Friday, December 24, 2010

Recycle Holiday Lighting

Here are two options for sending your old holiday lights for recycling, whether working or broken. (Do not place lights in your NYC recycling bin.)

The proceeds from recycling used holiday lights sent to Christmas light source are used to donate books to Toys for Tots.

Holiday lights can be sent to HolidayLEDs.com in exchange for a coupon for new energy efficient LED holiday lights during their seasonal holiday light recycling program.

For more tips on responsible ways to get rid of stuff in NYC, visit NYC Waste Less.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Plastic Bag Folding Technique #1

I thought my own method of compressing and storing plastic bags for reuse was good, but seeing this one-minute video made me realize I'm just an amateur. Thanks to this anonymous plastic-bag-folding guy, storing plastic bags, even carrying them in a jacket pocket, has never been easier.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fracking in Delaware River Basin Will Affect NYC

Governor Paterson's ordering a delay of horizontal hydrofracking in New York State was good news indeed.   Unfortunately, the threat of fracking, this time in the Delaware River Basin, still hangs over New York.

On December 9, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) published notice of proposed regulations that would allow hydrofracking in the Delaware River Basin. The DRBC is the federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within an approximately 13,000 square miles Delaware River Basin. This watershed provides drinking water to up to 17 million people living in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey
and New York.

By permitting fracking, the DRBC's proposed regulations would pave the way for "this toxic and dangerous gas drilling process to begin in this incredibly sensitive watershed. DRBC issued its draft drilling regulations despite an overwhelming opposition from the public including letters from Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg and New York Congressman Hinchey requesting that draft regulations not be released until a planned cumulative impact study and the EPA study can be completed. This is of major concern to New Yorkers because sections of the Delaware River Basin are part of the New York City Watershed. Hydraulic fracturing could start in the Delaware River Basin regardless of what we may achieve working with the New York State government," says United for Action.

The DRBC's 90-day public comment period will end on March 16, 2011.  For more information on the proposal and to submit comments, see  the DRBC website.

photo of Delaware River by Steve Guttman NYC on flickr

Monday, December 13, 2010

So You Think You're Green . . .

The greenest of all, when it comes to Christmas trees, just may be 85 year old Jean Eadie of Scotland who has been using the same tree since 1928! This certainly takes the concept of reusable to a new level. In Jean's words, "Everybody buys things and chucks them away, which they shouldn't do."
Read more about Jean and her Christmas tree in Treehugger.

Graphic courtesy of http://dedo.delaware.gov/business/reuse/index.shtml.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Monday, Dec. 13 Press Conference

MONDAY DEC. 13th, 12 noon
NYC Office of Gov Paterson
633 Third Avenue @ 41st Street

Join Mark Ruffalo, members of the NY State Senate and residents of Dimock, PA to demand that the moratorium include vertical wells!

On Saturday, Governor Paterson vetoed the moratorium that tens of thousands of people fought for months to pass. Instead of signing the bill into law, Paterson issued an Executive Order that prohibits horizontal hydraulic fracturing for seven months but allows vertical fracking (which has already started) to continue.

Let's not underestimate it: NY is the first state to issue any kind of timeout on hydro-fracking, but Paterson's order is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Vertical hydraulic fracturing presents a real threat to people across New York—just ask the residents of Dimock, PA, where contamination was caused by vertical fracking.

And now that the industry has been prohibited from drilling horizontal wells for the next seven months, gas companies plan to cover New York state in vertical wells! The devastation could be just as bad—if not worse—than what horizontal drilling would cause.

Tomorrow we're going to demand answers from Governor Paterson! Join us at the Governor's NYC office at 12 noon Monday December 13th. Mark Ruffalo, NY State Senator Liz Krueger, and Craig and Julie Sautner of Dimock, PA will be there to tell the Governor to close the "Paterson Loophole" for vertical wells NOW.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Governor Signs Exec. Order to Delay Fracking

ALBANY, NY (12/11/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson has issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct further comprehensive review and analysis of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale. The Executive Order requires that, if approved, high-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing would not be permitted until July 1, 2011, at the earliest. This should allay any fears that high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling under study by DEC will commence without assurances of safety. Read more about this.

This is a victory, but the fight isn't over yet. We have been assured no drilling will take place before July, 2011 at the earliest, but we would like to be assured no drilling will take place at any point in the future.

The Governor, who has been a supporter of hydrofracking, has been influenced by public pressure and scientific evidence of the dire public health effects of this kind of drilling, at least for now. You have all made a difference.

Please sign, and urge others to sign, the petition to pemamently halt hydraulic fracture drilling in New York State.

Monday, December 06, 2010

What the Frack !@# : New article/interview

Have a look at committee member Ilyana's article on page 5 of the December 2 issue of the Linewaiters' Gazette. She interviewed Catskill Mountkeeper's Ramsey Adams about how the hydrofracking situation affects Park Slope Food Coop members. Ramsey answers questions about this as well as what coop members can do to avert disaster.

Friday, December 03, 2010

December Film Series

Wednesdays at 6:30 pm

St. Bartholomew's Church
Park Ave. & 50th St., Manhattan
  • Dec 1- Introduction to GASLAND, the award winning documentary by Josh Fox about the threat to NY's water, land and air if hydrofracking is allowed to proceed when the moritorium on drilling for natural gas ends. Buck Moorhead will introduce the film and lead the discussion in the chapel.


  • Dec 8 - The Environmental film SPLIT ESTATE shows how the natural gas companies have superseded home owners' rights to safeguard their privately owned land from gas drillings. Discussion will be led by parishioner Joy Garland, environmental advocate and educator in the chapel.


