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.
CSA in NYC Program Manager
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.
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.
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.
Associate Regional Representative NYC Field Office
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.