Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tip of the Week #2

Tissues (and Handkerchiefs)

As anybody who sits through class with me is well aware, I have year-round, persistent allergies. I decided a while ago that the trees no longer needed my snot. Here's somethings to consider.

Environmental Impact

Tissues, whatever brand you buy, are made of paper. The largest producer of pulp for tissues is Kimberly-Clark, owner of the Kleenex® brand. Greenpeace waged an aggressive Kleercut campaign to get them to stop logging in old-growth forests that officially ended in 2009 due to a commitment from the company to protect Canada's Boreal Forest. Regardless, according to the NRDC the "virgin timber-based pulp and paper industry is the third greatest industrial emitter of global warming pollution. Its carbon dioxide emissions are projected to double by 2020."

Social Impact

The Kleenex® website provides a lovely history of its product. The company initially marketed it as a make-up remover, until some savvy employee noted how useful it was to deal with his hay-fever. And hence, a large contribution to the disposable culture pervasive throughout our society was born. For a great description of the breadth of this problem Green Coalition recommends the informative and entertaining Story of Stuff.

Americans have always been particularly germ phobic, and there may be some correlation between the fear of mucus and the tendency to want to throw it out as if it was toxic waste. But just FYI, you touch a lot more mucus than you think.

The Law

It's a big issue, so just focusing on the stance of the current administration protecting national forests: "No logging or road project on tens of millions of forested acres will proceed without personal approval by the Agriculture Department's secretary for at least a year while the Obama administration decides how to handle a controversial Clinton-era roadless rule, officials said today." -NYtimes May 28, 2009.

To learn more about the roadless rule, check out this timeline and website. Suffice to say, the current White House is more of a friend of forests than the previous, but it is NOT enough to rest on.

What can you do?

Number 1:
Use a handkerchief. I promise cloth is softer than any tissue you have ever wiped under your nose. This article> suggests a different hanky for each day of the week.

My personal strategy has been to cut up old t-shirts. Especially if it's a shirt that's too tattered/small to keep wearing but you really love it, it's a very special way to keep that shirt as a loving presence in your life.

Number 2:
Follow this guide published by the NRDC and purchase the most responsible disposable tissue product possible. Some composts can take your dirty tissues. Then you can think about eating your snotty tissue when you chomp into a beautiful homegrown tomato next August!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tip of the Week #1

Recycle your Batteries

Environmental Impact

Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can contaminate the environment if not recycled properly. When incinerated, certain metals might be released into the air or can concentrate in the ash produced by the combustion process.

Currently, most batteries collected through household battery collection programs are disposed of in hazardous waste landfills. In landfills, heavy metals have the potential to leach slowly into soil, groundwater or surface water. Dry cell batteries contribute about 88 percent of the total mercury and 50 percent of the cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. In the past, batteries accounted for nearly half of the mercury used in the United States and over half of the mercury and cadmium in the municipal solid waste stream. When burned, some heavy metals such as mercury may vaporize and escape into the air, and cadmium and lead may end up in the ash.*

Social Impact

Landfills can leak. Toxic chemicals leaking from landfills are bad for people. Its almost that simple. Its gets more complicated when you start looking at who is most affected by leaking landfills.

Communities that live close to landfills are disproportionately endangered by the toxic chemicals that may leach from them. Historically, poor and minority communities have been located in close proximity to landfills and therefore have been burdened by a large share of the environmental impacts caused by toxins in landfills. These communities have looked to the law for remedies

The Law

Many states have regulations in place requiring some form of battery recycling. California mandates recycling for almost all battery types The U.S. Congress passed the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act in 1996 to make it easier for rechargeable battery and product manufacturers to collect and recycle Ni-CD batteries and certain small sealed lead-acid batteries.*

When government doesn't have the correct mechanisms or fails to enforce them citizens suits are also an avenue for redress. The case of the Dickson County Landfill in Tennessee is a prime example of how communities have been damaged by toxic landfill leaks. In March 2008 the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and two residents of Dickson, Tennessee, filed a lawsuit against the Dickson County and City governments. The Complaint alleges that an industrial chemical disposed at the Dickson Landfill that has been linked to neurological and developmental harm and cancer, poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment.**

Remedial Measures

One way to prevent personally generated toxins from reaching landfills is to not use them. If you do, then recycle those batteries. The NYC Department of Sanitation operates Self Help Special Waste Drop-Off Sites in every borough for the collection and recycling (or proper disposal) of batteries. Check out NYDOS site for more info.

If you want to get involved in working with communities that are adversely impacted by the sorts of issues that toxic chemicals in landfills pose as a good place to start would be to check out organizations like WeAct, the Environmental Justice Resource Center and Green For All.

Information from this Tip of the Week retrieved from:
Written by Patrick Foster

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gowanus Canal Storm Surges Meeting

Friday, September 25, 2009
6:30 -- 8:30 PM
Dr. Malcolm Bowman, SUNY Stony Brook
Long Island College Hospital, 339 Hicks Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201, Conference Rooms A & B
Organized by Brooklyn Community Board 6.

