environmental activism

Art, Urban Equity and Brooklyn in Albany — The Hook-up 12/15

#BroCleanBKLYN via Instagram
#BroCleanBKLYN via Instagram

Last week, I had the privilege to see a remastered print of Ken Burns’ 1981 film, Brooklyn Bridge, at the Brooklyn Museum. The documentary had me feeling all the feelings for the Bridge and the borough. But it’s not just the Great Bridge that’s been inspiring Brooklyn this week. In fact, our very own Newtown Creek has been inspiring equitable urban greening and environmental activism here in the neighborhood, and around the country. For example, the Newtown Creek Nature Walk was cited as a project for the neighborhood that avoids environmental gentrification.

Further, brothers Gary and Sam Bencheghib took to the mighty waters of Newtown Creek in their series  #BroCleanBKLN. On December 2nd, the pair paddled both the Creek and Gowanus Canal to highlight pollution in Brooklyn, and advocate for cleaner waterways.  Continue reading

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Community Visioning, Newtown Creek History, and Green Roof Tour at Kingsland Wildflowers this Saturday (6/3)

kingsland-wildflowers-greenpoint-visitors-photo-by-mpenmannThis Saturday (June 3rd), you can tour the beautiful rooftop at Kingsland Wildflowers (520 Kingsland Ave), learn about the future of Newtown Creek at a community visioning workshop, and take a look back to its industrial roots with local historian Mitch Waxman. These events are all free and open to the public.

Schedule of Events:

1-4pm   Community Visioning with Riverkeeper and NCA, RSVP

5-7pm   Lecture and Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof Tour with Mitch Waxman, NCA Historian, RSVP

More Deets:

Join Riverkeeper and the Newtown Creek Alliance in creating a cohesive community vision for Newtown Creek. With a Superfund cleanup and long-term plan to control sewage overflows on the horizon, now is an opportune time to engage stakeholders in imagining and designing a future Newtown Creek that provides greater opportunities for restoration, remediation, recreation, and resilience. RSVP

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New Proposal Wants to Map Greenpoint’s Toxic Sites

Boat on Newtown Creek.
This boat chilling in Newtown Creek doesn't seem to mind a little oil. Or a lot.

One of the first things I learned after moving to Greenpoint in 2011 was that The Mark Bar gives out free bagels on Sundays. Or at least they used to. (Does this still happen? Asking seriously). The second thing I learned was that Newtown Creek, which I walk over every day to get to the 7 train, is home to one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history. Over the last couple of decades anywhere from 17 to 30 million gallons of oil have escaped from ExxonMobil’s refinery and storage facilities underneath Greenpoint and leaked into the soil and water surrounding North Brooklyn. Continue reading

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“Presumed Inevitability of Gentrification” in Greenpoint: Not The End Of The Story

Two new articles about gentrification and environmental activism in Greenpoint, appearing in The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, argue that the neighborhood is challenging the typical narrative that gentrifying neighborhoods will inevitably force out all long-term residents to make way for a gold coast of newly arriving gentrifiers.

The articles, by Winifred Curran (Department of Geography, DePaul University) and Trina Hamilton (Department of Geography, SUNY University at Buffalo) advocates a “just green enough” idea that “makes room for continued industrial use and blue-collar work, where cleanup does not automatically or exclusively lead to the ‘parks, cafes, and a riverwalk’ model of a green city.”

“Just green enough” coincides with “just clean enough,” wherein “as much of the environmental hazard as possible is removed in order to assure community health while still allowing for industrial uses on the waterfront for the explicit purpose of maintaining the area’s working-class population.” Continue reading

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