Archive for the ‘green jobs’ Category

how to live sustainably in nyc: part 3

November 3, 2008

Part 2 of 3 in a series, how to live sustainably in nyc.

A class I recently attended at Borough of Manhattan Community College, led by Les Judd of Green Boroughs, helps New Yorkers find simple ways to live more sustainably.

In the final class, green business owners and non-profit leaders told us about their experiences working toward sustainability. [Read part 1 and part 2] Here are the representatives from the non-profit sector.

Panel 2: Green non-profit

Paula Lukats
CSA in NYC Program Manager
Just Food

Just Food works with local farms and communities in New York City to create a just and sustainable food system. They do this through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs that help
family farms stay in business, while providing city dwellers with access to locally grown produce that’s both high quality and affordable.

Just Food also serves the community by teaching people how to prepare farm-fresh food. Through the Community Food Education (CFE) Program volunteer food educators are trained to teach workshops on subjects such as cooking skills, food storage, nutrition and wellness, and the value of eating locally grown food.

Chris Collins
Executive Director

A solar-powered “Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center,”
SolarOne works to educate the public — especially students in grades K-12 — about renewable energy and the urban environment around them. One of their programs, called TruLight, empowers students to be green entrepreneurs through the marketing and sales of compact fluorescent light bulbs.

To help ensure that the demand for skilled green collar workers is filled for the emerging green economy, SolarOne also provides high school students with hands-on green jobs training.

SolarTwo, the city’s first carbon-neutral or net-zero energy use building, is expected to open next year.

Miquela Craytor
Executive Director
Sustainable South Bronx

In a part of the city frequently slated for waste management facilities, where brownfields are common, and the poor often don’t have a voice to fight against the pollution that is occurring in their backyard, arose an advocate: Sustainable South Bronx. Majora Carter founded SSBx 7 years ago as a way to revitalize the South Bronx by providing environmental education and tackling issues such as land-use and waste management policies. (Majora Carter, founder, not to be confused with Miquela Craytor, executive director. Their names are so coincidentally similar!)

Miquela mentioned so many incredible projects they are working on it was hard to keep up. They provide green job training and placement in jobs like green roofing, river front restoration, and brownfield restoration through their B.E.S.T. program. As part of their solid waste and energy program they’re part of a coalition that created a zero waste campaign, which provides the city with an action plan on how to achieve it.

SSBx also teamed up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to create their own FabLab (fabrication lab), connecting community members with digital arts and technology to design and create real world solutions to environmental problems in their community.

Bob Muldoon
Associate Regional Representative NYC Field Office
Sierra Club

Bob is one of the rare staff members for a mainly volunteer organization. Most people are aware of the Sierra Club, founded by John Muir and other conservationists in 1892 as a way to preserve the natural places in the United States.

The Sierra Club has regional chapters and field offices with member-organized committees that help shape local and national environmental policy. From the very beginning, an integral part of the club has also been the organization of wilderness excursions for those with the common interest of enjoying the great outdoors.

Bob is part of a campaign to fight climate change through reduction of greenhouse gases, specifically through the reduction of coal-fired power plants. According to Bob, the Sierra Club recently helped block 50 new coal power plants.

Hope for a cleaner, greener future
Being able to hear these amazing advocates and activists talk about how they are making a difference was really inspiring. It really made me hopeful that there are people who care enough to take action in their communities to fight the big polluters, educate people about sustainability, and shape the future of our emerging green economy. I feel fortunate to have been in the presence of such motivating individuals.

how to live sustainably in nyc: part 2

October 30, 2008

Part 2 of 3 in a series, how to live sustainably in nyc.

A class I recently attended at Borough of Manhattan Community College helps New Yorkers find simple ways to live more sustainably. Led by Les Judd of Green Boroughs, the class consisted of an initial classroom session, two walking tours, and finally a panel discussion with green business leaders.

My favorite part of the class was the panel discussion. Four green business owners and four leaders of sustainability in the non-profit sector spoke about their work creating or maintaining their organizations and the challenges they face. Here’s a little taste of what the panelists had to say.

Panel 1: Green biz

David Kistner
Green Apple Cleaners

Green Apple is no ordinary dry cleaner. And they’re not one of those so-called “organic” cleaners either. To clean clients’ clothes they use liquid CO2 that was recaptured from processes like beer brewing. In a Consumer Reports study, CO2 dry cleaning was found to be the most effective dry cleaning method, beating out conventional, toxic perchloroethylene (PERC)-using dry cleaners.

They also skip the disposable plastic bag to cover your freshly cleaned clothes in favor of reusable garment bags.

Green Apple’s pick-up and delivery service, which is powered by biodiesel, is so far only available in Manhattan and North Jersey. David hopes to open a Brooklyn location early next year (I hope so!).

According to David, Green Apple is more than a dry cleaning operation. They do interior work for clients such as ABC Carpet & Home, they sell cleaning products, and they also have a not-for-profit educational program for school-aged children. David also consulted on the Greenopia guide.

Mark Caserta
3R Living

Mark was an environmental lobbyist and his wife, Samantha was a buyer for Fishs Eddy. So it was only natural for them to open a store like 3R Living. It’s a great resource for eco-friendly gifts and housewares, with two locations: Park Slope, Brooklyn, and Maplewood, NJ. Though the towns aren’t so near to one another, Mark said it was a fairly easy decision to open the second Maplewood store, since so many Park Slope transplants now live there.

You can also shop through their online store.

Catherine Barton
Corporate Director of Business Development
Green Depot

Green Depot is an amazing source for green building supplies. Some of the notable projects they’ve supplied include the new Brooklyn Center for Urban Environment building, the platinum LEED certified Bank of America Tower, and Entourage star Adrian Grenier’s Brooklyn townhouse.

They also work with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to create affordable, sustainable homes for New Yorkers.

According to Catherine, one of the biggest challenges with green building is the installation learning curve (I know this from experience!*). To solve this problem, Catherine works directly with builders to educate workers on how to use their materials.

*When we were having coconut palm composite (DuraPalm) flooring installed in our kitchen last year, it didn’t go so smoothly. The carpenter laid down the entire floor using traditional wood floor nailing methods. Almost every board ended up cracked or split. He had to rip up the entire floor and we had to checked every single board for damages to see which pieces were salvageable. Not fun!

Mark Ehrhardt
Movers, Not Shakers

Back when Mark was a stock broker, the moving business was the furthest thing from his mind. When the dot com bubble burst, a friend suggested that helping people with moves was an easy way to make a buck. So Mark started small, using rented trucks to relocate people. Now he runs the sustainable moving company, Movers not Shakers.

His trucks run on biodiesel and instead of wasteful cardboard boxes, Mark’s company uses reusable plastic ones he calls GothamBoxes.

At the end of the business year, Mark gave part of the company’s proceeds to the Prospect Park Alliance to support a New York City green space, and in a way, offset carbon. He plans on contributing to environmental organizations as a regular business practice.

Look for part 3 of how to live sustainably where I highlight the non-profit green business panelists.

Read part 1.