  • Dec 15 - This last of the Water series, SEA CHANGE takes an ocean loving grandfather on a mission to discover why the fish are vanishing as he introduces his grandson Elias to the wonders and beauty of Ocean life. Dr. Marian Ronan will introduce the film and lead the discussion in the chapel.
All are invited.
Call Joy Garland at 212-673-6732 for more information.

Monday, November 29, 2010

LA County Passes Plastic Bag Ban

Parts of LA county will be banning disposable, single-use plastic as of next year. County supervisors recently approved the measure 3-1, in hopes of preventing billions of bags from polluting neighborhoods and waterways. This will affect about 1.1 million people.

In addition, paper bags in LA County will now cost 10 cents apiece-- providing yet another incentive for southern Californians to start adopting reusable bags. Read more about it.

If L.A. can do it . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Please Make a Call for Clean Water in NY

Action: On Tuesday 11/23 (and every day until the Assembly passes the bill), please call and ask the Speaker, influential members of the Assembly and the Governor to attend the Special Session in Albany and "bring the Sweeney hydraulic fracturing moratorium bill A11443B to the Assembly floor for a vote and pass the bill!"

Essential calls:
  • Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
    518-455-3791, or, 212-312-1420 or mail to: Speaker@assembly.state.ny.us


  • Assemblyman Herman Farrell (Chair of Ways & Means Committee)
    518-455-5491, or, 212-234-1430, or, 212-568-2828 or mail to: FarreH@assemblystate.nyus


  • Your Assembly person!
    Find Them Here


  • Governor David Paterson
    518-474-8390 or email Paterson here
    -Ask the Governor to bring the bill to a vote and then sign it into law.

And if you have the time, please call:
  • Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (Chair of Codes Committee)
    518-455-4477, or, 718-383-7474 or mail to: LetlJ@assemblystate.ny.us


  • Assemblyman & Sponsor of Moratorium Bill Robert Sweeney (Chair of Environmental Conservation Committee)
    518-455-5787, or, 631-957-2087 or mail to: https://ui.constantcontact.com/mc/compose?to=Swe
Last summer, New York made history in a stunning midnight vote when the State Senate voted by 48 to 9 to declare an 11 month moratorium on fracking. The moratorium bill passed with an overwhelming majority of bipartisan support thanks to an outpouring of grassroots action from ordinary citizens—phone calls, emails and lobby visits.

The New York State Assembly is scheduled to come back Monday, May 29 and if they don't pass this companion bill, all of our hard work will be undone! Since this is the final time the Assembly will meet this year, it's going to be our last chance to pass the moratorium bill in the Assembly to stop fracking in New York State this year.

If the Sweeney Bill (A11443B) fails to be brought up for a vote, the Department of Environmental Conservation could begin issuing fracking permits at any moment and all will be lost! We cannot let that happen! It is critical that the Assembly and the Governor hear from you as a member of our powerful movement!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Simple Action for Safe Water

Many people are becoming are worried about the possibility of gas companies using hydraulic fracture drilling in New York State and compromising our supply of safe, clean drinking water. The State Senate has already approved a one year moratorium on drilling--time for everyone to study and assess the situation further.

Now it’s the Assembly’s turn to act. The Assembly will be back in the state capital soon. Before lawmakers return to Albany, let’s fill their inboxes. Click here to ask Speaker Silver and your Assembly Member to protect New York’s water when he or she returns
to Albany
.

New York needs these important protections, because each time a new well is drilled, 2.5 to eight million gallons of water laced with toxic chemicals is required. With thousands of wells proposed that could be fracked multiple times, that adds up to billions of gallons of water will be used every year! Withdrawing this volume of water from local waterways and aquifers could be devastating.

Right now, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has limited authority to regulate water withdrawals like these, leaving a gaping hole in the state's water protections. And recent deep cuts in staffing at the agency threaten its already reduced enforcement capacity. That’s why it’s so important that the Assembly not only pass a timeout on fracking, but also act to responsibly manage our water resources.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fractivists are the New Activists

Tune in to 60 Minutes Sunday, November 14th at 7pm, (CBS) for a report on Hydraulic Fracturing/Horizontal Drilling.

Leslie Stahl interviewed Tim and Christine Ruggerio, fractivists from Texas. Since New York activists (fractivists?) are currently fighting to keep hydrofracking out of our state, this update from Texas is especially germaine.

See our hydrofracking handout for more information and please sign the petition to ban gas drilling in New York State.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gasland Screening on November 11

If you haven't had a chance to see Gasland yet, there's a
NYC screening on Thursday, November 11 @ 7 pm at
"the Gallery" at John Haynes Holmes House,
the Community Church of NY
28 East 35th Street, bet. Park & Madison Avenues
suggested donation $5

The gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking")
has unlocked a "Saudi Arabia of natural gas" beneath us.
Josh Fox travels the country, uncovering the secrets, lies and
contamination of the industry.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Keith Olbermann Interview with Josh Fox

Keith Olbermann recently interviewed Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox about hydrofracking. This interview is preceded by a bit on Karl Rove and an explanation about how the lack of regulation that is allowing gas companies to create so much environmental damage came about. See this short and informative interview and pass it on to others.

Please sign the petition to ban natural gas drilling in New York State.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Got Leaves?

Don't Leave It to the Landfill!

Citywide leaf collection is currently suspended, but many community gardens are making it possible to recycle this natural resource into mulch or compost. Visit http://nycleaves.org to find a list of participating gardens and drop-off sites near you or to add your community leaf collection.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Holy Cow!

Holy cow! was my reaction when I read Treehugger's article on some everyday things that contain animal products. For instance:
  1. Downy fabric softener contains Dihydrogenated tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride, which comes from the cattle, sheep and horse industry.