Dr. Malcolm Bowman will speak about risks from potential storm surges to the Gowanus Canal and surrounding areas. He is Professor of Physical Oceanography and a Distinguished Professor at the Marine Sciences Research Center, State University at Stony Brook. He is the Coordinator of the Stony Brook Storm Surge Research Group, which studies storm surges which threaten the New York Metropolitan area, and ways that the City can protect itself in an era of global climate change and sea level rise from flooding in extreme weather events.

Contact Information:
Sierra Club New York City

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sustainable Living for Sustainable Cities Lecture

Hello out there! I went to a great talk on Governor's Island about all the great stuff NYU is doing to make their campus more sustainable. Here are my notes. Inspiring stuff. - Kate!

Governor's Island "Sustainable Living for Sustainable Cities" Speaker Series
Aug 29, 09
Speaker: Jeremy Friedman, NYU Sustainability Task Force

NYU is a member of AASHE (Assoc. for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) and ACUPCC (American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment)

There are green roofs at Columbia and Pace now.

NYU's initiative is 3 years old. Accomplishments:

Sustainability Task Force started
Cogeneration power plant
Environmental Studies Program started
Purchase of Renewable Energy

Green grants begin, which is competitive funding for faculty, student or staff-led projects. NY Unplugged is one example about unplugging electronics.
Sustainability Advocates Program

Climate Action Plan
Green buildings are built, at least silver and some more

NYU Welcome Week includes info on biking, vegetarian cooking, green maps. This actually begins during tours of the college and the admissions process, green info is included.

NYU stopped selling bottled water in the meal plan. Still for sale in vending machines. They offer stainless steel bottle for cheap or free to students.

NYU is the largest composting entity in the city, other than Rikers. All NYU food waste is composted at an organic farm upstate.

http://www.nyu.edu/sustainability/ for power points and other resources.

The law school's enviro group is the Enviro. Law Society and their site is:http://www.law.nyu.edu/studentorganizations/els/index.htm . Aaron Jacobs-Smith is the contact Jeremy suggested we reach out to for any collaboroation, questions etc.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Waste Audit Redux

Here are some great photos of the event, including our illustrious friends from Queen Botanical Gardens....Daniel and Julia!

Waste Audit Spring '09 Results

Hey All! Just thought I'd re-post our results from the audit all of us greens pitched in and performed last semester. We calculated the results, and boy were they startling! (100+ lbs of paper were thrown out - not recycled - in 24 hrs!) We are planning on undertaking another one at the same time this year!

CUNY Law Green Coalition Waste Audit Results: Contents of Campus-Wide Garbage, 24-hr. period, April 14-15, 2009

WASTE in WEIGHT(lbs) or NUMBER (*):
Recyclable Plastics (bottles) 52*
Non-recyclable plastics 78.1 lbs
(plastic bags, utensils,
food containers, etc.)

Recyclable Paper 100.4 lbs.
Non-recyclable paper 102.25 lbs.
(paper towels, napkins, etc.)
Beverage Cartons (milk, orange juice) 37*
Coffee Cups 316*

Meat/dairy/oils 49*
(industrially compostable materials)
Compostables (eggshells, fruit peelings) 65 lbs.

Recyclable metals (including cans) 2.5 lbs.
Non-recyclable metals (tinfoil, etc.) 1.5 lbs.

Recyclable glass (bottles) 19*
Non-recyclable glass ---

Appliances/Electronics 3*
Misc. Inorganics (trash) 59 lbs.
Household Hazardous (chemical bottles) 7*

Environmental Fellowship Alert!

The Environmental Leadership Program has a GREAT fellowship opportunity, and they're accepting applications now! It's not specifically legal but it's cool!

"The Fellowship Program targets emerging environmental and social change practitioners eager to connect their specialized work to larger environmental and social concerns. ELP is committed to selecting a class of Fellows that represents diversity of race and ethnicity, gender, sector, sexual orientation, education levels, professional background, values and traditions, and environmental issue expertise."

There are a lot of cool-looking retreats involved :)


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

CUNY GC Alumni Mixer

CUNY Green Coalition is going to be having an alumni/student meet-n-greet this month. If you are an alumni or interested student, please contact greencoalition@mail.law.cuny.edu.

We're looking forward to meeting with alumni who have an interest in environmental issues and/or work in the environmental law field. We'll speak about what Green Coalition has accomplished over the past year and what we're planning for this coming year.

We're so excited to speak with our amazing alumni who represent CUNY so well in the legal professional. You have attained what we are working so hard now to achieve and we can't wait to reach your ranks. Students at CUNY are always eager to hear the ways in which the unique public interest lawyering education we are receiving has been utilized by alumni to craft their own individual careers. It will be extra inspirational for Green Coalition members to hear about how professionals working with environmental law and policy have kept the CUNY spirit alive post-graduation and integrated it into your practice.

We'll be meeting at a great bar in Manhattan in the next few weeks.

We're looking forward to seeing you there!

- CUNY School of Law Green Coalition

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sustainable City!

This Saturday, August 29, 2009, the CUNY Law Green Coalition will be taking a field trip to an island. Join us. We are going to Governor's Island in the middle of New York Harbor to have a picnic, get inspired about green possibilities, and plan green initiatives for CUNY Law in the coming year.

We will meet at the ferry terminal in lower Manhattan at 11:20am and take the 11:30am ferry to the isle of possibilities and eat a picnic lunch on the grass. Directions to the ferry terminal are pasted at the bottom of this message and can be found here: http://www.govisland.com/Visit_the_Island/directions.asp. Note that it is NOT the Staten Island ferry terminal but just east of it.

