You want fresh produce in New York? No problem: Residents and activists are converting vacant lots and rooftops into growing spaces at a record pace. While those kinds of spaces aren’t likely to run out anytime soon, Cooper Union architecture student Karim Ahmed is tinkering with the technology necessary to take advantage of yet another: the city’s waterways. His project would grow food hydroponically on “floating gardens,” the first of which he’s anchored in Long Island City’s Anable Basin.
No doubt you’ve got a firm perception of Donald Trump, and it probably looks something like “crazed birther with bad hair who likes to fire people on TV.” I’ll bet that whether you love or hate The Donald, you’ve probably never used the word “environmentalist” to describe him. Trump has characterized himself that way, though, specifically in regards to how he’s developed luxury golf resorts. Apparently, one resort in Virginia does have a bird sanctuary; in most cases, though, residents and local environmentalists have been unimpressed with Trump’s approach to preserving natural resources while developing land he’s purchased.
One item with nearly infinite possibilities for reconfiguration? It doesn’t get much greener than that. While Mason Jars are a staple for home canners, the crafty crowd has discovered their potential, too. From the decorative to the very functional, it turns out there are lots of things you can do with a Mason Jar.
Environmental regulations kill jobs. If companies didn’t have to spend money on such nonsense, they could afford to hire more people. That’s a consistent narrative coming out of the right-wing media in this country, and one that’s heavily promoted by various nonprofit organizations funded by Charles and David Koch (aka the Koch brothers). The brothers and their company, Koch Industries, have also paid out millions in lobbying expenses and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians willing to fight various forms of environmental regulation.
As you might expect, I’ve got a soft spot for environmental activists: I love the passion they bring to their actions, and I respect their willingness to put themselves in sometimes-dangerous situations. But while street theater, march and sit-ins might have been all the rage in 1968, they don’t even make the local news anymore. And if media — any media — aren’t covering it, then the corporate targets of your activism aren’t paying attention.
Sure, kids need lots of stuff, but that doesn’t have to be a reason to compromise your environmental values. From back-to-school shopping to playtime, we’ve found a whole range of products that keep your kids green.
When it comes to housing, phrases like “prefab,” “modular” or “factory-made” still bring up certain images for me: either a mobile home/trailer or a boxy, uninspired dwelling made from cheap materials. That’s on me, though, as, over the past decade or so, designers have recognized the potential of this concept and started creating unique, beautiful, stylish homes. What’s more, they’ve built upon prefabrication’s lower environmental footprint by adding materials and features that use resources more efficiently and maintain a healthy indoor environment.
We got some rain this weekend, but I can still count the number of this Summer’s rainfalls on one hand. While our drought situation will affect everything from food to gas prices, it’s still only one year: Unless these conditions really becomes the “new normal,” we Midwesterners will probably continue to assume that water will be available to meet our needs (as we currently define them). Back in my old stomping grounds of the desert Southwest, though, drought conditions have been in place for more than a decade. While the warnings I remember hearing about water literally running out for places like Las Vegas haven’t come to pass, the Colorado River system is severely strained: The river that defines the region generally does not make it all the way to its delta in the Gulf of California before it dries up.
Need a new look at home? Or just want to spruce up a room? Dreading the thought of paying for the new decor for that transformation? We’ve got you covered with a variety of upcycling projects and recycled items you can buy.
What are some of the qualities that make New York unique? World-class arts and entertainment? Certainly. A hub of international commerce? Yep. A gathering place for world leaders? Check. A leader in food-growing?… Huh?
I’m not crazy about sushi. I’ll eat it if I’m out with friends and they really want it, but you’ll never hear me say, “Hey, let’s get some sushi.” I realize that, in many people’s minds, that make me a total Neanderthal: contemporary standards of middle-class sophistication mean not only craving this Japanese specialty food, but declaring how much you looovvve it (I think you have to say it just that way).
Your garden not doing so well? Neither is mine — this heat and drought have been brutal. Rather than bitching, though, those of us with yards might want to take a look at the practices and products used by people without them (or with really limited space) for growing ornamental plants and vegetables.