  2. Many plastics, including shopping bags, contain 'slip agents', which reduce the friction in the material. What are those made of? Animal fat.


  3. Sugar: purified ash from animal bones is used in filters to refine sugar by some brands, though there are other companies that use filters with granular carbon or ion exchange systems. What not all may know is that brown sugar is also refined, only to have molasses added after.You can opt for unrefined organic sugar or choose the brands that PETA says are vegan.


  4. Some toothpastes: Glycerin is found in animal and vegetable fats, which have a chemical composition containing from 7% to 13% glycerine. When separated from it, it's used in a wide variety of products, including toothpaste.
We expect that the soon-to-be-formed animal issues committee will help us research which coop products are truly animal free, for those who want to know.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Vote!

Voting wasn't always a given right for many people in America—it still isn't in some other parts of the world. Exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, November 2. Learn more about the environmental positions and records of New York candidates from the League of Conservation Voters.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hydrofracking Event at the Park Slope Food Coop

Sabrina Artel is bringing The Trailer Talk Show to the Park Slope Food Coop on October 30, 2010, from 11am-3pm. She will be joining PSFC members and friends in front of the Coop to raise awareness about the growing threat of toxic natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and the NYC Watersheds.

Credit: Sabrina Artel - Trailer Talk

Trailer Talk has been described as "an unusual blend of theater, activism and broadcast journalism.” 

The public is invited to join in the conversations and bring questions. Learn how hydrofracking in our state will directly affect NYC food, water, and health. Action sheets, candidate information, and literature will also be provided.

Everyone is invited to participate!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Green Screens Films

Sunday, October 24, Green Screens films at Lincoln Center will be screening several new films.

2pm: Extinction: Panel Discussion: What can be done about the sixth major extinction in our planet’s history? We are bringing together an outstanding lineup of scientists and activists to discuss this crisis. Plus a screening of Flathead Wild (Trip Jennings, USA, 2009; 23m): At the headwaters of America’s most pristine river a mining project is proposed that would destroy an irreplaceable landscape, critical habitat for both rare and endangered species. Read more

5pm: Bidder 70: In 2008, Tim DeChristopher went to a government land auction intended for oil and gas and set off a chain of events that led to one of the most significant acts of civil disobedience on behalf of conservation. Read more

7:30pm: Bag It! Try going a day without plastic. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic and its effect on our lives, bodies and waterways. Read more

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Does it Make a Difference?

Someone recently asked me if it really makes a difference if she buys bottled water or uses plastic bags. Even if she were the only person on the planet it would make some difference, but being that there are so many of us—yes, each person's action makes a difference.

Not all plastic is recycled—some gets thrown in the trash. Plastic bags, in particular, tend to become airborne by a strong breeze and float away from an outdoo trash can. For many of us, it's out of sight, out of mind. But a group of people have been collectingd plastic debris from beaches and oceans and constructed a series of bird sculptures to call attention to one of the worst end results of plastic—choking and strangling birds, seals and other animals.

Read more about this project.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Tea Party

Come to NYLCV's Green Tea Party!

Join the New York League of Conservation Voters, members of the New York City Council and young professionals from around the city for a special evening of cocktails and conversation focusing on a greener, more sustainable New York.

Wednesday, October 20
6-8 p.m.
People Lounge, 163 Allen Street (Lower East Side), NYC

To RSVP, or contact Hilary Wilkes at (212) 361-6350 ext. 204, or hwilkes@nylcv.org for more information.

Suggested contribution is $20.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seattle’s New Phone Book Law

I enjoy reading about great ideas from other cities or countries for a more sustainable lifestyle—ideas that would work well in New York City, too. For instance, Seattle just passed the nation's first phone book opt-out law. What does this mean? Individuals will not automatically get phone books—they can decide to opt-out of having them delivered.

The massive phone book delivered to homes each year is quickly becoming obsolete. Most personal or business contacts have cell phones and email addresses, which are not found in the phone book. Most businesses are listed online, where you can get more information that you would in the phone book anyway. Seattle's new law is the first step in alleviating the tremendous amount of paper and energy used to provide yearly phone books, and the amount of waste as tons of phone books become obsolete each year.
Read more about this at Earth 911.

Artwork of shredded phonebooks courtesy of John Michael Morehead

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blue Gold Water Wars

Film Screening of Blue Gold Water Wars
Park Slope Food Coop
782 Union St., Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday, October 12 at 7pm

This film is about communities that have battled against water privatization,i.e. corporations taking over their municipal water system. Water is as valuable as gold, if not more so, as it essential to our survival. NYS is blessed with free, high quality water, but for how long? The recent battles over hydraulic fracture drilling have shown us that our water is vulnerable to many threats. It's important that we learn from other communities and this film is an essential part of that.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Cleaner Greener Clothing Mills

Following up on our last post about how easy it can be to recycle your clothing and other textiles, here is a great article about recent efforts to make the clothing industry more sustainable. A great deal of fabric is produced in China, home to some 50,000 textile mills. Dyes and other chemicals are routinely released into the nearby waterways, in addition to fresh water and energy used by the production processes. NRDC has been spearheading efforts to get the mills to use more sustainable practices. Read more about this.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Textile Recycling

Did you know that the average New Yorker tosses 46 pounds of clothing and textiles in the trash each year?

Much of this is recyclable at your local greenmarket. Bring your old clothing, shoes, towels, sheets, scarves, hats, bags and belts to the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket on Saturdays from 8am to 4pm. For other locations as well as a printable textile recycling poster to post in your building or workplace click here.

Clothing that is in good condition can be donated to other places for reuse. But ripped or stained clothes or sheets, not suitable for reuse, can be brought to the greenmarket for recycling.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Genetically Engineered Salmon?