At 12:30pm, Jeremy Friedman from the NYU Sustainability Task Force will be giving a talk entitled "Green NYU, Green City, Green World" at 12:30pm. Learn how NYU is greening their campus and office space and how the exciting changes made there can be made everywhere. http://www.cunysustainablecities.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=10&Itemid=25

After the talk, we will have a planning meeting for Green initiatives at CUNY Law for the coming year. This is a great opportunity for us to brainstorm about how to make CUNY Law greener.

Join us, even if you've never met us. If you care about our impact on our planet, our city, and our neighborhood, we want to know you. For more about the CUNY Law Green Coalition, check out our blog at http://cunyappleseed.blogspot.com/ or email us at greencoalition@mail.law.cuny.edu. Feel free to email us for a cell phone number on the day of the event in case you can't find us on Saturday.

The CUNY Law Green Coalition was born last year. In ta year, we have initiated a composting program, done a 24-hour waste audit, raised awareness of recycling, taken a tour of the farm at the high school next door, participated in the CUNY Law Sustainability Council with faculty and administrators, started forming an alumi network of those working in "green" legal jobs, initiated an online rideshare in partnership with Queens College, learned about worms and the waste stream from Master Composters at the Queens Botanical Garden, and really made CUNY Law a little bit greener.

The Governors Island Ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building located 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. The ferry terminal is accessible as follows:

By Subway
1 – South Ferry Station
4, 5 (weekdays) to Bowling Green
W (weekdays only), R (weekdays and weekends) – Whitehall St. Station

Know before you go. Rebuilding efforts are ongoing and may affect subway service. Visit www.mta.info for service advisories, updated every Friday, or call 718-330-1234.

By Bus
M1 (weekdays only), M6, M9 and M15

Know before you go. Rebuilding efforts are ongoing and may affect subway service. Visit www.mta.info for service advisories, updated every Friday, or call 718-330-1234.

By Car
There is no public parking at the Governors Island ferry building.

Driving from the East Side:
Take the FDR Drive to Exit 1, South Ferry. As you exit, stay in the left lane and turn left around the (left) u-turn at the end of the street in front of the Staten Island Ferry terminal. The Battery Maritime Building is the historic ferry terminal just to the northeast of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The Governors Island ferry departs from the northernmost slip of the Battery Maritime Building.

Driving from the West Side:
Take the West Highway around the tip of Lower Manhattan and go through the Battery Underpass. When you emerge from the Underpass, take the first exit, Exit 1, Staten Island Ferry. Stay left, and make a left-hand u-turn onto South Street going south. Stay to your turn left and make the (left) u-turn at the end of the street in front of the Staten Island Ferry terminal. The Battery Maritime Building is the historic ferry terminal just to the northeast of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The Governors Island ferry departs from the northernmost slip of the Battery Maritime Building.

Driving: Local Streets:
Take Broadway south onto Whitehall Street. Turn left onto Water Street. Go one block and turn right onto Broad Street. Go one block and turn right onto South Street. Go to the left land, and make the (left) u-turn at the end of the street in front of the Staten Island Ferry terminal. The Battery Maritime Building is the historic ferry terminal just to the northeast of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The Governors Island ferry departs from the northernmost slip of the Battery Maritime Building.

Share Your Ride/Get A Ride

The CUNY Law Green Coalition, Queens College, and the CUNY Law Sustainability Council invite you to join CommuterLink - a New York based rideshare service. It's free. And it will help us reduce our impact on the earth by minimizing the number of cars we bring to campus every day. Students at Queens College and CUNY Law who drive to school or need a ride - this webpage will help you find others to share with.

The registration page for CUNY Law students is here: https://www.rideproweb.com/nylink/service.asp?rp3Action=Register&FormName=NewRegisterAgreed&Short=True&CompanyCode=LAW113

Direct from CommuterLink:

CommuterLink is now offering students, faculty, and staff of the CUNY School of Law a new way to travel. Through CommuterLink's carpooling match program, commuters can now easily find someone to travel with to and from work.

CommuterLink's FREE Ride Matching service, which will match you with carpool or vanpool partners who live or work near you, and work or study similar hours.

Guaranteed Ride Home ( GRH ): If you carpool and have to stay late unexpectedly or leave early in the event of an emergency, CommuterLink will reimburse you for a taxi or transit up to$40.00 per ride $200.00 per year .

Save Money: Save Money by splitting the cost of driving, from gas to parking to maintenence.

Reduce Stress: Having someone else drive means some days you can relax, read, or take a nap. (Check out our useful tips on car pooling etiquette!)

Enjoy the Ride: Working students of a commuter college don't have much time to spend with fellow students. Share the ride and blow off steam after class.

Earn money and form a Vanpool: CommuterLink makes it easy to start a vanpool. In fact, we do more of the work for you, from contacting prospects to making lease arrangments. While some vanpools use a vehicle owned by a member of the groups, most lease their van from a third-party provider with CommuterLink's assistance. The lease includes all maintenance costs and insurance, and requires no long-term financial obligation.

