Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To Do: Write the DEC Before December 12

We have until December 12 to comment on the Supplementary Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS)--after that hydrofrack drilling can begin in New York State, unless our comments make it clear that the proposed regulations are not sufficient. Hydrofrack drilling will endanger our water supply, the organic farms we work with upstate, the land of property owners as well as the general environment in New York State.

The SGEIS is a large, technical document (several hundred pages). If you can come to one of our upcoming workshops at the Food Coop, we will assist you in writing a letter then and there.

If you want to get started writing on your own, here is a valuable resource suggesting the different topics you might want to comment on. If you can, please write to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) now. If the SGEIS is accepted on December 12, gas drilling companies will start drilling.

image courtesy of Julian Stark

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hydrofracking Letter Writing Workshops

Slowing Down the DEC on the
Fast Track to Frack New York State

Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation are putting the Energy Industry on a fast track to frack New York State.
Why the hurry?

The NYS DEC recently issued a Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) which, if accepted, will allow hydro-fracking to begin. We have until December 12 to send comments to the DEC. The Environmental Committee is organizing a series of workshops to provide guidance for writing an effective letter to The DEC commenting on
their regulations.

Individual letters make a difference--the DEC is required to read every one, whereas form letters are merely counted.

We will help you complete a letter at the workshop and mail it for you.
Stop by at any point during one of the workshop sessions:

Saturday, 10/15: 1-3pm

Saturday, 10/22: 10am-2pm

Sunday, 11/06: 12-2 pm

Saturday, 11/19: 2-4 pm

Bring friends—coop members and non-members are welcome!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Use Less Plastic -- Interviews with Coop Members

"The question is not 'can you make a difference?' You already do make a difference.  It's just a matter of what kind of difference you want to make, during your life on this planet."
-- Julia Butterfly Hill
Some coop members are using less plastic these days.  Seven of them were interviewed about what they're doing, how, and why.  Thank you to Anna Amadei, David Barouh, Michael Braudy, Laura Sheinkopf, Moraima Suarez, Majo Tinoco, and Gabriel Willow for generously sharing their experiences and thoughts.
The common feature of what these members are doing in the produce and bulk aisles is simple:  they make another choice instead of taking a new plastic bag from the roll.  Either they use no bag or a cloth bag, or re-use an old plastic bag.  Beyond this shared choice, they have individually found other ways to reduce plastic use.
Some of what inspired these people to reduce their plastic use:  for Majo, "increasing awareness of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how it affects marine life," led to action.  Anna was inspired by to begin a plastic-free year.
See the longer article in the Gazette, 9/22/11, (scroll down to p. 5), for more on how these seven negotiate the produce and bulk aisles without new plastic and why they're making changes.
Part II will range further afield:  other plastic-reducing actions of these seven, problems they've encountered, their hopes for a less-plastic future.
Meanwhile, what kind of difference do you want to make? You are needed now.
To reduce plastic use, please:
  1. Make another choice than plastic-roll bags in produce and bulk aisles.
  2. Read about and support the environmental committee's proposal to phase out plastic bag rolls.
Photo by Chris Jordan

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ecologist's Award Goes to Fight Hydrofracking

Sandra Steingraber is one of my heroes. A bladder cancer survivor at 20 years of age, she went on to get a PhD in biology and devote herself to environmental work. She writes poetry, too, and lives in upstate NY with her family. If you haven't read Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment, I highly recommend it.

We just learned that Dr. Steingraber won the Heinz Award: an unrestricted $100,000 cash prize. She has announced that she will use her award to fight hydrofracking. Read her own words about this decision.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fracking Call to Obama on Tuesday

Please join us as we partner with Josh Fox, the National Grassroots Coalition, Food and Water Watch, Credo, Democracy for America, Working Families Party, United for Action and many others this Tuesday, September 13th in calling President Obama and telling him we want hydrofracking banned. The threat to our drinking water and our health is unacceptable.

Your call does matter.

Call the White House
at 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414
between 9 am and 5 pm EDT
on September 13th.

Say, "Hello my name is _, I live in (City, State) and I want fracking banned and a sane, renewable energy policy for this country".

If the phone lines get jammed, send an email through the White House Contact page here:

We need to let President Obama know that Americans do not want fracking.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fall Electronics Recycling Events

The Lower East Side Ecology Center is holding 17 electronic waste ("e-waste") recycling events in all five boroughs in September and October. The dates and locations of the Brooklyn are listed below along with links to flyers (PDF) for each event. Please post or distribute flyers to help us get the word about about the event. To see events from other boroughs, look here.

All events will be held rain or shine and will run 10am to 4pm (with the exception of the September 20th event which will run 11am to 7pm).

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

September 24, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer
Habana Outpost, Fulton St. b/w S. Portland Ave. & S. Oxford St., Brooklyn

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

October 01, 2011 | 10:00am - 4:00pm Directions Flyer
The New New York, N 11th St. b/w Kent & Wythe Aves., Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Plastic Releases Estrogenic Chemicals

Most people have heard of BPA-free plastic, but a recent study has found that nearly all plastic, even that which claims to be BPA-free, releases chemicals that have estrogenic activity (EA) and cause hormone distruption.

Their results found that:
"Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products."

They noted that:
"Chemicals having estrogenic activity (EA) reportedly cause many adverse health effects, especially at low (picomolar to nanomolar) doses in fetal and juvenile mammals."

Their conclusion indicates that the industry does have access to additives that have no detectable EA and have similar costs. If these were used by the plastics industry, we could:
"eliminate a potential health risk posed by most currently available plastic products that leach chemicals having EA into food products."

This study underscores the recommendation that pregnant women and parents of young children should avoid all plastic-based baby products. Please use tried and true materials like wood, metal, or glass and keep plastic away from baby.

Read the full article here or download the PDF.

Learn more about the Environmental Committee's research, which informs our recent recommendation to Phase Out Plastic Bag Rolls on the shopping floor.

* Originally published on Plastic Albatross.