The FDA is set to approve Genetically Engineered (GE) salmon, and will not require any labeling, so consumers will have no idea whether or not they are eating GE salmon. What's wrong with that? Well, for one thing, the long-term health effects of genetically modified foods are not known--we are serving as part of the experiment. People should have a choice whether or not they want to take their chances with this technology--without any labelling, we have no choice.

To make matters worse, the FDA is refusing to allow companies to advertise their products as GMO free (the ones that are). A recent Washington Post article quotes Rep. Kucinich as asking whose interests the FDA is protecting, consumers or industry. There may be another issue, namely the first amendment, if the FDA is not allowing the companies that sell non-GMO products to make true statements -- a very odd concept no matter what the reasoning, and seemingly unconstitutional.

Committee News

Dear Friends of the Environmental Committee,

Some exciting events of interest this fall:

1) On September 28, the General Meeting will be discussing the proposal to create an “Animal Welfare Committee” proposed by Jesse Oldham and Patrick Kwan. Their aim is to focus on research and education to share with PSFC members on products as they relate to animals or animal-welfare issues. Read more about this prospective committee.

Please spread the word to people who might be interested in this committee. The September 28 meeting will be a discussion, to give Jesse and Patrick feedback about their proposal. As always, the General Meetings are at 7pm at Beth Elohim at 274 Garfield Place between 8th Avenue and Prospect Park West.

2) Environmental committee member Judy was upset to learn just how many nefarious investments were held by her corporate bank. This led to her research about better banking alternatives, resulting in the coop joining a credit union so coop members could have the option to join as well. Read her article to learn more. You can also attend one of the credit union info sessions at the coop—see the ad on the bottom left hand corner of page 14 of the 9/23 issue of the Gazette.

3) Water issues are still very much a priority. We continue to oppose hydraulic fracture drilling in NYS (and elsewhere) – as serious threat to our own water supply and organic food supply from local farmers. The state senate voted for a 1-year moratorium; the push now is to get Assembly members to do the same. Ultimately we would like a complete ban of this drilling. Read more about the issue at NY Sierra Club and un-naturalgas .

4) Lastly, the Environmental Committee is looking for a few new members. If you know anyone who might be interested, have them write us at ecokvetch AT yahoo.com. As always, we are eager to hear your ideas and concerns about Coop-related environmental issues. Be sure to check out our blog at http://www.ecokvetch.blogspot.com.

Your friend,
The Ecokvetch

Thursday, September 23, 2010

GrowNYC presents New Green City

Wednesday, September 29, 10am-6pm
Union Square Park, South Plaza
E. 14th St. - E.17th St b/t Broadway & 4th Ave

GrowNYC is organizing New Green City on Wednesday, September 29 from 10am to 6pm in Union Square. The event will feature interactive exhibits, DIY tutorials and multi-media art exhibits. Also happening will be a special one-day textiles collection (weekly collections are at the Union Square Greenmarket Saturdays and Mondays ONLY) and the usual compost collection hosted by the LES Ecology Center, a feature of every market day at Union Square.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prescription Drugs & OTC Drug Take-Back

The disposal of over-the-counter and prescription drugs has become a problem as scientists are finding that they migrate into our groundwater. A CBS newscast estimated that 41 million of us have traces of prescription drugs in our drinking water.

Prescription & OTC Drug Take Back Events collect leftover drugs and dispose of them safely. On Saturday, September 25 from 10am-2pm there will be drop-of sites in all the NYC boroughs. You can bring prescription and over-the-counter solid dosage medications (i.e. tablets and capsules). Not accepted: Intra-venous solutions, injectables, needles and illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine. Learn more about safe drug disposal.

To find the site closest to you. (Note: website will be updated as collection sites are confirmed, so check back before heading out on 9/25.) Questions? Call 212-337-2906.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Yorkers Protest Fracking at EPA Hearing

"Terrified New Yorkers Protest Gas Drilling"--read the CNN coverage of the hydrofracking issue at the EPA hearing in Binghamton, NY. Some compelling videos are included, such as "flammable water" as a result of nearby gas drilling.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Discuss NYS Lack of Enviro Laws

Wednesday, Sept. 15,
6 - 8 pm


Columbia Law School,
435 W. 116th St.
(corner of Amsterdam Ave.),
Room 101.

Nearest subway stop: #1 train at 116th Street

Join Environmental Advocates of New York and New York League of Conservation Voters to learn what the NYS Legislature did--and did not do--to safeguard New York’s natural resources this year. You'll also hear about the environmental community's plans to put our air, land and water at the top of lawmakers' to-do lists in 2011.

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to the following email: RSVP@eany.org or at this site.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Credit Unions: Better for the Environment and You

After discovering that my big bank uses my money to fund mountaintop removal coal mining, I learned that moving to a credit union would be a big improvement.  Upon looking for a credit union, I found that I did not need to reinvent the wheel.  One positive response to recent economic woes in the US has been a massive movement of money away from big banks and into credit unions.  This movement in turn resulted in much online information that can help others change their banking.

Reasons to Switch
1. Environment: The Federal Credit Union Act created the credit union system in the US and limited the types of investments credit unions are allowed to make.  These include loans to members, and other safe, conservative, primarily government-backed investments.  This means your money will not be destroying wilderness.  (View the Act at www.ncua.gov, site of the federal agency that charters and supervises federal credit unions.  The list of allowed investments is in section 1757, 107, #7 of the Act.)

Credit unions are set up, under the same Act, as non-profit co-operative organizations whose purpose is to serve the financial needs of their member-owners.  Co-ops, as  democratically governed organizations usually rooted in a particular community, are also more likely to make decisions that foster that local community and support their environment.   Big corporate banks, on the other hand, may have a branch in your community, but their expertise and their loyalty lie elsewhere.  