Save the Environment: Taking transit, carpooling or being part of a vanpool instead of driving alone can cut harmful auto emissions up to 85%. That means the air we breathe will be cleaner and there will be less health risks to ourselves and our families.

Mass Transit Route: Our expert staff will plot out a door to door itinerary for you complete with transfers and times, showing you the most convenient way to work. Give it a try!

For more about the CUNY Law Green Coalition, check out our blog: http://cunyappleseed.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Spare 20 minutes for this awesome animated film about all the stuff we use. It's making the rounds of the classrooms - hurrah!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Food Conference Report Back

It was really really really great (and I was really really really tired). The text of Raj Patel's planery speech is here: http://brooklynfoodconference.org/2009/05/morning-forum-raj-patels-speech/ Totally worth taking a minute away from the books.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

BIke Maps!

The Department of Transportation has made the 2009 Bike map available. You can download it here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemaps.shtml or pick it up at any bike shop. Remember your helmet and enjoy the breeze!

If you are a driver or need a ride, remember to use http://cunylaw.erideshare.com/ to offer or request rides. The group password is 'whereareyou' .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Trees, Trees, Everywhere!

If only that were true, or at least a lot more true in New York. Want to do a little bit to help with making this a reality?

There are (at least) two similar initiatives that are pushing for more trees:

The One Million Trees Project is being supported by the ABA. So, if you're reading this and you're out of law school get in touch with them and pick up a shovel.

CUNY is part of the Million Tree NYC campaign, which is part of PlaNYC. Multiple CUNY campuses are the sites of organized plantings on May 1st.

If you want to get involved, sign up here:


The Kissena Corridor plantings are relatively close to the law school.

Green Coalition - Let's plant! If you sign up at the link above, you can chose Queens College as your college (I know, I know) and put "CUNY School of Law - Green Coalition" in the Student Club/Organization field. May 1st is our last day of classes! Let's celebrate in the dirt. Before returning to the library for the next two weeks of finals prep.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

CUNY Law Invades Green Drinks Brooklyn on TAX DAY 2009

Maybe invasion is a little wishful thinking. However, I just finished my taxes (read: 'celebration necessary') and after Professor Goldsheid tells us about her experience arguing before the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Morrison & VAWA at CUNY Law on Wednesday, a green drink will surely be in order. Probably not an appletini, though.


Next BKLYN Green Drinks:
Wednesday 4/15 at Oulu in Williamsburg,
Brooklyn, NY

Celebrate getting your taxes done at a Williburg favorite. This eco-friendly and stylish bar is also Uber-green. The lights are set at optimum energy conservation levels and the walls are made of 100% recycled sheetrock.

First 100 green appletinis are half priced--that's $5.
The Green Appletinis are to celebrate Green Apple Cleaner's new Brooklyn location.

All guests get a $10 first time customer or referral gift card.

Wednesday, April 15, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

170 North Fourth Street (between Bedford and Driggs)
Williamsburg 11211
718 233 1340

Please visit www.hopstop.com for detailed directions from any location

Judy Sandford, Marco Carag and Eugene Lee

Every month, people who work in the environmental field, or simply have an interest in it, meet up for a beer at informal sessions known as Green Drinks.

It's your chance to mix with other like-minded folks, network, share info and make friends. Attendees have found employment, developed new ideas and even done deals! So join us-many report making great contacts every time!

It's a international concept--read more on the web site: www.greendrinks.org
Feel free to forward this invite to interested friends!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Market Fundamentalist Globalization in One City

This is from the last section of an incredibly article about how the global economy has boiled up in all its ugliness in Dubai:

Perhaps Dubai disturbed me so much, I am thinking, because here, the entire global supply chain is condensed. Many of my goods are made by semi-enslaved populations desperate for a chance 2,000 miles away; is the only difference that here, they are merely two miles away, and you sometimes get to glimpse their faces? Dubai is Market Fundamentalist Globalisation in One City.

Read the rest here: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/the-dark-side-of-dubai-1664368.html

Thanks Patrick!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Questions for the Public Advocate

The candidates for Public Advocate will be coming to CUNY Law this Tuesday. The Green Coalition has some questions for them (we sent these to the moderator; maybe they will get asked):

How can the public advocate connect the progressive local, sustainable food campaigns, cooperatives, CSAs, etc. and the city government to make the most nutritious and sustainable food options available for all of New Yorkers?

How can you as Public Advocate help to ensure that stimulus plan money, which is being directed at state and local governments, will be utilized effectively and in the service of the poor and minority communities of New York?

Can you comment on how stimulus funds for green jobs training would best be utilized to ensure that desperately needed pathways out of poverty are created?

Where are your economic development priorities and how can you connect them to the sustainability movement that is changing priorities within our federal, state and local governments such that long term ecological and social considerations share parity with economic planning?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Food Supply Chain Untraceable!

This article starts:
Most food manufacturers and distributors cannot identify the suppliers or recipients of their products despite federal rules that require them to do so, federal health investigators have found.


