November 5, 2020
Join Sandra Goldmark, Barnard professor and author of Fixation: How to Have Stuff without Breaking the Planet, for a quarantine-tour of her home.
Here’s an excerpt from the book:
“We know that as humans, we need stuff; we are deeply entangled with it. And we know that stuff can be a good thing, or at least that some stuff is better than other stuff. The caveat is that, as with food, there can be too much of a good thing. The surfeit of unhealthy stuff calories in our lives doesn’t only create clutter, or pollution. It helps to deﬁne who we are, as individuals and as a society: our stuff tells a story. As a result of a variety of inﬂuences, both external and internal, our shared story has become one of excess and of being overwhelmed, or heedlessly consuming and exploiting; but we are beginning to ﬁnd ways out of all the mess and toward a simpler narrative, a healthier “stuff culture” that tells a story of balance and joy.
By learning to see our stuff not as passive, voiceless objects but as an active, contributing part of the story, we can consciously use our stuff to change the meaning of the tales we live. In our homes, we each design a real-life theatre set around ourselves, and we act out our lives on our little stage every day. We may be living a narrative of clutter or hoarding but want to shift to one of tidiness and joy. Or we may have an apartment that looks perfectly good, but where the practices of making our clothes and furniture are toxic to people and the planet alike. By learning how our stuff can shape our world, onstage and off, we can begin to design and live a better story, individually and collectively.”
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2020
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EST
You can find more information and register here
June 17, 2020
By Tamanna Mohapatra
This documentary is in the same vein as the other popular “The Story Of…” series
that first came to the public’s attention from founder Annie Leonard in 2007. I remember being very influenced by ‘The Story of Stuff’.” This movie is no different. The opening scene is a bit jarring yet somehow familiar…islands of dirty plastic with people swarming through it. The folks handling the heaps of plastic seem somewhat resigned to this fate.
What is the Story of Plastic? Where does it come from? Why is it so ubiquitous? What, if anything, can we do about it? These are some of the questions this documentary explores in some urgent depth. (more…)
December 29, 2019
By Gahl S. Spanier
View on the wind turbine
Once you’ve gotten use out of an item and decide to recycle it, you might conclude that it has become worthless. In fact, the opposite is true; when you recycle an item in NYC, it will participate in a vast economy of disposal and repurposing. The NYC Department of Sanitation brings most of it to the SIMS recycling center, a facility operating under a private-public partnership between the SIMS corporation and NYC. The partnership involves a pricing scheme in which the city pays SIMS a nominal recycling fee for every bale absorbed by the facility, but this price drops or may even reverse into a payment to the city based on the revenue SIMS gets, converting the recyclables into useful raw materials.
September 12, 2019
Forums Recap: Recycling Today, How It Works and What You Can Do To Improve It
By Pamela Berns
If you’re a New Yorker who actively recycles, you probably know that when it comes to recycling in New York City, tissues count as garbage, not paper, ice cream containers can’t be recycled, and film plastics, such as grocery and freezer bags, shouldn’t share a bin with rigid plastics. You’re no doubt aware that you should donate hard cover books and old vinyl records not only so others can enjoy them as much as you did, but because they’re not recyclable in NYC’s recycling program. And you certainly know that New Yorkers recycle not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the law.
How’d you do? If you missed our August Monthly Forum, read on to learn what you need to know to fulfill your Zero Waste pledge
in New York City. (more…)
September 4, 2019
By Jonathan Oriondo
On August 15th, GreenHomeNYC hosted a tour of the East River Compost Yard in Manhattan, where participants learned what it takes to compost on a community-wide scale. Lia Lucero, the outreach coordinator for NYC Compost Project, personally guided us throughout the site.
At first glance it was not obvious that this facility’s main goal was community education. Right on the river, in the middle of a park, this place was huge! There were piles of compost at various stages of the digestion process. Most of the facility was outdoors with a small administrative building towards the road, and it was all surrounded by a formidable fence. It was very impressive—even the smell. (more…)
December 7, 2018
by Pamela Berns
With the holidays upon us, you can make the decision to be either naughty or nice when it comes to your carbon footprint. From treats to trees, from toys to travel, your choices make a difference in the health of the planet. How can New Yorkers stop dreaming of a white Christmas, and take actions toward a green one? Here are a few ideas for sustainable celebrating.
Choose an earth-friendly tree: According to Thomas Harman, founder of artificial Christmas tree maker Balsam Hill, “The minimal use necessary to make an artificial tree green is about seven years. Use it for three and a real tree is better
.” But artificial trees are often made of materials that don’t readily decompose and may even contain toxic chemicals. Leaving a real tree in the ground is still best for the environment, so if you choose to go for a cut tree, make sure you get it from a reliable sustainable source. If you’re not sure what to make of the whole artificial vs cut tree controversy, consider a living tree. Think of it as buying a potted plant rather than cut flowers, only bigger. The tree comes with roots intact, and can be planted afterward. If you don’t have a yard of your own, gift it to someone who does. There are also plenty of community and school gardens in need of green. (Keep in mind that living trees sequester carbon; they actually store it and turn it into nutrition.)