The two big banks I deal with are not unique, but typical.  Many large banks finance destructive projects.  For example, Canadian tar sands oil extraction is financed by HSBC, ING, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, and other sources.  This huge project destroys boreal forest, producing scarring of the earth visible from space.  Mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia is financed by Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and others.  Visit BankTrack for more on big banks' effects on people and the earth.
   
2. Your money: Credit unions use money mainly to offer their member-owners higher interest rates on savings and charge lower rates on loans, on average, than banks.  Choose a good credit union, and you'll benefit both yourself and the earth.

Research 
Two well-known sources have called for abandoning the big banks.  Each has a group of inter-linked articles online offering both inspiration and how-to's.  Green America's "Break Up With Your Bank" and Huffington Post's "Move Your Money" campaigns were motivated by widespread anger at the big banks' big bailouts, well informed by careful research, and further supported by stories from individuals who changed their own banking.  For those considering a move to a credit union, looking at both series would be helpful. 
Credit unions had an exclusionist reputation in the past,  as most were dedicated to serving only the employees of a single company or members of a particular trade.  However, over the last ten years many credit unions have broadened their scope of membership.  Today they welcome new members.  It is possible to find one you are eligible to join.

Find a Credit Union
A quick search for a credit union turns up a number of possibilities in the NYC area. For instance: 
  1. Members of the Park Slope Food Co-op (PSFC) may join the Peoples Alliance Federal Credit Union (PAFCU). PAFCU is located at 67 Hanson Place, within walking distance of PSFC.  PSFC members voted at the July General Meeting to approve PSFC's joining PAFCU.  Once PSFC has joined this credit union, all PSFC members and employees are also eligible to join PAFCU.   Sometime in September, PSFC will hold sessions in the meeting room at which interested members can join PAFCU.  Watch for further news on this.

  2. The Municipal Credit Union, with branches in all five boroughs, serves not only city employees but also health care professionals (private or public) working in NYS and several other unexpected categories of people.

  3. The Lower East Side Federal Credit Union serves people with various ties to Manhattan's Lower East Side, but also anyone living within the five boroughs with a household income of less than $38,000.

  4. If you do not find a convenient credit union you are eligible for, look at Montauk Federal Credit Union, on 26th Street in Manhattan.  It is an "open charter" credit union.  All are eligible to join, regardless of job affiliation, neighborhood, etc.  One can bank here from a distance, by direct deposit, online banking, and ATM.

This is merely a sample of metro area credit unions. For additional options, try the Credit Union National Association's "7 Ways to Find a Credit Union".  You may also call their New York hotline [800 342-9835 x8108] to speak with someone who will help you find a credit union.  Or visit the National Credit Union Administration.

Consider Your Needs
Think about banking services you use and check your prospective credit union for those features.  Look at insurance, ATMs, and interest rates.  Accounts at most credit unions are insured by NCUSIF up to $250,000.  A majority of credit unions offer ATM cards and many participate in networks allowing free use of many machines.  Interest rates at a particular credit union may or may not beat the big banks.  If you don't find a single credit union that offers all you need, consider what some others have done  --  keep a small amount in a bank (e.g., for immediate cash access) and put most of your money in a credit union.

Make the Change
Do a good deed for both the environment and yourself.  Find a credit union that will work for you, take your money there, and get it out of the big banks.


*This article appears in the 9/9/10 issue of the Linewaiters' Gazette.
Photo by Patrick Hoesly

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Gasland Screenings in NYC

September 11
8-10pm

Solar One, on the pier
Kips Bay 2420 FDR Drive,
Service Road East at 23rd St. &
The East River, New York, NY 10010
Cost: $10.00 -- Purchase Tickets

More screenings of Gasland:
September 15-23 at IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at West 3rd St., NYC
(212) 924-7771
Daily Showtimes: 11:45 AM, 2:05 PM, 4:30 PM, 7:00 PM, 9:30 PM

When a natural gas mining company offered Josh Fox and his upstate New York neighbors $100,000 each for the right to drill for gas on their land, Fox thought he'd better examine what was going on before he signed away his property. The result is the powerful and eye-opening documentary Gasland.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plastax Works in DC

We've heard about taxes on plastic bags working in other countries, such as Ireland. The idea of a plastax, or tax on plastic (generally bags) results in much less use of plastic. People are more inclined to bring resuable bags to shop than pay a tax. And the money collected from this tax goes to environmental causes. But can it work here?

Washington DC's 5 cent tax on plastic bags, instituted just this past January, has already proven to have a phenomenal impact: the number of plastic bags handed out by supermarkets and other establishments dropped from the 2009 monthly average of 22.5 million to just 3 million in January. While significantly reducing plastic waste, the tax simultaneously generated $150,000 in revenue, which will be used to clean up the Anacostia River. Read more about this in Treehugger.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We're Recruiting!

The Environmental Committee is Looking for New Members.

The Environmental Committee works on a broad range of issues related to food, energy and the environment, with an emphasis on issues that impact the Coop.

We particularly need people who are good at putting ideas into action. We will accept people with a broad range of experience, but leadership and/or organizational abilities will be put to good use.

To be considered for a spot on the committee you must have been a Coop member for at least 6 months and have a good attendance record.

Work for the environmental while fulfilling your Coop workslot!