Let's get busy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Left Hook

Here's the lineup of 'green' panels for this year's Left Forum, which will be held at Pace University. I've been for the past couple years - its an eclectic mix of activists, intellectuals and concerned citizens looking to dialogue on contemporary issues from a left perspective - and that definitely means different things to pretty much everyone there.

ecology and environment

Capitalist Crisis, Energy and the Commons
The Debate Over Green Capitalism, Technofixes and Reforms
Reclaiming Life
Money, Barrels, and Change
Science for the People
Convergences and Strategies from the Emerging Global Climate Justice Movement
Building Sustainable Communities, Beyond Green and Into Social Sustainability
Overcoming Capitalist Ecological Degradation through Ecosocialism
Global Warming and Society- What changes should students fight for?
The Case Against Centralized Thermal (Nuclear and Coal) Power
Strategies for Addressing the Climate Change Crisis: A Challenge to the American Left
Withering Energies? Oil and the Financial Crisis
Yes We Will!: Organizing to Bring Real and Lasting Social and Environmental Justice


Political Economy of the Globalized Food System
Grow It, Sell It, Cook It, Serve It, Eat It: Sustainable Alternatives in Food Production, Preparation and Distribution
Food Sovereignty: Indigenous and People’s Control Over Their Own Food Production
The Food Democracy Movement: Organizing fo a Healthy, Sustainable, and Socially Just Food System

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mr. Jones Goes to Washington

A heap of Appleseeds went to Reblaw this year at Yale and listened to Van Jones give the opening keynote address.

Van Jones has been a social justice advocate in the San Francisco Bay area for years and most recently focused his attention on supporting the green jobs movement as a pathway out of poverty for low-income people and minorities.

Now Mr. Jones is heading to the White House to work in the Obama administration.

You can check out commentary on the announcement here, here and here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GMO seeds in Afghanistan and Iraq

Directing your attention to a brief up today at http://www.grain.org/briefings/?id=217

The soils of war

The real agenda behind agricultural reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq


In this Briefing, we look at how the US’s agricultural reconstruction work in Afghanistan and Iraq not only gives easy entry to US agribusiness and pushes neoliberal policies, something that has always been a primary function of US development assistance, but is also an intrinsic part of the US military campaign in these countries and the surrounding regions. Seen together with the growing clout that the US and its corporate allies exercise over donor agencies and global bodies – such as the World Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres, which influence the food and farm policies adopted by the recipient countries – this is an alarming development. These are not unique cases born from unusual circumstances, but constitute a likely template for US activities overseas, as it continues to expand its “war on terror” and pursue US corporate interests.

Compost! Worms! At CUNY Law! In the Lounge!

Calling all composters!

Want to do something to minimize the amount of garbage you produce in your apartment? Come to the Green Coalition's Composting Workshop and find out how to compost right at home in NYC - Queens Botanical Gardens will even be selling the bins and materials you need to do this! And hear more about CUNY Law's composting program, beginning right after spring break, and find out how you can help.

When/Where: Thurs. March 12, SIT time (1-2:30), in the 2nd Floor Lounge

Feel free to pop in and out. See you there!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lovely and Official

The Green Coalition was just listed on the CUNY School of Law website - and there's a link to this blog from there. CAUTION: This means that you can follow this link: http://www.law.cuny.edu/student/StudentLife/StudentOrganizations.html and link back to this blog and do that over and over and over until the end of life on this planet, which the Green Coalition is hoping to help extend for as long as ecologically possible. So, really, don't get trapped in the never ending hyperlink loop. Its just not healthy for you or the planet. That's free (completely non-legal) advice. You're welcome.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Re-post: March 3 @ 7 p.m.: FREE Sneak-Preview Screening of FUEL; PLEASE RSVP

I originally posted a listing for a showing of this film, but it was for a limited audience (due to space) so I took the post down.

Now the film is showing for the general public, so RSVP and come to discus, critique and maybe be entertained.

You can learn about the film beforehand here.


Council Member James F. Gennaro
Chair, Environmental Protection Committee
Queens College

invite you to a FREE sneak preview of the
Sundance Film Festival Best Documentary Audience Award-winning

Tuesday, March 3 @ 7:00 p.m.
Queens College – LeFrak Concert Hall
Corner of Kissena Blvd. & Horace Harding Expwy., Flushing, NY

- 6 p.m. Reception Followed by 7 p.m. Screening and Q & A -

Come see Councilman James F. Gennaro, Chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee and author of New York City's landmark bioheat mandate legislation, in FUEL: an insightful portrait of America’s addiction to oil and an uplifting testament to the immediacy of new energy solutions.

Director Josh Tickell, a young activist, shuttles us on a whirlwind journey to track the rising domination of the petrochemical industry and reveals a gamut of available solutions to "repower America" — from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel. This film illuminates a hopeful, achievable future, where decentralized, sustainable living is not only possible, it’s imperative.

Limited Tickets While Supplies Last
Open to Public, but you must RSVP to be guaranteed seating.
Email jgennaro@council.nyc.gov or call (718) 217-4969

Very limited parking is available on premises and street. Please take public transportation if possible

Nation's largest green roof atop Bronx water plant doubles as driving range!

