Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Compost Please

A study by the EPA estimated that Americans generate roughly 30 million tons of food waste each year, which is about 12 percent of the total waste stream. All but about 2 percent of that food waste ends up in landfills. By increasing the availability of locations for Brooklyn residents to drop off food waste for composting, we could increase the amount turned into rich soil for gardens, parks, homes and trees.

Councilman Brad Lander has set aside 1 million dollars for community projects and is asking Brooklyn residents to vote on how it should be spent. One of the projects would be increasing drop off sides for food waste and would cost only $165,000.

If Brad Lander is your Congressman, you can vote for this project (and/or other projects). Just bring proof of residency to one of the following voting locations:

Tues., March 27 - Thurs, March 29
Councilmember Lander’s District Office
456 5th Avenue, 3rd Fl
7:30am - 8:00pm

Saturday, March 31
Windsor Terrace Library
160 East 5th Street
10:00am - 4:30pm

PS 58
330 Smith Street
(Enter on 1st Place)
10:00am - 6:00pm

Old Stone House
336 3rd Street
10:00am - 7:00pm

Sunday, April 1
Beth Jacob Day Care Center
1363 46th Street
10:00am - 5:00pm

Old Stone House
336 3rd Street
10:00am - 5:00pm

Carroll Park
Carroll Street between Court and Smith
10:00am - 5:00pm

image courtesy of East Fourth Street Community Garden in Brooklyn

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ancient Air Conditioning

Well before electric air conditioning existed, some ancient builders had clever building designs that kept the interior of a building some 20 degrees cooler than the exterior—in a hot climate like India.

Architect Manit Rastogi examined the stepwell structures developed in India over 1,500 years ago to provide protection from the desert heat. He used several ideas from the ancient buildings to design the the Pearl Academy of Fashion in Jaipur, Rajasthan. In the hot weather, the building remains 20 degrees cooler inside than out—by drawing on Rajasthan's ancient architecture.

Read more about this and see more beautiful images of Rastogi's fascinating design.

Monday, March 05, 2012

People and Plastic: Take THAT, Plastic Bags

Many people are taking action to reduce usage of disposable plastic, or to document or begin to rectify the damage already done by our overuse and careless disposal of plastics.  Beth Terry of  My Plastic Free Life, Captain Charles Moore, discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the people at 5 Gyres come to mind.  Numerous others have joined the ranks.  They have a lot to share with us.

Annie Leonard, best known for "The Story of Stuff," recently began doing podcasts.  In her first, "Take THAT, Plastic Bags," she interviews two people.  They are Andy Keller, the founder of Chico Bags, and Rose Timmer, the activist who spearheaded the multi-year efforts leading to the Brownsille, Texas, ban on plastic bags.  Annie also shares her own thoughts on plastic and activism.  It's a fascinating and inspiring listen.

Listen to it here.

Do you know of someone taking action on plastic issues in a creative, inspiring, or unusual way?  Please share with us.

Photo by, on flickr