Environment

Farmers, Fishers, Bakers, Makers: Meet Ben Flanner of Brooklyn Grange

Do you know where to find the world’s largest rooftop soil farms? Believe it or not, they’re right here in Brooklyn! This week I asked Ben Flanner of Brooklyn Grange to tell me more about the two farms he operates–a 1.5 acre rooftop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and a 1-acre rooftop in Long Island City– and what he’s been cultivating (and selling every Sunday at McGolrick’s Farmers Market).  The farms grow over 50,000 lbs of organically-cultivated produce per year. In addition to growing and distributing fresh local vegetables and herbs, Brooklyn Grange also sells local honey from New York City’s first commercial apiary, provides urban farming and green roof consulting and installation services to clients worldwide, and partner with numerous non-profit organizations throughout New York to promote healthy and strong local communities. Continue reading

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A lot…Or Nothing – What is Really Going on with the North Brooklyn Boathouse?

So a lot is going on with the Newtown Creek Environmental Benefit Project. Or nothing is going on with it. It really depends on who you ask.

Groups benefiting from the Hudson River Foundation break down the numbers.

Wednesday night (4/23), a progress meeting on the project was held in Long Island City. Michelle Moore from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) kicked things off, and almost immediately voices were raised questioning funding and lack of progress. Even Joseph Lentol, the New York State Assemblyman that represents Greenpoint, expressed his disappointment at the lack of progress with the project so far. Continue reading

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What Will Become of the Huxley Envelope Building?

Photo by Joanne Ambia

Many of you might be familiar with the nearby Huxley Envelope building, a fixture sight on the waterfront and an identifier of Greenpoint across the soiled waters of the East River.

Remediation Site Map

But what you might not know is that the entire building and surrounding land could be demolished, as a result of a major brownfield cleanup run by the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which will purge the area of what they refer to as “hazardous waste and/or petrolium.” An official report found that the cleanup will not post a significant threat to public health …but more on that later. Basically the remediation is going to detox the shitty/toxic soil embedded on our deceivingly pretty waterfront, which I’m sure we can all agree, is a good thing. I mean, this soil has to get clean at some point; that’s the whole idea of a Superfund site. Continue reading

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What’s that Smell? Dredging Party Boat!

Get in line for the cruise of your life...the sludge boat

How many people can say that they live in a neighborhood that has scheduled dredging? That’s something to brag about, kind of like when you have a really disgusting, oozing leg wound that you really want to show people, just to prove to them that it’s super gross.

Beginning this week, the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection will run a 6 week process of removing the “sediment and debris” that collects under Newtown Creek. That’s a nice way of saying runoff trash, sewage, and whatever else drifted from the streets (dead rats? needles? chicken nuggets?) and decided to solidify on the bottom of our very own urban waterway. Some lovingly call it “black mayonnaise,” which to clarify, is not the name of an artisanal sandwich spread or an underground EDM festival. Continue reading

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More GREEN Money! $6 Million from DEP for Private Property Owners!

Eagle St Rooftop Farms

The city is catching on that we need to get more sustainable in terms of our infrastructure. One way is to green private residences in ways that helps capture and redirect rainwater that would otherwise overwhelm the sewer system and cause CSOs (which is when raw sewage is released into our waterways.) Yeah – it’s totally a nasty affair and should be avoided!

NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced $6 million in grant funding is available for green infrastructure projects like rain gardens, blue roofs, green roofs, and porous pavement that manage stormwater runoff from private property. Private property owners in all five boroughs of New York City are eligible to apply. Continue reading

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Great Backyard Bird Count Happening Now – Just Look In Your Yard! (2/14-17)

Cooper's Hawk in Greenpoint, Brooklyn © Jennifer Galatioto

I was so excited to see birds starting to use the new feeders we put up in our new backyard. At first it was just sparrows and starlings with some mourning doves eating the seeds that fell on the ground. Then I spotted gorgeous House Finches!

I will record all of these birds as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is happening now through 2/17! Take a look in your yard or nearby park for at least 15 minutes and count the birds you see in that period of time. This is a great activity for the whole family, kids, cats, etc.

Click here to get started here. Even easier - there is an app to record your observations.

The data from YOU citizen scientists is used by REAL scientists to understand where and how many species of birds there are in a specific place at a specific time – this weekend! You can watch all this data being submitted in real time on the GBBC website.

Birds to look out for in Brooklyn: Pigeons, Starlings, Sparrows, House Finches, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Down Woodpeckers, Robins, Red Tailed Hawks, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Seagulls, Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels, Snowy Owls (for real!)

Last year I made this video with the house finches that lived on our fire escape before our landlord flipped out about the bird feeder…Maybe they followed us to our new home.

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Sh*t Talk: Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Turns Poop Into Gas

© Gina Pollack

If the title of this post didn’t turn you away, rejoice, dear reader! Poop isn’t just a funny word, it’s also useful…for science.

Right in our own backyard, Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is turning the organic waste from thousands of New Yorkers into natural gas. Ok, jokester, we don’t mean that kind of gas. We’re talking about renewable natural gas that National Grid will use to heat spaces like your own apartment. Continue reading

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The Afterlife of Christmas Lights (VIDEO)

We bought over 1000 white christmas lights to decorate our Holiday Market and we hope to use them for a long time. When they finally die and we recycle them, they may end up in Shijiao, China, the “Christmas Light Recycling Capital of the World.” This interesting video by Adam Minter, of the blog Shanghai Scrap, shows how the process works in order to recover valuable components like copper and insulation. In the USA this insulation would end up in a landfill, but in China it is reused as slipper soles.

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The Conspiracy Against The People Opposed to Greenpoint Landing

I hate the term conspiracy theory. It irks me. Often valid ideas get this moniker, as well as ideas that clearly deserve the term. That said, if Joe Blow murders someone, he is a murderer. If Joe Blow and Joe Shmo decide to murder someone, that is called conspiracy murder. See how that works? If more than one person conspires to do someting illegal, it becomes a conspiracy. Now when most of the city council conspires against the will of the people of New York (in this case – Greenpoint, Brooklyn) – what shall we call that? Continue reading

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365 Green Living Pointers: GCEF Fund Proposal – Share Your Tips & Get a FREE Raffle!

UPDATE: all Greenpointers who fill out our Pledge Form below (which requires no purchases AKA FREE!) gets entered into our Raffle for our Holiday Market! (Deadline to enter: 12/8/13, 11:59pm)

You all know about the $19.5 Million settlement from Exxon Mobil that is to be used in 11222 for Environmental Funding, right? And you know the proposals are due on 12/18/13, right?

I want to share with you Greenpointers’ project idea called 365 Green Living Pointers and ask for your feedback and pledge for support. Continue reading

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