Friday, November 10, 2006

Bloging live from Green Brooklyn, part 2
Panel 2, The Natural Environment with Brooklyn Botanic Garden, ConEdison Solutions, Gaia Institute, Lower East Side Ecology Center, Slow Food USA, Solar Energy Systems, and Sustainable Table (the meatrix guys). Right now we are listening to the story of compost, I take my compost to the Farmer's market in Fort Greene, this part weekend I got a nice little container of it back. San Francisco, as part of their efforts to divert 75% of its waste from the dump, a large scale residential compost pick up program was enacted. The compost was resold to farmers in the surrounding areas. After about a year, the compost was a highly sought item. It seems to me that New York is an ideal place to create an extensive composting project. Apparently we already have a large compost center on Riker's Island.
Now we are listening to a discussion on the damon value of the urban jungle (my term), including street trees which save the city $3000 each year from their carbon sequestering and capturing rainwater runoff.
We just heard about the slow food movement and are now hearing about the perils of factory farming (antibiotics, manure lagoons, i will add a link because they are enormous). Next up, my dream city presented by Gaia. Green roofs, green streets, living edges and blue waters, creating a sustainable New York City. Storm water capture, permeable surfaces, urban wetlands, retring brownfields. Living edges means getting natural filters (like mussels). It's an incredibly nice day for sitting inside, but if we can make even half these ideas work we could have a lot more beautiful days.
The hardest part of these conferences are the question periods. I often think it would be more interesting to have the panelists discuss amongst themselves.
Final presentation for the day, the architects, Workshop/APD, who won the Global Green competition to design a green low income complex in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward.
Following that was a "workshop" on transportation that because of time was focused on bicycling (which is fine with me). The presenter was really rushed and anxious to get across to the audience some points about which she was clearly passionate, all of which made for a rather frantic presentation. She did have some salient points to pass on including the idea that all a biker really wants is safe space (thats why they/we sit in crosswalks instead of squeezed between traffic and parked cars, its why a biker might jump a light - to get ahead of the traffic that is going to squeeze him out when passing the double parked car). She also talked about the idea that if bikers were better respected, then bikers will be more respectful (of traffic laws). As it is, bikers and pedestrians are forced to share precious little space while automobiles (and the 10% of new yorkers who drive them) take up the lion's share of the road. It would be nice to have a more car-free city - have you ever noticed how different the city looks when viewed from the middle of the street - its really cool! (You can stop on some streets in SoHo and look around - but most of the streets are too traffic-ridden to even try). For more information on livable streets - check out and Transportation Alternatives (who could just as easily rename themselves traffic alternatives).

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