Got one of those crazy family members who thinks that Rush Limbaugh is an expert on, well, everything, and who firmly believes that climate change is a conspiracy designed to undermine the capitalist economy? Yep, we know the type, and we fully understand that you may already be dreading family time at the holidays. This uncle or cousin or in-law isn’t going to let facts get in the way, so showing him how even scientists once skeptical about global warming are coming around in a big way probably won’t change any minds. And this relative certainly isn’t going to hold back for the sake of a peaceful gathering.
While Josh Fox and his 2010 documentary GASLAND weren’t single-handedly responsible for the increased attention given to the natural gas extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”), the film certainly did create an image many people now associate with the process: flaming tap water. It also didn’t win Fox many friends in the natural gas industry. Though industry reps have tried to argue against specific points in GASLAND, they’ve had a hard time overcoming that image of water burning in a Colorado man’s kitchen sink. So they decided to make their own movie.
Yep, we’ve all got places to go. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the impact of those trips to a minimum with your choices in transportation and what you take with you.
If you’re looking for a practical car that’s inexpensive to operate, you may be checking out some of the new generation of electric vehicles: Though they’re still a bit pricey, cars like the Nissan LEAF are designed as solid, day-to-day transportation. But if you want something sleek, or something sporty, something that turns heads… you’ve got to go for something that runs on gas, right?
Article: GENERATION FOOD: All meals are local
Want to get into a heated argument? Start a conversation about the methods we use to grow our food. Whether you’re supporting the current norm for agriculture (big, mechanized farms using an array of chemical products) or something that seems much greener (organics and other methods of ecological farming), you’ll likely have no trouble finding someone who disagrees with you. Vehemently. At some point, that person will tell you that you’re arguing for the starvation of millions — regardless of which side you’re on.
The greenest product, so the saying goes, is one that you don’t buy. But for things you really need, the next best option may be the product you share. No longer limited to movie rentals, you can rent/share just about any durable good (or even not-so-durable goods) these days.
Missing anything this summer? How about rain? At this point, I’ve given up on some of the plants in my yard — no amount of watering will make up for the lack of rainwater. Of course, I’m just one guy with a small yard. Across the river in southern Illinois, farmers are facing historic crop losses. According to the Associated Press, the Department of Agriculture had predicted a bumper crop of corn this year: 166 bushels per acre. But with more than half the country now facing drought conditions, the USDA has not only revised those numbers downward but also made its largest disaster declaration ever: 1,000 counties spread over 26 states are eligible for low-interest loans and reduced penalties for grazing on federal land (see the image below). Livestock farmers may well need the latter: Most feed corn to their cattle and other animals, and prices are sure to shoot upward.
Not in my back yard — that’s often the shortsighted response to clean energy development, right? But it can also be an appropriate response to more threatening forms of development; no one wants a nuclear or coal plant in their “back yard,” either. But this phrase (or the acronym NIMBY) can also describe another phenomenon: the notion that important efforts at sustainability occur somewhere across the globe, in the Arctic or the Amazon — but not in my back yard.
Empty bottles — what do you do with them? For most of us, the answer is “throw them in the recycling bin.” Others look at those bottles, made of either plastic or glass, and see serving trays, jeans or water heaters. See the many things you can do with a used bottle in this week’s Greener Consumption.
Got a lot of empty bottles laying around? Hey, we’re not here to judge; we realize those bottles may well have sentimental value (a bottle of wine shared at a special occasion), or that you may just find them really attractive. Seems a shame to send something beautiful to the recycler (or, if you don’t have recycling service for glass, to the landfill).
Ever protested the actions of a big company? It can feel kind of hopeless: They’ve got money and power, and unless the word spreads widely, big businesses can just ignore those pesky protesters outside. Without some kind of “force multiplier,” activists can easily become disillusioned.
It’s hot – real hot! Even the greenest among us just wants to crank up the AC and lay around a lot. You can go there, or you can try out some of these ideas for beating the heat with a lighter environmental impact.