For more information, contact the Environmental Committee at ecokvetch@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Conservation/Climate Change Lecture

Conservation & Animal Protection Activist Anthony Marr
will talk about: Climate Change

Global Heating: Climate Tipping Points. Feedback Loops, and Species Extinction
Due to: the The Canadian Seal Hunt -
The Alberta Tar Sands: The Most Environmentally Destructive Project on Earth - The Global Anti-Hunting Coalition

Wednesday, August 25th , 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
The Front Lounge at the Community Church
28 East 35th Street, Manhattan
(Between Park and Madison)
$5 Donation Suggested

Anthony Marr holds a science degree from the UBC and has worked as a field geophysicist and an environmental technologist. In 1995, he became a full time wildlife preservationist, which has brought him to India three times, earning him the title of the "Champion of the Bengal Tiger" in the Champions of the Wild TV series aired in 20 countries. As an anti-hunting activist, he has conducted high profile campaigns in Canada for the bears and seals, and been to Japan twice for the whales and dolphins. He is the founder of Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE) and is currently on his fourth Compassion for Animals Road Expedition (CARE-4), covering 40 states. He is also the author of Omni-Science.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hydrofracking Town Hall Meeting

Dear New Yorker,

Please join us at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24th, 5-8pm
at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) located at 199 Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan to discuss natural gas drilling in New York State.

At this public meeting, residents will have the opportunity to comment on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) official study examining the potential health and environmental impacts of hydraulic drilling.

The NYC Council has been working on this issue for quite some time now, and we remain seriously concerned about this type of gas extraction. Natural gas drilling in New York State could contaminate the drinking water of more than 12 million NYC-area residents.

It's important that we hear from you and other New Yorkers about this critical issue.

While the EPA is holding hearings elsewhere in the State, none have been proposed for New York City. This town hall will provide you an important opportunity to raise your questions and concerns about natural gas drilling and its potential impact on the region's water supply.

We look forward to seeing you at the town hall on August 24th. Please RSVP at (212) 788-6871or events@council.nyc.gov by Friday, August 20th.

Sincerely,
Christine C. Quinn
Speaker, New York City Council

James F. Gennaro
Chair, Environmental Protection Committee, New York City Council

Directions:
A, C, E to Chambers St.; walk 3 blocks west on Chambers St.
1, 2, or 3 to Chambers St.; walk 2 blocks west on Chambers St.
R to City Hall (local); walk 6 blocks west on Chambers St.

For additional subway directions, go to Hopstop

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No GMO Beets, For Now

See an interactive version of this map at Center for PostNatural History.

On Friday August 13, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White revoked a five-year-old approval of genetically altered sugar beets from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Judge White cited the USDA's insufficient testing of weedkiller-tolerant sugar beets and their possible effects to the environment. Not to mention the possible effects of these pesticides on human health, via people eating pesticide-saturated crops.

Genetically modified plants are immune to glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup, which means farmers can use inordinate amounts of pesticide to kill everything else in site, except the beets. These pesticides linger in our groundwater and migrate to other areas, long after the beets are harvested. They pose a health danger to the farmer and others in the area, as well as animals, both wild and domestic, plantlife, birds and bees.

Genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets are already planted on more than one million acres of farmland, spanning 10 different states from Michigan to Oregon. In fact, the Roundup-resistant gene is present in 95-percent of U.S.-grown sugar beet plants. Read more about this at Treehugger.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eureka!

With a name like Eureka, this town has a lot to live up to. Indeed, Eureka would like to be a zero-waste city by 2020.
In the meantime, they've got some inovative ideas about reducing waste.

Composting is catching on nationwide as more cities provide services to residents for collecting food, landscape clippings and other compostable separate from recylables and landfill waste. But to test out if the St. Paul, Minn.'s Macalester-Groveland neighborhood is ready for such a program, Sonya Ewert is hopping on a 27-gear bike with a custom-made trailer and going door to door to collect compostables from residents. The bike-powered composting service is part of an experiment -- if enough residents like having their food waste collected, the city may move forward in providing the service on a large scale through their waste and recycling collection services. Read the rest of the article at Treehugger.

Could this work in Brooklyn?

Photo courtesy of Star Tribune.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Million Pound Battery Challenge

In an effort to raise awareness the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation is challenging Americans to clean out junk drawers and recycle one million pounds of rechargeable batteries by October 1.

Rechargeable batteries, such as those used in cell phones and cordless drills are prohibited from household trash in NYC and must be recycled. NYC stores must recycle the same type of rechargeable batteries that they sell. Cell phones and their batteries can be returned to any store that sells these devices. Click here to find a retail collection box near you or visit one of these select Greenmarkets. Visit www.rbrc.org to get a free bin for your apartment building.

Note: this program does not include regular alkaline batteries, which can be dropped off at the NYC Department of Sanitation's Special Waste Drop-Off Sites as well as local stores listed in our NYC Recycling Resources handout.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Great New Recycling Poster

The latest in GrowNYC's Recycling Poster Series:

This month's poster provides tips to reduce unwanted mail. Simply download, print and post in your apartment building, school or office.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Free Film Screening: CRUDE

Thursday, August 5, 2010 8:00 PM
Screening at Sunset (approx. 8:30 PM)

103rd St. Community Garden
(105 E. 103rd St. between Park & Lexington, NY, NY 10029)

Crude, directed by Joe Berlinger
It’s déjà vu all over again! Instead of British Petroleum, its Chevron; and instead of our Gulf Coast, it’s the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador , South America . The film follows the crusade of an Ecuadorian lawsuit against Chevron for 2 of its 14 years! We see the tragic pollution of a once pristine rainforest and the devastation of the people who inhabit it. See more info and trailer.

Directions:
Take #6 Train to 103rd St.;
M 110 or M96 to Park Ave.; then walk

Monday, August 02, 2010

Hydrofracking Video

Do you have 3 minutes? Take a look at this well-done short video about hydrofracking.

See our hydrofracking handout and sign the petition requesting a statewide ban of hydrofracking.