Mosholu Golf Course in the Bronx is one of a dozen run by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Its compact layout is typical of New York’s urban courses—nine holes, tree-lined fairways, the odd sand bunker—save for one highly unusual obstacle: the $2.1 billion drinking water treatment facility under construction on what used to be the driving range.
When this heavily secured compound is completed in 2012, it’s due to be topped by far more than just new turf. Grimshaw and landscape architect Ken Smith have designed one of the largest and most intensive green roofs to date, which is also a fully functioning driving range. And an irrigation system for the golf course. And an integrated security program for the facility below. Think Pebble Beach meets the Biosphere meets Rikers.
“The distinction here is it’s not just a green roof, but a performative green roof that needs to provide all these functions,” Smith said in an interview. “I think we’re pushing both the design of the green roof and the design of the golf course in new directions. We’re working to see how far we can push the diversity of the ecology and still adhere to the constraints of the golf course.”
This quietly radical project is the result of more than a decade of debate over whether or not water from the Croton Reservoir, the smallest of the city’s three, needed treatment after more than a century of going without. That was followed by battles with Bronx residents over which and even whether the borough’s parks would be torn up to make way for the new plant. The city finally broke ground on the facility in 2004, and the driving range has moved to a temporary site while the complex roofscape takes shape.

The engineering challenges are formidable. At nine acres, the $95 million driving range is the largest contiguous green roof in the country. So when it rains at the range, it pours, which creates a paradoxical hazard for the plant below. “It’s of paramount importance to the City of New York that this building stay dry, despite being full of water,” said David Burke, the project architect at Grimshaw. So to handle the millions of gallons that can accumulate on the green roof during a storm, the design team has devised a natural filtration system to collect, process, and store the runoff.
The range’s unique topography not only provides green-like targets for golfers, who tee off from the perimeter of the circular structure, but helps channel rainwater into the collection basins, where it meets groundwater pumped in from the plant’s four sump pumps. The water then travels through a series of ten cells that ring the range, each one modeled on a different native ecosystem to serve different filtration purposes. It takes up to eight days for water to travel through the cells, at which point it’s collected and used to irrigate the golf course.
“We’re not just dumping it in the sewer,” said Mark Laska, president of Great Ecology & Environments, one of two ecological designers on the project. “It’s a true display of sustainable green design in an urban environment.”
The design team wanted to convey such sustainable lessons to the public, especially the kids enrolled in the First Tee outreach program at Mosholu, and so the cells were left in plain view. Furthermore, because they are sunk ten feet below grade, they serve as a moat of sorts that helps protect the city’s water supply, which is seen as a potential target for terrorists.
To that end, Grimshaw has also designed the guardhouse and screening buildings that security constraints required, in addition to the new clubhouse and tee boxes on the range. (Grimshaw is not designing the plant, however, which is the work of a specialized engineering firm.)
It's an unlikely commission, to be sure, but one the architects embraced. “It’s very fitting for Grimshaw,” as Burke put it. “We tend to gravitate toward these oddball projects.”


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't kiss me with THOSE lips.

Today's Democracy Now features Mark Shapiro, who wrote a book (just out in paperback) called Exposed, which talks about, among other things, the lack of regulation in the makeup industry and all the chemical nasties that get put into lipstick and other 'beauty' products in the U.S. His arguments are broad and talk about how the EU is becoming the market that sets the standard for ecologically friendly manufactured products. This is occurring because of the increasingly toothless environmental standards of the U.S. and the lack of regulation in certain markets, i.e. electronics manufacturing/importing. He argues that the U.S. market has become the dumping ground of environmentally insensitive goods that flow into our borders from China (primarily). These same goods often times have European counterparts which are made to conform to the EU's higher environmental standards. He also writes about the efforts of American lobbying firms working in Brussels to try and loosen the EU's environmental laws.

You can check out the Democracy Now episode here.

NPR also ran a story on the book in November of 2007. You can check that out here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Farm Shares/Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in New York - Many Accepting Applications for new members March 1

The Green Coalition supports efforts to connect CUNY students with the local food economy. One way students can do that is by joining a CSA/Farm Share in their local neighborhood. A farm share is usually a subscription to the season's harvest - you pay the farmer up front and then enjoy fresh local seasonal vegetables (and sometimes fruit, eggs, meat and/or flowers) every week, approximately June to November. Joining a farm share/CSA is much cheaper than shopping at the farmers' markets around the city and helps farmers by providing capital before the growing season begins.

There are many many farm shares/csa's in the city but they tend to fill up early. This year, many will be inviting new members to join on March 1, 2009. There is a list of CSA's by borough and neighborhood here: http://www.justfood.org/csa/locations/ .

Support your local farmers and eat delicious food all spring, summer and fall (there are a few winter CSA's available in the city, too).

Food Sovereignty in Ecuador

Ecuador Congress approves law on food sovereignty
Xinhua. February 18, 2009
Text from:

QUITO, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's temporary Congress approved on Tuesday
the Organic Law on Food Sovereignty aimed at boosting
domestic production.

The law to guarantee "the self-sufficiency of healthy, nutritive and
culturally appropriate food" was approved with 49 votes in favor, two
against, three blank and 11 abstentions.

Prompted by the approval, other laws to promote food independence and
recover the country's agriculture are likely to gain acknowledgment.

The Organic Law on Food Sovereignty provides a framework to connect the
agricultural, forest, underwater and fishing sectors.

The law highlights the establishment of scientific research and development
on agro-food issues, incentives for small- and medium-sized
producers, creation of an agro-food insurance, and promotion for the
consumption of domestic products.

