr.)

Why should you – New Yorkers – care?

Large-scale gas drilling in the Catskill area could result in the irreversible pollution of our water supply and cost us billions of dollars in the process.

Hydraulic Fracturing is the suspected cause of impaired or polluted drinking water in western Pennsylvania, Colorado, Alabama, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas, Montana, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

If it is allowed to occur without strong restriction in the Catskill watershed area, it is only a matter of time before our water is affected as well. Once the watershed becomes polluted, New York will have to cough up ~$10 billion for a water processing plant to treat the water.

Panelists wil discuss the risks and benefits of hydrofracking, the environmental impacts, alternatives to drilling, the current policies and DEC rules concerning this industry in New York State, and what we can do to protect our precious water supply.

Learn more about the issue at Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.

Sign the petition to ban hydraulic fracture drilling in New York State.

Monday, November 02, 2009

What Does NY State's SGEIS Mean, and What Can New Yorkers Do to Defend Their Water?

Find out at a discussion of the recent DEC study and a special screening of "FLOW", sponsored by NYH2O, NRDC and SVA's Green Action Network.

Tuesday, Nov. 3 - 7:00 p.m.
School of Visual Arts, rm. 302 (Ampitheater)
209 East 23rd St., bet. 2nd & 3rd Avenues, Manhattan

Join us for a lively discussion about the safeguarding of New York's water. Please share this invitation with friends, family and fellow New Yorkers.

"Water for Gotham" author Gerard Koeppel will open the discussion, and provide a historical look at New York's water supply. NYH2O's Joe Levine and NRDC's senior attorney Kate Sindingwill will provide a practical look at New York State's recent recommendation, and what every New Yorker can do.

Called "the most important health and environmental issue ever facing NYC that nobody knows about", hydraulic gas drilling will change life for all residents and businesses in New York State. Understand the implications and how to be heard.

For those of you who can't make it on Tuesday, there is a similar event at Columbia University on Wednesday, November 4, 7:00pm - 8:30pm, 435 W 116th St., rm. 107

To learn more about protecting NY’s water resources, go to NYH2O .

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Street Trees Workshop

The Lower East Side Ecology Center, Trees New York, and Green Depot are partnering to bring you the Care for Street Trees 101 workshop. In this tree care workshop, Trees New York will teach about the MillionTrees NYC initiative, basic tree science, and the do's and don'ts of tree care. Participants will receive a free kit of gardening tools courtesy of the NYC Department of Parks. Space is limited and registration is required for this event.

Street trees improve air quality, reduce inner city asthma rates, provide shade and lower urban temperatures, help fight climate change, increase property values and make our sidewalks beautiful. Stewardship is vital to increasing NYC's canopy as young, newly planted trees face numerous threats in this urban environment and require care if they are to survive into maturity.

Caring for Street Trees 101
Wednesday, November 4, 2009, 5:00-7:00pm
Green Depot, 222 Bowery, Manhattan

For more information and to register, visit the LESEC website.

Image from epc's Flickr pool.