...and please spread the word!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Possible New Animal Welfare Committee

Here's a recent letter from two coop members who want to start a new committee. Read about their idea and pass this link on to others who may be interested. See the blog they've started.

"We’re a group of Park Slope Food Coop members who came together after realizing during our PSFC shopping trips that, while there are a lot of animal-friendly products on the Coop shelves, there was still a lot of room for improvement! In our conversations with other members, some were surprised to hear that we still carried any items that are tested on animals (even though our policy says the PSFC avoids such products) and others expressed confusion regarding animal-treatment labeling (“What’s the difference between grassfed and free-range?”).

After having these conversations and wishing for a way to help inform PSFC shoppers who are interested in animal welfare, we thought we would enlist other PSFC members who share these concerns to join us in creating a workslot credit committee to specifically address these issues and be in service to the PSFC membership regarding animal welfare.

We invite you to learn more about the proposal for a PSFC Animal Welfare Committee and share your ideas with us at http://psfcanimals.blogspot.com or email PSFCanimals@ gmail.com."
Thank you.
Jesse Oldham
Patrick Kwan

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Quick Actions for Safe Water

1) Senator Sampson has been refusing to allow the fracking moratorium bill onto the floor for a vote. This action is urgent as we have a slim window of time to influence Sampson's decision to advance the moratorium bill.

please contact Sampson's office and leave a message, urging the senator to advance the moratorium bill.
Sen. John Sampson
District Office: 718-649-7653
Albany Office: 518-455-2788

Suggested statements:
"I urge Senator Sampson to move the hydrofracking moratorium bill onto the floor for a vote before the legislature adjourns this year."

Also, call your own state senator and ask him/her to:
"Please co-sign and vote for the Thompson moratorium bill and urge Senator Sampson to move the bill onto the floor for a vote."
You can find your state senator at: http://www.nysenate.gov/

------------------
2) Please reach out RIGHT NOW to tell Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer NOT to strip the fracking disclosure provision out of the oil spill response bill! It would mandate disclosure of fracking chemicals for natural gas drilling wells on federal lands – a big first step forward to protect communities. For ......Speaker Pelosi, call 202-225-0100 For Majority Leader Hoyer, call 202-225-3130

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Film: Climate Refugees

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s
Green Screens presents:
Climate Refugees

Thursday, July 29 at 6:30pm
Walter Reade Theater at 65th St. near Amsterdam Ave. in Manhattan

Although climate change is a widely accepted phenomenon, few people have given thought to what disappearing glaciers, changing weather patterns, and rising sea levels will mean for the future. Michael Nash’s award-winning documentary explores the troubling result of such changes, centering on the mass migration of human populations. With spectacular footage from across the globe, Climate Refugees sketches out the scenario of displacement and upheaval. Nash’s film is a fascinating and unnerving wake-up call. Michael Nash, USA, 2009, 83 min

Preceded by

The Food and Climate Connection: From Heating the Planet to Healing It. Sara Grady, USA, 2010; 10 min

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What is Groundwater & Why Does it Matter?

With the recent concerns about hydraulic fracture gas drilling and its effect on groundwater, many people have questions about groundwater and it's importance. This nifty feature: Groundwater: Everything You Need to Know About What You Drink, complete with several short videos, will answer your questions.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Genetically Engineered Right to Know Act


(click on map for larger version)

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a long-time advocate of family farmers and organic foods, today made the following statement after the Supreme Court voted 7-1 to allow the experimental planting of genetically modified alfalfa seed before an environmental review is completed:

"Today the Supreme Court ruled that when it comes to genetically modified organisms, we as consumers, have to wait until the damage is done and obvious, before we can act to protect health and the environment, even if that damage could be irreversible.

"Haven't we learned from the catastrophe in the Gulf of the dangers of technological arrogance, of proceeding ahead with technologies without worrying about the consequences? Why do we continue to throw precaution to the wind?

"I will introduce three bills this week that will provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all Genetically Engineered (GE) plants, animals, bacteria, and other organisms. To ensure we can maximize benefits and minimize hazards, Congress must provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for all GE products. Structured as a common-sense precaution to ensure GE foods do no harm, these bills will ensure that consumers are protected, food safety measures are strengthened, farmers' rights are better protected and biotech companies are responsible for their products," said Kucinich.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What's in Your Waste?

GrowNYC's new online resource gives you a glimpse of what materials New Yorkers discard and provides waste prevention and recycling tips to help you divert more of your household waste from the landfill. You may be surprised what recyclable substance constitutes most of our waste. Open a larger version of the chart and click on each colored bar to read tips on recycling.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 14: Rally for a gas drilling moratorium.

Join the Delaware River Keeper network and numerous other organizations on July 14 and rally for a gas drilling moratorium in the Delaware River Basin.

This important gathering to protect the drinking water of 15 million people from New York City to Philadelphia and throughout the region is being held at the Delaware River Basin Commission's (DRBC) meeting and public hearing.

When:
Where:
  • West Trenton, NJ Volunteer Fire Company
    40 West Upper Ferry Road, West Trenton, New Jersey.
Directions:
  • NJ Transit from NY Penn Station: The 10:31 am train gets you to Trenton by 12:05 pm. Shuttle service from there to the Fire Company will be available.
  • Driving Directions: Visit the West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company website.
More Information:
* Photo Credit: Mike Greenlar / The Post Standard

Friday, July 09, 2010

We All Sing Glory to the Mountains

Please come out in support of the movement to end mountaintop removal and surface mining!

On Thursday, July 15th, from 7:30-9 PM, NY Loves Mountains will host an evening of entertainment and action to support the September 27th Appalachia Rising March on Washington to END mountaintop removal. The event will take place at the 15th St. Meeting House (15th St. btwn 2nd and 3rd avenues, Manhattan)

Admission is pay-what-you-wish, with proceeds going to support Appalachia Rising, and to transport New Yorkers to D.C. for the September march.