Under the law, the Consultant Council for food Sovereignty, consisting of
six representatives from the government and six from the civil
society, will be formed.

The law is now be reviewed by President Rafael Correa. He may either ratify
it within 30 days, or send it back to the Legislative Commission for
further discussion.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York Budget Cuts

From Environmental Advocates:

Governor Paterson is taking an axe to chop down the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and cut staff at state agencies such as New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

A million here, $50 million there, and suddenly the Governor’s budget axe has cut through environmental protections for New York’s children and families.

Environmental Advocates of New York needs your help to tell Governor Paterson and all of our state leaders to protect our natural resources.

Tell Governor Paterson and state lawmakers in Albany that cutting green to stay in the black makes you see red!

Check out Environmental Advocates here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Are you a rider or a driver?

In the shadow of MTA fare hikes, bus route cuts and our ever-shrinking parking lot – lets ride together! The CUNY Law Green Coalition has set up a CUNY Law Rideshare site and we encourage you to use it.

Go to http://cunylaw.erideshare.com/
Enter the group password: “whereareyou”

You will be taken to a screen with a table listing all the rides offered or requested by people in the CUNY Law community and a map.

THE TABLE: In the last column of the table, you can see whether the entry is for an offer or a request. You can sort the table by clicking on “offer or request” in the column heading. You can also sort by any of the other headings. The “entry date” in the last column will tell you how recently the posting was updated.

THE MAP: You can click on the red and green points on the map to see who has a destination or origin near you and when they are driving or wanting a ride.

Get in touch with people using the contact information they have provided in the last column or by clicking on the link in the “Contact/Member ID” column (if you are logged in, you will be taken to a screen where you can send a message that will be delivered to the person’s email).

1. Create an erideshare account (click on the link at the top of the page).
2. Return to http://cunylaw.erideshare.com/
3. Click on “Click here to place a listing.”
4. Fill out the Form:
In the “Destination – City” field, put in your borough.
In the “Destination – Street” field, put in your address (or use both Street fields to enter an intersection).
Use the “Days of the Week” field to enter your regular weekly schedule (e.g. “M-F 8:30am”) or to enter your schedule for a given day (e.g. Thurs 12/17 3pm) or a weekly ride (Every Thurs 3pm).
In the “Other Information” field, put in your contact information – phone, email, etc. Remember that unless you choose to share your posting, only members of the CUNY Law community will be able to see your listing.
When you’re done, click the button labeled “click only once.”

If you are offering or requesting BOTH a ride and a request (roundtrip), the site will work better if you post two separate listings.

Take 30 seconds to update your schedule every day to keep the listings fresh and your car full. RIDERS - chip in for gas!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Carpool/Ride Share Advocacy

Hey Green-ers!

Thanks to Patrick's superior googling skills, I just set this up:

Dedicated URL for your group: http://cunylaw.erideshare.com
group password: whereareyou

It's a RideShare webpage dedicated to getting folks to CUNY law. It can't be a widget on our webpage, but it does have a great map feature. When you register, the destination will automatically be CUNY Law (though you can change it) and the page is only open to people who have the password. We can use this to encourage people to ride-share with other people in the CUNY Law community. Individuals can choose to make their posting available to people outside the community if they choose, but they don't need to. It will work better the more people from our community join it (I am having visions of ridesharing with Robson).

Click on the link, register and add yourself.

Let's try it out, for real.

Proposed next steps:
1. Feedback from us about whether we want to endorse this. If we do --

2. Posting directing people to this page from forum, with directions on how to use it.
3. Student Events and ALL FACULTY email directing people to this page, with directions on how to use it.
4. Fliers around the building/Flier to include in First Year Orientation packet.
5. Getting a link on CUNY's homepage to this page
6. A survey of driving/carpooling habits in the community a month after we roll this out (advocacy tool for preferred parking)
7. Advocate for preferred parking for ride-sharers (with results of the survey)

Feedback? I am also posting this to the blog. Let's use the comments section and get sign-off from everyone (assuming that the 7 of us are the stake-holders for this initiative) by Feb. 6 (the date we set before).

Paula Z. Segal

Green Additions to the 1L Orientation Packet

This goes in the category of "changing the culture"...

Do we as the Green Coaliton advocate for including some green initiatives in the folder that 1Ls get during orientation?


A bike map (they're free from the Dept of Transportation)
Directions for RideSharing
A list of LOCALLY owned food establishments (the list we got included McDonalds???)
Composting/Recycling instructions

Clearly its a bit early in the year to be thinking about this, but let's build a list anyways.

Monday, January 19, 2009

USDA - business as usual?

Follow this link to analysis and actions you can take to try to force the new admin into at least some change in USDA policy by not appointing lobbyists and Giant-Food Industry supporters to key USDA positions. Rumor has it, that's exactly what's coming next.


At ethicurean's suggestion, I modified her email and sent it to the Obama's transition team:

Subject: USDA appointments
From: paula.segal@mail.law.cuny.edu
Date: January 19, 2009 11:55:49 AM EST
To: BChilton@cftc.gov, jettwoman@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Chilton and Ms. Jett:

I am writing to you as the heads of President Obama’s transition team for the Department of Agriculture. I can’t find contact info for Secretary Vilsack, or I’d copy him too.