March 1, 2018
by Jenny Nicolas
At the annual GreenHomeNYC Green Catwalk, seven speakers presented the latest information on everything from ventilation to greening the moving industry to O&M to-do lists within the sustainability space.
Part 1: Eat, Breathe, Move, & Check Sustainably
Changing Our Relationship with Food
Ricky Stephens, co-founder of AgTech X, set the stage by presenting some of the biggest flaws within our country’s current food system. He indicated that 80% of the food grown today is not meant for human consumption, with 40% grown to support animals and 40% to be processed into biofuels. Additionally, though the plant kingdom is diverse, 84% of total US cropland is dedicated to just three crops: corn, soybean, and wheat. The long term prospects for the system are also in jeopardy as farming is not attracting new folks to the industry – the average age of a U.S. farmer is 58.
Farm One and Smallhold are two indoor farms housed in restaurants.
What can be done to fix our current system? The goal of AgTech X is to create a new food economy, using urban farming as a vehicle to educate, decentralize, and make farming exciting again. AgTech X fosters a collective community by hosting classes, workshops and tours. Its co-lab workspace supports decentralized urban farming methods like Farm One and Smallhold, indoor farms housed in restaurants that produce farm-to-table microgreens. And a recent “Intro to Aquaponics” class by Oko Farms explained the closed-loop system of raising fish, creating fertilizer for plant growth and filtering the water. While urban farming is not a new concept, innovations in the past five years are making it a more intriguing career option for young professionals!
December 4, 2017
by Pamela Berns
Photo credit: Pamela Berns
It’s been a year marked by extreme weather events, with hurricanes, fires, droughts, and flooding all across the globe. In the United States we saw Houston drown and Santa Rosa burn just a few months after Trump’s pullout from the Paris agreement in June. Climate advocacy groups, local policy makers, corporations, entrepreneurs, individuals, and nonprofits all stepped up their game in defense of the planet, and GreenHomeNYC was no exception.
Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, we were able to deepen our commitment to providing education and calls to action. Our speakers and our blog writers shared critical information on local policy, business actions, and academic initiatives. Record numbers of event attendees turned up to hear from innovators in energy, food waste, recycling, and sustainable building. Green careerists came out to find out where to point their compasses in the new paradigm.
We’re proud of the hard work that went into this challenging year, and hope that our contributions made a difference. Here are just a few GreenHomeNYC highlights for 2017:
November 27, 2017
by Claire Brown
During GreenHomeNYC’s October Forum, eight women of green led us on a tour of their green building career paths. Through the Pecha Kucha style of presentation, the speakers used timed-slides to guide us through their search for their dream careers in engineering, sustainable design, new construction, and more. In addition to sharing their stories, the speakers offered advice to those seeking green careers. The forum was co-hosted by GreenHomeNYC and the Center on Global Energy Policy’s Women in Energy program
at Columbia University.
Lucie Dupas, Entersolar
Dupas had engineering built into her genetic blueprint, with both of her parents working as IT engineers. She finished her formal education in engineering by completing a Master’s program in France, and was proud that the program was comprised of roughly 42% women. Surrounded by so many women in her field, she felt that being a female engineer was “the normal thing to do.” In search of her dream internship, Dupas moved to New York City and joined a renewable energy consulting startup at the NYU Poly Acre Incubator where she built her first photovoltaic system. The internship ultimately led to a full-time job at Sollega
, a solar equipment manufacturer where she did “all the things that you think an engineer does”. According to Dupas, “I did a 3-D design of a racking part and tested it in a laboratory and I trained some 200 pound electricians.” Next she worked at Bright Power
, where she helped bring solar power to affordable housing and managed the installation of several solar thermal and photovoltaic systems. She is now the Engineering Director at the nationwide solar installer Entersolar
where she works on commercial projects with a specific focus on solar PV technology. Lucie is an avid proponent of training programs. “You know how you think you know something, but then you go through a certification program and you realize there’s so much that you don’t really know. And having the certification on your resume is so useful to show yourself as an expert in the industry.”
August 31, 2017
by Lisa Bonanate
One of the challenges facing recycling efforts is that only certain waste can be recycled while the rest is thrown away, generating massive amounts of garbage in landfills. Figuring out what can be recycled and where to dispose of it may cause well-intentioned consumers and businesses to throw their hands up in despair. But an innovative company called TerraCycle
is out to change that.
Specializing in recycling the unrecyclable, the Trenton-based company collects and repurposes the type of hard to recycle, post-consumer waste that typically winds up in landfills – cigarette butts, coffee capsules, food wrappers, light bulbs – you name it. Collected waste is then reused, upcycled or recycled into sustainable consumer products and industrial applications.