The show will feature: Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping Choir; Banjo Player Morgan O'Kane; Singers Mimi Bessette and Helen Russell from Woody Guthrie's American Song; and Actor Martin Pfefferkorn as energy genius Nikola Tesla.

After the show, the audience will have an opportunity to learn about mountaintop removal and to take actions towards stopping it - by signing a divestment letter asking New York Common Retirement Fund to divest from Massey Energy, signing up for wind and solar power from Community Energy (bring your ConEd bill to do this), and signing up to attend the September 27th March in Washington. For more information, email glorytothemountains@gmail.com

Monday, July 05, 2010

Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds

Why would farmers in Haiti burn 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds? Because they are genetically modified (GMO) seeds heavily treated with pesticides. The genetic modifications of these seeds allows them to withstand the heavy pesticide applications, which are intended to kill all weeds, bugs and other parts of the nearby ecosystem. But the Haitians realize the toxic effect of these pesticides is bad for human health.

Read more about this in the article Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds.

Photo: Beverly Bell

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Antibiotic Overuse in Farm Animal Feed

Federal food regulators took a tentative step Monday toward banning a common use of penicillin and tetracycline in the water and feed given cattle, chickens and pigs in hopes of slowing the growing scourge of killer bacteria.

Some 100,000 people die every year in the United States as a result of infections caused by bacteria known as 'super bugs', which have developed a resistance to antibiotics due to their overuse in the livestock industry. Anyone familiar with factory farming and the fast food industry knows that these antibiotics are pumped into animal feed to make them grow larger and faster unnaturally, and that the livestock grow sickly and dependent on them.

The FDA has long sought to combat this process, and has been routinely thwarted by powerful agricultural interests in Washington. Now, the FDA is trying again: The agency just issued a policy paper stating that antibiotics should only be used under a veterinarian's supervision, and only when an animal is naturally sick. Could things finally change?

Read the rest of the story in Treehugger.

Graph from HealthCare Without Harm: Antibiotic Resistance and Agricultural Overuse of Antibiotics. 2005.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't Trash that Cell Phone !

Bring your old electronic equipment to the
Summer E-Waste Recycling Days

The Lower East Side Ecology Center will accept electronic waste ("e-waste") from NYC residents - we cannot accept any electronics from businesses. Bring your unwanted or broken electronics and have them recycled responsibly. See the list of what you can recycle at these events. We do not accept home appliances such as microwaves or refrigerators.

Saturday July 10, 2010 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
Tekserve, 119 West 23rd St NY, NY

Saturday July 17, 2010 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
RING Garden, Riverside Dr btwn Seaman Ave & Broadway, NY, NY

Sunday July 18, 2010 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
Stuyvesant Town, 14th St Loop; enter from 14th St & Avenue A; event is on right side, NY, NY

Saturday July 24, 2010 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
Essex St., east side of Essex St btwn Hester St & Grand St, NY, NY

Sunday July 25, 2010 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
Essex St., east side of Essex St btwn Hester St & Grand St, NY, NY

***Saturday July 31, 2010 | 10:00am - 4:00pm
Smith St btwn President St & Union St, Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vanity Fair Covers Hydrofracking!

The article is called, "A Colossal Fracking Mess -- The dirty truth behind the new natural gas."

It's an online feature which includes a video look at a town transformed by fracking. Please read it and send the link to others.
Read More at http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/06/fracking-in-pennsylvania-201006?currentPage=all#ixzz0rgltjYEK.

And please urge everyone to sign the petition to ban hydrofrack drilling in New York State.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Those Dry Cleaning Bags

If you use dry cleaners (hopefully one of Park Slope's green cleaners) you may still be plagued by the ubiquitus plastic cleaning bags. Although some green cleaners advertise bags made of recycled plastic, it would be better not to use something that is quickly going to end up in the trash. See Take Them to the Cleaners, Again and Again for an article about reusable dry cleaning bags--an innovation we certainly need.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Caring For and Using Fabric Produce Bags



Many PSFC members have ditched the plastic produce and bulk bags in favor of reusable fabric bags. Thank you!

Here are a few recommendations for using and caring for your fabric bags:

Cleaning:
  • Wash your bags every other week or whenever they begin to smell or look moldy.
  • Wash your produce bags on the gentle cycle or soak in the sink using a mild detergent, like Dr. Bronner's.
  • To remove mold or stains, soak your bags in warm water and add a little vinegar or lemon juice. (Avoid bleach. It is a toxic to you and the environment.)
  • If your bags are permanently discolored or stained, remember that they are not a fashion accessory and let them be "colorful".
Using:
  • To keep fast-wilting produce, like lettuce or leafy greens, fresh in the fridge, double bag using one dry bag and one damp bag.

    Place your produce in the first dry bag and then soak the second with water. Ring out the second slightly and double bag. (Depending on the type of produce you might try it the other way around.)
  • Remember to eat your produce within the week. Unlike “conventional” produce or packaged food, fresh organic produce is not meant to last for weeks on end.
Shopping:
  • Use mesh fabric bags to hold big items, like apples and oranges.
  • Use tight weave bags for grains, like rice, salt, and flour and for delicate produce, like grapes, lettuce, and greens.
  • Many hardy products, like carrots, celery, and potatoes, don't require a bag at all. Just place them in your shopping bag!
MYOB (Make Your Own Bags):
  • For many of us “Going Green” seems to be all about buying the next Green product. That misses the point. Re-use what you already have and save money.
  • Making a produce bag is easy. Simply sew two pieces of fabric on three sides or modify an old t-shirt or even a pillowcase. Be creative!