Rumors on the sustainable food blogosphere have it that people with very clear ties to the industrial meat industry are on the short list for under-secretary and Deputy Secretary positions in the new administration. I have read that Joy Philippi, the formerly of the National Pork Council, and Dennis Wolfe, who opposed consumers’ right to milk labeling by farms that don’t use artificial bovine hormones, are on the short list.

I hope that the rumors are just that. In a country plagued by CAFO pollution, childhood diabetes, and other crises whose root is a broken food system, these candidates represent the interests of corporate food giants and are NOT THE CHANGE THAT I VOTED FOR in November.

We need reformers in the USDA, not agribusiness-as-usual men or women. I am proud to be among the 73,000 and counting Americans who have signed Food Democracy Now’s letter urging the consideration of 12 people who are not only qualified to serve, but who might just begin to make the USDA once again the “people’s Department,” as Lincoln once called it.

I urge you to stand against the appointment of industry representatives and lobbyists to key posts inside the USDA, but instead to consider people like Chuck Hassebrook, Fred Kirschenmann, and Kathleen Merrigan listed here: http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/

Thank you for your time.

Paula Z. Segal
J.D. Candidate 2011
CUNY School of Law

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get Your Conference on Redux


I got in touch with the aforementioned James Subudhi (January 5 entry below) at WEACT to see if he could give me some insight into my registration for the Advancing Climate Justice Conference at Fordham late this month. It turns out that he is the volunteer coordinator. It also turns out that he loves CUNY students and would like for as many of us to volunteer for the conference as possible. I'm hoping to go both days, but you can sign up for whatever time frame you wish or for whichever speaker you would like to hear, most likely. If you email me, I'll send you off more information about vounteering.

Can't wait to see everyone next week for the first week of classes!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

From Environmental Advocates of New York

Governor Paterson is proposing to gut New York’s Environmental Protection Fund and undercut the efforts of the agency responsible for making sure our water is safe to drink and our air is safe to breathe.

New York lawmakers are considering the Governor’s proposal and we need to fix it before it’s too late. Click here to ask state lawmakers to defend New York’s environment.

New York State has one dedicated funding source for all things green. The Environmental Protection Fund supports projects across the state that run the gamut from protecting our drinking water to fixing up neighborhood parks.

If the Governor’s budget is passed by the State Legislature, these green efforts are in danger. The budget proposal would slash the Environmental Protection Fund by more than $50 million and cut the number of engineers, inspectors, and scientists who safeguard the health of our air, land and water.

We need to defend the Environmental Protection Fund and New York’s environmental agencies and keep our natural resources safe.

For more information about the Environmental Protection Fund, visit www.eany.org.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Get Your Conference On

There are two Conferences that Appleseeds might like to attend in the near future. The first one is close to home and right after classes start on January 23rd. Queens College is co-sponsoring the Queens Green Business Summit. The registration is free and the speaker line up seems to be interesting and not short of environmental lawyers and activists along with government and business community folk.

Possibly not free is the We Act conference Advancing Climate Justice that runs from January 29-30 and is being held at Fordham Law School. It looks like an amazing two days of inspiration and wonkiness that should not be missed. I've "applied" for the event scholarship, meaning I wrote three lines of text during the registration process in hopes of not paying the $60 price tag. We'll see. In case its helpful to anyone else who's interested in going and doesn't have $60 lying around, I wrote:

"I am a CUNY School of Law student who has worked with other students to form our campus Green Coalition, which works on environmental issues at CUNY and in our community while functioning as the CUNY Environmental Law Society. My master's work dealt with sustainable development policy and I have experience working within the emerging corporate climate change legal profession as well as sustainability policy in the nonprofit sector. I will also be coordinating a 12-month project beginning this year to investigate and ameliorate the impact my campus has on climate change and connect best practices to the larger CUNY system." (I know, I know, that last line is full of hopeful optimism [is that an oxymoron?], but I really do believe that the ball is rolling on the Campus Ecology Fellowship after speaking with Dean Koster and Dean Anderson this past semester + Michele and I are ON IT)

Not super eloquent, but action-packed for three sentences, methinks. We'll see if it works - I'll let you know. I also listed this blog as our group's website on the registration so if there are inquisitive minds out there at WeAct (other than James Subudhi, who we know has an inquisitive mind since a lot of us Appleseeds met him after the CLORE event "How Law Affects Community Health Outcomes and Impacts Dietary Choices") who are actually checking out this web real estate: I'd REALLY like to attend and I'm a public school kid so I need the price break!

And, while I'm at it let's not forget about the 15th Annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference at Yale from February 20-22. I know a couple Appleseeds are already signed up (word up, Jills and Paulas). Van Jones (big love) is keynoting, which should be excellent and CUNY students who have gone in the past have said its a great time and place for some public service lawyering community good times. The registration is $30, but if you do it soon you can get a t-shirt. I know there was some talk of the NLG subsidizing registration and we could discuss if the Green Coalition might be able to offer the same. We should also talk about carpooling or synchronized train riding at the first Green Coalition meeting in January.

Post your events, peeps! I know that engaging in the community at large on ecolegal-sociojustice issues energizes me for school (why do I need to back-of-my-hand-know promissory restitution again??). And, its so good to have a buddy to attend with.