Archive for October, 2009

international day of climate action

October 22, 2009

This Saturday, over 4000 events are being planned in over 170 countries to make a loud statement about the importance of action to abate climate change. It may just be the most widespread day of environmental action in the history of the planet.

To participate, you can volunteer to host an event, like arranging a screening of an important environmental film, such as A Sea Change. (Find out how here. Then join the facebook event here.)

Or you can join in one of the many existing actions – Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, go to a climate awareness festival in Palo Alto or a picnic in Abu Dhabi. Go here to find out how you can take part (or just consult the map below).

View Actions at

According to, all events are designed to do one thing: show the support for the most important number in the world: 350.

What’s the big deal with 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for parts per million carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. 350 is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. Most immediately, 350 is the number world leaders need to lead with as they prepare to meet in Copenhagen this December to draft a new global climate treaty.

How will you get involved?

care to make a difference: blog action day 09

October 15, 2009

This post is part of Blog Action Day ’09

Floods, droughts, super storms – these are not the things of fantasy, of Hollywood blockbuster disaster films. They are real. And real people who live off the land are the most affected by these climate-change–induced or -exacerbated events.

Yet the wealthiest nations, especially those with large standing militaries, are burning fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow. And there very well might not be if they keep it up.

While climate change and its effects are being seen today, most of us are still thinking like it’s some futuristic event. It is here, and people are suffering because of it. The time to act is not when things start to really get ugly for all of us, the time to act is now.

Luckily, there are organizations doing the work now to prevent catastrophe for those who could not recover from it. Organizations like CARE are examining the impact of climate change on coastal and rural communities in economically poor places, and mitigating the negative.

See how people are impacted, then do something about it.

This is what CARE has to say about the current state of climate change action…

Poor people are especially vulnerable to climate change due to the sensitivity of their livelihoods and the extensive constraints – such as low levels of formal schooling and political marginalisation – that frame their adaptive capacity. Therefore, the world’s response to climate change has to challenge entrenched inequities and discriminatory power structures if we are to ensure that everyone can access the information, resources and support necessary for adaptation. But this hasn’t happened. Instead, the international community has focused on building capacity within poor countries to integrate climate change in national policy frameworks.

Though helpful, this is wholly insufficient because vulnerability to climate change varies within countries, communities and even households. National-level efforts must be complemented by action at the grassroots that understands, targets and reduces the poorest people’s vulnerability to climate change. In recognition of this principle, community-based adaptation is finally emerging as a critical part of the global response to climate change.

And this is how CARE responds to the situation…

CARE’s approach to community-based adaptation is people-centred. It fosters more resilient livelihoods, strengthens local capacity through training and the promotion of appropriate traditional knowledge, supports social change and engages in advocacy to address the underlying causes of poverty and differential vulnerability.

CARE’s community-based approach to adaptation is composed of the following four inter-related action areas:

  • Reducing the Risk of Disasters
  • Making Livelihoods More Resilient
  • Strengthening Local Capacity
  • Supporting Social Mobilisation and Policy Engagement

Read more about CARE’s actions in the face of climate change

Get involved with CARE

focusing on permaculture

October 6, 2009

[design by Andrew Jeeves]

Some of you already know that I’m in the midst of pursuing a permaculture design certificate (or PDC, more about it here). In order to focus on my studies and design project, I will be posting a little bit less for the next few weeks.

For now, I’ll leave you with a little taste of what I’ve been learning.

rainwater harvesting

Small-scale rainwater catchment (60 gallons) at Miracle Garden

1,000 gallon rainwater catchment system at Dias y Flores Community Garden

You can learn step-by-step how to build a rainwater harvesting system from the Water Resources Group.


Compost pile at Dias y Flores

learn-as-you-go solutions

After a big rainfall event that overfilled the 1,000 gallon system, Lars Chellberg and Lenny Labrizzi of Water Resources Group created this overflow diversion

toxic remediation and community building

Paula Hewitt Amram of Open Road NY describes how this pond filters rainwater to prevent combined sewer overload (CSO) events as well as keep trash out of the river. Aside from completely remediating this toxic site (once a bus depot with underground oil tanks that polluted the school next door), Paula actively fosters the skate park next door (as well as other parks) where young skaters and other community members help with cleanup of the community garden

Not your ordinary sewer grate. Under it are cisterns that hold the water on site to prevent sewer overflow

give synthetics the boot (bag)

October 1, 2009

Icebreaker, maker of some of the finest Merino wool activewear around, will be “bagging synthetics” next week.

Starting Monday, October 5, the New Zealand based company will be taking your stinky old synthetic, petroleum-based t-shirts (think polyester) and turning them into reusable marathon shoe bags in the Paragon Sports store window, on the spot, and for absolutely free.

Bonus for marathoners and aspiring marathoners: get 26.2% off your Icebreaker GT purchase and get a free pair of Icebreaker socks (from Oct 5 to 12).

So why should you ditch your old synthetic tee for a Merino wool one?

Synthetic tees:

  • stink after a run
  • feel unnatural
  • are made from oil

Icebreaker merino apparel:

  • made from all-natural wool from free-range Merino sheep
  • feels soft to the touch
  • has natural wicking abilities
  • doesn’t stink when you sweat in it
  • non-polluting
  • biodegradable
  • suitable for all seasons

Plus you can run in Icebreaker apparel for weeks without washing it, so energy costs are reduced and less detergents are put into the environment. Read more about Icebreaker’s ethos.

And here are the details for the event:

Monday, October 5 to Monday, October 12
11 am – 7 pm
Paragon Sports
867 Broadway at 18th Street, NYC